Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere


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Feeling forever foreign

Well I made it through my first week at work in one piece.  Bonus.  I’m absolutely exhausted (I’m really not used to this full-time work malarkey, never mind with a 3-and-a-half-hour total commute added to each day).  And a bit grumpy (nostalgically remembering what a jammy life I had before, working three days a week from home in my jogging bottoms).  But mainly, it’s just fine.

A new job in a new country has, however, made me feel funnily foreign.  All over again.

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Me… revisited

In July 2012 Alpine Family, then a somewhat smaller unit than we are now, embarked on a new adventure: giving up hectic London life for a new start in the French Alps.

It was a temporary move – I had a year’s maternity leave, and what better way to spend it than gallivanting up and down mountainsides with the soundtrack of cow bells echoing around us. The hills were indeed alive, and the Von Trapps had nothing on us (although admittedly I am yet to dress my little darlings in curtains…). Life couldn’t have been more different had we moved to the moon – life as a City lawyer was a distant memory as I got used to life as a stay-at-home mummy in the middle of nowhere with two kids (Alpine Boy aged 3 and a half; Alpine Girl aged 7 weeks when we moved here). Doctors’ appointments, supermarket trips, and snow (lots of snow): all was new, all was in French, and I blogged about the lot (well, some of it).

 

My dream house... (shame it's not ours)

My dream house… (shame it’s not ours)

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Warning, may cause homesickness

Far from home...

Far from home…

(Note for my non-UK readers – I imagine that several of the references in this post will not make much sense to you… if so, check out the Glossary of Terms below…)

Sometimes, the warnings on medicine packets (drafted by cautious lawyers with an aversion to getting sued, no doubt) contain warnings which make you wonder if it’s actually worth taking the medicine at all.  Ibuprofen tablets, for example, tell you that one side-effect of this particular painkiller is… um, headaches.  And bottles of emollients (used to treat eczema) warn that the product may cause skin irritation.  Go figure.

And I’ve discovered that the same can be said for homesickness remedies.  I have been taking a few of these recently and have found that the side-effects do seem to include (yep, you’ve guessed it): homesickness. Continue reading


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In which Alpine Boy gets squashed by a trolley

Cooking

Half-term holidays – cooking with Alpine Boy

Alpine Boy is currently on half term holidays for two weeks so I’m pushing my parenting skills to the limit to find something new and exciting for him to do each day.  I’ve been spoiled by two months of handing over my son to someone else between 8.30am and 4.00pm each day and, despite the fact that I love him to bits (and yes, blah blah, I know I said he saved me from loneliness etc etc), I do find myself desperately looking forward to his nap time, when the entertaining can stop for an hour or so.  Is that really bad of me?!

Anyway, I’m actually rather proud of the holiday activities I’ve provided so far (yes, ok, it’s only Friday of week one.  And yes, ok, yesterday was a public holiday so Alpine Papa was around to assist.  So that’s only four days of entertaining.  But still).  We’ve been for walks in the snow, and walks in the rain, and walks in the sunshine.  We’ve been to visit friends, we’ve had friends visit us.  We’ve made things and drawn things and painted things and stuck things and put Play-Doh all over the sofa and in our hair (well someone has.  And it wasn’t me).  We’ve cooked things and eaten things and watched DVDs.  But still, the most exciting thing to happen to Alpine Boy this week?  The supermarket trolley fell over.  With him in it. Continue reading


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The fridge smells of farts

I love it here in the middle of nowhere.  And I tell people that.  But that makes for a boring story, really.  Sometimes people want to hear the juicy bits, the rubbish bits, the bits that give them an opportunity to sit back and say “well, yeah, it’s alright I suppose, living in the middle of nowhere like that Alpine Mummy does, but it’s not all great – did you know [insert relevant horror story]….?”

So for those of you who think like that (don’t be shy, I love hearing about other people’s misfortunes!), here are some of the crap bits about living here.  This is not a racist tirade against France, you understand (or at least it’s not intended to be…), nor should it be seen as an indication that I hate it here and I’ve made some kind of terrible mistake in moving out my entire family (I don’t and I haven’t).  But maybe some of these points will be useful to throw back at me if and when I ever get a little too smug about how great it is here…

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