Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Our Friends are Cooler Than Us. . . Or Are They?

I talk often about our "Cool Friends" Nikki & Alex, and our "Cool Friends in London" Alex and Naomi. We think they are cool because (a) they are, but mostly (b) they don't have kids, and so can do cool things whenever and wherever they want. We sometimes suffer from nostalgia to our child-free days, and say things like, "Remember when we had two incomes and could do awesome stuff like eat out 6 nights a week and buy new clothes every month?" or "Remember before Elizabeth was born and we could sleep in every weekend??" or "Remember before we had a baby and we never, ever worried about what we were going to have for dinner or when dinner would be?"

But for whatever reason, they are still friends with us - even though we don't buy new clothes as much, or sleep in past 8, and we start planning dinner at 11 am. Alex & Nikki recently came with us to the seaside - it was right after Adam & Suzie were in Cambridge (photos coming soon!) and just before the Babowals were due to arrive in the UK (even more photos coming soon!!). We went away to the seaside for a quick holiday - in British: a mini-break. I think that is the cutest name for a weekend trip.

At one point, Alex said he'd brought a kite, and wanted to get down on the beach because the windy condition was perfect. Matthew responded, "Awesome! Elizabeth loves kites!" Elizabeth immediately started singing, "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from Mary Poppins. But when we got to the beach, it wasn't just a 'kite' - it was a huge, parachute-like, wind-surfing awesome thing that caught the wind and lifted him off the ground. Yeah, how cool is that? I know. Matthew & I were expecting this dinky diamond-shaped kite with a tail of ribbons, and boom! He is flying with his kite. 

So you can imagine how we felt watching him. The only thing going through my mind was, "Why are they friends with us ???" And then I remembered the day before, when Matthew & I were practicing our Cirque Du Soleil moves on the beach, and they participated with their counter-balance awesomeness. And how they'd made Elizabeth a sand-car to drive in, and then did multiple themed-photos with their car, including "Success!" as shown below.

Nikki & I also decided to enter the Olympics in Rio 2016, with our phenomenal synchronized headstands. We are going to knock the socks off the judges.

So maybe no one is as cool as we think they are. Except Alex & Naomi in London - they're pretty cool. Maybe we just need to get them to the seaside to see their sand-art and acrobatics.

More photos of the weekend here.

More and More Pictures of the Seaside

We made some pretty intense sand castles for Elizabeth's Little People to live in. She played for ages with them - long enough for us to play an entire game of Scrabble! then she'd turn into ElizaSaurus and smash them.

Elizabeth fell asleep cuddling her baby dolly. Soooo cute.

It was a really great holiday mini-break, made greater by the fact that it didn't rain until we were in the car on the way home! Elizabeth fell asleep while we were still in the parking lot of the hotel:

And the rain started about 20 minutes after that!Timing is everything!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Goodbye, Good Friends

A couple of days ago, someone asked me the date, and I said, "I think it's July 20th, maybe?" It feels like we have been on the go since the end of July... It makes me feel about 65 years old when I say it, but seriously, where did the time go? Anyone else feeling this way this summer?

So now it is the end of August. My entire family has come and visited us, and left. Expect some blogs on those visits. My cousin Laura married her best friend Ollie at a lovely wedding, and everyone had a fantastic time. Matthew & I had our anniversary, which we both forgot. Which means it's the end of August, and all of a sudden, a bunch of friends are leaving Cambridge to go back to their home countries.

On Friday, our German friends Andrea & Simon went back to Bonn with their beautiful girls Sibylla and Alma. Alma was born during their 6 month stay in the 'Breej, so Simon calls her his "Little Souvenir".
Sibylla and Elizabeth were great friends - in as much as 2 year olds can be friends, which means they talked alot about each other, but as soon as they saw each other neither of them was remotely interested in the other. We will miss them so much. We had a barbecue with them before they left, which was a little nerve wracking as far as dinners go, because they are vegetarian. Luckily, they offered to bring some veggie sausages, and let me tell you: Linda McCartney's veggie sausages are delicious!

They had a little party in the courtyard the day before they left too:
And all the George Nuttall Closers came out:

And yesterday, we had a barbecue to celebrate our great friends, Anggi, Dippo & their daughter Bianca.

They are going back to Jakarta tomorrow morning. I am so sad they are leaving. We met Anggi this time last year, on their first day in Cambridge, and became instant friends. She was always there when I needed some extra carrots for a recipe, or when I didn't have any milk left, and it was great to have someone so close to just pop by for a coffee and a chat. I was so lucky that they moved into our complex, and I will miss them so much. We had a barbecue with them yesterday, and invited our Chilean friends Javiera & Nico, and their two boys Manuel & Arturo - they used to live here in George Nuttall Close, but have moved to a funky little studio house nearby. Dippo made us this really delicious Indonesian dish with bananas, chestnuts and coconut milk (and a bunch of other stuff, I'm sure) and we all had a great time.

I am so sad that both these families have left Cambridge. Making new friends is hard, and it has been more than wonderful having two great families only a few feet away. Anggi gave us an Indonesian tablecloth today, and so we had a beautiful table, and a vegetarian meal in honor of Andrea & Simon too! hee hee hee
So now I'm in this weird place: making friends is hard, and saying goodbye is even harder. I am only in Cambridge for three and a half more months. Part of me is not interested in making new friends, because I already have lots that I'm going to have to say goodbye to already. The other part of me thinks, "I better meet as many people as possible! I only have a few more months!!"

Monday, 13 August 2012

A Long Story On Forgetfulness

I stayed at Emma's house in Kent last week, while the Babowal family were there. It was a super fun few days with a billion children, lots of family and lots of noise. I managed to leave my contact lens case behind - my lenses were in my eyes, thank goodness, it was just the case. But it is a piggy contact lens case, that looks like this:
 Emma found it, and then gave it to Kathryn to give to me when she saw me next. No worries, right? It's just a contact case.

Fast forward to this weekend. We went into London on Saturday to visit a few Olympic sights, meet up with our Cool Friend Alex, and then have dinner with Dina & Lily (my cousin's wife & their baby girl). We had such a good day - the weather was gorgeous, everyone in the city was in a good mood, and we had a really lovely time. We slept at Ross & Dina's house that night, which was sooooo much easier than taking the train all the way back to Cambreej.

The next day, all the Babowals, Garwa-mans, Hawkeyes, Mashers, various Quinns, Mr & Mr Thompson-to-be, and a couple of Leavers met at my Nan's local pub for lunch. Kathryn told me at least 3 times that she had brought the contact case and it was in Nanny's front entrance - literally 30 seconds away from the pub. I told her I'd get it later, and kept chatting with all the family. We had a fun time, and it was on the way to the station that I realized I'd forgotten to go and grab the case. But again, no real worries, because it's just the case, and I still have my spare case, my contacts and glasses so whatever, I'll get it another time.

And it wasn't until we were cycling home from the station in Cambridge that I did the head-tilt-and-wonder-out-loud, "You picked up the toiletries bag from Ross & Dina's house, right babe?" and Matthew did the opposite-side-head-tilt-and-answer, "No, but you did, right honey?" And then I swore, because my one spare contact lens case was still in London. And I am now on my final pair of contact lenses from the box - and I need these contacts to stay safe, because we're going to a wedding on Saturday, and the shop can't get in my blind prescription lenses that quickly - all that to say that I didn't want to just put my contacts into a glass full of solution. Luckily, I have a spare pair of glasses - yes, that's right: when we moved here from Canada, I brought my old glasses with me, for just such an occasion. Thank goodness I am a Girl Guide.

I didn't think it would be such a challenge to find a replacement contact case. Boy, was I wrong. You'd think that your average Tesco Express or Co-op would have some ridiculously small and ridiculously expensive contact solution complete with case. Nope! I tried two small shops and then had to bust my butt over to a full-size grocery store to get some. And thank goodness I went out straight after we got home, because the large shops close at 8 on Sundays, and it was already 7:40 by the time I went to the little ones nearby.

Confession: I actually prayed out loud while cycling at full speed that the shop would have at least one contact lens case left. If they hadn't, I might have turned into that crazy lady who throws her bicycle through the shop window because they didn't have the item I needed.

The two-fold moral of the story is:
(a) if you're blind, always have spare glasses, contact lenses and at least 5 contact cases
(b) don't be a dumbass. 

Friday, 10 August 2012


We've had quite a few visitors in the past couple months, which is why I haven't blogged. I don't have much time right now either - the limescale fear is high today, so I'm off to clean the bathroom as soon as I'm done this - but I had a mild epiphany in the midst of all these visitors.

I have a very small life here in Cambridge. In fact, I could quite happily live my entire life, and have all my family's needs met, in a <2 km radius from my house. I can choose from multiple playgroups for Elizabeth, a variety of grocery stores and pharmacies, a handful of playgrounds and green spaces, a plethora of pubs (!), and the majority of my friends live in walking distance. Having visitors made me realize how small my life actually is - and then I had an emotional response to that realization, with thoughts like, "Am I boring? Is our life boring? Have I become a boring stay-at-home Mum?"

And then I realized this: it's not that I don't have anything to do all day, it's more that I don't have to do anything. Which means I spend most of my time doing what we want, when we want. And really, that's a pretty sweet life, isn't it? Best not to over think it.