So this baby I've been seeing (which I will get to one of these days...) is pretty much what you can expect from a baby. The thing I like most about hanging out with it (usually referred to as "the thing" so "it" is a real step up) is her mom.
The baby is a typical baby but the mom is a real gem. She's one of Anna's friends (Turkish but spent most of her life in Paris, married to an American) and Anna said she can be really intense. She expects a lot out of her nine year old son and she warned me that she might be the same way (re: intense) with me. To my surprise and happiness, the mom (we will call her Michelle) is the bomb. She's appreciative, warm, funny and just great to be around. Sometimes I can't help but think, "Man I wish I were her au pair." (And not just because they have a great guest bedroom with a bathroom downstairs...).
I knew I would like Michelle the first time we met. She was talking about her baby and she said, "I mean, she's alright... For a baby." Knowing that your child isn't god's gift to humanity? You're alright in my book Michelle. Also in her directions for care of the six month old thing (whoops, I knew it would slip out!) she said, "Well she mostly just plays on her mat. Sometimes she rolls over and can't get back, so mostly I need you to roll her back." Dear Michelle, I love you.
Spending most of her life in France Michelle clearly speaks French and she is happy and willing to help me in my linguistic pursuits. The first week I was there she bought me a book from an afternoon trip to France (when you live in Switzerland you can just take an afternoon trip to France/Italy/Liechtenstein/Germany--neat huh?) to help me practice. She speaks to me in French which always helps (even if my response is a lot of nodding and "d'accord"). And she plays French nursery rhymes so I can practice my pronunciation. She even lent me Friends DVDs (in French with English subtitles) so I could watch something I understood.
Michelle is also really helpful in terms of jobs. Prior to the baby she worked full time (even when her nine year old was an infant) as a financial analyst. She went to one of the best business schools in Paris and is incredibly intelligent. When I said I was starting the Swiss job search she said she'd be happy to look over my Swiss CV (different than a US resumé) and have interview practice with me. Have I mentioned I love you?
Perhaps the best part about Michelle though is that I feel really comfortable around her. Sure we have a mutual love of Patagonia but it is more than that. Today we talked about my brother and his past girlfriends... Well one in particular. (She-who-shall-not-be-named--Jack & M & Howie you know who I'm talking about. And I swear Jack, if you marry her...) Anyway! We can just chat and laugh at ourselves, I think she's happy to have the company of some one other than a baby and I'm just always happy to have company! Also today: her family is going to another American family's house for a Thanksgiving dinner tonight (Friday night so their kids could stay up later on a non-school night). When she called and asked the woman what she could bring the woman gave her the turkey! So this French woman, who has never cooked a turkey before, had this fifteen pound bird on the counter today. She had made the stuffing earlier (with lots & lots of Cognac-- a "French twist" she called it) and was trying to figure out where to stuff the stuffing. When I walked into the kitchen she was examining the bird with rubber medical gloves on. It's a good thing she has a good sense of humor because I could not stop laughing at her. The hole to stuff the stuffing was really small (I told her we, i.e. my mom, just cooks it outside of the bird) and she was wondering how she could get it in there. She was standing the bird up on the counter when I suggested just cutting some of the skin to make the hole bigger. She had called a friend earlier to ask where to stuff it exactly and when the friend advised to not stuff it in the head hole Michelle replied, "What? I'm not an idiot! I didn't put it in the head hole." And of course, she had. They called back and told her to sew up the turkey after stuffing it (say what?) so we had to take it out of the oven and she sewed the turkey back up. But she didn't have the correct thread so she used silk. We were like an Amelia Bedilia book of Thanksgiving disasters...
I hope the turkey came out well enough and I can't wait to return on Monday and ask Michelle how it went.