Category Archives: cape cod

rebranding ourselves

When you’re living abroad and the distance between you and your place of citizenship is separated by an ocean, its easy to feel like a perpetual tourist. I don’t know about you, but having grown up in a heavily trafficked tourist area, I don’t always have the highest opinion of tourists.  Now I am one.  Nearly every single day.

The funny thing about tourists on Cape Cod, especially the ones from Canada, is that they could be easily identified by their tiny speedo bathing suits.  Now that we are living in a land of tiny speedo bathing suits, we are the outcasts.  It kind of hurts.

If there is one invention that reduces my perpetual tourist anxiety it’s the iPhone. Don’t know where you’re going? Keep that giant map in your pocket and pull out your iPhone.  Don’t know where to eat?  iPhone will tell you what’s near you.  And don’t get me going on my new love of instagram……  The iPhone helps me feel better about myself every day.  I’ve even started to call it “My Pocket Shrink.”  I’m sure Steve Jobs would be proud that his technology has had such an impact.

And although we rarely know where we’re going, we’ve decided to call ourselves adventurers rather than tourists.  It has less of a sting to it.


i am the beholder

There is a great place for junk I’ve found which is not too far from our house.  It’s called Emmaus Brie and it seems to be epi-center of French junk – set on an old farm property.  If you live in VT, it’s very similar to ReSOURCE and if you don’t live in VT, think of the Salvation Army, with a training program for it’s workers. In this case it’s workers are formerly homeless or drug addicted individuals who are learning appliance repair and retail skills while working at the farm.

So what seems like a common concept in the US is considered very innovative here.  Since the government structure is so different here, the concept of “charity” is also different.  There are not so many worthy causes to support here and a LOT less non-profits looking for funding.  I think part of the reason for this is that the government provides so much more to it’s citizens (great healthcare, great maternity leave, discounts on train/bus tickets for families, and the list goes on……)

Here is a sample of what is offered to women around the birth of a child:

France offers all women workers a paid, job -protected maternity leave six weeks before and 10 weeks after the births of the first two children, eight weeks before and 18 weeks after the birth of the third child, 34 weeks (12 prenatally) for twins and 42 weeks (24 prenatally) for triplets or more. Maternity leave, pre and postnatally, is mandatory. 

At the end of maternity leave, the mother or father can take parental leave until the child reaches the age of three, with entitlement to re-integration into the previous or a similar job. Parents receive a parental leave allowance if they interrupt their employment, totally.

See what I mean?  Nice.

Sorry for the tangent.  So what’s the big deal about Emmaus Brie in particular? Apparently Emmaus is an international organization working on 4 continents to help formerly homeless people in need.  All of the profits from this organization go back to supporting it’s mission.  It’s also the best place I’ve found to buy some quality French junk that I can feel especially good about.

So here’s the scene:

It’s Sunday afternoon and Tim decides to take the kids for a bike ride.  Hmmm. What should I do?  I guess I’ll take a drive to Emmaus Brie to support their cause. After I arrive, I walk into the first part of the glassware section and what is sitting on the top of a pile of French dishes?

Here it is:


A lovely mint condition souvenir from someone’s trip to my home turf.  What are the chances? Ok, maybe the chances are good that someone from this area has visited the popular US tourist destination of Cape Cod, but I still think it’s amazing that I found this.

I had no choice but to buy it.  Only €.50 later it was mine.

When I got home, I was so excited about my plate, I pulled it out of the bag proudly.  Tim’s first reaction?  “It’s cool that it’s from Cape Cod, but don’t you think it’s pretty ugly?”

Apparently beauty lies  in the eye of the beholder.

we are on Cape Cod

20110716-110850.jpgSo we spent the last week in Normandy and Brittany, which I will tell you all about.  But not now.  There is too much to write to make it short.

For now, I will tell you about this one moment in time when we were sitting on the beach in a small beautiful northern town called Etretat (thanks for the recommention, Emily!).  Anyway, we were sitting on the beach and a small plane all by itself, flew by the beach and I turned to Eamon and said, “See that plane?  If that plane had a sign hanging off the back of it, I would know we were on Cape Cod.”

A few minutes later, the same plane flew by, this time with a long sign attached to it.  Eamon turned to me and said, “Mummy, look!  We ARE on Cape Cod!”

It really felt like it in that moment.