Sunday, August 5, 2007

Such sweet sorrow...

Yesterday morning one of my foreign students left. She has gone back to the Czech Republic in floods of tears. She had such a wonderful time here in Brighton that she really didn't want to go home. Three weeks was obviously not long enough. In the end I forgot to give her the recipe for Toad in the Hole, but we are going to email, so I can send it to her.

My other student, the gorgeous German girl, is also having a great time now. She has recovered from her home-sickness and is having fun. She spends her free time either on the beach or going out to pubs and clubs with her newfound friends. It was very touching to see the two girls saying goodbye - strangers only three weeks ago, and now bosom friends. Aah.

Daughter came over today with my grandson, and with her boyfriend, his daughter, another friend and her small son. It was quite a crowd. I somehow managed to barbecue enough food (on my balcony) to feed the five thousand. We all sat on rugs in the garden, under the shade of the cherry tree. The little ones had a great time eating sausages and pouring water over each other. And we grown-ups downed a couple of bottles of lovely cold rose wine with the chicken, lamb burgers, sausages and salads. On the whole, it was just what a family summer Sunday should be. My daughter's friend is also a single parent, and was so pleased to be included in the party. Of course she was welcome. I remembered that watching other families at weekends was very painful when my two were young. It was so hard because one imagined that everyone else was a complete and happy family. Probably not true, but that's how it looks when you're on your own. When I think of it, everyone who was here today could have been spending this lovely day on their own with a small child. And that, I know from experience, is a very lonely place to be. It was so much more fun for all of us to get together.

Anyway, in the middle of all this family jollity, my next Foreign student arrived.
She is a very different kettle of fish. German also, but a fifty-something school teacher on a course to improve her English. Poor woman, she walked into a garden full of strangers, naked children and the debris of a barbecue picnic. No wonder she looked nervous. She is now installed in her lovely clean room, and will no doubt relax a bit once she realizes that we are not all foreign monsters. Apparently her daughter warned her not to hang around at Heathrow, because it is very dangerous!
That can't have been a good start. And she is quite thrown by the hot weather - not what she was expecting either. I do hope that we won't be a complete disappointment to her. I shall hope for a bit of rain in the next few days to make her feel more comfortable.

Not a word from Son at the Big Chill. (Not that I really expected to hear from him.)I'm sure he will be having a great time. No news is good news.

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