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Archive for the ‘Friends & family’ Category

Ci-gît Pickle

Pickle, the dwarf hamster I had bought with Cédric almost three years ago, died the other day. We had a proper burial in the woods by the lakeside, involving a black cardboard box, a tiny white headstone, and candles. Pets are quite mysterious in some ways. They may not live very long, and it gives us the impression that we know much more about life than they do. And yet as we see them grow old and die, we realize what a lifespan entails. In a crucial sense, my hamster is now wiser than me because I don’t have a clue about death. Dear little Pickle, may you rest in peace.

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Christmas glee

Each year I take pains wrapping all my presents in a chosen style, and this Christmas was no exception. I went for recycled paper, yellow ribbon, and an individualized Sukie sticker. It almost made up for the fact that I cannot for the life of me wrap items in a neat way – especially if their shape is anything but square – so that I need to distract whichever family member is being honoured from the parcel’s quasimodesque aspect. Gifts are, in turn, a way of distracting said family members from the various issues they take from their daily lives to the Christmas tree, and I believe that in spite of their aesthetic ambiguities, mine did a pretty good job.

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You don’t always realize that things are old until they break, and it may take time before you even notice that they are no longer there. A few weeks ago, as I was getting ready to move to Geneva, I saw through the window of my parents’ house that a piece of our street sign was lying on the ground. I went out under the morning rain and casually took it home, hoping that the neighbours would fail to notice my illicit act of uncivility. I enjoy looking at it, although I’m not sure what “Derri” might signify on its own. One night, my brother and I subrepticiously attempted to steal the remaining part, but the screws were too old and rusty to give in to our efforts. The stubborn sign still stands there, in the street corner, proudly proclaiming: “ère Montet” – the Montet era.

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Cheesy New Year!

I’ve gathered along the years that you’re supposed to do something special on New Year’s Eve. While I used to spend it with my family (it is also my birthday), accounts of fireworks in London or rented cabins are received with much more respect than tales of staying at home. So what did my sister and I have in mind when we decided that she would cook for me while we just spent a lazy night in? Our only fireworks were tiny exploding pixels on Animal Crossing and as we waited for midnight we prepared catalogues and magazines to do collage. It was a very cheesy and refreshing evening, and I embellished my new daily planner with one collage per month. I’m not sure there’s a better way to welcome a new year. Or a new decade for that matter.

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When I see the gift ideas that are advertised for girls and women before Christmas, I’m always amazed at how limited/limiting they are. Even as a child I was more into Lego than Barbie (I had one, but a friend’s brother ate her hand… it’s hard to rehabilitate a disfigured Barbie). Fortunately for me, there is more variety in my family’s Christmas than in ads. What is more, because my birthday is on the 31st, I can often combine gifts to have a more interesting one (hence the snowshoes). On the 25th, my extended family offered home-made edible gifts to one another as we’re all foodies, and it seems that men and women alike prepare and receive those gifts. It’s encouraging to see that my male cousins are more likely to do this than my uncles – and that good food is still a strong “family value”!

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I have been reading about feminism a lot in the last month or so. While I had been exposed to many of the ideas before, I had never been this eager to integrate them into my life in a coherent manner. The end of the year is an ideal time to examine my motives and preferences as I usually try to find a resolution I can focus on for a year (or at least a few months), so be ready for more on the subject. For those of you who were preoccupied, I am probably not going to use my new markers on toilet doors just yet, but I’ve been considering ways of doing something myself when I used to find it sufficient to discuss ideas with close friends and relatives. Just so you know, if you see me wearing a “bitch” T-shirt, please don’t worry, it’s all part of the process.

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Page51It hasn’t been very easy to be back in Switzerland this summer. I have been unable to get funding for my PhD and am running out of options. I need a consequential bank loan and the assurance of finding a job if I want to go back to Canterbury in September. Thanks to my new status as officially unemployed, I can also choose to become an alcoholic and start betting money on horses in seedy bars (or is that not how it’s done nowadays?) Instead, since I can’t really leave the country, I’m staying at my aunt’s while she’s on holiday, trying to put my mind on something else (i.e. great food and good books) for a while. I do appreciate the change.

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