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For one thing, we all miss "La Cantine" , that wonderful French luxury of a 4 course delicious 2 hour lunch at school. These days, Irish kids are given 20 minutes to wolf down their sambos and get out into the yard to play. The lunch box used to be a fairly simple affair in my day, now, the list of forbidden foods is the length of your arm :
- Chocolate or anything containing chocolate
- Fizzy drinks or fruit drinks
- Cereal bars
- Nuts and anything containing nuts
- Sweets or anything sweet etc etc
While I agree totally with the healthy eating concept, lunch box filling has become rather a challenge ( ideas welcome)
The kids finish school at 2pm and 3pm ( how handy is that - NOT!) For my two who are used to finishing at 5pm in France and then launching into homework, as far as they are concerned, they have a half day every day! Whoopeee! That 's a lot of hours to entertain them though! After school activities take place every evening, not just on Wednesdays ( their day off school en France)
For us adults living in a small town, social activities don't usually start until about 9pm or later! Dancing classes, toastmasters, music sessions, they all start after 9pm. In France, in sleepy suburbia, the shutters would be coming down and people bunkering down for the night. If you are going to the pub, you might start thinking about going out around 10pm or later. Huh? but that's way past our bedtime! I recently joined a running club and we start training at 8pm. As we finish at 9pm, there are others just starting!!
Setting a fire and drying clothes in front of it and watching the weather like a hawk for signs of rain when the clothes are out .. these are things I haven't done in over 18 years!
I still go to kiss people on each cheek when I meet them, resulting in usually head butting the recipient - It feels funny not to physically greet people you haven't seen in a few days ; a "howzitgoan?" will do. In place of the sterile French air kissing though, what you do have is the Irish hug. At a family gathering recently, it was a veritable hugathon as I got lost in Aunties' perfumed bosoms and long lost cousins' embraces.
French kissing 'aint all it's cracked up to be anyway ;-)