The playgroup was fantastic; I’m so grateful to Suzanne, the woman who invited me. She’s French, and we met at the playground last year when she was expecting her second baby. Oscar was only three months old at the time, so she said yesterday that she’d noticed me then and thought “that’s going to be me, soon,” with a toddler and a baby. Then I didn’t see her for months, until we ran into her at a little indoor playground/café (aside: these are THE BEST – imagine Sartbckus with a large play area for little kids and a fully stocked cocktail bar as well, I’m not kidding  – every café in this city has a cocktail bar in it with large “No smoking” signs on the wall and ashtrays on every table. And some have indoor playgrounds attached. Go free market capitalism!) and she invited me to her house for Thursday afternoon playgroup.

There was another French woman there, an elfin-earth-mother type I’ll call Gaia, whose kids are 4 and 2, and a German woman whose real name I don’t remember so I’ll call her Marta here. Marta has a little boy around Illyria’s age. Finally there was a woman from Belarus, Ilona, with her two-year-old boy. Except for Ilona, they spoke French with each other – for the rest, we all used English.

It was exactly the kind of people I feel most comfortable around – intellectuals, expatriates, mothers of young children. They’re attached to universities, or NGOs (not embassies – that’s actually a slightly different crowd, I think). I’d brought a bag of cookies to share, kind of a fancy Fig Newton sort of thing, and then saw I was a little off-key as they others had brought things like whole pomegranates to squeeze fresh juice from, rings of actual dried figs, home-baked potato and egg casserole. Their kids are in the expensive Montessori preschool and the air smelled like eucalyptus and something else – not quite patchouli, but not too far off. Hindu prayer flags hung around the wooden playpen and wood and cloth toys were scattered around on yoga mats. I was relieved to see the same very cheap set of plastic animals made in China that I’d bought for Illyria last fall mixed in; Suzanne may have good taste but there is not a hint of snob about her at all.

Illyria and Oscar had THE BEST time; she kept pulling at my to come play with her, but I said “go with Oscar, I want to stay and talk with the mamas,” …. and… SHE DID. They drank pomegranate juice and nibbled on figs and explored the little guy’s collection of musical toys.

And I had adult conversation and a wonderful time. I can’t wait til next week.


3 Responses to “”

  1. slowmamma Says:

    That’s wonderful! Here’s to many more enjoyable gatherings with your new friends.

  2. Claire Says:

    How amazing and wonderful and earth mama ish! Love the plastic toys among the wooden ones! Glad they are not earth mama snobbies!

  3. Rachel Says:

    Wonderful! I would have to guess making friends is one of the most difficult parts of living in another country. I am glad you had fun.

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