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Yesterday was blustery, a cold grey day. The wind whipped rust-coloured leaves round our ears. All day clouds scuttered in front of the sun, and we could see a storm coming.

What do you mean, yesterday was Halloween? Well, maybe where you live. I did make pumpkin cookies.

We woke up cold and stressed. We rented this furnished apartment from a friend of a friend with the understanding that we’d be out by November 4th, the day before the new tenants arrive. But we haven’t found our own place yet. It’s not that we haven’t been looking–we have looked as hard as we can. We have 4 rental agents working for us; we have tramped up and down the streets asking neighbourhood guards if they know of places; we have told everyone we know in hopes they’d hear of something.  But all the possibilities have, one by one, shut down.

So what do you do when faced with impending homelessness?

We had to take the boys downtown to a birthday party. We dropped them off and then took Ilsa out for a fun supper. “Enjoy being an ‘only’ for one night,” we told her, and let her order what she liked off the menu of a little café offering warmth and shelter from the rain. The waitress openly adored her, kissed her cheeks and stroked her hair and brought her a big glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. (“I can’t believe I liked the juice in America,” said Ilsa. We are all happily becoming accustomed to the fresh kind. Juice oranges are less than 50 cents a pound, and we’ve bought an electric juicer)

Afterward supper, we stepped reluctantly outside and sheltered under the awning, searching oncoming traffic for a taxi. None came. The downpour slackened slightly so we started to walk to where we knew a taxi stand was, about a block away. We went right by the open doors of this patisserie. Inside was warm, bright, dry, and filled with chocolate.

I don’t want to imply that we deal with our stress by just eating pastries made of chocolate mousse over a chocolate wafer base topped with a fresh raspberry. No, we have other ways.

Fortunately the kids are on vacation for the next 11 days.

Life overseas–it’s not for the fainthearted. At least we’re never bored. Or thin.

November 2008

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