Sunday, 22 February 2015

Living Small

We have been chasing down tiny houses in Bordeaux this week. We had seen these cabins on "George Clarke's Amazing Spaces" on TV. So we decided to hunt them down to glean some of their practical space-saving ideas. They are called Suburban Refuges and are hidden in the urban fringes to encourage people to walk in these areas and discover new things. It is also a good excuse to explore some of the beautiful parks here in Bordeaux.
 
People can book and stay in them for free. However, there is no water or electricity and a long-drop toilet. There also appeared to be no signs, only approximate locations on a map. We discovered the owl cabin behind a gigantic mall, through the carpark, in a park by the river.

 
It took us two tries to find the 'fallen tree trunk' below. It sits in a clearing in another forest park, trying to blend in with its surroundings.
 

 
 
 
Master 7 ate at the school canteen for the first time just before the holidays. Most of you probably know Master 7 has dairy and egg allergies. Let's just say eating out in France can be difficult, with cheese, creamy sauce and butter dripping from even the most humble of vegetables. Anyway, due to his allergies, we had to visit with the school doctor to get an official piece of paper to enrol at the canteen. The menus are posted online and you can drill down to see all the ingredients. I send along a chilly bag containing substitute food for any courses he can't eat that day. ie The entr√©e was a cheese so I sent some carrot sticks. The cheese course being also cheese, I sent along a soy yoghurt. The main dish for the day was ratatouille and there was fruit for dessert.
 
I wonder what he thinks of this new life.  In New Zealand, he ate peanut butter sandwiches and an apple every day. Kids took their own lunch box and drink bottle and ate outside overlooking the field under a shade sail. Ten minutes of sitting down and then they were free to run and play on the playground for 45 minutes. French schools have a half hour of sitting down to eat a five course meal, then an hour and a half of play - in a concrete courtyard. The day seemed to go fine, except for the no talking during lunch rule!
 
This week we also moved to a smaller apartment. At a teeny 65 sq metres, it is compact and well laid out. It has been newly renovated with all the bells and whistles. There are large windows with expansive views over the city. Coming from New Zealand where everyone lives in houses of 100 square metres or more and has a garden, it takes a big shift in mindset for a family of four to adapt. It is perfectly liveable and in fact, millions of people live in spaces this small around the world.
 
The biggest challenge is minimising the amount of stuff we are accumulating!
 
  
 
 
 
 

Expat Life with a Double Buggy
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