What’s this? We found a social calendar!

I don’t know when it happened exactly. Some time over the winter we managed to find ourselves with a very active social calendar. Between Mommy Groups, and play groups, and work events, and tourist happenings, and random fun with friends, we are keeping actually quite busy. It’s certainly an improvement over our first few months in France. I’m pretty sure that in Paris by about this point we were just realizing that the few people we had met were about to return to whichever country they had come from as their studies had ended.

I’m going to try my best to keep this site updated with our goings on, but between the active life, work and baby duties, we’ve been tighter than normal – and normally I’m not very quick on the updates.

A couple of weeks back, we had a lovely weekend with three different groups of friends. On the Friday, one of my colleagues was getting married, and invited us out for the occasion. Weddings are always special, and this one was triply so as [1] it was Xavier’s first babysitter, and [2] we were headed out to Quai – one of Sydney’s fanciest restaurants. Between the sunshine, the food, and new friends, everyone ended up a little spoiled.

The view from the Quai dining hall.

The following day, we had two house warmings to attend, sadly on opposite ends of the city, about 70 minutes apart. We made the executive decision to attend the one with the Portuguese food (well, Brazillian, but close enough) up in Dee Why, one of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. While we gorged ourselves on Feijoada, Xavier got to spend some time with a few older boys playing ball.

Finally, Sunday had us out at the baptism (dedication?) of a friends son, Hunter. Sydney is the home of one of the world’s most prominent protestant churches, Hillsong, and Sarah and I had been meaning to check it out since before we arrived in the city. Unfortunately, the two times we had tried before we got lost on the way, and some how ended up exploring the pubs out in Surrey Hills instead. This time though, equipped with a car, a GPS and a little extra incentive, we managed to make it on time. The service was huge! And the dedication was lovely.

Xavier also had the bonus of attending his first ever Sunday school. As nervous parents (well, just me really) I popped in to check on him a few times during the service, and noticed that he was a little different than the other kids. While everyone else was listening to the lady at the front, and following along with books and stories, X was hanging out on his own playing with a piano. Maybe we have a future worship leader? Social pariah?

Given the amount of interaction X had with other kids over that weekend, this trend of mild isolation was actually feeling pretty prominent. We watched him a bit more, and asked the Sunday School teacher what she thought, and the general opinion seems to be that he is an exceptionally well adjusted little boy, with higher than average self confidence and independence. We’ve had that echoed a few times since by other folks who have a background in emotional well being. Considering that his first (and nearly all subsequent) steps were away from us, we had a notion that he was independent. It was reassuring to hear that it’s a good thing.

I suppose that overall this was an atypical weekend for our lot, but not so much that it stands out. The feeling of being settled in is definitely there. We have a touch more work to do with integrating into larger child-friendly-networks of parents and carers, but we feel well on the way.

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Hey, where’s that guy been?

This space has been dead for a long time. Normally, I’d chock that up to typical blogger laziness. Searching the blogosphere reveals that this is a common problem, with most sites split equally between over active mommy-bloggers, people who post “I’ve been gone a while, but I’m really going to blog this time,” and pictures of kittens. I’ve been second tier twice.

But, this is not one of those times!

Actually, I’ve been offline for the last few weeks on a lent-related internet fast. Sarah and I started practicing lent last year. So, this is only our second time through. For those unfamiliar with the history of the practice, here’s a short primer.

In the Christian calendar, the period of time between Fat Tuesday and Easter – not including Sundays – make up the forty days of lent. Depending upon the particular traditions of your Church, you might use this period of time to fast from certain foods, engage in specific activities, or abstain from something. Most non-catholics I’ve spoken to follow the abstinence part only. On the subject of abstaining, the reasons again fall into one of two main categories. Either it’s a form of penitence (I will give this up to invoke some personal suffering for some reason or another) or it’s to make room in your life for spiritual reflection. I’m not a big believer in the benefits of personal suffering… but I can see the benefits of making space for things often left undone.

And so, this lenten season, we’ve both elected to give up some sort of addictive element from our life in order to make room for something better. In my case, that thing is ‘wasting time on the internet/computer outside of work.’ And hence, I haven’t been spending much time here.

What about this post? Well, it’s Sunday so that’s OK.

Giving up such a large part of my life at home has definitely been a huge challenge. Made more difficult I think in that only one of us actually stepped away from the computer. Although, I’ve balanced the scales in the number of cadbury mini-eggs I’ve consumed during Sarah’s 6 days a week of ‘no junk food’.

It’s also been a huge challenge in terms of getting things done. For whatever reason, the tail end of March has a ton of things crammed into maybe a week of real time. But, the pre-planning for this week is intense, and is being made unnecessarily difficult by the lack of weekly computing.

At the moment, the lack of a computer is feeling like less of a spiritual sacrifice, and more of a pain-in-the-neck.

That said, some of the upsides have been huge. For example, during the first Saturday of lent, I managed to kill 2 things from my monthly to-do list, and 4 things from my ‘do this before leaving paris’ list. Some of these things I’d been procrastinating for 10 months or more. The lack of my normal outlet for free time has really forced me to leave the apartment, and see the city I live in, and to meet real people face-to-face.

Also, I think 40 days away from the time wasting aspects of my computer have reminded me of some of the more valuable things that I could be doing. Certainly during the first few days/weeks I missed surfing youtube, fark and slashdot, but eventually that faded away, and I started thinking more about some of the other things I’d like to do that have real value, but are often overlooked due to procrastination or the perception of a lack of time. There are some professional development activities that I’ve been putting off for far too long, as well as finishing getting some photos online, backing up old data, and writing about some of the more interesting things we’ve done so far in 2010 (it’s been a really good year, on the whole).

Easter is coming up soon, and I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time on the laptop. But, I think… I hope, that I’ll get back into this activity with a renewed sense of balance as to what sorts of things are important, and what things can perhaps be left in 2009.