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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet Beginnings

This morning on the bus (of the red London, not yellow school variety), Big Sister was showing the goodies she was taking to her teachers. Little bags of caramels, apples and popsicle sticks, tied with yellow ruler ribbon. Complete with instructions to make "Back to School Caramel Apples."

It is a simple but festive treat we've long given to friends to celebrate the new year. On a chilly and very wet afternoon this week Big Sister told her teachers that she was going home to hot chocolate and caramel apples!  They teased her that they wanted to come, too so she asked me to pack up some kits for them.

This treat is somehow so American. Big Sister was admiring the school bus on the recipe. All this talk about the USA got her sister thinking.

"Mum?! Are we Amaracun?" piped Baby Sister, her little voice rising at the end of her query in an unmistakably British inflection. Much to the uproarious delight of the two young women sitting behind us.

Indeed we are, Baby Sister! Is this news to you? Don't you agree with our Greek landlord that our flat looks "like the Ralph Lauren shop" or haven't you noticed our dozens of American flags? (They're still doting our decor from summer. At this point, I'm just holding off until putting out pumpkins and gourds.)

We are Americans in London. I'm already starting to catalog all the things I'll have to explain to teachers in the States (periods are called full stops, the British printed font is different, the kids play shop in pounds with a trolley, and arrange to meet people at half ten instead of ten thirty. When you set that appointment, you're to put it in your diary, not your calendar. And spellings and maths.). The list is long, but it could never detail this precious and fleeting experience.

It seems like so soon but also forever from now that we'll be explaining ourselves teachers and friends in the States. Undoubtedly over a few caramel apples. Which will now always remind me of my friends in London and French, British and Spanish moms trying to explain to each other what exactly is waxed paper. It doesn't always translate, but the attempts are certainly sweet.

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