The kids have gone through the advent calendars and left the empties on the floor. Laurent is cooking a chapon for Christmas, which he translates as a castrated cock, good and greasy.
Eight kids aged 4-11, seven of them girls, two of them American, the rest, French. They enter the large house and disappear to the most remote areas. They’ve found the make-up, and Charlotte sprays perfume in her eye. We work to get out, and tell her Nanou is a nurse, she can help. Lily asks, if she’s a nurse, why does she smoke?
The French retreat to the doorstep on regular intervals, with their cigarettes. They peel potatoes faster than anyone. After dinner, the little boy Mathis appears in the doorway with a toy rifle and points it at me. His father asks, what do I think about this thing in Newtown?
We go to the Christmas market and help the kids into a ride that spins them around, with bright lights. We can fit four of them into a large, fake snowball – it’s unclear if seat belts are required.
In the morning, the French kids greet us with kisses. They have hot chocolate and we have bread. Laurent burns CDs for me, for the ride back to Germany. I’m registering for a French class today, so that we can speak in their language some more, next time.