Abendbrot, the closing meal of open-faced sandwiches was surprisingly entertaining this evening. Of late, Carolin, Felix, and I have been the only consistent attendees with Holger and Sabine making appearances later or even after the fact. Regardless of this fact, the table gets set with three sets of adult dishes on a matching plastic plate and cup from Ikea for Carolin. After a tiring day of swimming and taking the bus back home, Carolin was quite tired and rather crabby. We had had a clash of will a little bit earlier which was magnified by the girl's hunger and exhaustion so I chose the orange set out of the cupboard to put at her place.
Carolin's favorite color when I arrived here ten months ago was pink. This girl has pink possessions up the wazoo. But then, for some unknown reason, a couple of months ago she changed her mind and is now all about orange. So it is not surprising that when I looked up from buttering my bread I was confronted with a tableau of orange. My natural response was to share my observation with Carolin in the hopes that we could be mutually delighted in the abundance of her shade of preference, "look at how much orange there is there. Your plate and cup are orange, you fleece is orange. There's orange everywhere." To which comment she replied in a manner quite understated and serious, "yes, I know. And my underwear is orange too."
A bit later, in a rather rare moment of explicit affection as we were talking about my name, she declared, "you are my only Valerie. There will not be another one, and I don't want another au pair, unless it's Anja again." (Anja was the au pair before me, who stayed with the family for two years, and still comes by the house every couple of weeks).
I just thought I would share with all of you the fact that as difficult as this experience has been for me, especially in my relationship with Carolin, there are still those sweet moments that give me a glimmering of a notion that it has been worthwhile.