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My parents came for a few days earlier this month, and while I think my husband found the whole thing kind of bewildering, I was really grateful for their company.  Even when my mother flagged down a waitress with a question of English etiquette and prefaced the question with, “We’re foreigners, so I just wanted to ask…” as if our sweetly flat Midwestern accents hadn’t made it immediately clear that we aren’t from Cambridge, I was glad to see them.

They flew in from France, where they had been vacationing, and immediately got to work: my mother and I went to the grocery, and then my dad and I made a lamb cassoulet.  I was thrilled: I’ve been in a serious culinary rut and was sick of both preparing and eating pasta and eggs.  I hadn’t cooked any meat since we’d moved to Cambridge and I never think to make anything with beans.  The whole thing was a revelation.

The next day we spent the lion’s share of the afternoon moving furniture.  I had imagined that we’d go to the Polar Museum (where I still haven’t been), maybe walk around the market, explore some of the old city….and we did, a little bit.  We went to the Fitzwilliam Museum and I showed my mum Stourbridge Common and the Mill Road Cemetery.  But mostly they cooked and rearranged furniture, and together they walked up and down Mill Road over a dozen times.

Although we had real food, real wine and real plates and glasses to put it on, we (still) haven’t managed to get the salt into a salt shaker. Things are still progressing slowly.