lundi, octobre 31, 2005

happy halloween!

The French kids started trick-or-treating... on Saturday! The notion of having to wait until the night of the 31st dosn't really seem to take hold here but the kids are very cute all dolled up!

A friend of mine from high school came to visit during his trek around Europe. It was a fun but busy weekend showing him around and of course going out to see the town at night! I think he got a good impression of France, even said he'd like to start learning French now! Its fun to see where I live and the French culture through someone else's eyes. The little things that struck me as strange when I first arrived but now think nothing of. The bises instead of shaking hands, the dog crap all over the sidewalk, the shops closed on Sunday etc... All in all it was a very fun weekend.

The only problem is that having so much fun has left me with a lot of homework unfinished. Good thing tomorrow is a holiday (All Saints Day) so I'll have some time to catch up. But that will have to wait until tomorrow as it would be unforgivable not to celebrate Halloween!

Humm... what should I dress up as? An American? Baggy jeans and a baseball cap? A Frenchie? Stripy shirt and a baguette? Decisions, decisions!

Edit: Here is the look I went for, its funny because at home the more creative your costume is the better but here its very much traditional scary costumes so everyone got a big kick out of mine!

samedi, octobre 29, 2005

pumpkin carving

So while waiting for a friend from high school to arrive by ferry I met up with Benette and we carved pumpkins. Its always fun to introduce someone to the art of pumpkin carving, the difficulty of trying to carve a nice line combined with the elbow grease needed to do it.

The moment when you lift the top and see what the inside is all about, and then the instant when you reach inside and realize just how gooey and icky it is inside trying pull the seeds out.

Its great fun. And here is the result, my beautiful pumpkin in all its glory.

I named him Jack and Jack is currently garding my apartement door scaring away all the non-existant trick-or-treaters.

Welcome to France Jack.

vendredi, octobre 28, 2005

recap of last night's events...

Well lets just say I had a wonderful birthday! It started out very well, a bright sunny autumn day 24C (75F for you at home) which can always lift the spirits. I went out to the other high school where I'll be working to meet the priniciple. It is pretty far out of town so it was good to try out the bus system so that I know which stop to get off at etc.
I came back into town and there were wonderful birthday messages on my answering machine, cell phone and email! So nice to hear from people around the world who remembered my birthday! I said I would wait to open the presents from my mom that had arrived 6 days ago and wait I did! Opened up my goodies in the afternoon and can't wait to get started on some new knitting projects with the beautiful yarn I got :)
Then I basically passed the afternoon pampering myself, got my hair cut and spent several hours on the phone, it was fantastic!
In the evening a few friends stopped by for an apero at my house and we all trooped off to a very cute creperie for dinner. There were 10 of us in the upstairs of the restaurant surrounded by loony toons characters painted on the walls. I love that place.
After "blowing out" my birthday crepe filled with cinnamon apples and flambéed with calvados we went off in search of a good time :) haha. Ended up at one of my favorite bars, luckily enough just across from my apartement, and got the bartender to give me free drinks for my birthday. Always know how to work the cute foreigner charm!
So after a fun filled night it was time to head back. But I do have to say it was one of my best birthdays in the last few years, thanks to wonderful friends and family.

I'm off to carve some jack-o-lanterns, pictures to come!

lundi, octobre 24, 2005


Its hard to believe that Christmas is around the corner... well around the corner for the French. Its the next major holiday and the flood of Christmas decorations has arrived.

It started on Saturday when I licked a few windows* downtown and saw that one of my favorite shops has already set up a huge Christmas display.

Then today I was walking to the University to play volleyball and the main road in town was blocked to traffic to set up the lights that are strung across the road. For those who were in town in the last 2 years they are different lights! I'll try go to take a picture of them to post so you can see what I'm talking about.

Its kind of exciting to think about possible Christmas plans but then at the same time its soooooo early!!! Its not even Thanksgiving, or even Halloween yet!!!! But at the same time it makes me appriciate the fact that we have those holidays to slow down the Christmas-ness drama to just a few weeks instead of the two months here!

But there is a wonderful, cozy, comfy feeling in the air.

(*literal translation of the French expression to window shop)

If you come up to my street and look left you see my street and if you look right you see the main street in town. I like my street lights better, with the little 1/2 snowflake-type design instead of random leafy thing...

dimanche, octobre 23, 2005


So I don't really feel like studying, so I'm watching spiderman instead.

Whats funny is that while I'm watching this (dubbed in french bien sur!) I noticed that when they are talking about Spiderman they keep referring to him as "she"... Got really confused then I realized that spider in french is feminine... but still thats just, well, odd.

(I came across this problem a few years ago when I studied in Paris and went to go see the Vagina Monologues and they kept referring to the vagina as "he"... now that is not just odd but simply wrong.)

dog waxing?

I was walking by a pet grooming store and there was a list of things possible to do to your pet: shampoo, hair cut, toenail clipping and waxing.

Wait, did I see that right?


Since when do you wax dogs?

Its funny I've been here so long now that some things don't shock me anymore but then I see signs for dog waxing and that def throws me for a loop!

Happy Sunday.

vendredi, octobre 21, 2005

star ac

Its offical, I'm a Star Academy addict.

Its like the French American Idol and they have their big show on Friday nights (where 1 person gets kicked off). We traditionally have a pizza-Star Ac night where we gripe and gossip about song choices, costumes and pronuciation of English lyrics. All in good fun, almost never serious.

Tonight it hit an all time low, my friend almost cried during one of the duets.

Thats low. Very low.

In other news I went to one of the high schools where I'll be working and met almost everyone. It was so strange... they were so... nice. They were smiling, wishing me welcome, making an effort to personally introduce me to all the staff, giving me a guided tour of the school.

Toto - I am in Kansas!

What is the world coming to? The French... nice?

mardi, octobre 18, 2005

quit your gripin'

Was just reading an article on the USAToday (yes, I know, not the most newsy of newspapers) and found this article:

Finally people are realizing that America pays soooo little for gas. Of course when I was home I was complaining. I mean a jump from $1.17 a gallon (when I got my licence 7 years ago) to topping $3! But can people at home imagine paying $6 a gallon?

I mean life might just come to a standstill!

Would people, the horror, carpool? public transport???

In other news, nothing too exciting (other than the fact I GOT A JOB! should I say it again? I GOT A JOB!) A friend of mine from last year is stopping by for a few days tomorrow so that will be fun to catch up.

lundi, octobre 17, 2005

jump for joy!

I went to volleyball today (which by the way was excellent! there were a ton of new people that showed up so we could actually play some real games! and... for the 1st time ever I got placed with the 'good' people!!!! yeah baby!)

When I got out there was a missed call on my cell, the dude from the Rectorat. I called him back and he said that there is a job avalible, split between 2 schools. One of the schools is a bit out of town but there is the regional bus system and a friend of mine did that commute last year and it was ok. He said that he will pass on my CV to his boss to get the green light but he says he dosn't see why his boss would say no. So basically as of today it sounds 95% sure and tomorrow he'll call and I'll hear the final verdict.

Can you hear me jumping up and down to Sir Mix-a-lot?

Happy. Happy. Happy.

EDIT: Just got the phone call!! Got the job!! Still jumping up and down!!!! WHOOOO

dimanche, octobre 16, 2005


Yesterday was amazingly beautiful, sat outside at a cafe in a t-shirt contemplating the stunning un-October weather...

That changed fast! Woke up this morning to a downpour, something we don't get all that often in Normandy. I'm not saying it dosn't rain a lot, it sure does, but usually its that grey, drippy, icky Seattle weather, not a mad downpour!

Not much to report for this weekend. Yesterday I tried to do a lot of work as last night was a housewarming party at a friends house so I knew I wouldn't feel like studying today. I was right. I really only feel like vegging in front of the tv... watching some movies and drinking tea. Maybe I'll go visit some friends across town to veg on their couch, drink their tea and watch their movies... we'll see.

In other news, check out this site a friend sent me, funny stuff but a little too chirpy this early in the morning (errr afternoon).

Have a good weekend.

jeudi, octobre 13, 2005


This does not seem to be my week...

The good(ish) news is that it seems that my "1-Click" order from has been removed from my items waiting to be shipped. No emails from either mystery-seller or Amazon have been received as of yet though....

In not-so-good news I went to the Prefecture to ask why on earth they still havn't given me my letter saying its time to come and pick up your beautiful-new-shiny-student-carte-de-sejour? So get up early on my day off and trot down there only to hear from the lady that when did all the construction work on the office they re-arranged all the files and have 'misplaced' mine... My temperary carte de sejour expires on Monday so she told me that I need to skip class Tuesday morning to come and see if they've 'found' it yet... Maybe I can look for them! Ha!

What is it with France and misplacing important items*? I really don't get it, you should be able to keep track of someone's file! Grrrr...

I hope someone is keeping their fingers crossed for me cause I think I need it.

*this is in reference to the amazing bag-loss drama of Sep 2001 by Air France which totalled a 6-week waiting period for my entire life packed in to 2 suitcases. moral: always take a change of underwear in your carry-on!

mercredi, octobre 12, 2005

going to die

So the prof for one of my classes changed one of the books on us. I had ordered it on so since it hadn't been shipped yet I went and canceled it. Then looked for the new book.
I found it but not with normal Amazon but with a private seller, found the 'cheapest' price and then clicked 'order' but accidently clicked "1-Click" (the French Amazon, unline American Amazon does not require you to sign-up for the 1-click option so you are automatically signed in). Not only that but . and , are opposite in French...

...therefore somehow I now have a TWO THOUSAND EURO book on order and am going to die.

Been going through the website trying to stop it but the site sends me in circles. It says call if you can't find what your needing but do not provide a phone number.

Called American Amazon to get French Amazon's phone number, lady was really nice. Called but that number dosn't exist.

Emailed the seller several times (within minutes after the disaster) explaining my situation and how there isn't 2,000E in my account. Pray to God, or Jesus, Buddah, whoever is looking out for me that he will not try to make me pay. Honestly I don't know what to do, its not my fault and not well explained.

So scared... so so scared....

dimanche, octobre 09, 2005


I just got home with my laundry. I hung it up to dry and opened the window to make sure its not too humid in here. Then sat down in my big comfy chair next to my window to study some texts for class on Tuesday.

The problem is that it smells like a sewer line broke or that there is a porta-potty sitting directly outside my one and only window! I lit my little scented oils and tried to make it smell better. If I close my window then it will take ages for my clothes to dry, but sitting next to the window it just is rank!

I almost never complain about my neighbors (except my ugly-naked-guy who lives across the courtyard but thats another story...) but this is exceptional! I wonder what is going on! Did a sewer line break? Did someone just take a big ol' crap outside? Hope my clothes don't end up reaking... blech.

samedi, octobre 08, 2005

beach bums

The weather cleared up a lot today so we decided to take a trip to the coast, it was soooo nice and sunny out there and had a great time walking across the beach from town to town. I couldn't believe how warm it was compared to the past few days, I could walk around in just a t-shirt and not feel cold. Great to get out of town too.

After eating some crepes and ice cream we thought it was time to head back into town for a night of movies.

On the way back home I walked by Saint Pierre and since I had my camera thought I'd show you the amazing progress on the cathedral. They are cleaning and restauring the outside, and it is stunning the work they've done. Here are the before and after side by side:

vendredi, octobre 07, 2005

dear lord

I'm in the middle of lesson planning for my 1st day of teaching the littl'uns and so I decided to go through all my kids music. Some of the CDs I have were not a big hit with the 10 year olds last year as they found them too babyish but will be perfect for 5 and 6 year olds.

So I first pop in a CD that I got last year that is made for teaching with both traditional and made for teaching English songs, has some songs like the "Hello" song etc... The first song that came on was Jingle Bells... ohhhh how I cringed, they used someone with the THICKEST French accent ever! Then the next one....

"If you're appy and you know it clap your ands"

Notice anything missing? No, those are not typos, there was clearly a lack of H people! Def NOT going to use those songs... ekkkk.

Will let you know how classes went later, wish me luck.


Well it went really well, its always hard on the 1st day because you don't know what they kids have learned (in English and in life in general, I mean can they write? do they know geography?) So I was mostly just getting a feel for it. But its great because all the other teachers are really supportive and help me out even just by staying in the classroom.

But jeeze, the 5 year olds are SO tiiiiiiny! They've got the smallest desk and chairs and just come up and hug me all the time. Way cute. So all is well for the time being. Need to do some lesson plans for next week based on what I know they know/don't know.

Pizza/Star Ac night tonight! Yiiipeee!

mercredi, octobre 05, 2005

2nd day of school

Well I've been to almost all my classes (I have 2 different translation classes, alternating from French to English, English to French every other week, so will see the English to French next week). They seem to all be going well, already have tons of homework and the pressure of choosing a thesis topic.

The one thing that really shocks me is that in all my classes the majority of the class time was in French to explain how the class would work etc. This is a Masters level English Lit class people! Even in my non-advanced level French courses of my BA were completely conducted in French. At one point one prof finally started talking in English but when it came to talking about certain authers that were an influence he spelled their names in French, which really threw me off! I have a really hard time switching from one language to another (which is why I'm nervous about the translation classes...)

Still looking for the books needed, I've gotten my sticky little fingers on 3 of the 7 books which is good but some of them are really hard to find. Wish me luck.

No plans tomorrow so lets hope the weathers nice so I can take advantage of the last few rays of sunshine.

mardi, octobre 04, 2005

school days

I'm officially back at school. Things went fairly well today, I showed up to my 10am class, a theatre class, the prof was late and then we all thought he was a bit snobby... turns out he can't talk! He's got laringitus (sp??) and so did the lecture by typing out what he wanted to say with power point. Interesting. Looks like an interesting class.

Then we were off (by the way, in France you don't choose your classes, they choose you! So I'm on the same schedule as the other 8 students doing Masters 1 in Lit) to our second class, an American Lit class. She could talk, and man did she talk! No, it went well, she asked everyone what they thought their memoire would be on, why we want to do lit and what was the latest American book we had read. Uhhhh ... I read a lot and I'm not sure that some of the mystery and/or Sex and the City type novels should be mentioned, dosn't sound too smart. I was trying to rack my brain to think of something a bit more clever!

I went up to meet a friend straight after for a yoga class but there were wayyyyy too many people so we skipped out. I've spent the last few hours of the afternoon running millions of errands. I need to go grocery shopping badly but there is a strike today and it wasn't worth waiting forever for the tram/bus! Do that tomorrow morning before class. I also need to find the books we need for class. Of course this is not America and there is no university bookstore so you just have to run around town trying to find very random books in English... grrr sounds fun.

lundi, octobre 03, 2005


Well this week is starting out well, lets hope it keeps going this way!

First of all I went to the school where I'll be working 3 hours a week to organize my schedule with the other teachers. I'll be going in to teach English to 3 classes, to kids that range from 5 to 7 years old! Never taught kids that young but I think it will be fun, lots of songs and games.

Then I did 1 hour of conversation lessons with a woman here in town. She is so nice and we just talk about anything and everything, I feel bad taking money for that! Plus she fixed my TV! I can now record off the tv. (I had some cables that weren't connected the right way...)

Then I ran up to Uni for my first volleyball class. That was great fun but it was hard not to speak English, to change my brain from shouting "OUT!" to "dehors"... just dosn't have the same ring... Hope I can keep going to that class, the other people are nice too which is a change.

Things are looking up, starting off a good week.

Tomorrow - class!

dimanche, octobre 02, 2005


When I woke up this morning and saw the rain and thought to myself, oh no another beautiful Norman day...

But as the day went on the rain moved on and we were greeted with a beautiful blue sky and big puffy clouds, an ideal fall day. I rode my bike to a friend's house (up a massive hill by the way) and on my way home I was just so happy riding back down the hill with the whole city spread out before me. Even after 2 years I still pinch myself sometimes at moments like this.

samedi, octobre 01, 2005


Its officially the weekend! Whooo!

Today started off great, was pulled from bed by my friend calling from Down Under! Good chat on the phone, great to be back in touch with the world, literally.

Had a good day but didn't do all that much aside from an interview for a nanny-ing position with a family here. They seem really nice, live very close to me and have a beautiful 2 year old girl. It might work out to 6ish hours a week which would be nice. Pick up the petite from the creche and give her dinner and a bath until the parents come home. We will see...

Met some new assistants here, from all over, Canada, Ireland, New Orleans... we are a mixed bunch! Going over to Miss Ireland's flat for a game nite, meet some more people. Some of them work at the uni here and it would be really nice to recognize people around campus, maybe have lunch sometime!

I've bitten my nails down to the stubs while hoping that some silly anglophone doesn't turn up here and I can get their job... Don't post much cause thats all thats really going on here!

Oh little funny story for you folks; while walking back from a friend's house after dinner last night some boys walked by us saying "oh the lovely girls, just like swallows with 2 wings" .... uhhh duh! All swallows have 2 wings... Come up with something better next time! (although it is the first time I've been called a swallow, I rather like that...)