mercredi, novembre 30, 2005
On Monday night I went out with a few friends to the English Table at the local Irish pub set up for university students to have casual English conversation.
I left with butterflies in my stomach and a phone number in my cell.
Its a good feeling to have the butterflies back.
Even if I jump everytime a text comes through...
samedi, novembre 26, 2005
Now that Thanksgiving is officially over Christmas is in the air. My day started when the mailman buzzed chez moi to deliver a surprise package from my mom with Advent Day presents!
I did a bit of shopping myself this afternoon as I need to send home Christmas presents fairly soon so they arrive in time. I even managed to get a few things in between hail storms. (Shhh, not tell you what they are!)
It had been a busy week, with two Thanksgivings, work and school so I took the evening off. I stayed home, curled up on the sofa, drank spiced cider and decorated my little Christmas tree.
All that was missing was the eggnog and family fun, but don't worry, I still put on some Christmas carols!
we had turkey.
and of course pumpkin pie!
There was the regular crowd (the boots & skirts girls!), plus some other good friends who are living in and around the area.
Even an out-of-towner! My friend Claire came in from Tours for the festivities, armed with craisins and wine :)
All in all we had a wonderful dinner, full of fantastic traditional food, great company and lively conversation. After dinner we went out for a drink at the local Irish pub were we ran into other friends while listening to an excellent live concert. But after all that turkey got sleep pretty fast so we headed home around 1:30ish.
Today its time to put up the Christmas decorations and do a bit of shopping as I got paid yesterday! Yipppee!
vendredi, novembre 25, 2005
I stepped outside of my house to go to our Thanksgiving dinner (put on by the Franco-American Society of Caen) and noticed that they finally turned on the Christmas lights! It is so beautiful looking around town and down everystreet are bright white lights, magical.
On the left is the view if you look up from my doorstep and then here is the photo looking down the street.
We arrived at the dinner to find a French Gospel choir singing, it was nice and very appriciated (I know I wouldn't have gotten up and sung in French!) but I had spent the whole day telling French kids how Thanksgiving is not Christmas and is not a traditionally religious holiday, but more of a historical one. That was all blown out of the water when I saw the table setting - complete with ...
For those of you who can't read the French, here is Natalie presenting the appetizer:
a flan of livarot (a local camembert-type cheese), cured ham and a apple-liquor sauce. Yum.
I forgot to take a picture of the main dish, a huge hunk of turkey with a "cranberryish" sauce, tatertots and overcooked veggies. It was very good, especially the turkey. Here is Kristin showing off the cheese dish, a Basque cheese and a black cherry jam. Yum yum!
We forgot to take pictures of the dessert, but it was very good, a French toast made with gingerbread and apricots and ice cream. Big YUM. Polish it all off with a little cafe and we were stuffed! It is so nice of these French people to put this dinner on for us. You can't expect real Thanksgiving food, but as long as you know that it is a wonderful way to spend the Thursday night of Thanksgiving (as we don't get any days off over here and don't have lots of time to cook!)
Natalie and I went out with some French students who had come. They were a crack up but I didn't stay out till 5 as I had woken up at 6:30 to go work Thursday morning and was pretty exhausted by the time dinner finished at 12:00!
So in order to keep American traditions (and food!) alive, we had planned a dinner Friday (tonight). I got up early this morning to go to the market to get the goods for stuffing. (Making Mom's Apple-Celery-Raisin stuffing yum yum.) Made that and passed it on to the person who's cooking the turkey. Going to make some biscuits this afternoon. I've got to go to work soon so I can't write much more except to say this is what I saw when I woke up this morning!
This is the view out my windown onto the courtyard and it was dusted with a light layer of snow! Since 8ish its been snowing on again off again for the last few hours. I've never had snow for Thanksgiving but it is a special surprise. Coming down in big fat flakes now! Yipppeeeee!!!!
I'll try to put up some pictures from our dinner tonight sometime this weekend (after I catch up on my sleep!).
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This is def a year to be thankful for.
lundi, novembre 21, 2005
For you folks wanting Caen gossip here's some: I have some of the coolest friends ever!!!
My friend Emma just broke the record for pancake eating. You must see the video, it is worth watching, she is soooo cool.
Emma - you rock girl.
Otherwise there isn't much news. I've been so busy with schoolwork lately. After hearing this news I'm making some pancakes then hitting the library.
Em, the bacon's for you. :)
vendredi, novembre 18, 2005
For those of you living in France have you ever noticed how the French talk to themselves?
I noticed that a few years back when I was on an exchange program and thought people were talking to me. Then I either got used to it or forgot. When I came back and was working with teachers I kept thinking they were asking me where they left their worksheets etc.
Today I was in the staff room at high school waiting for class to start. All of a sudden I noticed all the chatter around me were individual conversations with themselves!!!! Some people were getting mad at someone (who knows who, friend, student other teacher etc...) and really blowing off steam out loud!
I felt like I was in the looney bin. Couldn't wait for class to start.
mardi, novembre 15, 2005
So I was doing some research for a text I need to translate from French to English (written in 1844) and I found myself getting lost in the net that is Wikipedia. Some of the words in the text are archaic (like "leagues" instead of the modern metric system).
I stumbled upon a page describing the new calander made during the French Revolution. Like the metric system they tried to make everything simple, so instead of 7 days a week there were 10 and this theory even extended into time. Each day was divided into 10 hours, each hour was 100 minutes they even showed a picture of this funny clock... Crazy French.
They named the months after the seasons for example:
Vendémiaire (from Latin vindemia, "vintage") Starting Sept 22, 23 or 24
Brumaire (from French brume, "mist") Starting Oct 22, 23 or 24
Frimaire (From French frimas, "frost") Starting Nov 21, 22 or 23
and I liked what someone added to the page:
"In England, people against the Revolution mocked the calendar by calling the months: Wheezy, Sneezy and Freezy; Slippy, Drippy and Nippy; Showery, Flowery and Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty and Sweety."
If you're interested in reading further here is the site:
lundi, novembre 14, 2005
I have boots!
So excited! I just got them this afternoon after volleyball. I've been wanting boots for ages but, well frankly, my calves are too mighty... But these boots are juuuust right. Chocolate brown, suede, slouchy and super comfy. Not too too expensive either (as boots go). And now I have lovely brown shoes to wear with my new brown skirt! Whooo!
Ok, its getting a bit rediculous though, need to stop with the shopping. But its so nice this season, for once boots that aren't made for chicken legs are in style! I had to take advantage of it!
I had to share this kodak moment with you all.
samedi, novembre 12, 2005
After going to a matinee showing* of The Corpse Bride I stopped by the big shopping center to pick up some groceries. Let me mention:
I love cheddar cheese.
This store (Carrefour) is one of the few places that sells cheddar so I always make a point to buy a big chunk. But as its an imported cheese its not in the prepackaged section... you have to ask the lady behind the counter to cut you a piece. After I ordered my 300g I waited for the lady to pack it up. A woman next to me turns to me and says "Oh, I've never tried that kind of cheese, how can you eat it? Is it possible to eat it just as is?"
Surprised I answered "Yes, you can eat it just like that, or melted..." She said that she was curious but has never dared to try it because "its orange and just looks unnatural."
That totally cracked me up. But I was really impressed that she wanted to talk to me. Its not really a french thing to do, to start up a conversation with a stranger. It made me happy that this random woman had taken an interest in "me" or my culture if you will.
*I love how at home we call it a matinee showing while in French that would mean a morning showing but we show it in the afternoon... humm... wires were crossed a bit on that one.
vendredi, novembre 11, 2005
My attempt was foiled by 2 things:
1) Are you ever so tired that you can't get warm? I can't sleep unless I'm warm. I wasn't cold but I couldn't get warm. Ended jumping in the shower to get warm at 1am because I can't find the little bouchon to my hot water bottle.
2) Once back in bed and nice and comfy I noticed a strange noise... Yup, my upstairs neighbors were getting busy. Not only that but they got busy to very loud (with lots of base) music. So even the earplugs didn't help.
I'm really tired.
jeudi, novembre 10, 2005
It has been a long day. All started at 6:55am when I caught the bus (it was pitch black out mind you!) out to the town where I'll be teaching in a high school. It takes about 45 minutes to get out there and as I saw the sunrise I went into the staff room to meet the other English teachers.
My contact person for the school is a very nice lady who lived in Australia for 12 years. She's very helpful and nice but a major chatterbox, telling me all about her life, her divorce, her depression etc... Yup, nice to meet you too.
But she is very nice and invited me home for lunch after work and said that I should come out for dinner sometime and could stay at her place anytime I like. I think she's really excited to have someone to speak English with again.
The kids that I met were really nice. They aren't that strong in English but were much more polite and well behaved than the 1st school I observed, at least they weren't playing with their MP3 players/cell phones during class!
So I caught the bus back to Caen and then had to run all over town getting stuff done. I had to go to my other high school to give them my bank details so I can get paid at the end of the month! V. important!
Then I had a gyno appointment, my first in France and my first with a male doctor. Lets just say it was an interesting experience. I don't consider myself very prude or shy but when he said strip down and hop up on the table I felt a bit akward. No flimsy little gown to hide behind. But all went well, good to have a check up every so often.
I'm going to crash tonight and good thing its a holiday tomorrow! No work for me!
mardi, novembre 08, 2005
The Norman cows are protecting me... haha. No, but yes the riots have spread from the Paris suburbs. They are saying in the papers that Caen has been touched, 15 cars burned in the suburbs. But they are in the suburbs. Its not as though I go wandering around at night through sketchy neighborhoods. I think that the people that are causing damage in towns like Caen are not people that are organized, but rather influenced by the media and looking to cause trouble.
Its a complicated issue but obviously those who are rioting to not feel a sense of pride in their lives. They are poor, unemployed and feel as they have no future. Otherwise why would they destroy their own property and not the property of others? They are destroying stores and schools in their neighborhoods and its so sad to see on tv.
I don't want to get too much into the politics of it all but don't worry I'm fine!
lundi, novembre 07, 2005
For those of you who don't know me I got addicted to knitting when I first came to France to study abroad. I had wayyyy too much time on my hands and a friend of mine taught me. I guess she taught me and I went home and continued, somewhere in that period of a few hours I re-taught myself in my own manner... ie I don't use either traditional method of knitting, I use the Karina Method. And I don't know how to read patterns or do anything fancy but I like to create my own but just fudging things a bit.
My new project is felting. When my mom sent me some lovely 100% wool I decided to give it a go and try and make a little handbag. Threw it in the wash today when doing my laundry (I forgot and now all my whites are actually a really nice silvery color... opps) but the bag turned out very cute! I'm happy with the results. The only additions needed are a button to close it and handles to find. I'd like to go with black ribbon handles but I'm not sure if they will be strong enough. I need to do a bit of shopping for that. But in the meantime I thought I'd share the before and after pictures with you.
I put my mesuring tape next to them so you could see how much its changed (and for me to remember for next time). I think it turned out really cute and I can't wait to finish it off!
Let me know what you think! I want your comments! :)
dimanche, novembre 06, 2005
The King's English Language
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough
and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, through,
slough and thorough.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead: It s said like bed, not bead -
For goodness sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat...
They rhyme with suite
and straight and debt.
A moth is not the moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, nor broth in brother.
And there is not a match for there,
nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there's dose and rose and lose,
Just look them up - and goose and choose.
And cork, and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword,
And do and go, then thwart and cart
Come, come, I ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Why sakes alive!
I'd learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn't learned it at fifty-five.
I had seen this poem before but when I was brainstorming with a friend for lesson plan ideas and came up with that and some great tongue twisters:
*A Tudor who tooted a flute
tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to their tutor,
"Is it harder to toot
or to tutor two tooters to toot?"
*Rubber baby buggy bummers
*Betty Botter had some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
it would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter--
that would make my batter better."
So she bought a bit of butter,
better than her bitter butter,
and she baked it in her batter,
and the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.
*The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.
Or in French (although its funny cause there isn't a word for "tongue twister" in French):
*Un chasseur sachant chasser chassait sans son chien de chasse.
Anyone laughing yet? Cause I am!
I don't think my little apartment can take anymore! There just isn't anymore room!
Anyway, for dinner we all went out to the fondue restaurant and had cheese, cheese and more cheese! Practically rolled out the door and to my house... But oh was it delicious! We had the fondue "pays d'auge" which is basically just all the famous Norman cheeses (camembert, livarot, pont l'eveque) along with cider and apples. Of course some red wine to top it all off. Delish!!!
Of course we had to have the chocolate fondue for dessert, the chocolate even had little tiny pieces of almonds in it, gave it a very satisfying crunch. I forgot to bring my camera but the picture is what you would have seen if you would have been there!
A delightful evening.
jeudi, novembre 03, 2005
Now I feel bad because I realize that kids are just not nice to their teachers, and thats hard to deal with when you're in front of 30 kids. Now that I've been in that position I have a lot more respect for teachers and the hard work they do.
That said language teachers are weird.
I went to the lycee where I'll be teaching to be introduced to all the teachers I'll be working with and try to figure out my schedule. (I start my 1st class tomorrow at 1pm! Wish me luck!) They are the kookiest lot I've ever met. Their personal bubble is just a wee bit smaller than mine so I kept backing up while they were talking to me and the things they wore! Yikes! It would do blue lightning proud!
This is why I've never wanted to go home and become a French teacher. I've always been afraid I'll turn into a kooky teacher.... I'm too good for that.