vendredi, mars 31, 2006

les guignols de l'info

For those of you who are living in France you surely have heard of les guignols de l'info that are on Canal + (unscrambled)... For the rest of you its basically telling the news with these puppets making fun of a lot of different famous people/politicians (Sylvester Stallone playing your "typical" american etc...).

I had watched it a lot before, especially when I was studying abroad in 2001-2002 with my host families. But to be honest I never really fully understood all the humour. It was frusterating to hear everyone laugh and not get it... Not only is it face paced but there is lots of slang thrown in and a ton of cultural jokes for good measure!

Well I was told that I needed to try again. Mystery Guest had a DVD of the best of for the last 15 years or so and offered to explain the jokes I missed.

Well good night gussy! (to quote Grandmama) I got it! I mean there were a few things that slipped past my dizzing intellect but I would say I got about 90% (would you agree?)!!!! It does have a lot to do with the fact that I've now lived here for almost a total of 4 years and and I always have my TV on I'm exposed to a lot of the cultural things that the jokes are based on.

All in all it was a good pat-yourself-on-the-back moment :-)

mercredi, mars 29, 2006

well being

I've always thought of water as a natural healer. It clears your mind and helps to heal any problems that could be going on in your life. This is why I could never live too far from the beach, I would go crazy, I need that easy accessibility to water even if it is the middle of the winter.

Which is why I'm really glad the pool finally reopened. It had been closed for the last week due to la vidange (or la vie d'ange as I like to call it hehehe) and I really felt like it had perturbed my weekly routine. Now that some other things are changing as well in my routine (remember that greve? yeah, haven't had class in over 3 weeks now) it is good to have something stable back.

Especially since water really does heal.

vocab cheat sheet:
vidange - 1st meaning: oil change, 2nd meaning: changing pool water
vie d'ange - life of an angel (my way to remember vocab #1 but too poetic according to the frenchies I know)
greve - you should know this now! strike!

mardi, mars 28, 2006

radio show

Ok remember how I was supposed to go on the University of Caen Radio? Well what happened is that the guy was doing the editing and the program he was using crashed so my interview was lost!!

So I went back yesterday to re-do the show. It will be on the air (and on the internet) next Tuesday the 4th of April at 8:00pm.

It was really hard to re-do an interview and I wasn't really in the mood to talk much but I tried to do my best. So excuse my tongue-tied French and take a listen if you've got the time, if not for me than for my friend Mike whos band's song will be aired.

dimanche, mars 26, 2006

the glass menagerie

Last night I went to go see the Glass Menagerie at a wonderfully small artsy theater.

I was blown away, the acting by the 4 main actors was superb! They really played with different techniques etc. Casting young people in old roles and visa-versa. Using powerpoint to display key words on a screen as well as old photos and movies.

It was a powerful story with its funny moments and overall I haven't felt 2 hours and 20 minutes (no intermission) pass by so quickly! I'm really glad I was able to take advantage of this preformance. :-)

daylight savings...

Don't forget, for all of you in Europe we have Daylight Savings today!

Spring forward 1 hour!

And for those of you back at home you change next week right? In the meantime remember between the West Coast and France it is now a 10 hour difference! Don't be callin' me and wakin' me up ;)

samedi, mars 25, 2006

sweet potato pie

You may ask how it is that I've made 2 sweet potato pies in the last 4 months in France when I had never made one before in my life...

Answer being, apparently Mystery Guest loves all things Southern! haha

Just teasing out there but seriously it is fun to be able to try things from home that I'd never thought of making. And I think it's also true that when abroad it is always the things that you never eat at home (and can't find abroad) that you end up craving!

In the States I was never a huge peanut butter fan, yes I ate it from time to time but while in France I go through my 2 pound jar like nobodys business!! Or things like cornbread, biscuits or trying really hard to make a cheesecake with French subsitutes (never turns out all that well...)

So now my apartement is perfumed with the sweetness that is a sweet potato pie... it will be preceded by a nice chicken noodle soup! (again made from scratch! how much do I rock??)

(side note: I found a great trick for cooking all kinds of potatoes, including sweet potatoes, before boiling them slice a ring around the potato, just deep enough to go through all the skin. Then boil the potatoes as usual and when you're done drain the hot water and add ice water for about 10 seconds. Then when you pick up the potato the skin just slides right off! Presto-chango! Magic!)

vendredi, mars 24, 2006


I showed up to work this morning only to find that the lycée where I work is finally blocked!!

I had been the only one of my assistant friends who still had to go to work because my lycée was never blocked, kids were just not showing up.

Well today that changed, I showed up to school and there were tons of signs, garbage cans and kids doing a sitting in front of the school. I managed to make my way past the barrier to get inside only to find out that the kids were letting the teachers in but not the students. There is some sort of teacher meeting concerning the grève, clearly I'm not going to that. But I do have an hour to kill before a lunch meeting with a friend so I'm taking advantage of the computers to add this little blog post ;)

I'd love for the university to be unblocked but hey if they lycée kids want to keep blocking work feel free!!!

*note - Sadly I forgot my camera so I pulled this image off a website, it was taken from a lycée in Paris, not here in Caen... ;)

vocab key:
lycée - high school
sitting - french corruption of a "sit in"
grève - strike

jeudi, mars 23, 2006


Wednesday was a momentous occasion...

I voted in France!

If you've lived in a hole for the last few weeks there are lots of strikes going on in France at the moment. I haven't been to the university for several weeks now. But I went up to there to participate in the student vote. It was actually 2 different votes.

*The first was to a vote for or against the blocking of the university buildings.

*The second was for or against the CPE.

It was interesting to be there participating but I did shed a little tear when the woman controling the votes cut my student card to show I'd already voted! I was wondering how they would control the situation so there wouldn't be any double voting... no computers or list or stickers, just cut up your student card and its all good. haha.

Not sure how these votes will actually affect anything but still seems democratic to go vote! Only wish I'd have brought my camera!

mardi, mars 21, 2006

CV hell

As the university is still on strike (there is a vote tomorrow) I decided to take advantage of some free time. So I'm in the process of applying for summer jobs to, hopefully, give myself some options of where I work this summer.

But I'm drowning in the CV hell that is France!

Not only do you have to put private information on your CV that you would never do stateside:


-Marital Status


But you also have to handwrite your cover letter!!! Yes people my hand is going to fall off from all this writing! I don't think I've written something by hand (to be turned in or formally) since I was in junior high!!! It just isn't done!

I can probably type 2 or 3 times faster than I can write and its a whole lot prettier, but if they French want a handwritten letter so they can analyze my personality be my guest!

Little update: think my brain is fried from just copying the same letter. I went to staple my picture to the CV and almost used my phone!!! But they aren't thaaaat different in size/color... right? Please someone tell me I'm not losing it!

Please hire me... I can't take anymore of this and its only been 2 hours!

lundi, mars 20, 2006

a norman weekend

Phew! Its been a busy but fantastic weekend! After celebrating Paddy's Day Friday night I woke up early Saturday morning to pick up the lovely Miss Ambre from the train station. We came back home and starting the process of getting caught up! But its great, even though it had been 2 years it felt like yesterday! Plus so many things to talk about!

Then when Mystery Guest finished his morning tutoring he came over for some Paddy's Day left overs and then hit we hit the road. As Ambre has never been to Normandy I asked Mystery Guest if he had some time to do a little drive. We had previously planned to just take a quick drive to the Suisse Normande to see the lovely countryside but when Mystery Guest said that it was only another 1 hour and 1/2 to go to Mont Saint Michel (a must see!) and offered to drive us all the way there we decided to extend our little road trip!

Ambre was a bit sleepy and took a nap in the car but I promised I wouldn't post that picture ;)We walked all up and through the winding streets of the mont to take in the view (and the wind!!) before tucking into a nice crepe and tea. Here are a couple pictures:

La Mere Poulard, a famous omlette restaurant on the mont, apparently making the most fuffy delicious omlettes you've ever tasted! (in the 3 or 4 times I've visited the Mont Saint Michel I've never tasted one, too expensive and can an omlette really be that good??)

I thought this picture of a little bird that Ambre took was just adorable. It is even better knowing that while she was taking it she kept telling it to turn around - and it did! Good little birdie!

Sunday morning and early afternoon was spent at the market in Caen and enjoying a coffee on the sunny terrace. It was a lovely relaxing weekend and great to get caught up with old friends! It was funny to realize that I have some wonderful close friends here in Caen but it is different to be close friends with someone since you were 18! There were so many stories that came out in conversation about people and places that seem so far away... But that friendship can last and get stronger with the years. Thanks for a lovely visit Ambre! Come back whenever you can!!

samedi, mars 18, 2006

if you can't take it....

Friday evening I spent a lovely evening celebrating a belated Mardi Gras and an on-time Paddy's Day. It was great fun! It was a big potluck of New Orleans yumminess, risotto, cake sale a la Benedicte, cornbread, crepes and coffeecake! I stuffed myself full and in fantastic company and then waddled over to a friend's house to celebrate Paddy's Day in a true Irish fashion. :) (Photos to come)

But afterwards my lovely evening just had to be ruined. After a friend and I walked home, just in front of my door there was this crazy drunk American exchange student leaving a closing bar and screaming about how crazy this country is, how stupid blah blah blah.

That really really irks me in a bad way. It really bothers me all the people who come to France "for the experience" to really see "how french people live" and then all they do is complain and moan all the time about how crazy and stupid this country is.

If you don't like it why do you stay??? Who is forcing you??

Go home!

So thats what I told her! Ohhhh!!!!! For half a second I really thought she was about to slap me!! Couldn't believe it! But I stood my ground and granted she was plastered so I could have easily taken her but that attitude really rubs me the wrong way and it felt good to get it off my chest... ;)

On a more positive note looking forward to the visit of the lovely Miss Ambre tomorrow!

mercredi, mars 15, 2006

my new baby

The newest member of my family has just arrived! My new bookshelf!

Isn't she beautiful? When she arrived I made sure that all of her little 10 screws and bolts were there, and they were. She's perfect!


I had bought this bookshelf on sale almost 4 weeks ago but she was out of stock. She finally arrived and I was able to pick her up (with the fantastic help of the Mystery Guest and his batmobile!) and we put her together asap.

Isn't she great? I can finally get all my books off the floor and onto a bookshelf. My previous one only came up to the 2nd shelf from the floor and just didn't fit all that I needed it to...

Plus I don't know if you can see from the picture but we managed to attach my phone to the left-hand side so its not just hanging out on the floor.

On a side note the visit to the pee-doctor yesterday went quite well. After I finally found the office (almost late due to the students stricking and blocking the tram grrrr) it only took half an hour and the doctor was actually really nice.

lundi, mars 13, 2006

15 minutes

My 15 minutes of fame.

I was interviewed for the University of Caen radio station - the Phenix!

They are doing interviews every 2 weeks with international students here on campus to talk about differences and break down some stereotypes.

They asked me to bring in some American music to play during the show and I couldn't think of many things that I like but that weren't too well known here. I thought it wouldn't be fun to play music that you hear all the time on the radio. So I chose the following songs:

1. Redemption by Magdalen Hsu-li (who came to my university at home to give a concert, she's great!)

2. Unmistakeable Day by Jacob Ray (a new up-and-coming Portland band which includes a friend of mine from high school!)

If you figure out how to listen to the program it should be funny, at one point I sing a little Yankee Doodle Dandy... you'll have to hear it to get it ;)

Tuesday March 21th at 20h on the internet or on the local station (87.6 fm)

dimanche, mars 12, 2006

gelato italiano

I think I've died and gone to heaven! While walking around town Thursday evening I saw that the restaurant they were doing travaux on was now finished... the boring old cafe is gone and in its place there is an Amorino!

This wonderful gelateria was a Paris discovery of mine but there is more to it, this is not just ice cream, oh no, this is an pure joy in a cup! (or cone if you prefer, I prefer the cups 'cause I don't like the dribbly melted ice cream on my hands...)

To make a long story short, when I made another trip into town yesterday my gourmandise got the better of me and I just had to stop in and try some.

So I just ordered a petit pot and the girl stocked it full of Biscotto & Stracciatella.


samedi, mars 11, 2006


Well its that time of year again... ya'll know what I'm talking about - Spring Cleaning!

This morning I opened up all the windows (yes all 1 of them....) and air out my place and clean clean! Laundry is a-going and I ventured into the black hole that is my top closet shelf... Haven't looked up there since the summer, found all sorts of goodies! (Alas, no money. Don't you love that? You clean and find 20 bucks? Joy!)

And brought down 3 loads of empty boxes and crap that I had been hording up there. Whoever said I wasn't a packrat???

Actually even though the weather is great and there is for sure a hint of spring in the air my mad frenzy is mostly due to all the work I have to do.

I'm one of those people who procrastinates by cleaning... you should have seen my apartment while I was writing my thesis 3 years ago - spic 'n span! And I've got tons of stuff to do...

jeudi, mars 09, 2006


I started this blog back in August as a way to keep in touch and its already been 100 posts!

Whodda thought I'd get so blogging addicted?

Thanks to those who read and comment! Its good fun hearing different reactions from people and a great way for me to keep a sort of journal.

Happy 100 Blog!

mercredi, mars 08, 2006

pee cup

So I just got a letter when I went to work the other day saying that I need to go to the medecin du travail for my work contract (I've worked there since October...).

I read it over, saw the address, date and time.

Then I saw a sentence that threw me off guard:

"Nous vous prions de bien vouloir munir d'un flacon d'urine..."

Please bring a urine sample.

Say whaaaa???? I have to BRING my own urine? I can't pee there???

Has anyone done this before? Do I really have to sit on the bus holding a cup of my own pee?


dimanche, mars 05, 2006


My adventurous vacation continued with a trip down to Tours to see the lovely Miss Claire T. who is doing a Masters in History with a speciality in Renaissance...! (Did I get that right Claire?)

After a little mishap getting off to the Caen train station (I think I did the 2nd stupidest thing in my life - leaving my card in the ATM!) I managed to make my train with 3 minutes to spare!

As we trundled down to Tours I spent the ride knitting a baby blanket for a friend who's expecting, in spite of the stares of other passangers. Yes people I'm not a grandma stop staring!

I explored Tours with my fantastic guide who gives me the historical background of the city as well as the fun stuff :) I love it! We did a bit of unexpected shopping giggling like two 12-year olds but had a blast! Then we spent the evenings oggling over the lovely Mr. Ledger and Mr. McGregor.

Saturday morning we awoke to the city dusted in snow but made it to the station for our train up to Paris where we picked up Miss Libby who came in from England for the weekend. After finding her hotel we made our way to St Lazare to indulge ourselves in a Starbucks and a chat before I caught my train home.

For once I didn't have the majority of my train travel alone as Benette was on the same train. However the train was soooo full due to the end of vacation that we spent the majority of the trip at the end of the car next to the loo catching up on the break.

Its good to be back home but I'm not looking forward to starting up again tomorrow... sadly back to the grindstone.

mercredi, mars 01, 2006


(I think this is a personal blogging record, 3 posts in a day! I'm a bit bored, or procrastinating or something...)

Anyway while breaking icy puddles last weekend (and imitating the sound they make) I learned a new expression: faire crac-crac (slang/sweet way to say 'make love').

Today while watching tv there was an ad that said:

"Oh, I guess he didn't faire crac-crac this morning!!"

Refering to the crunchy-toast biscuits on the left.

I just about peed my pants I was laughing so hard. And of course well pleased that learning this new expression proved useful ;-)

snowy days

As I took the tram up to the shopping center out of town it started to snow.

big. fat. feathery. flakes.

It was like being in the middle of a pillow fight.


grrr post grrr

So I decided to get my act together and mail off Mom's birthday present so it would get there in time (yes, its at the end of the month but you never know with the postal system!!)

So I package up my little gift and scamper down to the post office. But when I arrived I found out that as of today the international mail has changed! Now there is more insurance attached to it as well as other things added on (signature request etc...) although the time it takes to arrive has not changed.

For those of you Americans living in France (or for anyone sending to America) I'll give you an example of the icky price change this caused.

In January I sent off a small box home economique, it weighed about 300g. I paid about 6E. Granted it took a month but hey it wasn't important.

Meanwhile now still using economique I sent off this present which weighed in at just under 400g and paid SIXTEEN EUROS! For the same thing! It would have been a whopping TWENTY-ONE if I would have gone prioritaire!

Needless to say I think this is the last time I send anything home!!!!