lundi, mai 29, 2006

safe & sound

Well after worrying that Dad & Anne had been taken captive and roasted alive by the man-eating Norman cow, I got a phone call saying they were about 30 minutes away from town.

So I jumped on the bus and met them at their hotel. It was great to see both of them again. It seems like yesterday that I was home celebrating my grandma's 80th birthday in August... but at the same time it seems like forever ago. So many things have happened to me this year, the longer I stay here the more and more confortable and at home I feel in my adopted city.

It's going to be fun to show them around Caen, not only the sights but where I go shopping (I had gotten Anne addicted to Zara while in Paris 2 years ago), where the university is and the rest of my life here. It is the first time, however, that family who can speak French as come to visit. I'm so used to having to translate everything! Its a nice break (although it was never much of a burden) to just let them do their thing. We have a couple day trips ahead after we spend tomorrow exploring Caen.

Of course my perfect daughter efforts rewarded by my (early) beautiful birthday present. Isn't she beautiful?

I can't stop playing! Its just too pretty and too much fun :-) Loooove new toys! Especially ones that flash!


Well thats it, my lycée contract is finished. All of the teachers I normally work with on Mondays were gone doing oral exams in other schools, but told the kids taking the optional oral to come see me so that they could get some extra help.

So I went to school for 4 hours.

Did any students come?


Did I see those same students walking around the halls?


Lazy bums.

Oh well its all done, finished, fini, finito!

In other news my dad and step-mom are coming in late this evening to spend 5 days here to visit me! Good thing by dad got a European SIM card for his phone, we've been able to communicate and he was able to tell me this morning that his flight from Italy is now 1.5 hours late! So hopefully they get here too late and we'll have some time for dinner tonight :-)

samedi, mai 27, 2006


So I had a little impluse buy yesterday while shopping... hehe and thought I'd share my purchase with you, aren't they cute??

(and don't you love my beautiful green carpet? lol)

As they are leather something tells me it will take a while to break them in but hopefully they won't give me too many blisters ;-)

Update: yup, after walking around town for an hour I now have 3 beautiful blisters on my feet.... ouch!

jeudi, mai 25, 2006


I just got back from the movies, V for Vendetta. I had been waiting to see this for a few weeks now as it only came to the v.o. cinema recently and this was one film I did not want to see dubbed.

Boy am I glad I waited!

I think this is probably one of the best movies I've seen. Ever.

At the end of the film I felt so moved and emotional. I'm not sure many other films have touched me like that, and I can't quite explain how. There are so many things I could say but I think the most important is:

go see it!

thanks buddy!

Cause Jesus went up to Heaven we have 2 days off! Today is Ascention and then tomorrow everyone decided to just take the day off to have a long weekend! Yeah baby love Catholic France!

So today instead of waking up at 5:30 to take the bus out to my far away school I stayed in bed until 10:30! (Am still in my pjs... don't you love a holiday?) And its a good thing cause last night there was a dinner chez moi for all those in my Masters course (well all 6 of us...) It was really fun, lots of music and talks about politics, university, bra cup size etc, you know, your normal get-together conversation ;-)

But people were still here at 2am! I haven't had a dinner party go that long in forever! It reminded me of, well, being a student again. Back in the dorms hanging out and ordering pizza (was supposed to be a potluck last night but we decided to take the short cut and order from SpeedRabbit pizza, although I did contribute my sweet potato pie for dessert) and then talking about anything and everything into the wee hours of the morning.

Only difference being all in French and my old brains and bones can't handle it anymore.... lol. And whereas I would have slept my day away I still woke up at 8 and had to force myself to stay in bed.

Its ok, I have a 4-day weekend to recover.... whoooo-hoooo!!!!

dimanche, mai 21, 2006


The Evolution of Dance

I think this is the one of the funniest videos that I've seen on YouTube! Usually I get bored with email videos or YouTube videos if they last longer than a minute or two but I was in stiches the entire 6 minutes of this one! Its worth it! :-)

samedi, mai 20, 2006


Got back from a great movie tonight: C.R.A.Z.Y.

Its a French-Canadian film that follows a family from the late 60's through the early 80's in Quebec.

It was a great movie, funny, touching and well, a bit crazy. ;-)

The movie played here with French subtitles but not all the time, only when they thought the French would have a hard time understanding certain expressions. I have to say that the accent was really heavy but I understood (and even learned some new quebecois words!) most of it.

I give this movie 2 Karina thumbs up!

vendredi, mai 19, 2006

kinky chinese

Last night I was invited out to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant (have you ever noticed how in France all the Asian food is just lumped into 1 restaurant Chinese-Thai-Korean-Tibetan??) with Mr. Mystery Guest and his Japanese class.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

It was the best Chinese food I've had in France! And the price wasn't too bad either!

I took a 14E menu and got a starter of fried wantons, main course of pineapple chicken (my 2nd favorite Chinese food after lemon chicken), sticky rice and fried bananas for dessert! It really tasted like the Chinese food you get at home, delish!

But I have to admit, the reason for writing this post lies in what happened after dessert...

The waiter came back with "Chinese sake" and lots of little sake cups, 1 for each of us.

When he set the cups down in front of us there was a general buzz about the table. I just thought that it was nice that they were treating us as we are such a big group...

Oh no, how wrong was I! Each cup was different and was specifically set down in front of certain people. When you look inside you saw the image above. There was a concurve glass sphere inside the cup. I thought nothing of it, only that its a little weird.

But when the waiter came back to pour the sake everyone peered into their cups... The sake made an image appear under the glass sphere:

naked women for the men and naked men for the woman!

I'm talking full frontal nudity people!

According to all the Frenchies at the table this is a typical custom done in Chinese restaurants here!!! Of course we all had to compare our pictures (as they were all so unique...) and have a giggle.

Well they all had a giggle, I was peeing my pants and in the end almost stole one from the table to keep as a souvenir...

jeudi, mai 18, 2006

last day

Today is my last day of work in my far-far-away-school... The school I like the best (my contract is split over 2 different schools) even though it is miles away...

So cause the other teachers I work with are so nice I decided to make them cookies so last night when it was hot and humid in Caen I was slaving over a hot oven! But hey I think my butterscotch-chocolate chip cookies were yummmm and, well, so did they! Its only 1pm and most of them have long since been eaten!

Its fun to do nice things for people that are nice to you. I can tell you right now that I'm not slaving over a hot oven for the other school! The one where people ignore me in the staff room, no thank you! I'd be surprised if they tell me Thank You at the end of my contract! (Whereas people at this school have already invited me to the end of the year party... hummm)

Thats the way the cookie crumbles eh??

In other news I went and joined the lemmings in seeing the DaVinci Code last night. It was almost exactly how I had expected, entertaining. I heard it was like the book (as should be) and as the book was a light entertaining read so was the film version. It did make me want to reread the book but I do have to say that I never really got into the film... I'm not sure if this was due to the film itself or the bad translation or the terrible dubbing done by Audrey Tautou...

The one thing that really impressed me was how they managed to fill in the history and internal thoughts of the characters in very simplistic ways. You'll have to see it to know what I mean but it was very well done.

I think all the actors were fairly good (still hard to see Tom Hanks in that role), but the Monk and Ian McKellen were both supurb!

Its a fun movie, if you're looking for some entertainment go out and see it ;-)

lundi, mai 15, 2006

congrats grad!

My little sister's graduation announcement just arrived in the mail this morning!

This June she'll be graduating with a BS (tee hee does anyone else laugh when they say that??) in Cognitive Science with a Neuroscience specialization!!! Way to go!

How cute is that picture that came with it?? She doesn't even look like she's been hanging out in labs splicing monkey brains or something...! ;-)

Good job Brittany! I wish I could be there in person to help celebrate but we'll have to do that in Europe next year eh??

Love ya!

dimanche, mai 14, 2006

day off

I had such a wonderful Saturday hanging out around town. I went shopping for some new summer clothes then meet up with Anne-Celine to go swimming and more shopping after a coffee at Dolly's. Then we decided to go see TransAmerica. So here is Karina's famous movie review (I know you're always dying to know...!)

I loved this movie. It was a movie where not much happened, but you never felt the time drag by. The actors were fabulous and you really felt an emotional connection to each of them. The preformance of Felicity Huffman was amazingly powerful.

I won't say more but I do give it two big thumbs up, so go check it out if it comes to your theatre. (I would even say that if translated into French it wouldn't loose too much so if you can't see it in v.o. no huge loss like some other films.)

I'm off to the market for some strawberries.

vendredi, mai 12, 2006

cheezy crabs

I was introduced to a new French food, le Tourteau Fromagé, which takes its name because it resembles a crab shell but has nothing to do with crab or anything savory! It's a light summery cake and is really yummy fresh from the fridge!

I thought that it looked burnt from the outside but Mystery Guest assured me that it was not burnt but was just the color the crust takes on while baking.

When cut open the inside is white and creamy-fluffy and just so easy to eat ;) We managed to polish off the whole thing (ok its not thaaaat big) in 1 sitting héhé.

Found out that this little guy comes from Poitou-Charentes which is on the west coast of France below la Loire and above Bordeaux, never had heard much about this region before but if this yummy cake comes from it maybe it is a place i should go check out!!

Hat's off again to Mystery Guest for making me try something new!!

mercredi, mai 10, 2006

English CVs?

Throwing a question out there for anyone who can answer.

My sister is working on her CV to apply for jobs in Ireland and the UK. Any suggestions? I only have French CV ideas.

Do you put your photo on your CV?

How much information do you put on the CV and how much do you leave for your cover letter? American CVs are very detailed and French ones much less... are others in between?

Any other advice I can pass along to her?


mardi, mai 09, 2006

phone talk

I called the DMV back in the States to find out some information concerning renewing my drivers licence.

For those of you "expats" do you ever find yourself preparing what you will say? Especially when you're in an office or calling someone on the phone? I find myself doing this all the time, making sure my thoughts make sense and that I'm clear and polite.

I did that before this woman picked up the phone! But that wasn't the worst! I almost started speaking to her in French! Luckly I stopped myself and was able to hold some sort of conversation...

And even better I found out that if I am late renewing my licence (it expires in October and I'm not sure if I'm going home this summer or not...) there are no late fees as I'm abroad and as long as I renew within 5 years I don't have to retake the test!

On top of it all, she was so nice and actually volunteered information! They never do that in France, you have to ask every possible question to get the information you want and she simply volunteered it! :-)

Its nice to talk to people like that on the phone. Plus everything is all organized for my licence, nice and simple :-)

mardi, mai 02, 2006

fruit salad

I remember first moving to France in 2001 and some of the weird expressions that caught my attention... One of the funniest was j'ai la pêche (which litterally means I have the peach). It means that you're en forme - in a good mood or good spirit.

I didn't know that this expression expanded out into different fruits and veggies!!!

My horizons have been broadened!

I learned today - from Mystery Guest - that you can say j'ai la grosse patate (I have the big potato!) which means the same thing.

Later I mentioned to Virginie that I had learned another expression when she said that I should add another to the list!! j'ai la banane (I have the banana!) which is yet again the same thing!

Any other fruity expressions that I should know about??


Well I got a perscription for some allergy meds today, just picked them up from the pharmacy.

Just have to say, I *heart* France.

I have a new insurance company since September as I'm a student this year and for some reason it has not been put up to date on my carte vitale and I keep forgetting to look for the paper or go to the SMENO office.

So when I rock up to the pharmacy this afternoon with my perscription in my hot little hand the guy tells me this again. Then asks if I have my papers with me so that he can put it up to date. Otherwise I will have to *gasp* pay the full amount and get reimbursed later by my insurance company (instead of the reimbursement happening directly with my carte)... yes folks this comes to a grand total of 8 euros for a month's worth of allergy meds... without the reimbursement!

I love the drama that the pharmacy guys always do when they have to ask someone to pay for their meds, "I'm sorry Mrs Smith, but that will come to 0.67 euros, really sorry about that."

*ladylike faint with hand held to forehead*

Yes, this is why I'm lazy about getting the paperwork done.