mercredi, juin 28, 2006

on a jetplane...

I'm off today for Paris and then Croatia! I'll be back in 10 days with lots of stories I'm sure...!

A bientot!

lundi, juin 26, 2006


Ok so I finally borrowed a hammer open up some macadamia nuts that my dad had given me from Hawaii.

On the directions it says to crack them open and then roast them in the oven until brown.

Those are some hard nuts to crack! I can't!!!!!!

So I cracked open a nice fresh melon instead... muuuuch easier!

busy times!

This weekend was a busy one! On Saturday Mystery Guest and I took advantage of the beautiful sunshine went off to a small town near Bayeux for les Journées de la Bio, a sort of Organic/Green fair. It was really impressive, lots of booths with different produce as well as stands with house building ideas: reducing water waste, environment-friendly heating etc... A friend of Mystery Guest had helped organize it and recommended going to one of the lectures being held. I won't sit here and write out the guy's speech but it was very good, very well spoken and very accessible.

Then we came back home, had some dinner and met some friends for a good-bye drink. Its that time of year, everyone is going home, back to the States, to Ireland, to England etc... I've had to go through this every year for the past 7 years and it does get easier, also knowing that somehow even if you think it isn't possible you do end up seeing people again.

Sunday I awoke to a downpour and while I was eating my breakfast all I could hear was the rain hitting the roof and the church bells chiming. Moments like that make me sit back and realize where I am and how magical something simple like having a relaxing Sunday breakfast can be...

Before catching Mission Impossible 3 that evenging the early afternoon was spent moving and cleaning out Mystery Guest's student housing. That place is spic 'n span! Not a dust bunny (or sheep) to be found!!! This morning he checked out and we loaded up the car to near bursting and he drove home to drop it all off. Tomorrow he'll come back and help me move out of my place(hopefully will get the new keys today!!) Busy times!

So I'm going to be one packing maniac trying to get everything done before I take off on vacation Wednesday afternoon! Yikes! Ok back to it then!!! :-)

jeudi, juin 22, 2006

frenchie blog

I realized last weekend that although I live in France I rarely write in French other than MSN chats ... and everyone knows that they don't count!

So in order to practice I've set up a new blog... French Toast !

Feel free to snoop around and leave me comments (or correct my French!)

(Isn't that the cheeziest clipart ever??? I love it!)

fête de la musique

Every June 21st for the last 25 years each town in France celebrates the beginning of Summer with the Fête de la Musique. Professionals, amateurs, random individuals with drums and guitars fill the streets. There are grandmas, families, friends, couples and babies. People enjoying country music, rap, african druming, hard rock and reggae.

The atmosphere is so casual and and free. I meet up with my friend Anne-Céline and 3 of her girlfriends. They were really nice and unlike some other French girls that I've met, not catty or unfriendly at all. We roamed the streets listening to different groups and then settled on the terrace of a bar next to the port for cocktails and gossip. Very Sex and the City.

Eventually we made our way up to the castle to listen to some folk music where we tried our best to dance even getting the fiddler to dance while playing! Impressive! After a while we decided to go check out another part of town and while walking there the girls taught me French nursury rhymes and in turn I tried to teach some of the American ones I could remember. I felt so natural in the group, I don't have a lot of close French friends that I actually speak French with and I didn't even feel like I was there because I was some sort of foreign curiosity. A nice feeling.

After a while us old ladies got tired and went on home. But the party is still continuing outside... so as I would love to go to bed the reggae music pumping in the street will keep me up so I might as well watch a little 6 Feet Under... :-)

mercredi, juin 21, 2006


Yes! I got the results of one of the translations I did last Friday! I couldn't believe that the results would be in so quickly! A big thanks to my prof for correcting them so quickly! I was going to go up to the uni to get the grade with some classmates but something came up at the same time so my friend texted me my grade.

16/20 baby!!!!!! YES! Ok granted that's the grade from the text that was in French and I translated it into English so it was easier than the other one. But even if I really blew the other one this will help to compensate.

Couldn't help but to jump up and down in my place :D Whooo-hooo!!!!

mardi, juin 20, 2006


Yesterday on my way to the train station I was sent off with a foil-wrapped pack of homemade waffles (a leftover from our afternoon snack). I thought about eating them on the train but decided that I wasn't hungry enough to fully appreciate the yummyness factor.

So this morning as I made my coffee those yummy waffles went in the toaster (thought I was sent home with 2 but there were 4 in there! fun surprise!) and the after a good spread of butter and a drizzle of Maple Joe's syrup I sat down for a delish breakfast :-)

I just had to share that with you all, I think its been a couple years, at least, since I've had homemade waffles for breakfast...

lundi, juin 19, 2006

vacation weekend

Friday after my last exam Mr. Mystery Guest came to pick me up and we headed off for a weekend chez his parents near Cherbourg. After quickly dropping off some stuff at the house and having an apéro with his parents we went off to our reward for finishing our exams - sushi! Yum yum! (on the left is a few from the bedroom window!)

After a beautiful weekend last weekend and then thunderstorms all week long we were lucky to be greeted by sunshine all weekend long. Some highlights were a trip to a lovely walk through the Château des Ravalet, which was just bursting with beautiful flowers, irises, foxglove, rhodies, waterlilies etc... We walked all over the grounds, played on the swings and walked under bamboo windchimes.

We also took a bike ride and went to the beach everyday to lounge in the sun and take dips in the water (I didn't really swim but I did get wet up to my neck - it was cold! The water was about 17C) .

One evening was spent on a fun project, making a dvd! I had borrowed his videocamera to record my 2nd graders preforming a little skit on Friday. We (well I should say he... but I watched!) downloaded the video and then added transitions, a menu etc! It looks so classy!! I'm going to work tomorrow afternoon and can't wait to see the kids getting a look at themselves on tv! They are adorable.

It was a great weekend, relaxing and fun, just the right way to start off summer vacation! I have to admit it was a bit stressful from the meet the parents angle, but they are so nice and I'm sure if I get invited back (hint hint ;-) ) I'll be able to crawl out of my shell a bit more. The house was so comfortable and homey, and then to be surrounded by a beautiful region made it harder coming back to Caen.

dimanche, juin 18, 2006


Well I took my first real exam of the year (yes, I know those of you who take 6 exams a week twice a year are hating me now...) and what a new experience!

At home I remember taking final exams but first of all it was not the only grade of the course for an entire year like it is here... second of all at home it was in the regular classroom, not in some mystery location like when we took our exam Friday in the gym!

Third and last of all it was not anonymous, here I had to ask the others in my class how exactly to fill in the little triangle that got folded over.

But just the atmosphere itself was something new all together! Just the fact that there were rows upon rows of desks lined up the length of the gym was stressful. The for the exam it was a 4-hour translation exam, 2 texts, the first from English to French and then from French to English. No dictionary, no bescherelle, just you and your memory... I couldn't take more than 3 hours of it and had to leave. There are only so many times you can read and re-read your translation...!!

So now I just have to wait for the results, but if worse comes to worse there are make-up exams in September...

vendredi, juin 16, 2006


I called my landlady a few weeks ago and found out that an apartment in the same building is opening up. So I went to go visit it and to find out some more details. Turns out it is 8 sq meters bigger than mine (mine is 19sq meters and the new one is 27) for only 30E extra per month!

The only reason I would think about moving is that its the same building and the same landlady and therefore should be much easier because I don't have to give 3 months notice, should pay much less in fees etc... I already went yesterday to talk to the agency and they are going to call me soon with more specifics regarding fees etc.

I never expected to maybe find a place and move within a month but hey why not? I'll have a much more steady job this fall and this place is so nice and spacious! There is one huuuge room, a big kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub! The only downfall is that its on the ground floor (facing the courtyard like my current apartment) so less street noise but not much light either... but hey you can't have it all can you?

It seems like everything is moving a bit too quickly but at the same time I have the gut feeling this is a good idea... I'll keep you all updated ;-) but for now I'm off to take my translation final and then leaving for the weekend!

dimanche, juin 11, 2006


The one thing that I can't stand about summers in France is the buzzing around my appartment!!!! Not the worst part, the worst is while you're trying to fall asleep and you hear the whining of the miiiiisquito! Evil little buggers!

It's hot and as there isn't any AC (which I don't mind, I don't like it that much anyway) and I don't have a fan so I keep my window open all the time for as much air as possible.

The only problem is that I don't have a screen on my window. Why is that? Well apparently ça n'existe pas... I have never seen one on a window in France and I can't really understand why. Granted there aren't many bugs but still its kind of gross and buying a screen is a once-time purchase and they don't harm anything...

Anyone have any ideas why? I'm temped (after 2 summers spent swatting flies...) of getting myself some 2x4s, some mesh and doing a bit of bricolage around here...

samedi, juin 10, 2006


Since the weather was so nice we decided to set off on a mini-adventure, out to see the smallest town hall in France (in Saint-Germain-de-Pasquier) ! Yup folks that's it! Its teeeeeny! We had a yummy picnic on the grass and almost fell asleep in the sun but decided to continue on our merry way... But my favorite part was the lovely separation of Church and State that is represented above the door:

Then we drove to around and I got to see Mystery Guest's old high school and the house he grew up in ;-) which was fun to see! Then we went see a beautiful abbey nearby, l'Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin which was built sometime around the 10th century.

After a walk around the grounds we stopped in a cute little cafe for a crêpe and cidre in front of the abbey gate:

It was a beautiful relaxing day, off for a road trip not worried about time (or upcoming exams...)just enjoying great company and sunshine!

vendredi, juin 09, 2006


Well summer has hit with a bang! It took its sweet time but its now 27C (80F) during the day! So yesterday as I had a free day - and needed some time to unwind after the stressful beginning of the week - I went to the beach!

Ouufta am I sore! I forgot about those couple hills on the way out to the beach and as I haven't been biking that much recently it really got to me! But it was well worth it, I left home at 2pm arrived at the beach at 3, and sat there with me, myself, I and my good book to keep me company in the sun for a couple hours before heading home at 5ish.


Sadly today I had to work and then I had a rendez-vous at the préfecture (which went well, will just need to give them some more documents when I get them in the Fall) but spent the afternoon inside vegging as it was trop hot to be outside. After many episodes of 6 Feet Under (my new addiction) Mystery Guest and I made last minute decision to make galettes and crêpes for dinner - YUMMMM... :-)

Now I'm off to bed but I'm sure I'll be tossing and turning as it isn't cooling off at night, so I'll just sprall hoping to catch a bit of a breeze from my open window...

vive l'été!

mardi, juin 06, 2006

YES YES YES!!!!!!!


Can we say one happy camper??? Ofphhhh big weight off my shoulders, sadly no party tonight, off to the books...

but yea me !!!!!!! :-)

stressée a mort...

Gahhh I'm wayyy stressed out! Running on about 3 hours of sleep I go up to the university this morning to try to see if I can get the paperwork I need for the préfecture rendez-vous on Friday - alas no. But I did run into my professor from last semester who is on the selection team of choosing the lectuer/lectrice d'anglais position for next year. I had applied on a whim a few weeks ago and would LOVE to get the job...

Retard that I am, I put the wrong thing on my CV (licence for my BA instead of Bac +4), so she thought that I didn't have the degree required for the job! So she offered it to 2 other people, but if one doesn't reply before 3pm the job is mine! But if I would have put the right thing on my CV I would have been top of the list!

To top it all off I've got my explication de texte tomorrow and I'm not at all ready but have a feeling that I won't be anyway... I need more sleep and more hours in the day...

lundi, juin 05, 2006

marie antoinette

Just got back from the movies, took a study break to go see Marie Antoinette. Dispite having been booed in the Cannes film festival I really enjoyed it.

The film was funny with great acting, but above all it was eye candy. The colors, the opulence, the food, the shoes... beyond anything imagineable.

There was nothing deep or profound but it was very enjoyable.

There, my .02 euro centimes. ;-)

dimanche, juin 04, 2006


I've locked myself in my appartment working on an explication de texte for Wednesday... I have to give a 30 minute presentation, explanation if you will, of Geoffrey Hill's poem Christmas Trees.

Bonhoeffer in his skylit cell
bleached by he flares' candescent fall,
pacing out his own citadel,

restores the broken themes of praise,
encourages our borrowed days,
by logic of his sacrifice.

Against wild reasons of the state
his words are quiet but not too quiet.
We hear too late or not too late.

Fun times eh? There are so many things to say and I'm just not sure how to organize them all... In happier news I got my grade for my lovely dissertation I was working on last month during the April holidays, I got a 13!!!! (Yes, a 13/20 doesn't seem that great for an American, but it was the highest grade in the class! Another girl and I got the same grade so that was fun!)

So here I am trying not too procrastinate too much, but have just fixed myself a yummy snack. I had found some homemade raisin bread at the market, something that you don't see much of in France. So I bought a little bit and popped it in the toaster, when it was all warm and toasty I put on some butter to melt and some cinnamon-sugar.... yummmmmmmm :-)

vendredi, juin 02, 2006

week recap

Well it has been a busy week around here. My dad and step-mom arrived Monday afternoon. After getting settled in their hotel we went to my tiny appartment for a big salad dinner and some poiré* before they headed back to the hotel to crash. Here are some little stories and recaps from the week highlighted with my beautiful pictures taken with the new camera - say cheese! (you could say cheezy, might be more appropriate...)

The next morning was all about running errands, pharmacy, laundrymat, grocery shopping and then in the afternoon we explored the sights of Caen before heading off to a yummy dinner at the Maître Corbeau for fondue. That was really fun, and plus the Boy (aka Mystery Guest) got to meet the Fam (aka Dad & Anne).

Bright and early Wednesday morning we set off for Mont Saint Michel. We were sooooo lucky with the weather all week long. I swear for the 3 weeks leading up to their visit it was nothing but grey cold sweater weather, once they came we had nothing but sunshine and a few scattered clouds!!! Beautiful for drives around Normandy. It was however windy (as usual) on the coast so we headed for an Abby tour before being drawn into a tourist trap restaurant for a quick lunch. Turned out quicker than thought as the omlette Anne ordered was literally warm egg soup! Iiiik! Not even cooked, so we left the mont and drove up the western coast of la Manche stopping in Avranches, Granville and Port-bail.

Thursday morning we left for Honfleur were we explored the little boutiques and got Dad's favorite salty caramels from a little chocolate shop before lunch in a little tea room with lovely desserts. We roamed the streets for a bit longer before taking off to Rouen.

I had only been there once before and only for a few hours visiting a friend so I was glad to be able to go back and see a bit more of the touristy side of the city. I do have to admit that I was a bit dissapointed, the center was lovely with all the half-timbered houses but anything just outside was just not very nice to walk around in. I think its just to big and too close to Paris. But we did have fun walking around, seeing Monet's cathedrale and other famous monuments before heading back to Caen for one last dinner at le Bouchon du Vaugeux.

Since it was their last night Dad & Anne invited Mystery Guest out for one last fun-filled evening of waky linguistic conversations and good food. I have to say it was one of our best meals, food and company included ;-) But the dessert was killer, a crispy warm apple tourte with a caramel ice cream melting over the top! Yummm...!

*poiré is a hard sparkling cider made from pears, light and yummy with salad ;-)