vendredi, novembre 28, 2008

freudian slip?

While wandering V-town with the lovely Miss Kate we burst into song - the 12 days of Christmas to be exact.

Alternating back and forth it got to my turn:

3 French Men! I cheerfully belted.

Kate: Er... don't you mean hen?

... Freudian Slip?

belated thanksgiving

Happy Belated to all the Americans out there! Our expat celebration isn't going down until Saturday night when Mystery Guest and I head down to Caen, so dinner last night was rice, turkey and veggies stir fried in soy sauce - very traditional eh?

My jobs this year are: stuffing, stuffing and MORE stuffing! and a pecan pie :-)


samedi, novembre 22, 2008

holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching! This fall with my thesis work and everything has just flown by, I can't even believe its almost Thanksgiving! It's starting to feel like it though, we're in for a cold snap this weekend... brrr...

I've been keeping myself busy, buying pumpkins at the market and steaming them in preparation for soups and pies and other goodies. I've also been busy studying the written exam for my French driver's license.. big poo, that's way annoying! Lots of little things that I've left to the wayside while working on my Masters but now that's done so whoo-hoo!!

I'm also starting to think about xmas presents and my annual xmas card. When I was in high school we used to help my mom silkscreen her annual Christmas cards, now being the digital and internet nerd that I am I've been making picture cards with a collage of pictures from the past year. It's a fun way to show my travels and what I've been up to. Mystery Guest used to help me put them together and make it look all classy but I found that the new version of Picasa does the same thing with a lot less work! So I've been sorting through my pictures from 2008 and trying to choose the best ones for my card.. not easy! There are probably a couple thousand pictures!

We're also gearing up here in Normandy for our annual Thanksgiving dinner 2007, 2006, 2005. I've put some recipes on my blog but will be adding more soon. Yum! I can't wait!

lundi, novembre 17, 2008

wild boar?

Last night Mystery Guest and I were driving back from dinner at his parent's house when we spotted a big dog off to the right of the road. He slowed down and as we got closer we realized it was a wild boar! Luckily it scurried across the road and didn't stop in the middle as we might have had a near miss in that case!! That would have caused some major damage to the car (which apparently is not covered under insurance... go figure, boars don't pay the franchise...)

mercredi, novembre 12, 2008

bac +5

3 long years of juggling work and school

2 summers writing mémoires

800 euros tuition

1 Master's degree = priceless

I just defended my final memoire this afternoon. It was a lot harder than I would have thought given all of the positive feedback I had had throughout the year but in the end it went well, I passed with 14/20 (yea!!!!!) on the thesis itself (am waiting on my grade for the year). I officially have my masters in ze pocket as they say and let me tell you it is both mind numbing and totally liberating at the same time.

Time to go crash on the couch!

samedi, novembre 08, 2008


I'm at friends house for the weekend and wanted to test out blogging from my ipod touch... So readers how does it look??
This new toy is just too fun!

Have a great weekend :-)

Sent from my iPod


After reading several bloggers respond to Fned's post on multi-lingual couples I decided to share my story...

I met Mystery Guest in November 2005 at the English Tables in Caen. They were run every Monday night at the Irish pub by the TAs at the university to give the students a more open and comfortable environment to converse in English. So Mystery Guest and I started talking and within the first 2 or 3 sentences I could have sworn he was American so I asked where he was from (good thing I didn't ask "where in the States are you from"!!) When he replied Normandy I was surprised to say the least and decided that he must have spent extensive time in the States. He said 2 weeks but I heard 2 years because with his level 2 weeks was just not possible!

Anyway by that point I was starting my 3rd year in Caen and felt very comfortable speaking in French to collegues, friends, the bakerlady - you name it. On our first date we were speaking English and mentioned that we could speak French and English, knowing full well that I didn't start speaking French with him early on it would be difficult later.

We didn't start speaking French right away, for some reason a few months later I became petrified of speaking French to him, or having him hear me speak French. I'm still not exactly sure why, maybe because his English was just too natural or because I didn't want him hearing my accent or mistakes.. In any case we spoke 100% English for the first 8 months or so.

It wasn't until the first summer that I spent a lot of time out at his parent's house, with his family and his friends that I started to loosen up. There was just no way out - they didn't speak English and I was realizing how stupid it was to be afraid or embarrassed. I started to get more used to having him hear me speak French - yet wouldn't speak directly to him.

Now things have changed. We probably speak a majority of English at home but because our comprehension of eachother's languages is at the same level (and probably our expression I would think) when we're tired or lazy we can have a bilingual conversation and it doesn't seem odd or unnatural. I still have an accent but apparently its getting fainter and there are very few situations where I feel uncomfortable expressing myself in French (probably the same that I would in English - anything to do with vocabulary I'm not familiar with.)

I'd hesitated to put a percentage up but depending on the day it is 60% English / 40% French between us, or 70%/30% - not really sure. But the good thing is that both of us are very comfortable with the language that the other speaks. This is such a relief, not only between us but also between our families. I can be with his family and not feel hindered or uncomfortable (his mom said once, I don't see you as American anymore, yeah you still have a bit of an accent but you're just Karina. I thought that was really cute.) And when Mystery Guest came to the States for Christmas he was able to hold his own no problem ;-) Even playing Taboo!

I think the cutest thing is that my mom has started taking some beginner French classes :-) When I told this to his mom she got all wide-eyed and said that she'd better start with some English again! ;-)

mercredi, novembre 05, 2008


What an amazing, historic day! I went to Caen yesterday afternoon to participate in the expat festivities and I'm sure glad I did!
I left around 3:00am since I was dozing off in my chair but was woken up at 7 to the good news!

Bravo America! For the first time since I moved to France I can say I'm proud to be an American! Look what we can do when we work together!!

mardi, novembre 04, 2008

Election Day!

Alright America get out there and Vote! My vote is probably making it's way over the Atlantic as we speak (or already there hopefully!)

I'm glad this election is almost over (fingers crossed for my guy) but I am glad that there has been so much movement and political concern, getting people involved in the democratic process, that is never a bad thing.

I'm going to Caen this afternoon to be with some other Americans and watch the election most of the night (we'll see how long I last... !) before teaching tomorrow morning. As Natalie said: "We'll either be crying for joy or just crying..."

But the good news is that no matter what happens EIGHT years of the Bush Administration are coming to a close - now that is something to get excited about!