vendredi, janvier 30, 2009

job hunt

I swear when it rains, it pours!

This morning it wasn't raining, clear blue skies and no wind! Yea! I caught the train to Cherbourg and then from the station I took the bus to the ANPE building (good thing I didn't try to walk - it was far!) for my meeting with my unemployment adviser-person. The meeting went well, I gave her my CV and we talked about ways that I was looking for a job... which are not many right now, I still have my contract at the high school until the end of April. She gave me a few ideas but other than one of them they weren't things I had already thought of. Now with the merger of the ANPE and les Assedics the government really wants to get on unemployed people's cases and make sure they're looking for a job, so there are monthly meetings. That's fine with me but when I asked if this might be reimbursed because I didn't have a car (yeah... on my CV it says I have my license... I'm working on it but don't want to get ruled out of jobs.. easier to say I don't have a car...) she said no and how is it possible that I don't have a car living in V-town? How could I possibly not have a car and look for a job around there? I found that a bit annoying, especially coming from a Frenchie, but this isn't Paris and if you don't have a car you would at least have a pot de yaourt... haha

Anyway so one of her ideas was asking at the Tourist office in V-town, she said she heard they may be hiring. I would love that! Totally a job I'd have fun doing!

So afterwards I made my way back to the station and then got home. I was just finishing my lunch when my phone rang.

The lady was calling from an adult learning center run by the Education Nationale in Cherbourg. She got my CV in March last year and is looking for an English teacher!! Haha what are the chances? I go to the unemployment office in the morning and in the afternoon I get a job interview?

There are some complications in my schedule.. that's the hard thing about working at the high school, I don't have that many hours but they have big chunks of down time in the middle so even though I'm part time I don't have a lot of free hours for another job. There are also complications concerning the fact that I don't have a car because most of the hours are in Cherbourg but some are in a small town outside, not far, but not acessible by train/bus.

So it would be a good job and possibly 80% if they want to give me more hours after I finish in April but it's another CDD... my big dream was finding the job of my dreams in May complete with a CDI so I can apply for citizenship... but looks like I'll be bouncing around from CDD to CDD for a while...

Anyway the search isnt' over yet, I still have time. But its good to know I have some options out there... even with this crise économique.

mercredi, janvier 28, 2009

poule? poole?

I have a favor to ask you (5) readers out there... Mystery Guest and I are thinking of taking a couple days holiday (yes, I'm getting in the British spirit!) to England! I have never taken the ferry over in all the years I've been in Normandy, it's too expensive over there! But now that the pound has taken a hit it's the time to go!

We're thinking of going to Poole and then doing a road trip in search of King Arthur and Merlin! (Slightly reminiscent of our Brittany Trip) We were thinking of going to Glastonbury and that are, there's supposed to be lots of Stonehenge type thingies over there!)

My question to you, loyal readers, is how to go about getting cheap accommodation? Having never traveled in the UK before (except staying with friends) I've no idea how to go about looking for places. Ideally nothing more than 50pounds a night, b&bs are always cute and fun but we're ok with a chain motel type thing too. I'd rather spend money on doing stuff than a place to stay.

Anyway any help is very much appreciated!!!

joey does not share food!

The other day I was listening to the K&K podcast and the girls started talking about sharing food at the table - how it just isn't done in France like it is in the States ("Can I have a bite of this or that?"). I don't grab people's food off their plates but I do like asking to try something especially if I'm in a restaurant and the other person has ordered something different.

This whole idea reminded me of a hilarious situation a few months ago when my friend Cassa came to visit back in September. We did some touristy things but the highlight was going out to Saint Vaast to check out the port town and for Cassa to try some fresh local oysters. We went into a fairly nice restaurant and I got moule-frites and Cassa got oysters on the haf-shell. As we were catching up we noticed a very lively group sitting at the table next to us. At the end of the meal I couldn't eat 1 more bite of frite or mussel and the guy asked me if they were good since I hadn't finished. I said yes and joking asked if he wanted to try mine, to my shock he leaned over and scooped up half of my plate of fries!

Now that's a first!

Oh, and Katia, this is for you:

lundi, janvier 26, 2009

Tuesday, January 20th 2009

Yes I have been one lazy blogger, I've wanted to write about the Inauguration ever since the night of but a) I got busy and b) I read so many other blogs and websites that I think it zapped my creativity ... or could be c) I am indeed a lazy butt! Anyway I was supposed to work in C-town until 5:45pm so I didn't have any plans to watch the inauguration except trying to figure out a way to watch it online in the ancient computer rooms while waiting for my train. But when a few factors changed things around (my last class was canceled and the Katester gently reminded me that this was a historic moment and would I want to remember celebrating it alone by my lonesome?) I decided to go celebrate with the other 'ricans in Caen!

Uh... I should also admit that this decision was only very sliiiightly influenced by the fact that Natalie said that France3 Basse-Normandie would be in the apartment filming live...

Right. Just ever so slightly.

The Katester and I arrived at around 5:50 after tram strikes made us wait at the station more than the predicted 3min - grr! Don't they know we had a party to get to?? Just as we arrived on Natalie's street I noticed the France3 van parked on the sidewalk and I realized just how cool this moment was. Natalie was ready and waiting with 3 bottles of Champagne and we settled in to watch the little TV.
The speech was amazing, everyone has said that and more eloquently than I could ever do so I'll just leave you with the image of me with a ridiculous grin plastered on my face while we listened. As we went over our favorite parts of the speech and sipped more champagne the TV crew got Natalie ready for her live appearance on the evening news!
I made sure I was standing up so you could see me (stripy shirt) in the background. Here's the link, we tried to record it at home but it didn't work - does anyone know how to download the embedded video before they take it off tomorrow???? Pluuuhhhlease???? Anyway we're at about 19h04 in the video (time in the upper right corner).

Here are a few other pictures from the evening.

I'm so glad that I went to Caen for this, not only because of the vast amount of champagne that I consumed (and regretted for the next 2 days...) but to celebrate not only with friends but it felt like somehow the whole world was connected - even here in France.

Anyway the next day I dragged my butt out to Herouville where they have a shopping center to do a little soldes damage. For those of you who don't know Caen this suburb is one of the ones known to be "difficult." The majority of the population are immigrant families and walking around you're more likely to hear Arabic and Creole than French. That diversity has made the community really try to come together though in the last few years. The city is putting a lot of money into developing it - demolishing old HLMs (the projects basically) and putting up less big towers and more community orientated buildings. But as the tram pulled into one of the stops at the foot of one of those 13-storey towers I saw this painted on the side of the building.
It made me smile and brought tears to my eyes at the same time. An event on the other side of the world has brought some sort of hope and change to this suburb of Caen and I think that in itself is an amazing thing.

I have a lot of hope for the next 4 years, no this President can't do it all himself but I feel that he's brought integrity and a renewal of the American Dream which has not existed for a long time.

I can say that for the first time in 8 long years I am proud to be an American, and France, our President is cooler than yours ;-)

mardi, janvier 20, 2009

hell yeah!!!!!!!!!

I am short of time right now but I'm going to be going to Caen this evening to ring in Obama's election with some champagne and good cheer!

Yes we can!

dimanche, janvier 18, 2009

toodles dubya!

Spotted in the FNAC comic book section... I can't wait for Tuesday!!

vendredi, janvier 16, 2009

i haven't aged a day in 10 years... riiiight!

MilkJam age 17
I got my passport back today, the mailman came yesterday while I was at work so I guess technically I got the package yesterday. So that makes it 1 week to the day that I sent it out. Considering that there was the postage time in between V-town and Paris (granted it was Chronopost but that doesn't travel instantaneously either!) and then the Saturday/Sunday I will have to say that those Embassy people are seriously speedy!!!

It's amazing how used you get to administration moving at the pace, of well, an escargot in France and it is shocking when things are just so speedy!

I give you my new passport, shiny and stamp free (for now!). It is a god awful picture so I might take it down soon.. yikes!

jeudi, janvier 15, 2009

sock time!

Yesterday I was in Caen so I stopped by the Katia store (sadly not the lovely Aussie lass but almost as good!) to get some smaller needles to knit socks (my test sock was more of a slipper). They also had sock yarn on sale! Apparently they are discontinuing this yarn so I got 3 pelotes of black (Mystery Guest requested black) and I'm so excited for the new project!
I also ordered myself some handpainted yarn from the UK at Old Maiden Aunt Yarns, hope it arrives soon! With the pound almost the same as the Euro I think I got a pretty good deal... I just got one pelote for now to see if I like it - shipping was only 1.50 pounds for the UK/Europe :-)

dimanche, janvier 11, 2009

my first sock!!!

Yea! I finished my first sock!!! I used a tutorial I found on the web (haven't gotten used to reading patterns yet.) I decided to test it on some old yarn found in my stash but when I was reaching the toe I ran out and found a small ball of red! Makes for a cheery sock non? There are a few mistakes, one by the heel and I didn't do the best job grafting the toe... but its just a practice one, I mean I dont' have any more grey so there won't be a pair to this one ;-) He's on his lonesome! I can't wait to order some sock yarn and probably some new needles since my DPN are too big for finer yarn...

Anyway yay for my first real project! Branching out from scarves, hats and armwarmers ;-) Although I did learn how to do some Fair Isle and made a hat for a friend of mine (hoping she isn't reading my blog...)
Mystery Guest modeling the hat, its a wee bit too small for him but should be ok for my friend, hope she likes it!!

vendredi, janvier 09, 2009

for you knitters out there...

I would like to start a new project and thought that socks would be a fun challenge, moving on from scarves, hats, arm warmers etc. My knitting projects turn out really well for the most part, but I've never tried anything where you have to gage... maybe I'll start with slippers ;-) if they're too big - no problem! haha

I've found some good tutorials online so I think I'll be ok, but everyone talks about sock yarn - where do I buy it in France?

Living out in V-town I think the best bet for me would be an online order, there aren't even that many yarn shops in Caen.

Any ideas? Something not too pricey as it would be my first test run...

jeudi, janvier 08, 2009

passport fun.

My old passport expires this year. I remember when I got it, back in 1999, it was the summer I graduated high school and mom took me on a trip as a graduation present to see the solar eclipse.

I remember thinking, wow 2009, I'll be 27 - so OLD! I couldn't even picture my future 10 years from then.. little did I know I'd be living here in Normandy and sending in my stamp filled passport to get renewed in Paris.

This is not the first time my passport has traveled by chronopost, a few years ago I had to add more pages, ran out of room! Back in the day the carte de sejours were like visas and glued in your passport - you run out of room fast that way!

But now my ghetto old school passport (with the picture actually glued in and then laminated over, no digital back in the day!) is going back to Paris today and I will get a new biometric one in it's place. It was quite a mission though, trying to get this renewal underway!

American passport pictures are not the same size and specifications as French ones, so I had to hunt out a photographer that could take my American picture, found one yesterday in Caen.

So 2 terrible passport pictures later, (no joke, they're terrible!!! no smiling the guy told me!) :
15 euros
42 euros for 2 chronopost envelopes (yup the US Embassy makes you pay postage to send it back, grrr...)
55 euros (approx from $75) renewal fee.

Thank god that will be over with for the next 10 years! I can't wait to get my hands on that puppy, and I'm really glad their sending the old one back, so many memories!

samedi, janvier 03, 2009

snapshot of the day

Yesterday I had to go pick up my new train pass for my commute (back to work on Monday!) and since it was sunny (but COLD!) and I hadn't been out of the house much I grabbed my camera and decided to practice taking some pictures.

It's my first SLR (digital or otherwise) so I'm still learning, Mystery Guest's brother taught me a few things over break - ISO, light sources etc but I've still got a lot left to learn. The main thing that bothers me is that when its really sunny I can't figure out not to have my pics overexposed... hummm will have to ask him that.

Anyway this is one that turned out well, its the local library! How cool is that building? I got my library card a few weeks ago - 8e for the year (funny how in socialist France you have to pay for libraries, in the States people would throw a fit if they had to pay for the library yet don't think its strange to pay for health insurance? right, rant over.)

I still haven't been in to browse but I just looooove the outside! Isn't it cool? All the stone arches etc, the inside looks the same. It's the kind of library that makes you want to curl up with a good book on a rainy afternoon :-)

Here's some history I found off a website:

Fondée en 1719 par l'abbé Julien de Laillier, la bibliothèque s'est enrichie, à la Révolution, des ouvrages confisqués des bibliothèques des couvents des Cordeliers, des Capucins, des Augustins de Barfleur et du séminaire de V-town. Maintenue dans la chapelle du séminaire jusqu'en 1853, la bibliothèque a été transférée dans le bâtiment actuel, construit vers 1830 pour y faire une salle des fêtes.
Les salles publiques de la bibliothèque occupent un bâtiment à arcades (XIXe siècle) relié à d'anciennes halles au blé du XVIIIe siècle.