jeudi, avril 30, 2009

almost there!!!

Today is the last day of my contract, looking forward to it actually. I have to teach 1 hour this morning and then the English colleagues are taking me and the Katester out for lunch! Then I have 1 hour of "English Club" at the end of the afternoon and then I'm outta there!

As soon as Mystery Guest gets off work we're hitting the road, driving out to Paris to spend the night with some friends. We're lucky to be able to leave the car there and they'll drop us off at the airport Friday morning for our direct flight home! Yes, direct! How lucky are we to have a non-stop flight!!! On the way back we go through Amsterdam but that isn't bad at all. Nothing like some of the horrible connections I used to have in the past...

Yea! It's been so long since I've been home and even longer since I was home in the spring - I can't wait! USA here we come!

PS. no we're not afraid of dying from the pig flu! ;-)

mardi, avril 28, 2009

the one in which i may come across sounding like a complaining expat blogger

I am finishing up my last few days of work before flying to the STATES on Friday (me? excited?). I love the school I was placed in this year, I feel so lucky to have colleagues that for the first time treat me as an equal and not as a lowly "assistante"... but today I almost lost it.

I eat lunch in the cafeteria twice a week and it's pretty good fun, the teachers have their own separate table in the back with a family style service (the lunch ladies bring over big platters and we serve ourselves, much nicer than waiting in line with the kids) and pitchers of wine :-) Usually the food is half decent for a school cafeteria, at least 3 appetizers to choose from, a main dish, salad, cheese plate (Camembert of course!) and desserts. I usually roll out of there!

Today I checked the menu and was excited to see smoked salmon and other yummies but when we arrived the appetizers were andouille de vire and carottes rapées. Not being a big fan of andouilles I stuck with the carrots. Then the main dish came out... barely cooked hamburger patties and fries, now that is just sad. When I made a comment on how it isn't very healthy to eat undercooked hamburger meat the teacher sitting across from me jumped on me and started ranting on how I'm in France and of course its totally healthy, we have health inspectors blah blah blah.. Thank god my other colleague came to my defense and said that I've been here long enough and that I'm not an ignorant American who doesn't like unpasturized cheese (god, why pasturize the stuff? takes all the YUM out of it!) and doesn't judge. I explained that an undercooked steak is totally different than hamburger meat and how I just can't bring myself to eat it.

Well despite my colleague's rescue the bloody steack hachee and the other lady's comment totally spoiled my appetite.

Whatever, I'm going to get a real hamburger when I go home! :-) 'Cause that's all Americans eat anyway...

dimanche, avril 26, 2009

des vaches et des moutons

Just a few pictures from a little drive around today, geocaching and walking around cows and sheep... just a Sunday afternoon 'round here!


A couple weeks ago when we went on a drive out to the windmill we wanted to try some flour from the mill. Mystery Guest decided to go for épeautre - spelt. I've been seeing this stuff all over the organic stores recently, spelt pasta, bread, flour etc... but never knew what the English word was until now!

So today for our Sunday pancake brunch I decided to give the new stuff a try.

Spelt Pancakes!

I used my basic pancake recipe but put in the spelt flour instead - Yum!!! A little nutty flavor, almost like whole wheat flour but not quite the same...

When he was trying a gluten free diet we came up with this pancake recipe which is still way yummmm yummm but always good to try something new!

jeudi, avril 23, 2009

busy busy!

Yesterday I had to go to Caen for a meeting and I finally was able to snap a shot of one of my favorite views from the train - the cathedral in Bayeux. It's hard to do because the train is moving and there are all the reflections (and I only had my iPhone camera) but imagine this view at sunrise with pinks and blues and the sun reflecting through the stained glass windows and a low haze in the field... yes, it is stunning!
I keep telling myself that one day I'll get up at the buttcrack of dawn to take the train to Bayeux, get off and walk to where I could take this picture and capture the moment... I'll be sure to let you know when that happens!

In other news things are a bit of a whirlwind around here, I've got tons of work to do before we leave town next Thursday to drive out to Paris before our flight Friday morning! Eeeeeegads!! I need to wrap up grading tests, some work I do for the language lab in Caen, practice for my written exam for the driver's license (I got a date! May 25th baby!) and of course finish planning our trip!!!
Right now we've got a few things sorted. We fly into Seattle May 1st and then spend a couple days there before flying down to Las Vegas where our road trip will begin (the Grand Canyon, seeing friends and family along the coastal drive back up to Seattle!). We've got the plane tickets booked, our first night (yea internet specials!!!) in this hotel:
*Squeaaaaaal of excitement here*

But we still need to finalize the car rental details. Neither Mystery Guest nor myself have ever rented a car in any country and the complicated insurance language is a bit over our heads. Plus since we're returning the car in a different location there is a hefty fee but isn't always clearly marked if it is included in the price or payable on return... ah, a little headache is coming on... But once we get that nailed down we'll be good to go!

Now just can't forget the essentials ... passport, camera, summer clothes! I heard there's a heat wave in Southern California - 100F! Duuuude! These delicate Norman blossoms are going to wilt in that heat! ;-)

lundi, avril 20, 2009

Hungarian/American/French Wedding?

I went to Tours last weekend for a very multi-cultural wedding! My close friend from college (Miss Claire I guess now she's Mrs Claire!) married her soulmate Dénes on Saturday. I don't use that word lightly but with these two they really are eachother's soulmate; they are one of those couples that you know make eachother so happy and I think that's what made this wedding so special. It was a small guest list and everyone there was so supportive of these two fantastic people.

I'm so happy for both of them and wish them the best in their new life together.

jeudi, avril 16, 2009

productive train time

These 2 weeks have been really busy because I'm teaching a stage in Caen everyday so I take the train for an hour each way. That does not bother me at all, I listen to podcasts and relax but I decided as a project for these two weeks to see how much work I could get done on a pair of socks for me! (Mystery Guest got his, I want mine!) I started Monday morning last week and have been knitting each way, it really keeps me awake and I feel much more productive with my time (instead of just trying to kill it!)

Here is an in progress shot of my sock! I adore this yarn, it is soft and so easy to work with. The colors very close to the real thing in this picture:
Then tonight I finished it! I still have to work tomorrow so I'll start sock #2 in the morning and then after work I jet off to the Loire Valley to see some chateaux (oh... and one of my best friends getting married, but really its for the chateaux ;-) ) for the weekend so even more train time! ;-)
I might try to blog from the road if I can snag a wifi connection, if not have a great weekend and see you next week!

lundi, avril 13, 2009

Easter Afternoon

This afternoon the weather was too good to pass up, we decided to take a drive. There was a new geocache in the area so we headed in that direction. It was near where General Patton had his secret headquarters during the D-Day invasion. A big Sherman tank sat right next to an apple orchard! Always a fun toy to take pictures on! ;-)

Then we drove in the direction of the Moulin du Cotentin that we had gone to last summer with the dynamic duo. They were offering discounted tours of the windmill and the guide was great, such a character!

Anyway it was really nice, warm* (about 18C according to Clio!) and relaxing to drive around, geocache and play with my camera - I'm totally addicted!

*I have a hard time believing we're in for an icky rainstorm this week...

job hunt... and sunlight on the water

I had a job interview this morning (yes, Easter Monday which is a holiday in France) to work with kids as a type of Camp Councilor in July/Aug in a seaside town near V-town. The interview went great, he said he wanted to hire me on the spot but like all jobs in France I'm lacking the diploma necessary to do a high school job... ahhhh France. I might get the diploma anyway if I'm just hanging around this summer (the way things are looking now) to keep me busy and one more thing to have on my CV. Why not? I'll take a look to see how much it costs etc.

But the light this morning was amazing, I was kicking myself for not having brought my big beast of a camera so I tried to do my best with the iPhone, not too bad eh?

dimanche, avril 12, 2009

passing time in the train

I've been spending a lot of time on the train commuting for work during the April break and socks are the perfect project to pass the time! That and great podcasts make me a happy camper!

Here's the progress I've made on my socks, I love the color, halfway between salmon and rust :-) I'm about halfway done with the first sock!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope everyone gets some chocolate today! (Even if I still can't understand for the life of me how a flying bell transports the Easter candy...?!?) I mean I know they're magic but still... an Easter Bunny makes so much more sense! ;-)

We're off to the belle-famille for an Easter lunch, I heard an egg hunt is even in store for us...!

jeudi, avril 09, 2009


It's been quiet on my blog this week, I've been working in Caen this week & the work is great but the commute leaves me little time at home - but it's almost Friday & a long weekend for Easter! Maybe I'll be inspired then.. :-)

Sent from my iPhone

vendredi, avril 03, 2009

April 1st - Coutances

A fabulous day spent in Coutances with a colleague (Patrick the Pirate) and the Katester!

mercredi, avril 01, 2009

sneaky me?

After all the hassle with my driver's license I decided to just try something for fun, see if I can try one last time to exchange it (even though my state does not exchange licenses...) so I stopped by the town hall after work yesterday and asked the woman.

She was pretty clueless (yea! that gave me hope!) and didn't really understand what I wanted (an international license? huh?) but when I explained again she asked to see my American one. I showed it to her and she saw Washington across the top. She looked on her list of states and said:

"That's in Virginia right?"

She mistook the confused look on my face for not understanding her French and explained again,

"Washington, that's in Virginia right"

I realized that she thought my license was from Washington D.C. and saw this as my opportunity to try to slip one by her.

"Oh, yes of course, it's in Virginia!"

She made all sorts of photocopies, had me fill in the exchange document and told me to come back with pictures etc. (haha, showed her! I carry pictures with me at all times!) So she said she'd process it and let me know when it would be done.

Oh my god, fingers crossed! If this works I think I'll jump for joy!!! Trying not to get too excited... but whoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!