dimanche, mai 31, 2009


Yea!! I finally got my diploma!! It was sad not having a graduation and the recognition of my Master's work in a public way like we're used to at home but it is very nice to have my diploma (now I just need to buy a frame..!)

Woooot!!! I think I'll go find myself a cap & gown and have my own private ceremony with a glass of champagne...

samedi, mai 30, 2009

dun dun dun!

Well I'm finally going to let the cat out of the bag... there's been something that I've wanted to announce for the last couple months but first I wanted to make sure that it was going to happen and then second I guess, well, life got in the way and I couldn't devote the time I needed to make sure I wrote this when I had the time.

Ready? (no, I'm not pregnant, I know that's going through your minds!)


Well Mystery Guest and I are going to build a house!! Yes! A house of our own!! There has been a ton of paperwork to do, we had to make an offer (which was accepted) on the land, then get a bank to give us a loan (that's finishing up now) all the while making the plans for the house and submitting those to get a building permit, all the joys of administration!

But it's finally coming together! The land is beautiful, about 15 minutes from V-town out in the countryside where we went kayaking last year. It's huge piece of land, about 4,000 m2 - which is HUGE, about an acre I think! The house is going to be a wooden house, 2 floors, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths! It is an enormous project and thank god Mystery Guest's parents have a lot of experience building a house, they've been helping us since the beginning, what documents to get and send, how to plan the house etc...

So things are finally starting to come together and we're looking to put together the house the first 3 weeks of August (the framing etc) with Mystery Guest, his dad and brothers before we call in the electrician, plumber etc. Sooooo anyway want to come raise our house with us? :-) We could use the extra hands and in return you'll get a tour of the lovely Norman countryside annnnd get some big muscles that will look smokin' in a bathing suit on your beach vacation at the end of August ;-)

vendredi, mai 29, 2009

yeah!! knitting baby!

I couldn't find how to put the video directly in this post but BRAVO Aimee!


jeudi, mai 28, 2009

that time of year again...

... for all the Administration running around to do! Last Sunday I sat down with my MIL to do my French taxes (let's not talk about American taxes yet...). Normally French taxes are just about the easiest things ever, once you've filed once the forms come to you pre-filled out and all you have to do is verify the numbers and sign it, off it goes!

Buuut since Mystery Guest and I got PACSed last year it made things a bit more complicated. We each had to declare separate "single" tax forms from January 01 to March 11th and then a joint tax form from March 12th to December 31st. That meant breaking down the pay-per-day rate and hours worked per day and then calculating all kinds of funkyness for the month of March. Good news is we will probably get a refund for our combined low salary (whereas I probably would have paid taxes had I stayed single).

Then it was off to tackle my carte de sejour renewal. I had called the sous-prefecture in Cherbourg a couple months ago to ask if I could renew it there, if Mystery Guest was required to come with me, what documents were needed etc. He obviously hadn't delt much with carte de sejours so he was the nicest fonctionnaire ever and called the main prefecture for me! Then he called me back (I know! Gasp!) and sent me an letter containing a list of all the documents needed and a form to fill out and send to the main prefecture. I finally got the list together (needed special stamps to pay for it, new photos etc) and sent it off today. I figured since there was 70e worth of stamps on my application I would send it registrared mail, worth the extra 4e for a little piece of mind I guess...) If they except my meager list of documents (I swear there were only like 5 things to provide, non of them being proof of PACS or anything..) this will be by far the easiest carte de sejour ever!

After reading about Erica's experience, I think as soon as I get a job for next year I'll go ahead and apply for citizenship, that should be a fun paperwork treasure hunt...!

I also found out that I'll have to wait at least 3 months to pass the code again, oh well, more time to study...

Work went well today, I told those very badly behaved 8th graders that the crap they pulled was unacceptable and that all the work we would do today would be graded at the end. That snapped them into place (sort of, it was still amazingly noisy... couldn't hear myself explain something to one of the kids less than 1 foot away...) Tomorrow I finish up with 2 hours and my two favorite classes, the little tykes, they're so dang cute!

mercredi, mai 27, 2009

The O-man comes to Normandy!

My computer has been out of service as Mystery Guest transfers my data to my BIG new harddrive so I haven't gotten the chance to reply to comments, but I will!
Buuuut I couldn't wait to share the news that I got on the US Embassy list to get an invitation to attend the D-Day ceremony with OBAMA June 6th!!!!! Woooooot!!!
That, my friends, is the highlight of my week!! :-)

Sent from my iPhone

mardi, mai 26, 2009

oh le code... and other news..

So those of you who see me on Facebook know that I alas did not pass the written exam for my driver's license.. I'm totally annoyed at myself, I just don't test well at all and I think I got myself into this huge stressed out state before the exam. With each question I kept thinking, oh maybe this is a trick question, and wrestled with my gut instinct. I think that's what killed me because there were only really 2 or 3 questions that I didn't honestly have any idea about the answer and the rest I just was so stressed out that I couldn't see straight. Gotta love it when you're called up in front of an auditorium full of people and hear the guy say inadmissible... On my paper it was printed out that I got 33/40 and you can't have more than 5 mistakes or you fail.

I'm off to resend my dossier to try to get another appointment but it is just so disappointing, I'm really disappointed with myself and now I'm going to probably have to wait another couple months which means just that much longer that I'm stuck without wheels... especially when the guy at the auto-école said I wouldn't need many lessons before passing the driving part.. big sigh..

But there is some good news, I miiiiight be able to get a ticket with the Normandy Chapter of Democrats Abroad to go see Obama speak for the D-Day celebration on June 6th!! I don't want to get my hopes up but I'd LOOOOOVE to be able to go!

I also wrapped up another morning at the collège where I'm teaching this week. I've got 3 groups (6th, 7th and 8th graders for 15 hours this week). Yesterday started off really well with a hyper (but friendly) group of 7th graders (5èmes) but then it all went downhill with 2 unbearable classes of 8th graders... they just could NOT stop talking for the whole hour, I'm not one to waste my breath so let's just say we didn't get much done (but what can you in 1 week of subbing?) This morning however went really well, I had an adorable class of 6 graders who were just the sweetest and then a reasonably nice group of 8th graders (the only nice group according to the other teachers...) so I've got those annoying kids again this afternoon but I'm almost halfway through the week, just Thursday and Friday left :-) I'll be sure to keep you updated on the whole experience!

vendredi, mai 22, 2009

rollin' rollin'

Wow so much has happened recently that I'd like to write about (but then get distracted by MasterChef - Australia ... umm thanks Cara) and just haven't gotten to it.

First and coming up very quickly is my written driver's test. I have to take it Monday morning and the stress levels are mounting! I've been taking practice tests all day, reading those booklets (does anyone else find it surprising that I can't seem to find a government driver's book anywhere online? Dude, how much money do those auto-ecoles make!?!) and I still can't seem to get anywhere close to less than 5 answers wrong (out of 40) and that test is a b*^($# - if you'll excuse my French - they don't tell you how you're doing as you go! Plus there can be more than one right answer, or just one, and you don't know... pfff!

Annnnyway venting here. So I'm plugging away at that, fingers crossed. The good news is that I did my first hour of driving today and I was really nervous to get behind the wheel (yes, I've got 3,000km under my belt from the last 2 weeks but I haven't done much driving in Franceland, muchless with a stick!) but the guy was about my age and really nice. He had me drive around in V-town and in the countryside (on those little roads where you wonder how 2 cars can get by...) and I only stalled once! Hooray! He actually said he thought I did pretty good with a stick and that I could probably take about 5 lessons and be in good enough shape to pass the test (at 35e an hour that's good news!) and if dates and stuff work out I might have my licence around the beginning of July!* It was nerve racking having someone sitting next to you analyzing how you're driving but I don't think he touched his pedals so I'm happy about that.

The other good news is that the Rectorat has officially hired me as a subsitute teacher! I'm on the list to teach English in junior high or high school level so I'm on their list baby! I start next week for 1 week teaching 15 hours in a junior high in V-town! Yeah for the 10 minute walk commute, boo for all the days off preventing me from contacting the school to see if the teacher left anything for me to do ... so I'm just going to prepare the classes as if nothing is prepared and hope it all works out, especially since I don't know junior high levels that well. It should be a good experience and a week should be just the right amount of time :-)

There was also some other things from our trip that I would like to write about but I'd like it to formulate better in my head before writing it down, we'll see if I get to that ;-)

*This is of course depending on me passing the test Monday and continuing to do well during my driving lessons...

mardi, mai 19, 2009

Road Trip recap

Wow so where did I leave off?? We finally made it back up to my hometown on the Olympic Peninsula after long hours in the car and just vegged for the next couple days. The weather was beautiful and on Saturday we went out for a spin on Pax (Mom & KC's beautiful wooden boat). I always love seeing town from the water, you could imagine how it would have looked 100 years ago... not much has changed actually!

I tried to make a little photo collage to help me sort through the 4G of pictures that I took...! To give you an idea - I'll have to get some of them blown up eventually. But right now jetlag is kicking my butt so the noodles in my brain aren't working too well! The trip back was really long, we left at 6am to take 2 ferries and drive over to the airport where we had a direct flight to Amsterdam and then a quick connection to Paris which all went well. Then we were picked up and got our car from a friend's house where it was all safe for the time we were gone. Driving the 3 hours home was hard! We stopped a couple times in rest stops to sleep, all in all from door to door it was almost exactly 24 hours - Mystery Guest didn't sleep on the plane and I had only slept maybe a total of 2 hours with little naps. Managed to stay up until 9 last night and slept most of the night. Poor guy had to go to work today (not a happy camper) and I'm trying to organize the mounds of paperwork I have for job interviews (yea!), passing the code (boo!) and other fun stuff that is all coming up very quickly!

So I'll leave you with that little tidbit for now. I'm so glad I got to go home and I'm really glad that I was able to share such a wonderful adventure with Mystery Guest... now it's time to work off all those American calories...!

vendredi, mai 15, 2009


We drove up to the Rogue River where we camped in a yurt!! It was
something that I've always wanted to do! Especially given the fact
that our poor air mattresses deflated on us the night before.. I tell
you, yurts are the way to go! We didn't have enough time to go rafting
but we did enjoy the hot weather (about 26C) and walks along the
riverbank trails!

The next day we drive through farmland dotted with red barns to Crater
Lake- another place I'd always wanted to see! The weather was
fantastic but COLD! The still had 6feet of snow so the main lodge was
open but none of the rim drives, still unbelieveable though!

Then we hit I-5 and made it up to Salem to stay the night with a dear
friend and her family.

Yesterday we left and drove over to Silver Falls- spectacular! Then a
yummy brunch at Ihop for Mystery Guest to try an American
institution! ;-) and finally we drove through nasty weather (our
first!) to the coast where we spent several hours (and euros!) at the
outlet mall before making a toasty fire at the cabin where we stayed
last night... More tales to come but just a brief post to get you all
caught up ;-)

Sent from my iPhone

lundi, mai 11, 2009

The giants

We're driving along hwy 101 on our way up the west coast, last night went camping in the beautiful Humboldt State park and now I'm waiting for my breakfast at a roadside diner... Ahhh vacation!!!

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vendredi, mai 08, 2009

Road trippin'

Wow did I sleep hard last night!! basically since we left las vegas we've done nothing but drive! I knew it would be long hours in the car but let's put it this way, we've already listened to my & mystery guest's iPhone music collections - several times! Great fun though, singing along at the top of your lungs on a wide open road!!! (LA traffic? Not so fun...) Yesterday morning we drove down to Orange County to visit my grandparents, it was a quick visit but very good to see them and they were so happy to finally meet MG! They took us out to a delish Mexican restaurant (maragaritas!!) and the time we had with them was so nice :-) Then we hit the road I5 allllllll the way up to the bay area where my dad lives, with only two short breaks but nice to wake up this morning and not have to jump in the car! We have until Sunday here to visit with them before the real adventure begins - driving back up to the Olympic penninsula! We plan on camping along the way and taking in some natural beauty (the redwoods, crater lake, the Oregon coast etc..) I can't wait! Talk about a vacation to clear your mind :-) oh, don't worry I already have over 400 pictures to upload when we get home!! Lol

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jeudi, mai 07, 2009


I'm sitting in an AC motel in southern California, it's been a busy 24 hours! We saw Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon & the desert around Area 51!
Sleeping now... Tired...!!

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mardi, mai 05, 2009


Well we're over our jetlag and getting ready for our road trip! The last few days have been great, we had superb weather yesterday, watched the hummingbirds feed while we ate breakfast, hot tubs at night and introduced my Mom and KC to geocaching! We found 2 out of 3 of them (one of them I think went missing because it really wasn't there!) I've already taken over 200 pictures on my big camera and several on my iPhone (check facebook if you want to see those, the rest I'll wait until we get back to France to upload)

We also had some fantastic food (besides the corn on the cob Mom made open faced sandwiches with goat cheese, grilled eggplant/tomatoes topped with basil! I love summer food!) Today was a little grey so we started getting ready for our trip and headed downtown for some pizza. I also grabbed Mystery Guest a root beer to try - his first! Most Europeans don't like it at all, he said it wasn't bad but he's not a big soda drinker to begin with so when he said he liked it just as much as coke I think that's pretty amazing!

But we haven't just been eating! It's been nice to see my family and get ready for our trip knowing that we'll come back here before flying out. So tomorrow isn't goodbye but see you in bit! :-)

I'm so curious to see what Vegas is like, I'm sure it will be like what I'm expecting but at the same time be totally different. The Grand Canyon I'm sure will be fabulous and I'll get to see my grandparents, all in all it should be great! Posting will be sporadic but I'll try to upload iPhone pictures from wifi hotspots as we go... :-) I hope everyone in Franceland enjoyed a nice long weekend and is gearing up for another one! Love the month of May :-)

samedi, mai 02, 2009

I'm home!

Yea!! Arrived home yesterday afternoon, it was of course a loonnng trip to Seattle but it went very smoothly. On Friday morning we got dropped off at the airport with lots of time to spare, checked in and boarded our DIRECT flight to Seattle! 10 hours (and lots of movies later - LOL was actually really good!) we arrived! Normally my mom would come to pick us up but the main bridge with allows access to my home town is out for 6 weeks - so we took a very bumpy 10-person plane to the next town over and she picked us up. It was a beautiful day, the first nice day they've really had, so we got some great views from the plane! More to come but I'll let you drool over dinner from last night...!!!

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