July 2005 Archives

Sound of summer

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We started our holidays off in style last night - relaxing in a garden, eating barbecued chipolatas, a private jam session (jazz is truly the sound of summer, for me), excellent company.

Life has it's ups and downs, but we are so lucky.

Then, this morning, there was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world - waking up on that first day of the holidays, knowing that three weeks of pure holiday goodness stretch ahead, a well-deserved product of all the hard work we've been doing. Anything is possible. Everything is possible.

For better or worse

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Marriage means taking the good with the bad, sticking together through thick and thin. I knew that one day I would have to do something like this, but I wasn't prepared for it to be today. That said, I don't think you can ever be totally prepared.

Sylvain's grandmother passed away last night. His father rang me this morning and asked me to tell Sylvain (a little curious, but understandably, I don't think they're thinking very straight).

That, along with the phone calls surrounding my mum's fight with cancer, would have to be the hardest telephone call I've ever had to make.

The war of the worlds

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Katia throws a coaster at her husband, who is sleeping on the couch, "no! Sylvain! Wake up! It's not fair!"

Sylvain jumps, snuffling, "quoi? What?"

Katia throws another coaster at him, "you're sleeping! And holding the remote control! You can't turn this crap on and then sleep through it."

Sylvain, clutching the remote to his chest, narrows his eyes, "you made me watch Top Model last night. You owe me."

Silence reigns.

Sylvain falls asleep again, a smile on his face.

Katia pouts.

Anyone for some yoghurt?

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Early last week I made our monthly online shopping order, which included all sorts of cumbersome things like bottles of water and kitty litter (a pain in the arse to lug around), as well as the other staples - milk, pasta, cat food... the list goes on. Then there are the usual surprises that I click on and forget about ordering until I open the boxes when they arrive a day or two later. Our Auchan delivery is like Christmas.

I love ordering online. Half an hour of pointing and clicking and I'm done. Saves us a hell of a lot of time and stress, especially given how inefficient supermarkets are here, and the last thing we want to do on a weeknight is fight over the last items on the shelves and deal with queues of over half an hour. Even better, our grocery bill seems to have diminished since we started ordering staple items online, and we only buy fresh food from our local supermarket and market every few days.

But I did make a bit of a booboo with the last order. I usually order a bunch of different flavoured yoghurts, and recently we've enjoyed eating Vanilla Bio Yoghurt for breakfast with chopped up bananas. As well as the strawberry, fig and mango yoghurts, I thought I had ordered 8 pots of Vanilla Bio Yoghurt. I opened the delivery carton up last week to discover that I had actually ordered 24 pots of Vanilla Bio Yoghurt (2 x 12), as well as all the other usual flavours. I love the stuff, but not quite that much.

Sylvain keeps making smart-arsed comments, "hmm. What shall I have for dessert? Oh! Perhaps some Vanilla yoghurt! Just for a change!" He then practically falls over with laughter.

At least he's amused.

Up to date

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Sylvain picked up his new passport today. As is only proper, he is still very embarrassed that he let both his passport and identity card expire, and that he gave everyone a scare about potentially not being able to go to Ireland with us next week. I think I'll let him feel guilty for at least another week or so. hehe.

Given my several weeks of late nights, cold coffee (why do I always forget to drink it, when it's sitting right beside my keyboard? and why do I insist on drinking it, even when it's cold? that's just gross...), a lot of unpaid overtime and much crankyness, I really need a break.

As of Friday night, we will both officially be in "holiday mode". Three weeks of pure holiday goodness. Despite the fact that they are enforced - I don't have a choice about the dates or anything, because my place of employ is actually closing for that whole time - they are welcome. My parents are arriving on Monday, and will be visiting for five weeks - during that time, we'll gallyvant around Paris, enjoy the finest that Ireland has to offer (beer for some, Baileys for others), visit my in-laws, and see the sights in Bordeaux and the South of France. After all that, I might need a holiday from my holiday.

The customer is always wrong

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Last week I booked all our accomodation for our trip to Ireland next week, and was thrilled to be able to do all my research and booking online. I love technology. But of course, being the worry-wart that I am, I decided to pick up the phone tonight and confirm all the bookings.

I stumbled a little with the Ireland country code, but eventually got through. I even had a little difficulty understanding what the girl was saying on the other end of the line at the second establishment I rang, but other than that... fabulous accents, sing-song voices, and so warm.

It's been over 1 1/2 years since I last returned home, and have stepped a foot outside France since. The mere glimpse at this generosity with strangers made me realise that I'd forgotten how freaking bad customer service is here - that is, how good it can be elsewhere. It's scary that I've gotten so used to it that good customer service is now a novelty, not the norm.

I think this trip Ireland could be just what the doctor ordered.

That is, of course, given that Sylvain gets his freaking passport in time.

Wake up.
Make coffee.
Tidy lounge room.
Speak to parents in Australia on the phone for an hour. Applaud mothers attempts to speak French on the phone. Sigh at fathers "dad jokes". Agree that Sylvain is a spazmo gadazmo for letting his passport and identity card expire. Confirm that am excited that they will be here in just over a week.
Clean bathroom.
Get phone call from sister. Listen to sisters descriptions of successful outing to garage sale where she picked up following record : The Best of Elton John (to be added to her growing collection of Wham, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond records).
Fold clothes.
Listen to sisters descriptions of recent trip to Geelong where she and her boyfriend threw rocks at dead jellyfish.
Tidy kitchen.
Supermarket shopping. Get accosted by little old lady who tells me that I should make sure to pick the cherries with the green stems not the yellow stems.
Go to movies with husband, this chick and her husband : Charlie et la chocolaterie. Sneak a Starbucks Caramel Frappacino in handbag. Drool over Johnny Depp, despite freakish appearance. Decide that that I want an Oompa-Loompa now Daddy.
Go shopping. Find a fabulous bright green change purse and bright pink card holder.
Go home, where I am attacked by mini prawns. Conclude that some people should not be allowed out in public.
Eat seafood risotto and watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Again. Robin!!!
Eat some cherries and play Destruct-O-Match.
Sleep.

Red Tape

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In April, just before our two year wedding anniversary, we went to the Prefecture to get my carte de sejour renewed. It was a great big hassle, what with photocopies of different papers, wedding certificates, identity cards and photos exchanging hands, but after several rendez-vous, I was handed a stamped piece of paper which basically said that I was waiting for my carte de sejour and was allowed to stay here, and this paper would serve as justification of that until I was sent a letter asking me to come to the prefecture to pick up my ten-year card.

Three months passed. No letter, but we did get a suprise visit from the police, which was, in hindsight, somewhat reassuring, since we knew that they were working on our dossier. The dates on the paper expired, and so, being the good little citizens that we are, we went in to the Prefecture yesterday, brandishing the expired piece of paper, and requested an extension. The gentleman behind the desk nodded politely, looked up the status of our dossier, and told us we would have another month to wait before we received the convocation to the Prefecture, then offered to stamp my recipissé with an extension.

He hesitated, then asked, "will you be travelling overseas in the next month?"

I nodded, frowning, "why?".

He shrugged, then smiled, and whipped me up a new recipissé, "you'll need a real one to get you through the airport". Five minutes later and we were out of the Prefecture. Efficacity! In the French Administrative System! I never thought I'd see the day.

Our luck didn't last, unfortunately. Sylvain travelled to England earlier this week and discovered that both his Passport and Identity Card had expired, and needed to get new ones made. A last minute panic, as usual - if we want to go to Ireland, he needs to have his papers up to date. He dropped me off at the station and waltzed in to the Town Hall.

They looked over his papers, "You need your birth certificate."

"I have my birth certificate," he points it out.

"But this doesn't say you're married," they said.

Whilst I'm perplexed why his Birth Certificate needs to say something like that, given that it is a record of his Birth and our Marriage documents should be enough evidence of our Marriage, Sylvain, being French, is quite used to such ridiculous requests and set about the process of chasing down a new Birth Certificate, as well as getting his boss to write him a letter saying that he needed his Passport processed with urgency due to work requirements. He sent off his request for the changes to his Birth Certificate last night, and when he rang the Town Hall of the place he was born at 9:10 this morning, in yet another amazing display of efficacity, they told him that it was already in the mail. Of course, it's a tiny country town. Nothing like Paris.

I just hope we get the Birth Certificate without any dramas, and the Town Hall actually manages to get his Passport processed in time for us to catch our flights to Ireland. I am extremely slightly anxious about the entire matter, but am trying not to panic because I know that won't help.

Breathe. Panicking won't help. Won't help. Breathe.

There are a couple of movies - ones which I consider definitive in my adolescent years - to which I know the majority of the script by heart. Waynes World, Terminator 2, The Lion King and Encino Man... just to name a few. Classics, in every sense of the word.

But my all-time favourite movie is truly the best of them all- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

This was the first movies that I ever saw at the cinema (at 12 or 13 years of age) without my parents. In fact, given that we lived in the middle of nowhere, I could have counted on one hand the number of movies I'd actually seen in the cinema by that age. I taped it one Sunday night when it came on tv, cutting out the ads, and I think I nearly wore the video cassette out from watching it so often. I can practically repeat the entire thing, word for word, from start to finish. I'm pretty sure, as a result, my parents and my sister all know the script word for word too ;)

To my delight, I managed to pick up a copy of the dvd for myself in fnac this week, and made Sylvain watch it with me tonight. He started off smiling at my repetition of the script along with the actors, but was soon shooting serious glares at me for talking over the text. When he threated to pull the plug on the tv, I stopped. Even I know my limits.

The only thing that disturbed me was the ridiculousness of Kevin Costner in the role of Robin Hood, and his preposterously strong accent, especially when saying, "this is English courage". Not to mention the fact that he had what could almost be considered a mullet. But it was as good as it was when I watched it at least once a week, over ten years ago.

This is truly one for posterity - a milestone, in fact - and this dvd now holds pride of place in my dvd collection. Even if I only actually own a grand total of three dvds (the other two being Bridget Jones's Diary and Dirty Dancing). But it's about quality, not quantity.

Time out

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This weekend I had the pleasure of reading as much as I wanted, whilst my entourage stayed inside and had their siesta's in front of the Tour de France. I stretched out on a lounge chair in the garden, under the shade of a tree. I went in well armed, with 4 books stuffed in my overnight bag. I came back with 5 ;)

On the TGV, I finished Linda Fairstein's Entombed. I love a good crime novel, crime fiction being one of my favourite genres - I don't need to think about it when I'm reading it, the stories usually have a strict beginning, middle and end. Nice and brainless.

Then I got stuck into The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. Fabulous, intriguing, it felt very Da Vinci Code-ish to me, and I devoured it in a matter of hours. I think (without leaving any spoilers) the events at the end could have been explored in more detail, which would have rounded the storyline out a little more, but in all, an excellent read.

My next book was The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I was a little reluctant to read it, having heard quite a bit of hype about it for months, but it was only 6 euros at the Abbey Bookshop and I couldn't resist. Thus I was plunged into a magical storyline and didn't surface until the last page. It made me laugh, it made me catch my breath, it made me cringe - it's not often that I find a novel which makes me experience such a range of emotions. A stunning novel, beautifully written, one of the rare books that I wanted to reread immediately. It made me want to run back to my tutorial room at Uni and analyse it, discuss it. It was that good.

We made a wee trip to fnac on Friday, and I picked up a copy of Arthur et les Minimoys (it has been translated into English also). I opened it up and, again, was totally engulfed by the story. It strongly reminded me of the Artemis Fowl series, and I was surprised to find myself racing through the book at top speed. It's rare for me to enjoy reading in French, but this book really had me in it's grip from the opening sentence. I can't wait to see the movie, but I'll have to get hold of the other Tomes and get through them too! ;)

There is nothing that makes me happier, nothing that feels more decadent, than relaxing with a book.

The question now presents itself : what to read next?

Working around

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We had a marvellous long Bastille Day weekend, "taking benefits of the situation" (as Sylvain likes to say) by "bridging" the public holiday with the weekend and taking Friday off. Four glorious days off.

It didn't start off very well, as the freaking code that I needed to withdraw my TGV tickets (purchased online) from the machine wasn't on the printout that I had tucked in my handbag. I then had a Who Is The Crankiest? Contest with a person at the Information Desk (sadly, he won : there are no internet-capable bornes for general use in Gare de Lyon), then ran around the general Gare de Lyon area trying to find an internet café to access my email and get the right code. Finally, I arrived on the platform, tickets in hand, to find my flustered husband, who had arrived just 30 seconds before, and we got on the train with one minute to spare.

After all that, the weekend was fairly laid-back. I got the chance to experiment a lot with my camera, as well as eat and drink lots of delicious things. Very civilised, if you ask me.

We returned to Paris on Saturday night, and spent Sunday in the comfort of our well-shaded and cool apartment. Thankfully the heat dissipated last night and we're in for a week of low twenties. My poor Australian blood just isn't used to the heat anymore.

My week has started off with a bang. Lots of work. Too much work.

To make matters worse, The Powers That Be have started the annual Travaux Castor again - for five weeks, they close off four stations along my line, one of which is the station next to my place of employ. Thankfully five of those weeks fall on my three-week holiday, but it still means two weeks of bus connections and leaving for work earlier than usual.

With all this in mind, I went into Travaux Castor with a very negative point of view and spent all last week complaining about it to anyone that would listen (have I been here for too long?), but I'd obviously forgotten how much I actually enjoyed it last year - and I found myself yet again enchanted by the views from the bus as it whizzes down the Boulevard Saint Germain towards my work. These amazing buildings and quaint side-streets are things I am surrounded by every day, but it just requires a different perspective to make me appreciate it even more. I love to sit back on the bus and watch the city waking up along the Boulevard in the morning, and watch all the peniches and cyclists as the bus scoots along the Quai du Seine in the afternoon.

The best way to explore Paris is certainly by foot, but for moving considerable distances when you actually have the time (considering the risk of traffic jams and the like), there is no better way to go than by bus.

I have too much work to do and too little time, and it certainly doesn't help that I'm getting excited about the three weeks of holidays looming up in August. But sometimes you just have to remember that you have to do things you don't want to do in order to do the things you do. And sometimes life brings it's nice little surprises in the guise of I-have-to-leave-home-early-to-get-to-work-on-time Uglies like Travaux Castor.

Feeling guilty

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I'm feeling all contrary.

I didn't get the chance to go to the library on Friday, and therefore I have a bunch of overdue library books sitting on the buffet at home. We were too occupied on the weekend for me to drop in and return them, then I've been busy each night this week, so I haven't been able to return them either. I've never had an overdue library book in my life (of my own free will), and I'm feeling horribly horribly horribly ashamed of myself.

Dirty. I feel dirty.

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My mp3 player decided to die on me last week, which means that I'm music-less. Sylvain tried his best, and as a last resort, with his engineering brain, he even pulled it apart and tinkered with it, but alas, it is truly dead.

I was really very upset about it, especially since it was a birthday gift from Sylvain last year.

He hugged me and said, "it wasn't really the mp3 player I gave you for your birthday - it was music. It doesn't matter what form the mp3 player has, it's the music that I gave you.".

Frenchmen. So poetic.

So now I'm looking for an ipod. I want I want I want. Of course, with holidays coming up and a trip to Ireland in the works, I am setting myself restrictions. I will not buy an ipod until one of the following conditions is filled :
a. I receive a cheque for the articles I've written over the last few months (could be tomorrow, could be three months);
b. We sell the car (given Sylvain's ostrich-like tendancies, this will probably happen around the time that chickens grow teeth);
c. I receive the annual October bonus for all my hard work.

I can't wait that long. *pouts*

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On Monday we made quite a last-minute decision to head out to the country to spend some quality time with the in-laws. Last-minute decisions being what they are, the TGV tickets were not cheap, but at least the in-laws are happy and we are guaranteed to eat well.

Fumigation ?

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Last night we took Symphony to the vet. She has a few funny little furless patches on her ear, and Sylvain was slightly panicky about the whole thing (I was surprisingly fine, until he told me that his old cat died of cancer of the ear and then, of course, I just spiralled into a total panicky mess).

Anyway. Thankfully, after a close examination, the vet gave Symphony a clean bill of health - she suggested that it was better to be safe than sorry, and maybe she hurt herself on something and it was just healing over. She suggested that the way the fur had disappeared made her think that perhaps it was caused by the cat playing with scotch tape and ripping her fur out by accident?

Sylvain made a choking noise as he tried to suppress his laughter. Cos it's not just the plastic, you see. She goes nuts when she sees anything with scotch tape on it and tries to bite it off.

"She likes to eat scotch tape," I explained to the vet.

"Not exactly eating it," Sylvain put in.

"No," I confirmed. "She doesn't eat it, she just likes to chew on it."

The vet narrowed her eyes slightly and nodded, "ok..."

Sylvain's other theory is that she spends too much time staring into the halogen lamp that sits on his bedside table, and that perhaps she burned some of her fur. She literally sits directly underneath it and stares into it. Our cat is weird.

Of course, now the vet thinks that we feed our cat scotch tape and burn her with halogen lamps, but that's ok. Yet again, she was absolutely enamoured with Symphony (as is everyone that meets her). The dear little cat strolled from one side of the examining table to the other, crawled into my arms for a hug after she had her temperature taken (the hard way), and sat on the vets lap and gave her nose kisses as she was writing out the bill.

I topped the whole thing off by asking the doctor if she had any worming tablets.

Only I didn't ask it the right way.

"Est-ce que vous pourriez nous recommander des pillules ... " I paused, looking at Sylvain for help. He shrugged, not having any idea where I was going with this. "des pillules ... de fumigation?" (Can you recommend some tablets for... for... fumigation?)

Both the vet and Sylvain looked at me, perplexed.

"Um..."

"... pour des chaleurs?" the vet suggested. (for cats on heat?)

I shook my head.

"... pour ..." Sylvain was lost for words.

"Les vers," I explained. (Worms)

We all looked at each other for a moment.

"Des pillules vermifuge!" The three of us exclaimed at once. (Worming tablets)

The vet gave us some worming tablets, kissed Symphony on the top of her head, then we walked out, shaking the vets hand.

"Where on earth did you get "fumigation"?" Sylvain asked, laughing.

"I dunno... fumigation means to get rid of bugs..." I shrugged. "Bugs... worms... same difference..." I thought for a moment, "although, of course, we don't fumigate cats in English, so I really don't know where I got that from..."

We got home and opened Symphony's carry cage. She stepped out, ate a few croquettes, then climbed back in and napped for half an hour.

She's one cool cat. Albeit one that eats scotch tape and stares into halogen lamps.

Mysterious package

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Warning : neopets-related and totally geeky entry

I came home from dinner tonight with a girlfriend tonight to find a mysterious package in my mailbox.

The excitement! I love getting things in the mail! Especially when they're mysterious packages!

However, this made me worried...

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... and this got me even more worried ...

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... and this seriously had me shaking in my boots birkenstocks ...

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... this put my heart rate up and I started to panic ...

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... and I don't remember anything after this ...

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... until I woke up, lying on the floor of the apartment, empty box beside me ...

... and somewhere ... somewhere ... there is a rabid meepit running around in our apartment. I may have to call a professional.

Thankies Kerstin! You made my day!

Dazzling style; flamboyance; flair

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Occupied as I am with improving my French, I have been known to fluff up my English sentences here every now and again (but I'm not the only one - and I have a list to prove it!). But today, let it not be said that my English is not improving!

Word of the Day : pizzaz (or pizazz) = the quality of being exciting or attractive. (I have to admit that this is not technically a Word of the Day... more a Spelling of the Day. I was doing a bit of last-minute polishing on a couple of articles that I must hand in tomorrow, and I was really excited to find this word actually exists in the dictionary. And now I know how it's spelled! Fun!

In related news, my official Word of the Day (according to the Dictionary.com widget on my Mac's Dashboard) is "potable". I knew this word in French (as one is often confronted with the phrase, eau potable, or "drinkable / drinking water"), and am delighted to find that it actually exists in English - a funny thing, as this feeling is usually the other way around, where I'm delighted to find that an English word also exists in the same format in French!

You too

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U2 Concert : A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

I am completely lost for words. What a way to experience my first concert ever. Vertigo at the beginning and end. Touching tributes and poignant words about current events. For every new song, they sang two classics. Sylvain and I grinned from ear to ear the whole time. Only thing that made me cranky was the amount of people smoking, but I managed to ignore it and sang louder. Lost my voice. Loved it.

I just saw U2... in Paris... Whee!

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

The next step

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I knew it was moving along, but I didn't realise that our relationship had quite gotten to that stage... but, if you want to offer me the keys to your humble abode, I'm ok with that.

Just as long as you're ok with the fact that I'm planning on throwing some pretty wild parties whilst you're gone (and I'm sure she's got similar ideas).

Guest bloggers are supposed to misbehave. After all, it's not me that has to clean up when they all go home. ;)

Shady dealings

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I've become a dealer...

... my clients range in age and in nationality. They live all around Paris, and even as far away as Le Havre.

... they appreciate what I can give them.

I've become a dealer...

... of cheddar.

My fromager thought I was a little crazy when I requested he wrap up 3 seperate packets of the tangy, crumbly, yellow-white goodness - but nodded conspiratorially when I explained that it was for some of my anglo friends here. The thing is - this stuff is good. Occasionally you'll find scary blocks of bright yellow-orange cheddar on the supermarket shelves here, as well as slices of "hamburger cheese", but it all tastes like plastic to me. This stuff, however, is melt-in-your-mouth good. My fromager gets it shipped in from England, especially for the few anglos that are living in my quartier. Perfect for nachos (yes, I can do them now, Tom!), excellent on the top of lasagne, delicious toasted under the grill, divine in a salad. No wonder people are asking me to get it for them.

It's funny that I'm in The Land Of Cheese and I'm still turning towards an old favourite (and British, en plus!) as one of our staple fridge supplies (not that the Roquefort is not making it's appearances, but still...). The only problem is that now I've been introduced to the goodness that is the Special Imported Cheddar From England, I think I've turned into a Cheddar Snob. I imagine that one day I'll go back to Australia and I'll end up not liking the cheddar there.

If I were a dog I would chase my tail around in circles.

You are what you speak

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Sylvains vocabulary of medieval/fantasy/sci-fi English words is astounding. Even in the early days of our relationship, when we were relying on his school-learned English to get us through, he knew all these obscure words like unicorn, fathom and feudal. The list is enormous and impressive, albeit slightly disarming.

One of my colleagues has a similar grasp of such words, so I think it's got a great deal to do with the fact that these young men played a LOT of computer games in the eighties and nineties, and in the early days, many of these games were not translated into French. So if they wanted to play the game, and understand what was going on, they had to learn the words. Thus they are able to pull out all these fancy schmancy words without blinking.

You learn according to what you are exposed to, and this sort of English vocabulary knowledge is kindof cool.

I cannot say the same for myself, unfortunately. I work in a scientific, male-dominated industry. My everyday French has been honed in this environment. I know all sorts of extremely unuseful terms and words like concassage, broyage, recyclage, la minéralurgie and so on. Try throwing such fascinating scientific terms as "pulverising of coal or rocks" in your average conversation and see if that sounds cool.

My French word of the day : un lutin = an elf, an imp, a sprite (or a leprechaun).

Waiting, watching

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Waiting for news that my little cousin, who is living in the centre of London, is alright. For all I know, the school term is finished and she's back safe and sound in Australia, and even if not, I'm sure she's perfectly fine... but my tummy is still in knots. I can only imagine what her parents, the rest of our family are feeling, way down there in the Southern Hemisphere. (Edit : late night sms from my mum assures me that all is well - thank goodness...)

How irrational it was to be all nervous on the train home tonight. I can't even begin to describe what I feel about this stupidity. So go read what he has to say about it instead. (Edit : Or better yet, read the beautiful words of Chninkel (in French).)

My prayers are with those who have been touched by todays ridiculous tragedy.

There's always next time

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The tv is loud. An announcer stares solemnly at us from the screen. I'm surrounded by sighs of disappointment.

London got the Olympics in 2012.

Paris didn't.

I'm not particularly fussed one way or the other, because after all, we don't know what we'll be calling home in 7 years time.

The French people around me are actually being rather good sports about it too. Instead of the negative, "oh, not the English", statements that I expected to hear, I'm amused to hear comments like, "ah well, my daughter will have started learning English by then - perhaps we'll have to take the opportunity to go over!", and "well at least my train line won't be blocked off for a year!".

Roosters and Donkeys

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Wanna read what four American gals and one aussie lass have to say about life in France? And in French, no less? Well, you'll just have to scoot on over and witness the butchery of the beautiful French language check out From Rooster to Donkey.

I'm so delighted that we decided on my favourite French saying as the blog title : passer du coq à l'âne. It's hilarious on so many levels ;)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

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I got a wee bit sunburned on the weekend, and as I was putting moisturiser on my arms on Saturday night, Sylvain came up to me and kissed me on the cheek.

"You broke yourself again," he grinned at me.

"Huh?" I stop and look at him.

"You broke yourself," he insisted. "You're sunburned. You're not 100% you."

"Ahh..." The penny drops. Sometimes having a 'foreign' partner means that one has to do much mental gymnastics to figure out what he's trying to say.

"But I still love you when you're broken," he hugged me, gingerly, making sure he didn't touch my sunburn.

How can I not adore this boy?

Sleep easy

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The milder temperatures this week (low 20s) means that it's easier to sleep right through the night. I like not waking up in a pool of my sweat. There is nothing more revolting than feeling like you're basting in bed.

I think it is a sign of a good weekend when one is completely exhausted on Monday. It might have something to do with the sunburn that I have on my arms too. It is, however, not a good way to start the working week, but nothing that a few extra cups of coffee won't fix. hehe.

The weekend was full of interesting things, like mussels and crêpes, calvados and kir normand, muffins and perrier with lemon syrup, rocky beaches and crabs found in rock pools, sunburn and frantic searches for sunscreen, encino man and bohemian rhapsody in the car. The most memorable quote for the weekend was when we were standing in line at a crêperie in Etretat, surrounded by tourists, and a man responded to his sons request for a Hot Dog : "no, you can't - this is a No Hot Dog Country."

We had a great mini-break in Normandy, and we finished it off in a very civilised fashion, drinking champagne and eating cake, in her garden.

I think summer has well and truly started.

Mini-break

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This weekend we're going on a mini-break to Le Havre to see her and him. So this evening a few of us bundling into a car (respective husbands tagging along) and zipping down to the coast for our wee mini-break.

I think we're being very brave to embrace the nerdiness that seems to abound in Le Havre (for example, we were provided with a POWERPOINT PRESENTATION of instructions on how to get there - ahem), especially since the industrial Le Havre isn't quite the romantic mini-break location one would hope for when mini-break-ing in France - it's not quite like the Loire Valley, or Saint-Emilion, for example. But it'll do. Because after all, it's about the company, not the location.

We have to be back in Paris on Sunday to celebrate some recent nuptuals - it's just a celebratory weekend! What more could you want?

I'm sure I won't be able to resist moblogging, especially if there are killer monster Le Havre-ian seagulls involved ;)

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