Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Mother and Daughter Holiday Blog

All I have to say is

That was Marilyn trying to type. She is still trying to figure out how to work my laptop. Believe it or not, that one incomplete sentence above took her 5 minutes to create.

O.K. it'a mE

There she goes again.

O.K. noa I have it straight. All I want to say is : It's DANNNN cold

And believe it or not folks, she has a Masters Degree.

O.K.,now I'm all ready tio tell stories on the "oerfect dauagther", So today we went to a resetaurant serving alsacian food.. I, the mjore conservative one, stuck with what I undersood, On the other haned, Court is about ready to puke her guts up for eating the regional speciality. Anyway, we're going to church tonight, and I will burtn a candle that she makes it throught he service.

Little does she know, I'm faking so I don't have to go to church. Just like when I was in 4th grade and got "sick" when I didn't want to go to school.

O.K., so now I'm digginig up memories fromn the pasat, Oh wellm, what elswe did we do today???? Well, I fell asleep for good reasons during a presentation of harry p9otter on court's computer (via dvd). Why does anyone want to look at a freaky kid, who never does anything wrong, by the way. ALso he makes me sick with his prissy glasses, and the company he keeps is sickening sweet. YUKKKIKKKK. IT's surprising I;m not the one who's sick and can't go to church, BUT church tonight will have an orchestra, an ancient organ, and a wholoe choir. I'm truly A GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMNAN!!!!!!

But I bet Harry Potter can type. And spell. And use a laptop.

I wanted to watch fiddler on the roof. I even b ought the succort to briong here because court always makes me sing the second part of tevia's questioning song: Do you love me????+" and then i have to repeat it a million times if i don't get the words just exactly rioght. So there!!!!!

I bet Tevye can type and use a laptop too.

O.K So now i really know what i'm doing, and i just have one thing more to add:
joyeux noel, and bonne annee ( and that wasn't beckdorth just now!!! inside secret)

(choking) Mom just got up to go to the bathroom and walked into the wrong room. Ok, my apartment consists of like three rooms. It's not that big. Yesterday she pointed to the front door and asked what was "in there." Every day is a new adventure.

O.K., so it't not that big all right, but each rool is 10 degrees colder the other, I have been instructed to close each door whenever I leave the room. The problem is that I forget, ana have to return to the same room i was leaving befiore going into the room i wanted to go into the first time. that makes me go into the room where i want to go a second time, and then it gets confusing in my brain why i'm going back to a place where i couldn't go when i wanted to the first time. i just get confused as well as COLD wherever i go. ALso the french have two separate rooms for toilet and tub and lavatory. i keep forgetting what utilities are in each one, plus like just now, there is also a closet next to the other two possibilities. too many doors around here.

i hear there's a lovely cardboard box down the street.

o.k. so now wer're going to be smart asses??????? Well bring out youru can and see hhow nmuch i p;ut in it. And don't forget to mention that the betggar we saw today \know hgow to use a laptop and canb also type.

What the F***????

O.K., so this is where i draw the line. when the vocablulary starts becoming unchristian, i sign off and go say a prayer for the cohdemmend.

And I hope Jesus will teach you to type.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


I was just sending some people back home eCards and found one from "The Christmas Story." I LOVE that movie. I would in fact venture to say it is one of my favorite movies of all time.

I'm sad I've missed it this well as Charlie Brown Xmas, the Grinch, Christmas Carol, etc etc etc.

Not that I'm complaining cause I'm happy to be in France and am at least lucky to have my mom here for the holidays (a lot of the assistants are on their own) but even though things are beautiful and decorated, etc, Christmas just isn't Christmas unless you're HOME.

Know what I mean?

White Christmas?

It's been SNOWING all morning in Strasbourg! So pretty! And not like South Bend Lake Effect 12 feet of snow. I don't even think it's sticking. Hooray!

Marilyn (this would be my mum) arrives in T-minus 2 hours. I need to finish cleaning. I even made my bed!!

Monday, December 22, 2003

This crazy a$$ country

Four hours later, I have triumphantly returned from the prefecture. Oh la la la la.

So glad I got there first thing, because due to an "affluence" of people they stop giving out tix at 9 am. After waiting for the 100 people ahead of me, I finally went up there and she has me sign everything, has the carte de sejour ready to paste in my passport, then she asks me for the blah blah form....

The blah blah form? Whatcha talkin' bout Willis????

She proceeded to tell me that if I didn't have the blah blah form she couldn't give me my carte de sejour.

It was all I could do not to reach over the counter, snatch it away from her and run like the wind.

But I didn't. Instead I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, I never received the blah blah form, blah blah blah blah blah.

She looked annoyed, picked up the carte de sejour (so close, so close), flipped through my passport, took a look at the visa and said, "Oh, you're a visitor."

Then she pasted the mf thing in my passport.

If only you could have heard the choirs of angels begin to sing in my head.

As an added bonus for my trouble, it appears that I will be legal in France longer than I originally thought...which is perhaps the reason she was asking me for the blah blah form...but then she let it drop. So technically, if I want, I can stay in France till November.

Sugar daddy...yes...must find me a sugar daddy....

But this is the absolutely maddening thing about this two people have the same experience. One the one hand it's cool because the rules can be bent in every way shape or form to your liking.

On the other hand, the rules can be bent in every way shape or form to someone else's liking.

Fortunately, my bureacracy experience is winding down. I have now to finish applying for housing aid, enroll in social security and I'll be finished.

Then it will be time to start all the paperwork to go home.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Official Beer of Christmas

Well Meghan took of for the US of A today. We went out last night for one last roomie hurrah of 2003.

We took a nice tour of the Marches de Noel, then had a loverly dinner. The highlight of the evening, however, was buying a santa "bonnet" from one of the African dudes that walk up and down the street.

Since we arrived in Strasbourg, I've been fascinated with these big men wearing umbrella hats that sell belts, hats and other odds and ends. Why belts? I don't get it.

But anyway, because it is the holidays, they have switched to santa hats with flashing lights. They are being sold everywhere but I made up my mind to buy from one of these guys. Best three euros I've spent.

The other Alsatian Christmas novelty is la biere de noel...or Christmas beer. I don't know, that just sounds like a big marketing ploy to me. But Meg is a big fan. And apparently you can get a gigantic bottle for under a euro. In a specially decorated-for-Christmas bottle.

Only in France.

Marilyn arrives in a couple days, so I need to get my apt in order. It's so quiet and lonely without Meg...And weird.

I kind of don't know what to do with myself.

Tomorrow I plan to get up at the crack of down and head down the prefecture. Come hell or high water I AM GETTING MY $%*)#$%&(#%*^ carte de sejour!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Fiesta a la Shuey

So this morning I woke my happy little self up bright and early to go

Yes. School. On Saturday morning.

The French, being the studious learners they are, insist on going to school on the weekend. How sucky is that? Thank God I don't have to teach on Saturday.

But I suppose when you can shake things up a bit it really doesn't matter. That is precisely what my friend Shuey did today.

His students requested a Christmas pinata and a party. So this week he bought the supplies for the pinata, yesterday afternoon he went supply shopping in Kehl, Germany (cause everything is cheaper in Germany), last night we selected appropriate fiesta music utilizing my lovely ibook, and today his kiddies had their party. They made the pinata and everything themselves.

I was asked to come and be the official photgrapher. I was delighted.

But unfortunately, there was a problem.

The party was supposed to take place during the 15 minute morning break. Unfortunately, when I went to the classroom, no one was there. I walked around a bit, came back, and no one was there.


Meanwhile, I see one of the English proffs and started talking to her and we got into a really nice conversation...all the while I knew the party was going on but couldn't seem to get out of the conversation.

Finally the bell rang, ending the pause, and I wandered around the school trying to find the par-tay. The music finally led me to it, and I walked in to find the kids sweeping the floor and putting away the food.


So after profusely apologizing, I took pictures of everyone left with the sad remainders of the pinata. I felt a little better when I was told that they had to switch rooms and someone had forgotten to post the sign. Missing it wasn't entirely my fault. And the kids were great. And they seemed to know who I was, which was surprising ("Oh, c'est L'AMERICAINE...")...

And as it turns out, I was glad I ended up having the conversation with the English proff, because she invited me to her house for coffee.

In any case, I am happy to report that the Fiesta clean up was a huge success.

And from what I hear, everything beforehand was a good too.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Yea vacation

So yesterday was my last day of teaching and now I am at the beginning of 2 lovely weeks of vacation. Hooray!

The last day was fairly good. First, Meez Verret learned a new vocabulary word: "Preservatif."

This would be a condom.

I was talking about commercials with one of my classes and asked them to tell me about ads they remember. So this one kid starts talking about an ad for a preservatif, and silly naive me says, "What's that?"

There were a few moments of silence and shifting eyes, then one brave soul said, "It is for the sex."

Oh. Well, then.

Of course the next inevitable question was, "Meez Verret, what is the word for 'preservatif' in English?" So I told them the official word, as well as the preferred slang term. They giggled and said, "Our slang for a condom is a 'chapeau.'"

Once again, Oh. Well then.

The rest of the day was pretty laid back because tons of the teachers were absent and therefore my kids just didn't show up.

This is one of the difference btwn the USA and France education systems that just kills me. Back home, if the teacher isn't there you have a substitute. Here, the class is just allowed to roam free and do its own thing.


But I have to say how proud I am of one of my's a bunch of 14 year old boys. Last week they started to watch some of "Rudy" but their class time was cut short because of a test.

Well yesterday the proff was absent, so while we were waiting for confirmation, the same group came up and asked, "Meez Verret, if Madame eez not eeeere, can we go wit youuuuu and watch more of Rudy?"

Cute kiddies.

So they came to my class (while the rest went off to smoke and do God knows what) and watched a nice chunk of "Rudy." I told them they could be excused whenever they wanted but THEY STAYED.

Then the bell rang and they stayed throughout their 15 minute break too.


I love these kids. So Meez Verret pulled out some of the Notre Dame bumper stickers she brought for just this occasion and dropped them off for them at school today.

I also teach a class of art students, and in our last class we talked about ads and I asked them to create one. I didn't mean for it to be homework--I planned to give them time in class--but these two girls made the most awesome poster on the computer about AIDS prevention.

So Meez Verret is going to talk to their proff about giving them some extra points or something.

Sigh. I love teaching.

And I also love vacation.

Frickin' Frack Prefecture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GAH. Twice this week now, I have gone to the prefecture to pick up my carte de sejour and have been denied.

Denied in the sense that all the etranger tickets are taken. Dammitt!!

Ok. So I could understand on Tuesday, I got there a little after noon, so that would make sense...(even though I've gone in before at 1 and had no problem).

But today I went at 10 and there was the same problem. What the hell?????

"Yes, you've been approved for the carte de sejour but *hee hee* you will never be able to pick it up."


Stupid bureaucrats.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

"I'M NO MAN..."

(Sighs of contentment)

Just got back from the final installment of LOTR. You know you're watching a good movie when it's three hours long and you don't even notice. So good. Oh so so good. Some of my following comments might give away the movie so quit reading if you like surprises.

I have been waiting in anticipation for so long now, and it did not dissappoint. We managed to find a theatre that played it in "Version Originale" with "Sous Titres." Hooray! (Although I have to say that when "Seigneur des Anneaux" popped up on the screen that really threw me off.) To our surprise, however, the theatre was not that crowded. Further, as soon as the movie began, Shuey and I immediately began to applaud. Much to our dismay, no one else did.

What is wrong with these crazy French people???

Here are some of my random thoughts on the film:

Well done, and fairly true to the book.

Eowyn...rowr...she rocks my world. (Once again, I was the only one in the theatre who cheered out loud (then ducked my head in embarrassment) when she said her famous line--see above title)

Bummed they didn't show Eowyn and Faramir hooking up. But you can't have everything I suppose. At least they were smiling together in the end.

The winner of the Aragorn vs. Legolas hottness challenge is.....(drum roll) Aragorn. Yes, after 2 years of debate I have finally made up my mind about which one I want. While immortality is cool, you just can't beat dark rugged good looks. Or the whole king thing. Cause come on, then I'd be queen. Ahh, the power.

Hottest Aragorn Scene: Jumping off the boat. ROWR.

I want to be Arwen.

Weird Orc in charge with no eye: Does he remind anyone else of the dude from "Goonies???"
To quote Kristen's fiance, "I bet he's not too popular with all the Ork ladies."

Are there Ork ladies?

The Elvish scenes kinda threw me off cause of course they were subtitled in French, but so was the whole movie, so I forgot to look at them and missed out. Boo!

Thoughts on Sam and Frodo: Why is Sam still referring to him as "Mr. Frodo" at the end? After all Sam did, Frodo should be calling him Mr. Sam and trimming the hair on his feet.

Hooray for Sam finally getting some sweet sweet lovin' (from Rosie, not Frodo).

Smeagol changing to Gollum: Heebie. Jeebies.

Silly French translations: What's up with changing "Frodo" to "Frodon?" I mean really.

So now I am quite content yet somewhat saddened by the fact that there are no more movies to come. Each year, while I felt impatient, I was always excited by the prospect of the next movie coming out. Sniffle...perhaps there will be a prequel of "The Hobbit."

I must say that the whole French theatre experience was kind of a bummer. Why can't they be big dorks and cheer and applaud before and after? So sad. Additionally, seeing LOTR this time without Oz and Drevs was not the same.

But I am looking forward to the day when the three of us are reunited and we can have our extended version marathon with Martin dip.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Of Bats and Barbies

So I passed by the Galleries Lafayette today and noticed for the first time their Christmas window display.

I don't get it.

I suppose if I actually took the time to stand there and read the stories over the display I would understand it, but it's easier to just be a critical b*tch.

Each window has its own theme and I think they are supposed to tell a story. The most notable are the creepy Barbies and Kens attached to cords that move around and dance (?) and the bats (also suspended from cords--but not in the same window with the Barbies).


Other happenings today:

Went to the prefecture to pick up my carte de sejour, only to find out that all the tickets etrangers had already been taken, so I have to go back tomorrow. Boo!

Went to the Cine Vox to get LOTR tix for me and my posse tomorrow...unfortunately the French aren't as impatient as Americans and they don't sell tix the day in advance. The guy went on for about 10 minutes about something re: tix sales but I couldn't understand him through the glass and didn't really care. Boo!

Went to the university to see about enrolling next year. Got a fistful of paperwork to look over and fill out. Oy. But at least I feel like I did something.

Went to Librairie Kleber and bought the second Harry Potter in English. I know I can get it in the States for cheaper, but I'm impatient. I live in the McDonalds culture--instant gratification. What can I say?

Right now I'm listening to a French CD that Christelle lent me...Serge Gainsbourg. I quite like it. Kinda jazzy music. So far I like "Black Trombone" and "Bonnie and Clyde."

Tonight's my Spanish lesson then I need to prepare for the Cambridge folk tomorrow...then I might actually cook a "real" dinner. Go me.

Only one more day till Lord of the Rings....shiver....Oz, I need my towel.

Monday, December 15, 2003

On s'entends bien...

I just spent a "super cool" evening with my friend Christelle. C'etait tellement bien.

We usually tram home together on Mondays, and I was saying how I had to go to the grocery store and didn't want to. So she offered to have me over for dinner chez elle.

The meal consisted of her mother's homeade vegetable soup, Old El Paso tacos (hooray!!!) and hours of interesting and pleasant conversation.

Christelle's english is impeccable, and I love being able to switch back and forth with no problems between languages.

C'est trop cool.

But now I must get to bed. I am officially wiped out. All this activity since the weekend has worn me out.

Fun Stuff

A shout out today to Donna Cooper, who has the most interesting random information and fun stuff on her blog. Of particular interest is her post from Dec. 12 which features all kinds of fun time wasters.

I recommend daily reading to delight and dazzle all your friends.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Oz and Court in Parrrreeeeeee.....

Hello Folks,

My loyal readers may have been wondering where I have been for the past few days. My apologies for not putting up earlier notice, but this was the weekend I met my delightful ami Oz in the city of lights. Click here to see all the ugly pictures.

Send positive thoughts to Oz, as he took off today for the USA. Here is hoping he doesn't have the same travel luck as I did last time. When we arrived at the train station this morning we saw a sign that the Eurostar would be delayed due to a bomb from World War II discovered in Lille. Hope you made your connection Oz!!!

This trip, we unfortunately did not have time to combine our writing brilliance and compose a joint blog (as this would have required finding a Cyber cafe, paying for time, and walking in the rain), so we agreed on the following brief synopsis of our trip:


Oz and Court meet at the Gare du Nord.

Look for hotel. Walk to the end of Rue de Cherche Midi and realize we must have passed it up. Walk all the way back. Finally find hotel at beginning of street.

Go to dinner in the Latin Quarter.

Eat CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE.....(Raclette and Fondue aux Trois Fromages).

Feel sick.

Walk back to hotel.


Do several "touristy" things.

Eat tarte flambee.

Do more touristy things.

Cafe on the Champs Elysees

Walk in rain.

Eat dinner at Tex Mex restaurant, "Indiana."

Discover the joys of French late night t.v. Court translates programs for Oz. Grows tired.

Finally find t.v. program that needs no translating.


Get up way too early.

Enjoy leisurely breakfast.

Oz and Court return to their respective cities.

It is unclear when our next traveling adventure will be. I wish I could also join the PG crew for a few days at Christmas, but alas it is pas possible. So I have given Oz the following instructions to carry out while he is in South Bend:

Have a burger and fries at BTB.

Have a salad at Martin's.

Drink all the free refills you can at the Martins soda fountain.
Well that's all folks! Meeez Verret has to make lesson plans!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

RUDY, Rudy, rudy, (rudy)

So after piddling away my hours at school, I treated two of my classes to the movie Rudy. Actually I talked about American football, then showed them a couple clips from the film. They loved it.

What worked out nicely is that I have two classes full of boys, so being stereotypical (except in this case it's true) they like everything with sports in it.

And what better way to teach about American football than with Notre Dame? Notre Dame back in the day that is...when we were winning games.

They made a lot of noises toward the end when the team comes running out of the tunnel...and of course when I told them I was in the "fanfare" (marching band). "Meez Verret, yuuuu play zeh trombone in zeh fanfare????"

Yes mes enfants. And I got goosebumps watching this movie again. It's been ages. Luckily, I have a month's worth of classes to watch this film. So when I'm done I'll be ready to put it aside for another three years.


Ok, this wins...

You are Juan Moreno!!

Which Completely Random Person Are You!!
brought to you by Quizilla

Ok, quizzes are a bad bad thing...

But I can' help myself. I just found a site full of em'.

My inner child is sixteen years old today

My inner child is sixteen years old!

Life's not fair! It's never been fair, but while
adults might just accept that, I know
something's gotta change. And it's gonna
change, just as soon as I become an adult and
get some power of my own.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
brought to you by Quizilla


So I was going to go, then I found this quiz and had to find out what LOR character I was.

Congratulations! You're Pippin!

Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Should I stay or should I go (da da da da da da da da)

So it appears my second morning class was cancelled...the kids just didn't show up.

So its about 10 (it was 9.15 when I left the class) my next class isnt until 1.30, and I am debating whether or not to go home.

First, what will I do if I go home? Watch tv and lay in bed probably...what will I do at school for 3 hours? Piddle.

But it's so cold outside. And I had to bring a lot of crap with me to work today that I can't leave here and don't really feel like bringing it back home and here again...And I might feel more social if I stay at school...and I usually eat lunch here on Thursdays and it's nice to have a 'real' meal...Hmmm....hmmmm...but I have nothing to DO here...

Oh the problems indecisive people have. By the time I figure out what to do, it will be time for my next class.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Bastard Laverie

So went to wash clothes tonight, a chore that I despise. I had a difficult enough time doing laundry when I had my own washer and dryer in my I have to run all over God's creation for the perfect amount of change, schlep my carcass down the street to the local laverie, play musical chairs with the other people washing, and sit in utter boredom for an hour and a half.

Even better, it is freezing ass cold outside and the laverie has no heat. At all. I could see my own breath. That is just not right.

But the thought of clean clothes made me happy, I brought Harry Potter, which I am finally starting to read (in French), and luckily it wasn't too crowded so I didn't have to fight for a chair.

I moved my clothes to the dryer, excitedly anticipating the warm smell that would come 30 minutes later.

When it finally turned off, and my hands were sufficiently numb, I opened the dryer to find that nothing had dried. NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING.

Yes, it had spun around for 30 minutes, and happily took my 2 euro piece. But dry, it did not.


I quickly debated over whether to spend another 2 euro to dry...a quick search in my wallet however, ended the debate, because while I had plenty of one euro pieces, the dryer of course requires a 2 euro piece.

Stupid bastard.

So now I have clothes hanging everywhere. And my room is nice and damp, even with the heater on full blast. Humid, if you will. And chilly.

And I have no idea what I will wear tomorrow.


Man purses, Boys, That's My Bush, and other musings...

So today on the way home from work, the tram stops and this hottie guy gets in. Well built, good looking, nicely dressed...and carrying a man purse.

I love men purses. They are so practical! He even made it look sexy. I wish American men would get over their masculinity issues to use them.

As long as their purse isn't as big as mine.

In other news, I filled in for one of the teachers today and had her entire class. 20 boys. They were actually a lot of fun--I wish I taught them all the time. The nice thing is that a lot of them are in my Cambridge class, so they generally speak very well and are serious. What I also love to see is that they take care of each other. One of my students in this class has a disability. It was so sweet to see these guys take care of him. Every time the bell rings they help him pack up his stuff, put his bag on, and give him a hand. I get teary eyed every time I see it.

My school is specialized for kids with handicaps, so it's actually pretty common to see kids pushing people in wheelchairs, carrying books, etc. I teach a couple kids with disabilities.

It is really interesting to me, because it brings up the idea of equal education for all. And it really makes me think ahead of time what I need to prepare for the class.

Hmmm...I could go on forever about this.

Finally, one of English proffs who loves American football and offered to record some NFL games for me told me that the old Comedy Central show "That's My Bush" (yanked after 9-11) was going to be aired in France. He asked if I would like him to record it to use in the class.

I have mixed feelings about it. While I think the show is hysterical, I just hate that the French have one more thing to laugh at the United States about. It's one of those, "I can bash my family but you can't" things.

What's more, on a higher level, my time in France has made me so angry at what George Bush has done to the United States and our reputation in the world. I love the USA, and I am offended that this mentally ill man is the "leader" of my country. I am upset that the power of the USA has been put to ill use. I am saddened that our foreign friends who once supported us now view the US as the laughingstock of the world.

What's more than that, I am frustrated because I don't know what I can do to change the situation, other than to continue my letter writing, vote and contribute money to good causes.

Sigh. Excuse the soapbox. But it's been boiling for awhile.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Christmas has come to 12 place St Etienne

Hooray! We got our Xmas tree today!

Today was quite productive. After taking it easy this morning, I made my way to Auchan (the Wal Mart of France) with the intention of just buying lights and *maybe* some ornaments...and ended up with lights, ornaments, fake snow, and stencils. Sigh...

Then I headed out to Place Kleber to have a look at the trees. I found the perfect one, bought it, walked home with the damn thing, then realized I needed a pied (stand) for it.

So headed back to Monoprix, got the pied and some cheese (when you need cheese, you need cheese) and headed back home.

Then the decorating fun began. We got so caught up I had forgotten Shuey was coming over for his Cambridge lesson. He was impressed but told us we needed gifts underneath.

Unfortunately, I think Santa will be a bit meager this year.

Decorating resumed after dinner. We got a little crazy with the fake snow and stencils. It is quite addicting. And lucky for me I have a gazillion windows, so I can properly feed my addiction.

I love Christmas. Yea!


That got your attention, didn't it?

I love how the French use sex to sell EVERYTHING. Everything.

I have, of course, become used to the ads in the tramway that make me blush when I walk past. But now that we have a tv, it's like having free unscrambled soft porn.

My personal favorite is the ripped guy who stands there looking lustfull with his hands over his six-pack abs. What is he selling, you ask?

Stomach Antacid.

Monday, December 08, 2003

My blog: Responding to all your "queries"...

So I'm looking at my page stats and several (several) people have accessed my blog through a search on "paperclip and trombone." I would say that's the biggest search of all.

I love it. Apparently I'm not the only one fascinated with the name phenom.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

A Night at the Roxbury

Most exciting news first:

Meghan and I are now the proud owners of a TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!!! It was a gift from Meg's parents, who took pity on "les pauvres" when they came to visit last week. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Harrass!!!

Now we can watch quality American shows dubbed over in French, such as "Pacific Blue" (Mario Lopez in bike shorts, rowr), "Charmed," and "Sept a la Maison" (Seventh Heaven). This morning I watched some African catholic church service. I just couldn't turn it off.

Ahhhh, tv....

So after yesterday's purchase, we spent most of the afternoon inside because it was so yucky. That is our excuse anyway.

Around 5:30 we met some of the English proffs from Meg's school and they took us to a small village in Alsace to look at their lights. It was pretty cool. They had several little displays with real actors, puppet shows, carolers, etc. The best part was the random parades that would take place, complete with Pere Noel riding on the back of an escargot. I didn't really get that, but then, this is France.

It was freezing though, so we headed back to the restaurant for tarte flambee...mmmm....tarte flambee. Then back to their house for fromage and a lovely chat. Mmmm...fromage.

By the time we returned we were wiped. Unfortunately, we had committed to going out. Sigh...(damn you old age). So we walked in the bitter cold and met up with Pam, Shuey, his girlfriend and her friend (both language assistants visiting from Lyon). We then proceeded to the Catacomb.

After hearing many stories, this was my first Catacomb experience. The entrance is a giant, bare maroon door. After walking in we were greeting by two gigantic bouncers who took our money and pointed us downstairs...down wind-y, dark, scary stairs.

The downstairs, however, is quite cool, like a big cave. I am thinking is must have been a wine cellar back in the day. After dumping our coats in a pile, we proceeded to the dance floor. Then the real fun began.

As if we were in an SNL skit, we proceeded to be bombarded by our very own "Roxbury Twins." Except there were more than two. Here are some of their pick up lines. Take notes guys:

"Mesdemoiselles...bonsoir....(no response)...j'ai dit bonsoir mesdemoiselles..."

"Toi...oui, toi, tu es magnifique..."

"Oh, mesdemoiselles, excusez moi de vous deranger...("pas ce soir" we responded)...pas ce soir? Quand?"

"La lee la lee la lee la la la lee la lee la lee la la la...L'amerique, c'est beau uh?" (Sung and danced to the tune of "Hot Stuff")

But my personal favorites of the evening were:

The guy in the beanie who squeezed Meg's shoulders.

The blonde spiky haired dude on the landing who wouldn't keep his hands out of my hair.

The two guys who never said anything to us but kept making eyes in our direction whilst trying to casually dance their way into our little circle.

In spite of everything though, it was a tres fun evening. First, it has been ages since I got my groove on. Perhaps since Oz and I crashed the Alumni Wake? Ah memories...

Second, the whole French club experience is quite cool and much different than the American experience. I quite liked it. And thankfully I didn't run into any of my students.

Third, I have never been hit on so much in my life. And as much as I hate to say it, it was kinda fun. Hee hee...

The only negative is that I think I might have lost my scarf. Not the pashmina (!!) but my other nice black scarf. Boo!! When we arrived we placed our coats in a pile. Well everyone else who arrived after decided to place their coats on the same pile. So when Meg and I took off, we had a hell of a time finding our stuff. All I could think of was Adam Fitzpatrick at the band SYR my freshman year, who was in a similar situation. His solution was to wait until everyone left and then his coat would be the only one remaining. I didn't want to wait that long though. So we asked Pam to look for it before we left. Keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts everyone. I want my scarf!!

Today is a gorgeous day. Meg and I are heading out to the Christmas market at the gare, then buying a tree!!! Yea!!! We found little cute ones for about 10 euros, 15 if we want the "pieds" (tree stand...isn't that cute???) that comes with it.

Then we might have to watch a little French television....ahhhhhh....television.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Dear People of the World

Would you please stop conspiring to annoy me????


12 place St Etienne

Dear People on the Third Floor

Would you please stop that relentless pounding, in the name of God and all that is holy??!?!?!?!?!


12 place St Etienne (2nd floor)

Dear Manifestors

I respect your right to protest. I do.

But do you have to start early Saturday morning?


12 place St Etienne

Dear Kiddies in the Street...

"Smells like Teen Spirit" is a wonderful song. Nirvana was a wonderful band. The death of Kurt Cobain rocked the world of grunge.

But please learn more than the first two lines on your guitar. And I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Nirvana never used an African drum in their recording.


12 place St Etienne

Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm BORED!!!!!!

And hungry.

I hate this whole getting dark at 4:30 thing. By the time 6pm rolls around I feel like I should have eaten and be in bed.

Fun useless factoid...

I just read that the first McDonalds in France was in Strasbourg! And during the year of my birth! Who knew??

I also like how they describe the other French McDos...

"On the Champs Elysées, the most frequented restaurant in France, with a cozy Parisian atmosphere..."

Yes, because McDonalds is a tres French restaurant. Of course. And its tres cozy because there are three million people in there trying to get their Royales with Cheese.

Vive la capitalism.

Never a dull moment at 12 place St Etienne

So the place below is swarming with gendarmes...well, by swarming I mean there are a few Gendarme vans and the guys are standing around talking.

But there is some manisfestation going on somewhere out there close by, I can hear music and cheering and some dude on a microphone.

I have such a mob mentality. Of course I want to go out there and see what's happening. But I'm in my pj' it's more comfortable to sit here and strain my ears to listen.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

It's Marche de Noel time...

So along with all the beautiful lights in Strasbourg, this city is also famous for its Marche de Noel, or the Christmas market. I uploaded some more pics. Have a look-see.

All over the city there are little wooden booths selling everything from Christmas ornaments to gingerbread. They even put in an outdoor skating rink. It looks pretty scary, but it is still a nice idea.

Like any good fair/carnival atmosphere, there is, of course, amazing food. But no corn dogs or turkey legs here. No no no mes amis, this is France. Here we feast on:

Tarte Flambee
Baguette Flambee
Le pizza (putting the "Le" in front of it makes it gourmet)
Gauffres (waffles)
Macarons (macaroons)
Pain d'epices (gingerbread)
Gateau de Noel (Xmas cake)

And les pieces de resistance--vin chaud (mulled wine), jus de pomme epice (apple cider), and jus d'orange avec miel et les epices (oj with honey and spice).

Bow. Chicka. Bow. Bow.

The aroma of vin chaud and all the epices is so strong you can smell it everywhere you walk in the town. It's delicious.

So tonight Meg and I met up with Pam, our quebecoise friend, to have a look see.

After waiting 10 minutes for Pam in the biting wind, the first place we stopped was to get a warm beverage. Ahhhhh...bliss for the heart and soul.

After walking around a bit, we ran into Hannah and Shuey (other assistants from my school) and we proceeded to Place Broglie, which is the most beautiful of the markets, but also the most crowded.

We elbowed our way through all the people, each one of us stopping to make our important purchases:

1. Hannah: Gigantic bird made out of gingerbread
2. Shuey: Advent calendar with little pieces of chocolate inside. After he ripped the first two flaps completely off, he realized he should have torn them partially so they would still be esthetically pleasing. Oh well. (This can happen when you need chocolate). He finally decided he could glue them back on.
3. Meg: A crepe with cannelle (cinnamon) and sucre.
4. Pam: A crepe with hot dark chocolate.
5. Court: I eyed some necklaces for quite awhile, but then thought about how easy they were to make and how stupid it would be to waste my money. Then I walked away. Then I walked back and looked at them again. Then I remembered I had no money with me anyway.

The only big adventure of the evening was when I tried to buy my jus de pomme. I, not thinking, pronounced the "S" in juS. "Quoi???" replied the woman. So I said again, "JuS de pomme." After going on and on like this for 5 minutes, she finally said, "OH....JU(s) de pomme." (in other words, "quit mispronouncing my language you stupid american").

Whatever. Just give me my juice you b*tch.

Merry Christmas!

Dido Boobs

I discovered today that someone has accessed my blog through a Google search on "Dido Boobs."

I just want to clear things up.

For the record, I have blogged about Dido, and I have blogged about boobs, but I have never blogged about Dido's boobs (although I'm sure they are nice).

Thank you.

Five hundred million, three hundred gazillion, six hundered 50 bazillion 7593845729845610193805942804934823

My poor kiddies.

Today I taught my Cambridge exam prep class. For those of you who don't know, the Cambridge exam is basically an English proficiency (sp???) test. So it's full of kids that WANT to be there, that want to learn, participate, do their homework, etc.

Today's lesson was to listen to the accompanying tape full of silly British actors talking about getting change, medicine, mailing packages, and the like. The second half was to listen to spoken numbers and then try to write them out in figures (534, etc). I had already listened to the conversations, and was planning to listen to the numbers before class.

Unfortunately, something was going on with the tram today, so I got to school with just enough time to make copies and get to my room--not listen to the tape.

So these crazy Brits proceed to call out numbers like, "Five hunded million, Four hundred twenty two thousand, Six hunded and sixty seven."

If you could have only seen the look of panic on everyone's face.

"Quoi??! Quoi?!? Qu'est ce qu'il a dit????!!!"

Meanwhile, I am trying to hide the panic on my OWN face, because I have no freakin' clue how to write the numbers either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make matters worse, I have this poor student who has a motor skill disorder, so he was frantically pounding on his computer to put in the answers in time with the tape. I wanted to cry.

Finally we finished the tape, they turned in their papers and we went over the answers. Lucky for me, the quantitative side of my brain began to slowly kick in, so when I called them up one at a time to write the numbers on the board, I knew they were right.


Too cute

Look at my cousin!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Los Simpsons

Oh what fun!!

Since I arrived in France I have been wanting to learn a third language. I took some Spanish back in the day, but at the time my heart was really set on French so I never took off with it.

So ideally, since my French is pretty good and I have nothing better to do, this would be the best time to learn another language. But the problem has been:

1. No money
2. By the time I got settled in and started thinking about taking a class, everything had
already started.

So, being sympathetic to my predicament, my dear amigo Shuey (pronounced "SHWAY") agreed to give me Spanish lessons in exchange for help in preparing for the Cambridge exam.

I love mutual back scratching. It's amazing what living below poverty level will make you willing to do.

So tonight was my first lesson, and my Spanish, while rusty, was not as bad as I thought it would be. But now I have three languages swirling around in my head. This could get quite interesting.

The best part of this evening, however, was when Shuey left me with a Simpsons DVD....en espanol!!! Meghan and I of course instantly tested it out, and even though we could hardly understand a word, we couldn't stop giggling.

Hee hee hee.

This then led to a really cool conversation about the Matrix, and wanting to learn every language, and how cool it would be if there was some type of application that we could plug into and just be able to speak whatever we wanted.

And know Kung Fu.

And look hot in patent leather.

Monday, December 01, 2003


Tonight after work I needed to pick up a few groceries. Instead of heading to Monoprix, comme d'habitude, I decided to go to the Galleries Lafayette Alimentation Centre.
I did this mainly because I'm tired of Monoprix, but also because groceries are about the only thing I can afford in the Galleries. And it's so pretty. And esthetically pleasing. And there is something so chi chi about saying, "Yes I do my shopping in the Galleries..."

Anyway, as I perused the aisles, I happenstanced on the Imported/Gourmet section. There, along with exotic spices and bons bons from the Orient, lay a bag of Oreo cookies.

You have got to be kidding me.

Since when did two chocolate cookies with sweetened lard (yes, you heard me, sweetened LARD) in-between become gourmet? Granted, I prefer a couple Oreos and a glass of milk to caviar any day, but really, I had to laugh.

I also happened to run into some sort of manifestation today. Not sure what exactly, but there were numerous drums and people carrying torches in Place Kleber. Maybe it was the garbagemen.

Speaking of which, the garbage strike is over the the trash is now being picked up. Hooray!

"Je n'ai pas la droite de montrer mes fesses."

I love that sentence.

Tonight I was in the lovely Centre Socio Culturel and happened to notice a list of rules on the wall, of which the "fesses regle" is part.

I can only assume that the rules were for the children who frequent this place, otherwise it would be more disturbing than it already is.

And then again, if the rules are only for the children, does that mean that adults can montrer leurs fesses if they want?

And have they really had a huge problem with people mooning each other that they have to make a rule for it?

And did someone actually argue that they have the right to montrer his fesses?