Sunday, February 29, 2004

More photos...

You can check out the pictures from Anthony and Blandine's wedding here.

Ahhhh, l'amour...

Let's hear it for Luuvvvvvv...

Just got back from the weekend wedding in Chalon sur Saone. Or, more specifically,the village of Lux. How cool are French weddings???

I took off Friday afternoon, and the trip was basically uneventful. When I arrived at the gare in Chalon, I had a momentary moment of panic when I realized the wedding wasn't exactly in the city.

Fortunately it was only a short cab ride to Lux, which I quickly realized was a tiny out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere village. After the cab driver let me out at the church (which was also where I was staying), I set about trying to find out which room was mine. I was met by the nicest people who walked all around the church grounds with me trying to find the guy in charge. Unfortunately, however, he didn't have the rooming list either, so I decided to hang out in the activity hall until someone came along.

While I was waiting, a car pulled up and started taking out wedding type things with Anthony and Blandine's name on them. So I took it upon myself to make an introduction, and it turned out to be Anthony's parents!

They took me out to the reception hall and I got to see Anthony and meet his fiancee (now wife) Blandine...as well as other friends in their church and family. I was soon put to work cutting out cardboard for posters, then switched over to learn the art of crepe paper flower making from Blandine's mother.

While my creative juices were flowing (or trying to anyway), I met the cutest kid named Timothy who loves the USA and Americans, so we played 20 questions while twisting yellow and orange crepe into daffodils.

Everyone took a short break and someone brought in sandwiches...ham, and huge chunks of brie. MMMmmmm....brie with French bread.

We got back to work for a bit then called it a night. Anthony brought me back to the church and I finally found my room, which turned out to be a gigantic dormitory style room with 10 beds. Kind of like camp. Except I was the only one there.

I fantasized for awhile about pushing all the beds up together to make one big huge one, but refrained. I had a good night's sleep except for waking up around 4 am thinking I heard a ghost. Fortunately it turned out to be some man humming to himself in the hallway bathroom. Phew.

Saturday I woke up and wondered what I was going to do to amuse myself until 3 pm (time of the wedding). So I began to explore the village of Lux, which took all of 5 minutes. As I passed a farm full of roosters and chickens, some people from the church choir, including my new little friend Timothy, drove past and offered me a ride into the city. I happily accepted. Unfortunately, we drove about 10 meters when they realized they still had someone else to pick up and there was no room in the car. So Court got out again to do some more wandering.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon a bus stop, and after careful calculation, decided I could get into Chalon and back in plenty of time. So that's just what I did.

After returning to the church, things were starting to pick up, so I quickly got ready and headed down to where the ceremony was taking place.

In France, marriage is considered a civil act, so there are essentially two ceremonies. First, the couple goes to the Mairie (city hall) and has a little paper and official document signing party. Then (if they want) they can have the religious ceremony.

I was kind of bummed I didn't see the Mairie ceremony (I remember watching one at SMC in the language lab) but was quite pleased to get to everything else.

I got there a little early to find a seat, and then silly me remembered that this is France and no one arrives early. So I listened to the choir practice for awhile, and then one of the people I had met the night before came and asked to sit by me. I can't remember his name, but I know he likes race cars, because he carries a picture of himself next to one in his fanny pack (yes fanny pack) and talked about nothing else for 30 minutes.

The wedding finally started, and it was beautiful. So here are a few key differences between French and American weddings:

There are no bridesmaids/groomsmen. Officially there's a best man and maid of honor, but their job is only to go to the Mairie and be witnesses. There's no standing up or walking down the aisle, or anything like that.

Both the bride and the groom walked down the aisle. First came Anthony with his mom. Then came Blandine with both her parents. I don't know if that's the norm, but that's what happened.

Unlike American protestant weddings, this lasted for more than 15 minutes. For real. I'm not a big practicing Catholic, but I've always thought that if I ever get married it will be in the Catholic church, because I'll be damned if I'm going to spend all that money on a dress and flowers and not get to enjoy the moment--I'm gonna drag out that puppy as long as it takes. So it was nice to see a protestant wedding that was just long enough.

There was also no "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife...." stuff. Maybe that happened at the Mairie. I dunno. There was also no "I now pronounce you man and wife you may kiss the bride." Bummer.

After la ceremonie, everyone headed out the church and grabbed a handful of cut out paper hearts and confetti, and as the happy couple exited the church they were bombarded as fireworks went off.

Then we had the first reception.

Yes, there are 2 receptions at French weddings. The first is always immediately after (in this case at the church hall). I spent my time wandering around not knowing anyone, then ran into my friend Timothy who introduced me to his parents, who also love Americans. So we chatted the entire evening and I met a few other people, including a girl from South Korea who is studying at the music conservatory in Chalon.

Around 8 pm they announced it was time to go to the 2nd reception. This one took place at a town reception hall and included a 4 course meal. By chance, I happened to be seated at the same table as the Korean girl so I was grateful to know someone.

Seated on my right was Bruno, a hair stylist who complimented my new "meshes" and entertained me all evening with useless yet interesting facts about everything from the origin of potatoes to all the Francophone accents in the world, complete with example demonstrations.

To my left was Guillaume, who provided quite stimulating conversation about the States, Ireland, Africa, and French music.

Throughout the evening they had various entertainment and games which was unique and kind of fun.

The meal (of course) was delicious, complete with the after dinner cheese which turned out to be fromage blanc! Then around midnight they made a big ceremony of bringing out the wedding cake and other desserts.

The traditional French wedding cake is also different. It consists of cream puffs put together in ornate fashion. Too cool. They put a bunch of sparklers in it and paraded it around the room for all to see. It was quite cool. I'll get a picture of it up soon.

Around 1 a.m. (yes 1 a.m.) the dancing started. They began with a waltz, and I happily accompanied Bruno to the floor even though I only know the Cajun waltz which is quite different. But we managed.

Unfortunately that was the only groove I was able to get on, because they next played a series of songs for the couple and family and by the time they started playing the "real" stuff I was deeply into yet another conversation.

Around 3 a.m. the party was still going strong but I was getting tired. I asked my good friend Bruno for a ride back to the church and he and Guillaume (who also asked for a ride) and I took off, getting lost once but finding our way back eventually. From what they told me, we were leaving the party quite early...French wedding receptions are known to go on till sometimes 6 or 7 a.m. (yikes!)

I slept well, although I didn't have the dorm to myself this time. I also didn't hear any ghosts in the middle of the night, which was a good thing. I didn't hear much of anything.

Upon waking up I got my stuff together, went downstairs for some nice powerful coffee, then caught a cab to the station. And now I'm back.

All in all, an eventful weekend and another addition to my "year in France" experience. I have to say I was hit by a big dose of gratitude for being able to be here. It is so interesting to see how people in other cultures live. Not to mention I made a bunch of new friends. Hooray!

And there's still one more week of vacation to go!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

ROCK. ON. Carte 12-25!

I just bought my train ticket for Chalon. Can I tell you how much I love my SNCF Carte 12-25??? This is my little card that I get cause I'm a young'un and gives me up to 50% discounts on train fare.

How do I love thee Carte 12-25? Let me count the ways...

On the road again...

So once again I am taking off for the weekend, this time to Chalon sur Saone. My faithful readers from News 22 might remember our photographer Anthony? Well he is getting married this weekend and lucky me gets to go! Hooray!

I am very excited to go to a French wedding. I have no idea if it'll be different from an American one, mais on verra!

I'm heading up tomorrow afternoon and hope to help them with some set up and stuff. Should be fun, and hopefully I'll meet some people so I don't show up at the wedding all by myself feeling like an idiot (which is my normal situation).

Other news, today was my first "real" English lesson with Franck. I can't believe I'm getting paid for this. An hour of interesting, pleasant conversation and coffee. And you want to give me money for it??? Twist my arm.

Franck will get the results of his written exam next week, and if he passes, he is going to have to study for the oral, which means he will need more lessons...

So please invoke every God, Buddah, Allah, Mother Nature, etc etc etc, and pray that Franck passes his test!!!!! Daddy needs a new pair o' shoes!

Why didn't I think of that??

I'd be a friggin' bazillionaire...I could scoop em' out of our backyard.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Stupidity, thy name is Courtenay...

So trying to continue my track record of productivity, I stopped at the Apple store to use my credit that has been burning a hole in my pocket. I really wanted some speakers. Unfortunately, the little cute ones I had been eyeing are only for iMacs and as I have an iBook, they are not available. I spent the rest of the time eying the too cool sound sticks with awesome bass, but then found out they were 215 euros (ouch).

Then the woman showed me some other speakers, Apple compatible, that you can also plug into your iPod. How cool is that? And they sounded great and I could afford them. So I bought them.

I plugged them in. They sound great.

But there is the grande question...

How the HELL am I going to get these back to the States? I mean for real? There are 2 little sticks and one big subwoofer that I didn't know was coming with it. Not to mention finding a plug converter when I get home.

Stupid stupid stupid.

This might just mean I have to stay in Europe.

And DAMN the sound is awesome.

Mesh!

So today was quite a productive day. Court is feeling beaucoup beaucoup better. I was actually able to wake up, get out of bed and shower.

Then, after talking to Marilyn and receiving an adequate amount of sympathy (but no tea, hee hee) I decided to do some housekeeping. I began by starting to wipe the fake snow Xmas decorations off my windows. Yes, the Xmas decorations. You should all know what a procrastinator I am by now.

Then I decided to put together the table Meg and I got at IKEA so I could have a little office set-up going on in my room. Unfortunately, we need screwdrivers for this task. Meg has screwdriver bits, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put them in the thingie...and I'm not sure if the thingie is really for screwdriver bits or not. And I think I need something electronic anyway. Dammitt. So I might have to ask around to get this problem resolved.

THEN, upon finding out I was paid today, and since I'm going to a wedding this weekend, I decided to get my hair cut. I went to see my good friend Karin at Mod hair, a bit dissappointed that they let the new girl practice her hair washing skills on me. I did not have quite the orgasmic experience that I usually have, especially because the new girl's trainer kept saying, "Gently, gently" and other such instructions in French. To be honest I felt kinda sorry for the girl...I wouldn't want someone barking orders down my back.

But I forgave the hair washing episode because Karin worked her usual French magic, complete with--are you ready--color. Or "les mesh" as the French call it. Little color streaks. Each time I've gone there Karin has recommended them and I've been too scared. But after my little henna experiment, I decided I was ready to bite the bullet and do some "real" coloring. So now I have little "blondey-bits" (as my roomate would say) that are really kinda cute. Who woulda thought. Look at me stepping out of my box.

Karin herself was quite impressed, satisfied that I had now done something "modern" with my hair (she was none too impressed when I told her I used to perm my hair). As she gave me the last flourish of hair spray, she said (in English), "Zere...you are now ready to take a French lover."

A French lover. Hmmm...Yes...I think can handle that.

As long as he's not wearing a head band.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

My new best friend...

Yes everyone, I have a new best friend!! Who is it, you ask?

My red toilet!

How can that be, you ask?

Well, I spent all last night hugging him, so if we aren't best friends now I don't know if we'll ever be.

Yes, I got deathly ill last night and puked no less than 4 times (aren't you glad I shared??). I spent the whole day in bed dehydrated and trying to hold down orange juice and bread (mission accomplished so far...).

I'm sorry, but there is no worse feeling than nausea. What sucks the most, however, is being sick and being all by yourself. Where is my someone to hold my hair back while I puke? To help me into bed? To serve me tea and toast?

I want my mommy.

Random Blog Site of the Day

Ok, so I actually don't post a random blog site of the day but I couldn't resist putting this one up. Not only for the blog title and purpose, but someone actually sprinkled in a bit of Yiddish.

And sometimes people just need a good b*tch slap.

You know you're in trouble when...

Hey, here's a thought...maybe a TROPICAL climate isn't really the best place for a POLAR bear...

Monday, February 23, 2004

Barcelona Pictures!

So finally I have had time to post the latest from me and Oz's trip to Espana. Check em' out:

Barcelona 1
Barcelona 2

Paris!

Well spent yet another weekend traveling, this time back to Paris to meet up with one of Drevs' friends. Mike is spending the month in Brussels on a business trip.

As always Paris did not dissappoint...here are some of the highlights:

Getting assigned to room 505 of the Hotel Libertel yet again.

Finally riding to the top of the Eiffel Tower after 20 years of wanting to.

Being handed 1400 euros in cash by two Chinese tourists to buy them Louis Vuitton (sp??) wallets. Apparently they could only buy two at a time and wanted them for souvenirs. The 365 euro ones, to be exact. We then spent an hour in line and with a personal shopper to pick up the wallets. Between Mike and me, there was over a month's worth of my salary in cash. And the cheapskates couldn't even tip us for helping them out. After observing all the other Chinese tourists staking out the Louis Vuitton store, we realized we weren't the only saps suckered into shopping for someone else. Those cheapskates are lucky we're honest people.

Randomly meeting people from New Orleans.

Eating sushi for the first time. Not only did I enjoy it, but I think I learned how to use chopstix too! Go me!

Taking an 8 hour train ride back to Strasbourg. Due to an accident we had to pull into some random station and wait forever until we could go again. Fortunately I think I can get some money back. Hooray!

So now I'm back in the Bourg' and have vacation for the next 2 weeks. I am incredibly bummed I couldn't afford a ticket to Londres...or Nantes...or Portugal...or anywhere else for that matter. But I haven't given up hope yet. Maybe I will be spontaneous and get lucky on prices.

At the least I am going to my friend Anthony's wedding this weekend in Burgandy. Hooray!

Friday, February 20, 2004

The Power of Blogging

So who knew that blogs would start a streak of women's lib among Iranian women? Right on.

And check out Lady Sun's blog while you're at it!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

"Give us this day our daily blog..."

Nothing really new or exciting to report.

Today one of my classes asked me if it was true that Americans pray before every meal. I was like, "Do you mean saying grace??"

They thought that was the weirdest thing ever. So I had to explain that it's not something "everyone" collectively does...but it is common I suppose.

They were so shocked it just struck me as funny. Such a world of cultural differences between Americans and the French. And yet the countries at the same time are incredibly similar. Hmmmm...

What else...

Bad news is my hopes for a voyage to London have been dashed. I decided too late and now tix are much too expensive. Dammitt.

I will be heading to Paris this weekend to play tour guide and then will turn around and be back in Strasbourg on Sunday.

Unless of course some sexy European invites me to join him on his yacht in the Med. Sea.

You just never know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

They're Breakdance fighting!!

I just watched Zoolander for the 2nd time in my life. Hil-ar-i-ous. I had forgotten.

I have also managed to do laundry and clean my room. Now that I have furniture it really needs to be kept neat.

AND the other good news is I finally have a "customer" for English lessons! Franck is studying for his administration exam and wants to work on speaking and some translating. So I am basically getting paid to have coffee and interesting conversation with this guy for an hour. What a hard life.

This means more traveling!

"...and the people rejoiced, held hands, and sang Kum-Ba-Ya..."

Ladies and Gentlemen, three cheers to Apple...my computer has been fixed and works once again.

Talk about speedy service.

I returned from school this morning, woeing my computerless situation and wondering how I was going to get everything done...I walked in the door and my roomate said "You have a surprise..."

My computer!

It was almost too much to hope for, but no, it is here and completely functional.

Amazingly quick. They must have done it in a day. Go MAC.

The only problem is it's been reconfigured some kind of way, and in French...some of the time. And some of my music wouldn't download to my iPod and I don't know what that's all about.

But I trust that all will be well...and have been surfing non-stop since.

Yeah Ikea

So forgive my recent absence from blogging...not only was I on vacation (see below) but I am still sans computer. You do not know what a slave you are to technology until you lose your computer. I am dying my friends; DYING.

The latest with that is it was picked up on Friday and sent to the Netherlands...now I just have to sit and wait (and cry).

The exciting news is our agency finally came through and found a budget of 250 euros for a table and 4 chairs. So we found a ride to IKEA and got 2 lovely easy chairs, a desk table, and 2 kitchen chairs.

Can I tell you how much I love IKEA?

So last night Meg and I sat in our easy chairs, ate dinner, and watched tv. We frighteningly reminded ourselves of Joey and Chandler from "Friends." But fortunately we removed ourselves from the chairs to sleep.

Now my room has gone from vide to full and I may just have to start cleaning it up....shudder...

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Singles Awareness Weekend in Spain

When I knew I was coming to Europe for a year, I had 2 main goals:
1.) To take a photo in front of a red phone booth in London.
2.) To see the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

I don't ask for much, do I? And I am quite happy to say that both of these wishes have now been fulfilled. I can die happy.

Yes, this past weekend was the yearly celebration of love for all the lovers, and the yearly day of deppression for all the singletons of the world. To be completely honest, even when I was dating someone, I hated Valentines Day. So this year, I decided to do something about it.

Oz and I decided to get our azzes to Barcelona for a weekend of hot TUBS, smoked meats, and the HernanDEZes...(see SNL). As usual, good times were had by all. Here are the highlights from Court and Oz's latest traveling follies:

Friday
Court gets up at 4:30 am. Sits in bed. Showers. Eats. Catches the tram.
Arrive at the gare at 6:00 am.
Depart for Baden Baden at 6:52 am.
Arrive Baden Baden. Find the bus to airport. Listen to stuffy English men tell really boring stories on the bus.
Arrive airport at 8:40 am. Flight doesnt leave until 13:10 (I'm not taking any chances)
Sit
Get a coffee
Sit some more
Flight leaves at 1:10
Court tries to sleep on the plane, in spite of annoying German child sitting behind her, kicking her seat unmercilessly.
Court begins to drift to sleep.
Court is suddenly throttled back to conciousness by German brat yelling "HALLO blah blah blah" in her ear.
Court is once again reminded why birth control is a beautiful beautiful thing.
Court finally naps and wakes up naturally to see the Med sea with the Pyranees (sp) in the background. WOW.
Court makes friends on the bus to Barcelona. Burney and her fiancee are army officers in Germany and are planning to come visit Strasbourg.
Court arrives at Hotel Ibis safely; after passing by thousands of old men playing petanque at the park.
Oz arrives.
Bow chicka bow bow.
Oz and Court get their grub on.

Saturday

Begin with Hotel Ibis' loverly breakfast.
Head out to Sagrada Familia.
Holy Sh*t.
Spend a few hours gawking at Gaudi's incredibly tacky yet amazingly cool structure.
Decide it's beach time.
Get to beach.
Bow chicka bow bow.
Stroll up and down.
Decide it's time for paella.
Decide to sit outside to eat paella.
Freeze our a$$'s off waiting for paella, but entertain ourselves with the interesting pictures on the tablecloth.
Paella finally comes.
Bow chicka bow bow.
Are somewhat dissappointed by the lack of similarity between our paella and that on the tablecloth, but enjoy it anyhow. Except for the scary octopus things. Tentacles...ewwww...
Stroll some more on the beach.
Walk through the harbor and decide which boats we will buy when we're rich and famous.
Go to Mountain of the Jews...or otherwise known as the site of the 1992 Olympics.
Are underwhelmed by the stadium but take pictures anyway.
View the swimming pool.
Enjoy the breathtaking sites of Barcelona on the hill.
Make our way to the Font Magica, which is supposed to give an entertaining performance to ABBA.
Are dissappointed to see there is no water in the fountain.
Oz insists we wait for the magic anyway.
Court finds bathroom.
Court comes back. Waits.
Waits.
Waits.
Several tourists walk by and see the information about the fountain. Then see there is no water. Tourists leave.
Court and Oz wait.
Old lady comes to benches, pulls out a cushion and sits.
7pm. Nothing happens.
7:15pm. Nothing happens.
Finally, Oz dejectedly decides to leave.
On the way out, see big sign in front of Font Magica.
Sign says Font is closed until Feb 23. But get to see cool light display coming on.
Head back to beach for dinner.
Every restaurant is either booked or full of heart balloons (blech).
Oz and Court are momentarily distracted from the food search by dramatic scene on the beach involving a young man named Carlos and his lover Pinkie.
Court and Oz watch scene for several minutes and discreetly take pictures.
Finally decide we must go and eat, but not after walking closer to the scene of action to see if we could find out what was happening.
Pass by several restaurants and are harrassed by the special workers outside. Decide we don't want to eat anywhere around there, in spite of the tempting "Shoulder of Kid" on the menu.
Finally find restaurant.
Eat.
Are wiped out.
Return to hotel.

Sunday

Court gets up at the ass crack of dawn to catch bus to catch plane.
Court is proud to proclaim that she was the first breakfast eater at Hotel Ibis on Sunday morning.
Court gets bus.
Court gets plane.
Court arrives in Baden.
Court shares cab with hot Spanish men to train station.
Court gets train.
Court arrives safely in Strasbourg. Hooray!

Lucky Oz got to stay in Barcelona for the whole entire day. Bastard. So check out his blog for all his adventures.

Might I recommend to Runner's World that they do a story on Barcelona? Cause I have never seen so many runners in my whole life.

And for all of you singles out there, might I recommend spending your next Valentines Day not being bitter for the nasty hand life has dealt you, but by vacationing in Spain.

Yeah.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Fun with Woks (or "Chopsticks for Dummies")

Can I just preface this whole blog post by bitching about how much it sucks not to have a computer?

It sucks.

On to other subjects. I have discovered my latest favorite restaurant in Strasbourg. This now comes in second place to Le Petit Ours (which, in my humble opinion, is the best restaurant I've ever been to).

Tonight Meg, Kristin and I went to the Tiger Wok, a random hole in the wall not too far from our apartment. We'd passed by a few times and always admired the nice trendy decor.

So we decided to give it a whirl this evening. After listening to the incredibly complicated explanation of how the menu worked from three different waitresses, we finally got to eat.

Basically you go to a buffet type line, pick your fresh veggies (from mini mais to bamboo shoots), your meat (from chicken to kangeroo--yes, kangeroo) then give it to one of the buff "wokeurs" wearing tight black shirts and do-rags, and watch them cook it in front of you. Oh, and you also get to pick out your oil, sauce and garnish.

And it comes with rice noodles...or plain rice.

MMMMmmmm....wok......

What I liked, in addition to the food and the hot flirty wokeurs, and the trendy yuppie atmosphere, is that you eat with chopsticks, but for the mentally and physically deficient (such as me) they are some sort of weird chopsticks for stupid people that are incredibly easy to use.

Ahhhhh....yea food.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Fun with Apple

So. Here is the latest on the computer debacle. Ironically I am writing this all on a PC...but am keeping my mouth shut because the PC is working and the MAC is not. I don't bite the hand that feeds me.

Called the Apple Store in Strasbourg last night and they told me I deal directly with Apple for this kind of problem. Bueno. Then they told me I deal with Apple in London. (Why?)

I was annoyed with this in the beginning but then my mom reminded me that perhaps it was a good thing that it would be in the hands of the British...no offense to Frenchies or anything, but my mail has been late too many times to have any sort of trust in the "system."

Just got off the phone with Apple Tech Support in London, where I ironically spoke to a French person (in English), and it appears Apple is going to really make this right.

They are coming to my apartment to pick the computer up, via UPS, will pack it and ship it for me. Thank God. One less thing to do.

Then it will be repaired and sent back.

So kudos to Apple for taking care of the problem, and as of now they still have a loyal customer. We will see how the rest goes. I do think it's unfortunate, however, that the only reason they are taking care of the problem is because of the threat of a class action lawsuit.

But ah well. My pomme will be repaired. Soon hopefully.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Zut alors...

My computer died today. Or I should l the screen died. But that really doesn't matter either, because without the screen I can't really use the computer now can I?????

Dammitt.

I am thinking it's this proverbial defect that I only recently heard of in the iBooks...the screen and logic board and all that techie crap that I don't understand but know it's expensive to fix.

Supposedly if this is the problem MAC will fix it for free. All I have to say is I hope it is fixed before I head back to the USA.

SUCK.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

More Superbowl Fun

So if you are like me and missed the Superbowl due to random circumstances, such as being out of the country, now you can catch up on all the ads you missed:

Superbowl Ads

You can also see the video of Janet's Boob Mishap. Yeah, I'm sorry Janet and Justin, I don't care what you say. The pamplemousse exposure was intentional.

This link will take you to the banned ad from PETA which I thought was kind of funny even though I'm not vegetarian. What can I say, sex sells.

You can also view the banned Bushin30seconds ads from the organization MoveOn. Some of them are pretty damn funny/powerful as well.

Overall I was a bit dissappointed in the commercials this year. I thought they were not as creative as in the past. Although I did think the Clydesdale donkey was clever.

But oh well.

Hooray for commercialism!




Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Hottest Club in Strasbourg

So last night a group of assistants (and a significant other) decided to hook up to enjoy the Strasbourgian nightlife (oxymoron).

There were at least 5 countries represented among us, including Argentina and Trinidad & Tobego.

Because of this cultural melting pot, there were also a plethora of langues to follow suit, including French (bien sur) English (of course) Spanish (muy bien) and sometimes German (sorry, I don't speak German).

We had quite a pleasant time, but like everything else in life, not without its interesting moments. So here are the highlights:

10 pm Meeting at FNAC

10:15 Several people have finally arrived

10:16 Introductions and bisous all around

10:20-10:45 Discuss where we might want to go, why we wouldn't want to go there, and what should we do now.

10:46 Decide to "bar-hop" (fun).

10:47 Realize the last member of our group wasn't there.

10:48 Call him. He tells us to go on and he might meet up later.

10:50 Start walking

10:55 Speak to one of the American assistants and her Spanish husband. Become entralled by a "real" Spanish accent and get really excited for my trip to Barthelona.

11:00 Still walking

11:05 Start talking to the German assistant

11:10 Still walking

11:15 Finally find first place on the list, Cafe des Anges. Go to the door and scary bouncers look us over then let us in the front door. Make us stand in a small terrified huddled group in the entranceway. Shut the front door. Then open the door to the club.

11:20 Cafe des Anges has changed management and is now scary. We decide to leave.

11:21 Stand huddled once again in the entranceway while the surly bouncers give us angry looks. Once we are all piled in they let us out.

11:25 Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty! Free at last!

11:26 Start walking again.

11:35 Someone finally asks where we are going.

11:36 Start talking about where we should go.

11:40 Decide to go to the Salamandre.

11:41 Start walking.

11:45 No one is sure where the Salamandre is.

11:47 Ask someone for directions. He is also looking for another club called Le Chariot. He says the two are near each other. One of the assistants proclaims, "I know where the Chariot is!! It's right next to the Salamandre." What helpfulness.

11:48 He realizes we are all foreigners, gives us a strange look and takes off down the street at an incredibly fast pace.

11:49 We ask someone else for directions. Success!

11:50 Start walking (but with purpose this time)

11:54 Our friend looking for the Chariot has apparently found it, turns around and waves to us.

11:56 See the Salamandre. One of the assistants tells us that the bouncers can sometimes be a$$holes and that it's best to have someone go in and look first then decide if we want to go.

11:57 The bouncers are in fact a$$holes, and there is a cover charge. Bouncers brag about how there are supposed to be over 200 people in there this evening. One of us goes inside to check the place out. It's empty.

11:58 Decide to go visit our friend at the Chariot.

11:59 Start walking.

12:02 The Chariot is packed. Decide to go to The Living Room, right up the street.

12:03 Start Walking

12:05 The Spaniard makes the comment, "I don' ehxpect dees bouncerrrrs to kees my azz, but forrrrr a coverrrr charrrrge, I would like dem to at leese' be nize to me."

12:10 The Living Room has a dress code, and unfortunately 2 of us are wearing tennis shoes.

12:11 Start Walking.

12:17 Arrive back at the Salamandre. Get the evil eye once more from the bouncers.

12:18 Start debating in multiple languages about if we really want to go here, or perhaps the "other bar" we passed down the street that was somewhat quieter.

12:20 Court, for the first time in her life, (when you're tired of walking you can have amazing power) stands up and suggests we go back to the other bar where it's quieter and we can talk, where's there's no cover and the bouncers aren't assholes.

12:22 Everyone happily agrees. Court and Meghan share a high five to celebrate her triumphant ability to make a decision for the first time in her life.

12:30 Arrive at the other bar.

12:31 Realize that we are the youngest people there by about 30 years.

12:32 Enjoy being stared at by all the Strasbourg townies.

12:33 Sit down, waitress takes our drink orders.

12:35-1:30 Have a lovely evening.

So now when you decide to visit Strasbourg I know of several place to take you, but none perhaps as delightful as the Old Fogie Bar, that probably made more money in one night than they do in a week.

Return of the Thing

So after a long unexplained absence, the prodigal son has returned to 12 place St Etienne.

Yes folks, F***head, leader of the pink couch mafia, and his shabby dog are back. Unfortunately (????) without the pink couch.

It was sort of a bittersweet reunion, for while we had become somewhat fond of his presence, his annoying habits (like twirling chains on fire and talking incredibly loud) have also made the journey back.

This morning his nails-on-a-chalkboard screech roused me from a delightful dream where I was dressed in a biochemical suit (and believe me, I looked HOT) and was about to save the world from what was surely a biological disaster.

Stupid F***head.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Whoa

I just got done listening to Dean Evanson's "Ocean Dreams" while watching the little visualizer thingie on iTunes.

Wow.

That was maybe too much excitement.

Franck (sigh...)

I love him.

Why, do you ask?

Is it his soft delicate hair that sweeps his forehead in a subtle way?

Is it those sexy smart glasses? Or the sparkling blue eyes that hide behind them?

No, not at all.

It's because Franck works at the FNAC cafe and makes the best damn iced cappucino I have ever had. Complete with--are you ready??--ICE CUBES, a layer of cinnamon, and a curvy straw.

Marry me Franck. Marry me.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

What the heLL?

So now my second class of the afternoon was also cancelled.

Stupid University Day

Came back to school early to find out my class was cancelled so the kids could go to the college fair.

What the hell? It's like they're concerned about their future or something.

Ode to To-mahhh-toh Soup...*

I had the best lunch today. If only I were Adam Sandler, I would write a song about it (in the spirit of the Thanksgiving Song).


*Made a la Courtenay, with a touch of creme, garlic, salt and pepper. MMMMmmmmm.....

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Go me

I just did some much needed blog housekeeping. I rule.

It's Take-Your-Baby-For-A-Walk Day!

Strasbourg has been blessed these past two days with beautiful weather...spring-like temperatures, gentle breeze and sunshine!

This means several things...

First, I can go out for a nice leisurely walk and not freeze my a$$ off.

Second, all the lil' cafes have put the tables back outside for a "terrasse" and it is oh so pleasant...Today I enjoyed a lovely cup o' coffee outside and basked in the rays and cool breeze...

And finally...the armies of mammas daddies and babies are out in full force.

Now this might sound like a weird thing to say. But you really honestly have to be here and then you can understand what I'm talking about. I think the world's largest buyer of baby carriages is France...because they are all the hell over.

And while I'm all about happy family walks, they tend to get in the way and go very slow on the sidewalk and crowd up the tram entrances/exits.

But it's nice weather, so I will keep my bitching to a minimum.

Other events that happened today:

My Cambridge class was cancelled cause the kiddies are taking a test today. That meant Meez Verret had the day off. Hooray!

I found out my friend Kristin is going home...she decided she is not enjoying it so much, has been living in a little town, etc...so I'm bummed but happy for her because she's happy.

I went to the MAC store to return a microphone I bought and they won't give me a refund. BOO! Instead I got a store credit. Which gives me an excuse to look for something else to buy. Suggestions anyone?

And now, to bask some more in the glorious weather before it turns back into snow rain and slush.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Censure Bush

In an attempt to escape responsibility for the misleading statements that led the nation to war, President Bush has announced plans to form an independent inquiry to look into what went wrong. An inquiry would serve the Bush administration well: it would envelop the issue in a fog of uncertainty, deflect blame onto the intelligence services, and push any political damage into 2005, after the upcoming election.

But the facts need no clarification. Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed. And now that reality is setting in, the President seeks to pin the blame on someone else. We can't let him.

Congress has the power to censure the President -- to formally reprimand him for his betrayal of the nation's trust. If ever there was a time to use this function, it is now. To join the call for Congress to censure President Bush CLICK HERE

Thanks.

Passion, Love, & Burning Fire

This can only mean one thing!

Ummm, ewwww.

So many of you who know me are aware that I am not exactly what you would call "tidy."

It's not that I like living in a messy room, and I definitely am clean (read OCD) about things such as bathrooms/kitchens, but my room is kind of my domain...

Anyway, today I couldn't stand it anymore and CLEANED.

I have beautiful wooden floors, which I covered with a broom.

Needless to say, it was pretty damn gross. How much dust can one floor collect I ask you? For the love of God and all that is holy. I didn't know dust bunnies could actually get that big.

I am proud to report, however, that the floor is now nice and shining...AND...I am thinking of passing over with a little cloth thing to make it sparkle even more.

Aren't you proud of me? Come on...you know you are.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Is that your boob or is your wardrobe just malfunctioning?

Silly people.

Just been reading about the now planned FCC investigation over Janet Jackson's right breast at the Superbowl. (By the way, nice sun Janet...)

Am I the only one who thinks this whole thing is a little silly? I mean, I know the Superbowl is a family affair and the act was kinda tasteless and blah blah but come on...it's just a boob. If you haven't seen one by now then it was probably time.

Are we really going to launch a huge expensive investigation to determine whether the boob flashing was intentional or not? Do we not have more important things to worry about then the fact that we all saw a boob with a sun around it? I'm beginning to wonder if John Ashcroft is behind all of this.

I dunno friends...sometimes I think we're just a little too prudish for our own good.



Achtung? No, AACHEN.

So the traveling adventures continued (and oh did they ever continue) this past weekend as I went to Aachen, Germany to visit our former exchange student and his wife (Felix and Angela).

I took off on Friday and immediately my curse of bad luck in Germany came to realization as my train was cancelled. While I was fumbling around with my bags, standing in line to see what to do next, I managed to smash a bottle of wine that I was bringing to them. So the pleasant aroma of Riesling filled the air and a large puddle began to fill the floor.

Fortuntately the wine was in a bag, so it was not that disastrous. Acting as any French person would, I threw the bag of broken glass away and got back in line, pretending that nothing happened and trying to ignore the puddle that began to accumulate by my shoes.

As luck would have it, they switched around some trains, so my path into Aachen was just fine.

So here is a play by play of the weekend activities:

Friday

Leave for Aachen with new train itinerary. Fall in love with the German ICE trains (so so pretty). Which are also full of German soldiers going home for the weekend (rowr).

Choke to death on train from Manheim to Koln because I have to sit in smoking section. The nice German girl sitting next to me offers me a cigarette in French. How polite.

Listen to the drunken German soliders get louder and louder. Also watch the faces of other passengers on the train get more and more shocked. Wish to God I spoke German so I knew what they were saying.

Realize I forgot to bring my camera. Stupid Court.

Arrive in Koln. Switch trains.

Group of young boys hop on the train with a gigantic crate of beer and a radio. We have a party for about 20 minutes. They get off.

Arrive in Aachen.

Go to meet Felix. On the way there some woman approaches and asks me something in German. When I made my "I don't know what you're saying" face she then switched to English and asked me for money. Hooray for bilingual riff raff.

Get to Felix and Angela's apartment and get re-acquainted.

Go out for Tapas. MMMMmmmm....tapas. Gets me all geared up for Barcelona!

Watch a drunk guy get thrown out of tapas bar.

Watch another table of rich drunk guys being brought more drinks. And some old floozy secretary flirting it up with her boss.

Head home for bed.

Saturday

Go with Felix and Angela to the Skoda/Volkswagon dealer to look at cars.

Miss my car.

Head to the downtown area and enter cathedral. Tres cool.

Buy Printen (Mmmm....Printen)

Go to tea shop. Heaven on earth.

Buy three bags of tea.

Go to the German version of Barnes & Noble and have coffee. Cafe au Lait. In a big big soup bowl. With foamed milk. Mmmmmmm....

Raining and windy. We decide to head home.

Felix and I go pick up their new furniture for the baby (yes, they're expecting).

Get furniture and carry up the stairs to apartment. Court realizes how out of shape she has gotten since she's been in France (weakling!).

Dinner and conversation.

Watch Pirates of the Carribean (Orlando Bloom...rowr).

Bed

Sunday

Head to small little town by Aachen to have a look see. Quite cute and touristy, with old German buildings. Very very pretty.

Walk some more.

Have coffee.

Go to the mustard factory and store. Taste all kinds of different mustards (curry, tomato, riesling, fig, orange, lemon, garlic....).

Court buys a container of Garlic Mustard. Mmmmm...mustard.

Get back into car. Hit the Autobahn. Court rides at 120 mph (yes, MPH, not KPH) for the first time ever.

Drive up to town where Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands meet. Decide to eat "Europe's Second Best" fries (as voted by Germany) at little stand.

Park the car in front of the lookout tower. See dead body.

Dead body?????

Decide the dead body is actually just a dummy.

Court sees blood on the head of the "dummy."

We still insist it's a dummy.

Court stands in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands all at the same time.

Eat fries.

See ambulance coming.

See people standing around gawking.

Head back to car.

See paramedics covering the "dummy" with blankets.

See police.

Realize it wasn't a dummy (Jesus Christ).

Head to train station in silence.

Angela and Felix accompany me to train and we have a nice goodbye.

Have uneventful train trip. Once again, Court falls in love with the ICE trains.

Arrive in Strasbourg.

Proverbial shit hits the fan (long long story).

Call Oz and bitch for half an hour.
***********************************************************

So needless to say the weekend was quite interesting and incredibly eventful. Thank you Felix and Angela for hosting me!

Now it's time for another week...and another...and then Barcelona!