Monday, May 31, 2004

A Quickie...

So tonight is the magic night...we are losing telephone and internet access. Waaaaahhhhh! What will I do without my modem? I suppose go back to school to use internet for free. But it won't be the same. No it won't be the same. But never fear, the blogging shall continue somehow...

Just finished saying goodbye to a whole group of friends here. I hate that. My whole "I can't wait to get back to the states" feelings have been replaced by an incredible sense of fear. Hooray.

Finally decided re: packing to buy another suitcase. Then I can evenly distribute 70lbs into each.

Isn't flying fun?

Alas, I am fatiguee and I believe it's time for bed. Hopefully the hamster wheel will not be spinning, I will not be sneezing, and no one will be playing loud music tonight, and I can get some sleep.

What the hell kind of neighborhood do I live in??????!!!!!!!!!

So after falling asleep around almost 5ish, like deja vu I woke up to another similar scene from 2 weeks ago, minus the blood.

Once again the familiar screaming, but this time we have two girls fighting, when suddenly one of their boyfriends pulls the other off and decides to take his turn at pummeling this poor girl.

We don't call the police because the other girls are screaming and pulling out their mobiles, but then the MF just drove away. And then they didn't call the police and they continued screaming, and a few minutes later, a little further down the street, they start beating the girl up again.

Then the perpetrator, "tank top girl," (Meg and I gave them names over breakfast) sat in the Place for awhile and cried with her other friend.

Thankfully, today is one of SECULAR France's RELIGIOUS holidays (Happy Pentecost everyone), so there are no kids around.

This is a side note tangent here, but I love how France wants to ban Muslims from wearing head scarfs to keep church and state seperate, but has religious bank holidays.

Now back to the original subject.

Ok, so what is up with Place St. Etienne??? I have never felt unsafe here, and I don't think it IS unsafe in terms of scary men hanging out on corners waiting to jump you, but people park their cars around here to go out, then come back drunk with their friends, then get in fights.

I am assuming it gets worse in warm weather and that is the reason for all the recent activity. But I can't handle all this drama. I prefer noise to violence. F*ckhead and his couch and his fireballs are plenty excitement for me.

Even more amazing is that one hour after all this drama, the Place is full of tourists taking pictures at the old buildings.

I live in a mixed up world.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

It's 4 a.m. and I am wide awake because...

1. I am obsessing about packing my suitcase.
2. I had two shots of espresso before bed.
3. I can't stop sneezing.
4. Someone has decided to play AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" right outside my window.

Concerning Shoes...

I came to Strasbourg with 2 pairs.

I am leaving with 7.

Why God, why?

How, I ask you...

Can clothes weigh so much???

Packing Hell

Just in case I haven't mentioned it before, I hate packing.

I hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it.

I've already mailed a box home and bought another one yesterday. They are unlimited weight, but really small, so I've been trying to creatively stack things inside.

For the past hour I've been just walking around my room looking at stuff, not sure what else to do.

Here is my biggest problem: On my way here I knew if I couldn't fit something in the suitcase I could leave it at home. In 5 different homes, to be exact. (Thank you South Bend friends...)

This time, however, everythings gotta come back. I just moved my foolishly purchased speakers into Meg's room for her to use and I realized how GD heavy they are.

Stupid stupid stupid.

And after hearing Shuey's airline nightmare I don't even want to think about les consequences.

So send your positive thoughts my way SVP.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Who's Your Spy Daddy??

Jack Bristow, that's who.

Michael Vaughn? Who's Michael Vaughn?

Ah, packing, how dost I detest thee...

Permettez-moi de compter les facons...

Friday, May 28, 2004

Das ist Deutschland..(the Colocs Blog Ensemble)

Did Court ever mention that Shuey, our Bolivian friend, aka, "The Language Whore," left random German music on Court's computer.... our fav is a song by Die Prinzen, entitled Das ist Deutschland. It is the inspiration for our blog tonight. (All we got out of Shuey by way of translation is "We are Deutschland." A little obvious, we think. Do you really know German? Are you sure?? All we hear is "mwah mwah mwah mwah Deutschland")

(Pause for giggle fit.)

We went to Basel, Switzerland, today and did nothing Suisse-like: eating lunch at a Mexican Restaurant, and of course singing "Das ist Deutschland..." and naming the colors we remembered...Grun, Schwartz, Blau, Gelb, Weiss, Rot...the only Deutsch we know. Then hitting up Starbucks for a caffeine fix before the train. Muite Bene. Si si.

We just finished watching LOR the Two Towers. Here are our eine kleine favorite quotes...not necessarily from the movie, but said during the movie:

"MAN FLESH"

"That makes no sense to me...but then again, you are quite small..."

"THE PRECIOUS! ROWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

*Timeout to restart "Deutschland"*

"Bob Dole has erectile dysfunction..." (evolved from "Meghan doesn't like it when Frodo speaks in the third-person." "Courtenay says that Bob Dole and Frodo both speak in the third-person." "Meghan says 'Thank you Captain Obvious.'")

"DO IT."

"I'll dress Aragorn... after I undress him. Rar."

"Legolas makes a lot of Captain Obvious comments. But he's still hot."

"Hobbits are very good at three things: eating, throwing rocks and being small."

*************************************************************************************
Tonight is our last Friday night in 12 place St. Etienne. Triste. (But on the plus side, our friends in the neighborhood, ie F*ckhead, only have a limited time left to annoy us. Woohoo!) We want to see the pink couch one last time before we leave. Now that we have our own comfy chairs and do not envy the large, dirty, flea-ridden couch. Awwww.

To Do List Before Leaving Strasbourg
Bring remaining puce supplies to the Hotel Patricia, take a picture, and run like hell.

Photo of our friend, F*ckhead, and his drum! Then run like hell! (Which, I would like to add, he decided to practice at 7 am this morning. In the Place. Just outside the window. REALLY ENDEARING.)

Manger at the Petit Ours encore une fois. No running.

See and take pictures with the scary Cignones...click click click click click....

Play tour guide to our respective friends from London, Lissy and Oz.

Pack.

Oh, wait, Oz isn't coming.

Buy more boxes to send more things home.

Buy more things to put in more boxes. (All these damn people want presents!)

Did we mention packing?

Did we mention Oz's not coming?

Not that Court's bitter or anything.

No, no one is bitter in this apartment. No one. DEUTSCH! DEUTSCH! NOT AS LONG AS WE CAN PLAY DEUTSCHLAND! (Maybe F*ckhead will start to accompany us on his petit drum)

Teach lyceens the second part of "Smells like Teen Spirit." (Yes, there's a whole nother part to the song!!) And one that does not feature the bongos.)

Stand outside the currently being constructed Subway and chant "OpenOpenOpen"

Meet with Mr. Pfeiffer (the "P" is not silent...seriously) and discuss money (that we don't have).

One more visit to the coiffeuse magique: Karine!

Try to stop burping.

Try to drink all the Coca Light we can before leaving France.

It's a pity that sarcasm doesn't translate well into blog format.

*Timeout to re-start "Deutschland"...we'll turn it down out of consideration for our neighbors...*

**********************************************************************************

Court and Meghan's version of lyrics to "Deustchland", by Die Prinzen
DEUTSCH! DEUTSCH! DEUTSCH DEUTSCH!

Mwah mwah mwah mwah...Vielen dank...mwah mwah mwah mwah...Deutschland.

DEUTSCH! DEUTSCH! DEUTSCH!

Mwah Mwah Mwah

Eine Kleine mwah mwah...

Das mwah mwah Deutschland...

DEUTSCH! (repeat)

MWAH MWAH MWAH...(repeat)
(unfortunately, they don't mention colors, so we're kinda weak on the rest of the lyrics. Sorry to disappoint you all.)

************************************************************************************

Now here are the 'Real' Lyrics to "Deutschland" by Die Prinzen, with selected translation by Meg and Court...

Deutsch, deutsch, deutsch, deutsch, deutsch, deutsch. THIS MEANS "GERMAN"

Nat�rlich hat ein Deutscher �Wetten Dass� erfunden,
vielen Dank THIS MEANS "THANK YOU VERY MUCH" f�r die sch�nen Stunden.
Wir sind die freundlichsten Kunden auf dieser Welt,
wir sind bescheiden, wir haben Geld,
die Allerbesten in jedem Sport,
die Steuern hier - sind Weltrekord.
Bereisen Sie THIS MEANS "YOU" Deutschland THIS MEANS "GERMANY"
und bleiben Sie hier,
auf diese Art von Besuchern - warten wir.
Es kann jeder hier wohnen,
dem es gef�llt,
wir sind das freundlichste Volk THIS MEANS "PEOPLE",
auf dieser Welt...

Deutsch, deutsch, deutsch, deutsch. THIS STILL MEANS "GERMAN"

Nur eine Kleinigkeit ist hier verkehrt,
und zwar das Schumacher keinen Mercedes THIS IS A VERY POPULAR CAR IN GERMANY f�hrt THIS IS A FUN WORD TO SAY.
(Mercedes f�hrt...)

[Refrain:]
Das alles ist Deutschland (ohh),
das alles sind wir (ohh),
das gibt es nirgendwo anders,
nur hier - nur hier.

Das alles ist Deutschland (ohh),
das sind alles wir,
wir leben und wir sterben hier.

Deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN, deutsch GERMAN.

Es bilden sich viele was auf Deutschland GERMANY...or, literally, "GERMAN LAND" ein,
und mancher findet es geil - ein Arschloch zu sein.
Es gibt manchen der sich gern� �ber Kanaken beschwert
und zum Ficken jedes Jahr nach Thailand THIS IS A COUNTRY IN ASIA f�hrt.
Wir lieben unsere Autos mehr als unsere Frauen THIS MIGHT MEAN "WOMEN",
denn deutschen Autos k�nnen wir vertrauen.
Gott hat die Erde nur einmal gek�sst,
genau an dieser Stelle wo jetzt Deutschland ist IS.
Wir sind �berall die besten � nat�rlich auch im Bett,
und zu Hunden und Katzen,
besonders nett.

[Refrain]

Wir sind besonders gut im auf die Fresse hauen,
auch im Feuerlegen - kann man uns vertrauen.
Wir stehen auf Ordnung und Sauberkeit,
wir sind jederzeit f�r �nen Krieg bereit.
Sch�nen Gru� an die Welt seht es endlich ein,
wir k�nnen stolz auf Deutschland
(Deutschland, Deutschland...)

Schwein, Schwein, Schwein, Schwein, Schwein, Schwein, Schwein,Schwein.

[Refrain 2x]

*****************************************************************************
See? We told you there are no colors. Did we mention that we know the colors in German?

Ok, the computer is going to go night night now. The girls are too silly and beginning to speak in the third-person, like M. Frodon and Bob Dole. And Meghan don't like Bob Dole. Or talking in the third-person. Court non plus. Grammar's not up there either, alongside erectile dysfunction.

Auf Wiedersehen!

(this means "See you Soon!" in German.

The Precious! The Precious is lost!

The Meg and I drank all the Diet Coke that I brought back from England.

(sniff sniff)

They took it from us...the trixy false hobbitses...and we wants it, we needs it!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

"Do you smell lighter fluid?"

So the twirling chains of fire are back in place St. Etienne. F***head and Stupid and I believe their girlfriend have been out all night twirling away.

But they keep blowing out the flames.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting...

As I was brushing my teeth just now, I heard monkey noises outside.

Then Meghan came in and said she was hearing "deranged chickens."

As it turns out, we were both wrong.

It was just F***head and his crew, who are outside practicing some Karate moves. Complete with sound effects.

So yeah, I'm leaving on June 5th.

Six Months Plus Tard: London Still=Fundon

Hello friends, it is good to be back in blogland after my little vacation to the ouest. After spending 6 hours in an incredibly uncomfortable reclining siege, I am back in Strasbourg and trying to start organizing mes affairs because I LEAVE IN A WEEKISH! June 5th actually. My mom told me this morning she received the box of stuff I shipped home. Tant mieux. I might decide to send another one alors.

The rest of our time in Nantes was fabulous, complete with a chateau visit, homeade crepes and gallettes, shopping, and lunch at a restaurant that specialized in potatoes. Mmmmmm...

There were some tears shed as I said goodbye to Lionel, Vero and Louise, but soon I had the city of London to wipe them away.

So without further ado, here are the highlights:

Friday
Leave Nantes, arrive at the Gare Montparnasse, hop on the metro to Gare du Nord.

Check in for the Eurostar, which = trop cool.

Drop passport and have a momentary heart attack when I realize what I did.

Profusely thank the controller who saw it and handed it back to me.

Wait for boarding. Admire hot young Englishman sitting in waiting room.

Board train. Delight in the discovery that hot young Englishman is sitting next to me.

Get offended when hot young Englishman gets up to sit in an empty seat when the train starts.

Decide I am pleased to have a seat all to myself.

Arrive Waterloo.

Immediately know I am no longer in France when I see an organized line forming for customs.

Meet the Oz and walk to Bankside House.

Chat.

Decide we must buy cheese. Walk to convenience store. Freak out over seeing English everywhere.

Return to Bankside with stash. Mange. Watch Sprockets. Then watch Alias. (sigh...)

*Organize a little pallette of blankets on Oz's floor.

Sleep.

Saturday
*Rise with minimal back pain.

Head to cantine for English breakfast.

Get detailed instructions from Oz on where to catch the bus. Leave him to study.

Walk to St. Paul's to catch bus.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

Wonder why the bus hasn't come yet.

See the bus I need, and then see it drive past without slowing down.

Decide I should perhaps take the tube.

See another, less crowded, bus stop and decide to wait there.

Wait.

Wait.

Am approached by German couple asking for directions. Am flattered but cannot really help out.

As I am speaking to German couple, bus comes.

Bus drives away without me in it.

German girl apologizes for making me miss the bus and asks me where I'm from.

Give schpeel about living in Strasbourg.

German guy excitedly responds with, "Mwah mwah mwah mwah Kehl" (think Charlie Brown teacher).

German girl translates, "We are from Kehl."

Wow! Kehl would be right next to Strasbourg. Small world.

Bus 4 comes again. Court waves it down.

Success.

Ride bus towards Upper Street. On the way bus hits a car and we stop for about 10 minutes.

Make it to Upper Street.

Buy shoes.

Visit Olga so she can work her magic on my eyebrows.

Get back on bus toward Oxford Street.

Passenger informs the driver that man is having a heart attack on bus. Bus stops to await ambulance. Everyone is kicked off bus.

Decide I am never taking a bus in London again.

Take another one anyway.

Go to Oxford and find Subway.

Am happy.

Spend afternoon in Marks and Sparks.

Return to Bankside for dinner.

This is the part of Alias when we dance.

Sunday
Sleep late.

*A bit of a backache that goes away shortly.

Go to Starbucks for a latte and newspaper.

Head out with the Oz for the Lord of the Rings concert, played by the London Philarmonic, featuring music from the soundtrack, and directed by none other than Howard Shore himself. Could you do any better than this?

You could try, but you would not be successful.

Listen to amazing music.

Get goosebumps.

Am moved to tears.

Goosebumps again.

More tears.

You get the idea.

Leave the concert feeling as though I could now die happy.

Leave Oz to study and head out to explore more of Londres by foot.

Decide I love Londres.

Monday
*Yeah, my back is a little sore now.

Hit the Tower of London.

Witness all the history I learned from Mrs. Grahm and Mrs. Claussen's 11th and 12th grade English classes come to life.

Wow.

Head out to the West End for some shopping.

Have lunch at TGI FRIDAYS and have a grilled chicken ceasar salad with REAL ceasar dressing!!!!

Get a FREE REFILL. (Ah, America, how I miss you)

Meet Oz and his fellow Decision Scientists to celebrate the end of their exams. A decision is quickly made on where to go.

Realize after awhile that I am sitting in a bar with a bunch of people who call themselves "Decision Scientists."

Reflect on this for awhile.

Have a late-night adventure featuring Oz, two British girls, and the Thames River.

You don't want to know.

Tuesday
*Ouch, my back.

Head to Westminster Abbey.

Am incredibly moved by Poet's Corner and the Nave. Feel the history pouring through my veins.

Leave Abbey and hit Subway for one last delicious lunch.

Sit by the river and read.

Meet Oz and head out to Waterloo.

Leave loverly Angleterre.

Arrive in Paris.

Visit some friends.

Head to Gare de l'Est.

Hop on the night train for the longest most uncomfortable night I can remember.

Wednesday
Arrive in Strasbourg at 5:30 a.m.

**************************************************************************
Can I tell you how much I love London? Cause I do, I love London. I'm glad I got to come back and see all the stuff I didn't get to see the last time.

Thanks to Oz for hosting me.

Now it is time to get serious about the packing and such. I can't believe I'm leaving in a little more than a week. Yikes.

*Less you think the Oz is a bad host, it was my choice to sleep on the floor rather than ordering a bed. What can I say, I'm poor. And cheap.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I'm in London!

They speak English here.

Excuse me while I curl up in the fetal position and whimper.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"Ah, j'adore la mer...si belle, si profonde...si pleine des poissons..." --Kevin Kline, French Kiss

Bonjour from Nantes tout le monde!

We arrived yesterday after spending a random day in Paris. After waking up at 4am to catch the early train to the City of Lights, we arrived at the Gare Montparnasse to find all the lockers were closed due to "raisons de securite".

Merde.

So we spent the day not really doing anything because we had all our bags with us.

Oh well. Our first day in Nantes more than made up for it.

After sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast, Lionel took us to the beach in La Baule. We got in a nice walk and a nice sunburn, then got back in the car for a drive around the "Cote Sauvage".

Friggin' gorgeous.

Tonight we had an equally amazing dinner outside, then joined Louise to watch Harry Potter in French. That was just weird. Although they did do a decent job making the French voices similar, which is more than I can see for the dubbed over episodes of "Friends."

But in spite of their best efforts, there is just no substitute for Alan Rickman's voice. Rowr.

Tomorrow we go for a pique nique and a chateau. Apparently Lionel took me there when I was little but I have no recollection. We'll see if I remember tomorrow. It's funny, every time I come out here, little things like a smell or a site brings back my whole childhood. It's really surreal. And cool.

Just call me Marcel Proust.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Paris, Nantes, Londres

Well I am off for my last travel spurt of the year.

Meg and I are heading to Nantes to see my dear dear friends. On the way we're going to spend the day in gay Paris. Hooray!

We leave Nantes on Friday, and then I'm off to London! On the Eurostar! Double Hooray! I get to see the Oz at least one more time, unless he decides to come to Strasbourg. Which would be cool cause then we could have raclette. And such. But first things first.

So my blogging may be sporadic here and there, but rest assured that the Oz and I will have at least one last joint blog, live from Londres.

A bientot mes amis!

Bye Shuey! Hi Shuey!

Well today was really sad because Shuey left for Bolivia.

Kind of.

Shuey crashed at 12 place St Etienne last night, after returning from his long ass trip to Hannover. This morning we shared one last petit dejuner, and it was off to frantic packing up.

I did not enjoy watching this process, as it gave me scary reminders of what is to come for me in a few weeks.

Anyway, after about 3 hours we had everything cleaned up and shoved somwhere. We took off for the tram, took a photo, waved goodbye, and that was it.

I spent the whole day bummed out because he's the first good friend here I've had to say goodbye to.

But little did I know...

Around 10 pm I get a phone call, and who should it be, but SHUEY! Not in Bolivia, not in Paris, but in Strasbourg...

Shortly he arrived on our doorstep, and like deja vu, moved all his crap upstairs.

He then proceeded to raconte the most horrible airport/airplane story I have ever heard in my life.

The good thing is that Meg now got the chance to say goodbye, since she finally returned from London this evening.

So it all worked out for us in the end. In a selfish kind of way.

It looks like he leaves tomorrow...we hope.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Ohhh la

Look at all the countries that have accessed my blog this year...

United States
France
United Kingdom
Canada
Germany
Netherlands
Belgium
Australia
Italy
Ireland
Spain
Japan
Hungary
Brazil
Singapore
Sweden
Denmark
Israel
Finland
Malaysia
Hong Kong
Chile
Mexico
Cote D'Ivoire
Indonesia
Panama
Portugal
Slovakia
US Military
Korea, Republic of
Lithuania
Argentina
Pakistan
Gabon
Switzerland
Egypt
New Zealand
Russian Federation

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Never a Dull Moment

What an exciting day! I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when I go back to my normal old boring life in the USA.

It all started this morning, when I was awakened around 6:30 by screaming. This is actually quite normal at place St. Etienne, although as I was going in and out of conciousness, I began to realize this screaming was a bit different.

It reminded me of when we used to get a Water Moccasin or a turtle in our backyard (those situations can arise when you have a bayou behind your house). We always knew something was going on because our dogs would start barking in this really weird way.

So eventually I realized something was wrong and got up to look out the window. The next thing I know, some guy storms out into the place wearing a white shirt that is literally drenched in blood.

Holy Sh*t.

So I start trying to remember what 911 is in France, and how to explain what's happening in French. Fortunately, while I was thinking, about 5 police cars showed up, so I was spared.

I don't really know what happened, because everyone was directly under the building. I saw one guy with blood all in his hair and on his face get handcuffed and put in the ambulance. And apparently the other guy was sent away too. In a different ambulance.

Once again, Holy Sh*t.

So after all this hoopla, I tried unsuccessfully to get back to sleep. I finally managed to drag myself out of bed a few hours later.

The rest of the day, fortunately, got much better.

I met up with Cecile to attend the "Ateliers Ouverts," a city-wide thing where you can visit local artists' homes/studios and look at their work. So not only did we get to see some cool art, but I got to nose around in a lot of nifty apartments in old buildings.

We spent the day looking around, and Cecile was kind enough to point out some cool things I've never seen before, including an olive oil store, the Cathedral dog, and the strongest man in the world.

When we parted, I walked around town a bit and witnessed a manisfestation for Jesus. At the same time, the Portuguese Association had their own non-related little march with drums through town.

The day finally ended with the completion of Mission Impossible. Here's the background:

The movie theatre put up a ton of cool posters on one of the main streets today for Harry Potter/Prisoner of Azkaban.

All you fellow HP nuts probably have seen it--the whole "Have You Seen This Wizard?" and has Sirius Black holding up his prisoner sign. Oh, and it's all in French, so it actually says, "Avez Vous Vu Ce Sorcier?"

They are quite cool, and as soon as I saw them I wanted to take one, but there were too many people around.

So tonight I recruited an enthusiastic Hannah and together we went out to Grande Rue and discreetly stole 4 of them.

We were planning on taking another when this group of people walked by, and this girl asks us what we're carrying.

Hannah was cool, calm, and collected. Court, on the other hand, began to get nervous, and actually debated pretending she didn't speak French.

Instead of playing "stupid foreigner" however, we decided to use the old standby, "Everyone else is doing it".

The one chick called us sinners until we hinted that they should take some for themselves. Her eyes began to gleam.

Then we took off, watching them cautiously look around and take their own.

Phew. Scary Moment. But it all worked out in the end. And now I have a cool poster.

I had more excitement today than I've had all week. I suddenly feel like Xena, Warrior Princess, or Jana of the Jungle. You know, in that whole adventuresome kind of way...

Friday, May 14, 2004

Waaaaah!

Well, my round of goodbyes has started. Sniff...

The English teachers had a party for Hannah and me today, complete with champagne and kugelhopf, and gave us each a little gift.

Both of us felt like idiots because we both forgot our cameras. We realized this, of course, after we realized we had gotten on the wrong tram. Yes, the wrong tram. After living here 9 months, we went in the wrong direction.

We finally arrived a little late, and then stayed till about 8 just chatting with everyone. Then I emptied my little locker and wanted to cry.

One of the cutest guests there was the little girl of one of my proffs, who is married to an American (the proff, not the little girl). Of course, the child is 5 and speaks French and English perfectly. So jealous. What a gift to give your kids.

Hannah and I finished the evening with dinner at Crepe Mili then back to my apartment for a little Harry Potter film fun. I've been watching so many movies on my computer these days that I don't think I'll know what to do with myself when I can watch a movie on a "real" tv.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going on a tour of homes type thing with Cecile, the teacher that brought me to Monkey Mountain. This should be much more posh and pretentious than giving popcorn to monkeys.

He's Drumming Again

On my "to-do" list before I leave Strasbourg is to take F---Head's drum and slam it over his head.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Go Me

So as you've probably guessed, I changed up my blog. Thank you Blogger. Your new additions are beautiful.

I am a bit sad about losing my old comments. It makes me want to cry. But Blogger's new comment system is just too cool.

So fire away my friends, start leaving notes to cheer me up!

Beverly Hills Cop

I just downloaded Axel F. I love this song.

This, unfortunately, is about the most exciting thing that happened to me today. The Meg is currently in London, visiting potential grad schools. In fact, she just texted me and told me she saw Luke Perry's bare arse today. Luke Perry. As in Dylan from 90210. Lucky Beyatch.

So I have spent much time wandering around aimlessly and talking to myself. I've also been watching hours and hours of "Alias." Meg has now got me hooked on this show.

In other news, a big "Happy Birthday" shout out to Big Oz, who is now halfway to 30.

Speaking of Big Oz, and speaking of London, I did manage to get out today to buy a ticket to visit this great city one last time. I leave next week. Hopefully London will be just as Fundon as last time. And can I just say how excited I am about taking the Eurostar? Even though in order to get the cheap ticket I will have to arrive in Strasbourg at 5 a.m. Ah well. I'm young yet.

Tomorrow the English teachers are having a party for me and Hannah, the other American assistant. Hooray!

And other than that, nothing. I think I might watch another episode of Alias and go to bed...



Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bitter Bitter Irony

So I'm walking this afternoon, and suddenly my eye was caught by a gold and green sign...

My friends, they are building a SUBWAY in STRASBOURG!!!!!!

I can't friggin' believe it. I wanted to go see when it opens, but there were workmen all around and I felt silly.

I would love to be the first Subway customer in Strasbourg. But I fear it will not be finished until I leave.

Why oh why could they not have built it sooner?!?!?

Environmental Stalker...

So ever since Sunday, when I visited the Green table at the EP, I now see the guy that we spoke with EVERYWHERE. In place St. Etienne, on the tram, on the road, everywhere...

It's freakin' me out...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Book Buying...in German

So after being deeply scarred by the movie Kill Bill, I tried to return my life to some sense of normalcy by going shopping for a "baby" present.

Unfortunately, going shopping for baby items did very little to bring me back to normalcy, because I have never bought anything for a baby before. My female friends have not started going down that road yet, which is good because that would really freak me out.

In addition, the above mentioned baby happens to be German, so that further complicated the shopping.

I spent about 30 minutes looking at little jumpsuit things (onesies?) and cute overalls, and I could immediately understand the temptation for parents to want to buy their kids crap from Baby Gap. Too cute.

But nothing overly struck my fancy, and, deciding that books are always nice presents, I headed to a little bookshop, where I happened to not only find children's books, but children's books in German.

Hooray!

The only hang up? I don't speak German.

Fortunately, these were children's books, so I could sort of decipher them based on the pictures. Or I like to think I could anyway.

I got to re-learn my colors that Shuey had taught me. And a slew of other helpful vocabulary. But suddenly I was drawn to another interesting book with a colorful front.

It was a bit more advanced, but I was luckily able to use my logic and visual skills to deduce from the illustrations what was happening. This particular book appeared to be all about poop. Animal poop, but poop all the same.

So as much as it killed me to put it back, I did.

I spent about two hours looking for a gift, and finally came back with...

Nothing.

But at least I have an idea what's out there.

And I got to blog about poop!

Wiggle Your Big Toe

Holy Jesus. I just saw Kill Bill today. The first one.

Holy. Jesus.

Wiggle your big toe indeed...when I left the theater my legs were shaking.

And of course, NOW I have to go see the second one when it comes out here next week so I can see what happens.

I am going to be scarred for life.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Fun at the European Parliament

Well the city of Strasbourg finally issued a collective "Quitcherbitchin' Court", and decided to provide me some entertainment.

Of course, the 10 countries recently added to the European Union might have also had something to do with today's event, but as usual, I like to think it's all about me.

The European Parliament hosted an Open House today, inviting the public to take a tour of the spectacular hemicycle and check out exhibits by the various members, most notably the newest EU additions.

We had quite an interesting day, with lots of freebies. What is about free stuff that makes people act like madmen? It's good to know (or perhaps scary) that at least it's universal.

This was a notable day for many reasons. First, we have been wanting to see the parliament for ages but because of security you can't ever go in and look around. Today we finally got our chance!

Second, today marks the first day in a week or two that I have woken up before noon. The day seems so much longer suddenly.

Meg and I set off around 10am, ready to walk in the rain to save money on tram fare, and also ready to stand in the long queue.

We returned (again, in the rain) a few hours ago, and since we've been back home, we've done nothing but dig through our goodie bags. But I have finally decided to tear myself away from my copy of "We Live in Slovania" to put in some quality blogging time.

Here are the highlights:

Europa Park
This is the European version of Disney, not owned by the actual American Disney. Make no mistake. Even though they have a MOUSE as their mascot and a sort of Epcot-looking building, they ARE NOT PART OF DISNEY!!! NOT Disney.

Anyhoo, they had displays set up all over the place outside, and while we were waiting to get in, we got to watch the "Mouse" character walk around with his chicken friend. We also saw a scary Charlie Chaplin. And a cool jazz band. They also gave away free baseball caps and bumper stickers.

God Bless the Irish
Let's hear it for the Irish display, that featured a bartender serving up Murphy's Stout (or "Cafe Irlandais") before 11 in the morning. I don't care what Meghan says, I can't believe it tastes like "a strong mocha."

All this hoopla for a bowl of rice?
Around noon we made our way into a big salon with lots and lots of displays. We also happened to notice lots of people eating funny looking stuff and drinking wine. Feeling a bit hungry ourselves, we squished past a wall and the security guards to get in the queue.

It wasn't long before (in typical French fashion) a bunch of people began to ease over and cut in line.

Fortunately, we were blessed with the chief of the Alsatian food police, an old man who began yelling at everyone, "Faites la queue, faites la queue!!!"

Our first thoughts were "Go you," but after he started muttering about how these people were obviously not French (it was evident HE was) and began to shake and get a bit too intense, we got a little nervous.

The bitter irony of it all is that we were all waiting in line for spoonfools of rice. Granted, rice with three different types of sauce, but rice all the same.

When you're hungry, you're hungry, I guess.

Luckily, the chefs came with more just in time, and they added another server to speed up the process, and all was well.

At this point, Meg and I decided to get out of line. The next station of dried beans were no longer tempting.

Socialists: We Like To Party
Never missing an opportunity to snag a few followers, political parties were out in full today. Most notable were the Socialists, with strings of red balloons and multilingual signs. They also had a big bright technocolor light and a sort-of dance floor, but unfortunately no one seemed to be getting their groove on.

In addition to providing a feel good time, the Socialists also win the prize for the most amount of cool free stuff. I got a red cloth bag with "Socialists" written all over it, a free red Socialist pen, Socialist colored pencils in a cool pack, and a pin. Ironically, I happened to be wearing a red shirt too, so I felt really cool.

But while I was excited about all the freebies, part of me couldn't help but think, "Shouldn't they be saving their money and distributing it to 'the people'?" But then I thought, "Who cares about 'the people', as long as I get mine."

Les Verts
While they did not have much in the way of freebies (you can't make a lot of cool stuff out of recyclables), they did have some hot guys at their booth. We were invited by this young kid to come to the local Green meeting. Being a supporter of the Greens back home, I wouldn't mind going...if I weren't so afraid of being chased out of there with a giant sunflower once they found out I'm American.

Jesus Rules
Yes, even the Christian political group was out, giving away fun little bags, keychains and paraphanelia. For a moment, I thought they were going to run out of supplies, but they just kept multiplying...it was quite miraculous.

Other Random Crap
There were various other organizations giving away fun posters and postcards, and I made sure to stock up. I was especially excited to get the "J (heart) Europe!" poster. I had seen miniature ones on the tram recently, and had to restrain myself from pulling it down. And now I have my own!

**********************************************************************************
So loaded with two sacks of goodies, Meg and I left, tired but happy, stopping at Cafe Brant on the way home. I'll get some pictures up soon.

We did so much and got up so early it feels like it should be 10 p.m. Unfortunately it's only about 5.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

I'm taking up rock-climbing

Why rock climbing, do you ask?

Because I have had enough practice this past week CLIMBING THE WALLS to become the next national champion or whatever sort of contest they have.

I'm boooooooooooooooooooooooored!!!!!!!!

I wanna go hooooooooooooooooooooooome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Bye Bye Friends

History in the making.

So I'm a bit sad that I'm going to miss the big series finale tonight.

I always liked the show, although I was never super anal about disconnecting the phone and never making plans for Thursday night. I mostly just watched it if I was home or caught the re-runs.

After this year, however, Friends means so much more, because that is all my roomate and I watched. You could say it was our "sanity maintainer."

We both, ironically, each brought a season of DVDs to France (Me=Season 2, Her="Best of"), but since we've been here, Meg has managed to collect several more seasons. This made for lots of "Must-See TV" nights at 12 place St. Etienne, when French television just got to be too much to bear.

We watched so much of it, in fact, I once had a dream where I was explaining to Ross why he needed to get back together with Rachel.

Then I decided I really needed to stop watching Friends.

But I digress. This show began when I was 14 years old. I'm now almost 25. This was "my" generation.

I'm just a little sentimental, that's all.

In any case, I hope you all enjoy the show. I'm hoping someone will tape it for me.

And we'll see if Ross took my advice...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Cinco de Mayo with Cafe Ole!

Hola todos, and a Happy 5th of May to you all!

Back home, and "a l'epoque," as the French would say, Cinco de Mayo meant we had an excuse to go to Don Pablos and drink gigantic bowls of Margaritas.

If you were to ask what the holiday was all about, some would say that it's the Mexican Independance day. But they would have been WRONG. Very wrong.

Other than correcting you on that fact, however, I couldn't really tell you what it was all about.

Until now. And it makes me giggle....muhahahahahahahahaha!!!

Meghan and I, both avid feters of this holiday, decided that we needed to celebrate. We contemplated going to the Tex Mex place right by our house, but sadly there did not appear to be any events going on.

So what to do, what to do?

Fortunately Meg had recently told a story about a restaurant in Wisconsin that served "Cafe Ole." She never figured out if it was actually a Mexican style coffee or just a stupid person writing the menu, but nonetheless it provided the inspiration for our makeshift celebration.

So tonight we celebrated with crepes (these are all occasion) and Cafe Ole at our old standby, Crepe Mili. The people there know us pretty well by now, and tonight we got a free aperitif.

On our way back home, we decided we were a bit bummed about there not having been some sort of Cinco de Mayo celebration en ville.

Wired on Cafe Ole, Court decided she was tired of being ignorant and finally looked up the true significance of this holiday...and Voila! The reason the French are not celebrating this holiday is because Cinco de Mayo celebrates the defeat of the French!

Ha ha!

So if you are as ignorant as me and want to better yourself, here is a brief explanation. You can read the whole thing here.

The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day, but it should be! And Cinco de Mayo is not an American holiday, but it should be. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on the 16th of September, 1810. And it took 11 years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.

So, why Cinco de Mayo?? And why should Americans savor this day as well?? Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers smashed the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May 5, 1862.


I guess this explains why there were no celebrations in Strasbourg tonight. As Meg pointed out, it would be a bit like the Brits celebrating the 4th of July.

So, my fellow Americans, go on out there, drink your bowls of Margaritas and celebrate the downfall of the French!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

And by the way...

The 3rd Harry Potter movie comes out on my birthday. That would be June 4th. (Incidentally also my last night in France).

Happy Birthday me!

And this is what you can get me for my birthday present.

Ummm, seriously.

I saw it! I saw it!

So tonight I went to see Starsky and Hutch (sp) and saw the trailer for the 3rd Harry Potter film!!!!!!

It was quite ironic, cause last night I stumbled upon the second US trailer online, as well as a few playing in France, and a hilarious SNL spoof.

Because I have no life, I'm re-reading book 3. I wish JK would hurry the hell up with #6.

Oh, and by the way, go see Starsky and Hutch. For some quality Snoop Dog time if nothing else...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Thank you Captain Obvious!

Here's a blinding newsflash for you...

Winding Down...

I feel like I'm pregnant.

Don't worry, there is no possible chance this is true (although I still haven't ruled out the whole "Rosemary's Baby" thing...) but I am having so many unexplainable moodswings lately I might as well be.

We are now in the month of May and I am leaving June 5, so that means I have about 32 days left in France. As much as it surprises me to say this, I CANNOT WAIT to go home. And this is shaping up to be the longest month of my life.

One reason for its length is the fact that I have nothing to do this month. Many would see this as a wonderful opportunity, but unfortunately I work best with structure, plus I have no money to travel, so that puts a bit of a damper on things.

The stress of boredom and homesickness has been building up for awhile, and finally something in me has snapped. Last week I almost opened the window and shouted a collective "F*** YOU!" to anyone who was listening. Fortunately I was able to call someone and spill my guts before that happened, but even so.

I'm tired of being away from close family and friends, I'm tired of speaking French, I'm tired of wondering how to plan out a conversation with the phone company or other random businesses to cancel service, I'm tired of people thinking I'm stupid as soon as they hear my accent, I'm tired of being asked about George Bush and the war and America (cause you know it's all my fault), I'm tired of defending my country, and I am just ready to COME HOME.

This year has taught me many things, but among them, no matter how much I love France, I am still an American. I don't think it's possible to pull out those root strings connected to my country, because they are part of who I am.

The big twist of irony in this whole mess, however, is that along with all the homesickness comes a huge sadness over leaving my friends and "family" in France. Last night I talked to my dear friends in Nantes who have really become my family this year, and when I hung up the phone I wanted to burst into tears.

So as much as I want to go home to the States "where I belong", there is a big part of me now that is also French. And I have a feeling I will be spending plenty of time when I go back feeling homesick for France and wishing I had a French company to speak on the phone with and defending them from stupid Americans who decided to hate France for petty reasons.

So I think either way I'm screwed. What a cheery blog this is!

In an attempt to remedy the month of May "blahs", Meg and I decided to write out a list of things to do this last month. The one I'm most excited about is the "ABCs of Strasbourg." We're going to take pictures of all the sights here in an attempt to make the alphabet.

We also decided to plan at least one activity a day. Today, for example, we are going to the grocery store (I didn't say these were exciting activities).

Well, I suppose this ends my post for now. I'm sure my mind will change about a million more times, and I'm also mature enough to know that "this too shall pass" and that I need to take advantage of the opportunities I have while I'm here, make the most of it, etc. So I'm trying. I am.

So. It's grocery store time!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Sexy Violin Man

So all morning long I've been hearing a violin. I just assumed it was one of our neighbors playing their music loud, as they have been known to do.

But just now I looked out the window, into the apartments across the street, and it's this hot guy standing in the window playing the violin!

A music man. Rowr. I like to think he's personally playing for me.

Saperlipopette!!!!!!!

Hello friends. This is the word of the day.

It's meaning is as fun as its pronunciation. It is an ancient French word meaning "damn."

Don't you feel edumacated now?

Last night I went out with Hannah and 2 of the English teachers at our school. We went to see "Big Fish." All of you Americans are probably thinking, "What an old movie!" and you would be right. But remember I am across the ocean and it takes forever for things to get here.

I really liked the flick. Ewan...rowr...And the story was great too. It actually reminded me of my own grandma and her tall tales...for example, when I was a kid she used to tell me there was pirate treasure buried in my uncle's sugar cane fields, and taught me a dance and a song that were necessary to find the treasure. (I never found it...and I did look)

Anyway, after the flick Virginie and Jeanette treated us to a yummy dinner at a place called "Broc en Stoc," which is decorated to the theme of Tin Tin, the famous French comic. All the meals are named after the characters or book names. I got a big fat salad with fresh strawberries for dessert...mmmm.....I was tempted to try The Saperlipopette because of the name, but it was some sort of ice cream dish, and you know me and sugar.

I may just have to create my own.