Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweetest Goodbye

Phew, life’s been amazing in the last 7.5 months. How can I possibly finish my blog ? All I know is that with a tear in my eye, France gave me the sweetest goodbye. For now at least!

“Oh today, I finally overcame
Tryin’ to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it
When I’m in the mood to lose my why with words

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brought my back to life
You’ll be with me next time I go outside
No more 3x5’s, just no more 3x5’s”

I’m in the mood to tell you about it! An I promise no more 3x5’s!!

First, I want to take a moment to thank some important people to me that have really help me in some manner or another. Thank you Oli, you’ve supported me from the indecisiveness of coming, to celebrating actually having a conversation with me in French. Je t’aime fort. Thank you mom and dad- You may not have always understood my passion for French but have always supported my studies and life goals. My friends in the states- Heather, Kyle, Janice, Geraldine, Henry … no matter where you were in the world we found a way to stay in touch!

If you remember, I had some goals before I left the states! Let’s see how I did?

From September 4, 2009 :
There are a few things I hope to accomplish or experience before the end of April:
1.) Finally be fluent in French.
2.) Make at least one lasting friendship with a French person
3.) Read 5 classic french novels
4.) See Normandy finally!
5.) Learn at least five new classic french dishes from my area!

1. Be fluent in French? Check.

2. Friends? Let’s just say that I’ve found a corner of the world I’ll always be welcome back and people that I will miss from the deepest parts of my heart.

3. Five Novels? Hmmm….
-Le Petit Nicolas à la rentrée
-Vol de Nuit
-La prochaine Fois

4. See Normandy? Well….I never did make it unfortunately however I saw a part of France that not even many French people get to visit! La Lozère!!!

5. Five dishes…
-L’aligot (mashed potatoes and la tomme)
- La truffade (see post from march)
- gratin de courgettes
- carrots a la balsamique
- frog legs!

My goals either met or not, have helped me survive the hardest days and enjoy the best this year. I don’t know what the future will bring, all I know is that this year was an incredible experience that I will never forget, ever.

Vive la France!

Last week!

Today is the saddest day yet this year. In just a few hours I am leaving St. Chély d'Apcher, my home for the last 7 months, to start making my way to Detroit.

This week has been crazy good and busy busy busy!

Sunday, S and I built a fence so her horses would be more contained in the pasture and not eat so much.

Tuesday was my good bye dinner at fau de peyre. We had frog legs, salad, aligot and ice cream! Yummmmm.

Wednesday was my last day at the gym and I said goodbye to all my gym buddies.

Thursday I had S and C over for route 66 burgers. I'll see them both this weekend in Paris.

Friday, well today, I'm going with S to Paris. My goal today is not cry too much. God I'm going to miss this place. I'm going to miss the people, speaking french all day long, the part time work that I still managed to do and go places on the salary, I'm going to miss the climate (not too much though), the clean air, the people, the people, the PEOPLE! Already writing this is making me tear up.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Frankfurt, Strasbourg and Baden Baden

Greeting from Frankfurt!

Thanks to yet again another one of mother natures gifts, I am still in frankfurt...TBA. I have bought a train ticket for thursday since my flight was cancelled ( Check out the latest on the Ash Cloud from Iceland on BBC) but I still haven't confirmed that I will be traveling this day yet if I find a cheaper option.

Since I have some time on my hands, here is my post on Frankfurt and Strasbourg.

I arrived on wednesday and Henry and I spent all day thursday and friday hanging out in frankfurt, doing touristy things. See photos. Then on Saturday we picked up C and M to come with us to Strasbourg then later that night we stayed in M's hometown since it is pretty close to Strasbourg.

Here is Henry and I on a bridge in downtown frankfurt. :)

This is the group in Strasbourg. It took three french people to not take a photo right (they couldn't understand how to push a button down) and then an anglophone to take this. What a beautiful day!

Above is a giant wine barrel.
Below is the group in Baden-Baden. We went up with beers and saw the whole city from these ruins of a castle. C and I were scared cause it was dark but thanks to M he had a flashlight on his phone or camera.

This is the castle from below in the town and also during the day light. We were really high up!

Thanks to the volcano I got to enjoy the sights and relaxing nature of Frankfurt three days longer! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

A sunny sunday in Cap d'Agde

The photos in this post are backwards in which I took them!!

This weekend I went to the beach! Mme S invited me to tag along a trip to Cap d'Agde on sunday. I got to try my first oysters, sit in the wonderful sunny 70 degree weather, go on a boat trip where we could see the fish below the boat and lay on the beach while M played in the water. It was a blast! Aside from the crazy 150 km average her husband drove to get us there, the day was so wonderful! I even got to eat at MacDo for the first time in a long time. Here are some photos:

On our way home we stopped for some McDo. Here is something you'd only get in a french mcdonalds. I always find this the most interesting this about McDo's around the world. FYI though, this was the first time I've eaten at any mcdonalds in over a year, maybe more!
This is the beach we went to in the afternoon. It's between Sete and Cap d'Agde. It reminds me of a mix between michigan beaches and florida beaches.
Here is Mme H and me on the beach. Not the best photo of us but I more took it as an "I was there" photo.
These are Mme H's boys and husband playing the water. The water was so cold, I preferred staying right where I was on the beach. :)
This is M and I before he got all cold and wet in the ocean. He's sooo a la mode with his red marine shirt! Adorable!
On the boat cruise we took, we circled this old prison off the coast of Agde. I find it interesting there are lots of prisons like this dating back off the coasts of France. I guess it was their method of dealing with criminals.
This is me below deck checking out the sea life. We saw a few schools of tiny fish but nothing too spectacular. It was more cool to see below the ocean around the prison. The sea floor is made up of nothing but rocks. Cool!
This is the port in Agde. It's one of the bigger ports along the Mediterranean.
This is me eating my first oyster. It's probably not something I'd order, but I wouldn't turn one down if it was offered. It had more of the consistency of salty, liquid jelly. Adding vinegar was delic though and I'd def do that again!

Gros bisous!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Weekend

Last weekend, easter weekend was so wonderfully busy that I hardly had time to snap many photos. On saturday S and I went shopping in Clermont for fun. I'm lucky she doesn't mind driving at all because most french people don't like to drive even for more than 20 min around here. We spent the morning combing through clothes and random stuff and finished off our downtown shopping at maisons du monde where we found this lovely set of martini glasses with effiel tower stems. How french! I almost bought them just because they were so silly but alas, I'd need four suitcases to come home if I bought everything I wanted!

After we went shopping we went to the big supermarket in clermont to get mexican food night supplies. Clermont is much bigger and the products are much better quality in the supermarkets than in St. Chely. If you want quality in where I live you go to the little shops in town and pay 2 times the price. The mexican night was for easter sunday when S invited some friends over to eat and then go out to the Bal at Termes.

I planned to make the guacamole for apero and it was sooo good! Everyone loved it! I used geraldine's old recipe from aix and it worked like a charm. No thank you old el paso packets, I've got my own little secret! ;)
At maisons du monde I found this napkins that were perfect for our soiree so we nabbed those up! We had our fajitas, salade, mojitos and no need for more!
Here is S and E before we dug in for some yummy food.
This is D, B and E after we had devoured the fajitas! What's next? Dessert of course!
E eying the Baba au rhum we lifted from S's parent's house at lunch. Mmmm! More rhum please!

This was the culminating event of the night! The first bal of the year is the biggest and in my opinion the best party I've been to since coming here. There was a live band playing all my favorites in english and in french, good people to dance with (see below) and cheap beer at the bar. The place was packed with people of all ages, including some of my students from the middle and high school and some old old people. I almost lost my blackberry while taking care of business but luckily S helped me find it 20 min later when I realized it was missing. I should really learn from my mistakes but I wanted photos! This unfortunately was the only one I got in before I wised up and put the phone in S's car. Afterwards we danced until 4 in the morning! I was a blast to see a live band and to enjoy one of my last weekends in Lozere with friends. As of today I have three weeks left here!

Gros Bisous

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Le poisson d'avril

Happy April Fool's! In France we celebrate Le poisson d'Avril --the fish of april. The kids stick fish on each others backs and laugh. I had one daring student at the middle school try to do it to me but alas... I'm no novice and I saw it coming! ;)

I realized that as of tomorrow I'll have only two more weeks of teaching and two weeks of vacation. Time is passing like mad!

I've noticed since february break I've become more frustrated when people don't understand me when I'm talking but not because it's my language, because they jump to conclusions before I have even finished and it's frustrating. For example, today I was told to transmit a message to a teacher taking an english exam tomorrow from the one that took it today and he completely misunderstood after two words. He cut me off and told me he didn't need help but that so not what I needed to tell him. I know he didn't want my help because I already offered weeks ago. I needed to tell him that D wanted him to call her about the test and give him some advice. I had to completely restart my phrase and it's quite frustrating! I'm sure I do this in english too but now I get it, and I have to say sorry to those whom I've done this too. I realize how frustrating this can be!!!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The rock candy is meltin' and only diamonds remain

It snowed today. I always wonder how they can predict rain when in lozere, without a doubt, it snows instead. They were big, fat, wet flakes. The kind that get you all wet but make you smile cause the landscape is covered in a white blanket faster.

I've booked my tickets for Paris my last weekend with Sophie. We got a great deal because the tickets were cheaper in 1er classe! I just couldn't resist. I'm also hoping we get to see the movie "tout ce qui brille". It seems like my kind of movie and after Arnacoeur, I'm less timid about seeing French films. (It's never the french that bothers me much, its the lame films that seem to come from france that gave me this prejudice.)

Some days are harder than others and today was no exception since I had my favorite (NOT!) class. They test my teaching and discipline to a point where I feel like a failure. It probably did not help my back pain was bad last night thus I got about 5 hours max sleep. I keep thinking ... 2 more sessions, and none of those alone anymore!

Lately, I also been thinking about my return and how much I'm going to miss France. I feel many weird emotions and I can't seem to define any of them concretely other than a general sadness for what I feel is my last time living in France. I hope I can live up to my old friend, chris' quote : "profitez-en". I shall profit, indeed I shall.