Saturday, January 30, 2010

Soluble Coffee and Marvejols

Ever since I could remember my parents have always made a pot of coffee the morning. I grew up around coffee and tea wasn't really my thing until I got to college. I still will always prefer coffee over tea. Whenever we would have dinner with my nana and she's make coffee for herself my family always teased her about using soluble coffee grains mixing her decaf and regualar. So naturally throughout my young life I have resisted buying soluble coffee and prefer to either make a pot (if possible) or spend exorbitant amounts of my pocket money on Starbucks or Caribou coffee. Last week I had to buy soluble coffee for a recipe I was making and I thought to myself, you know, I've never ever tried making a cup of coffee from it! So in my cleaning and boredom today I made myself a cup. It's not bad! I definitely prefer brewed coffee but in my haste and family tradition I never really considered soluble coffee and I probably wasted good amounts of money during college. The french would be ashamed of my soluble coffee use and so would Oli's dad but once in a while will do for me!

I have some people coming to stay in the apartment this thursday so I spent all day cleaning. They are three girls from the university in montpellier coming to demonstrate and talk about degrees in science and chemistry on Friday for the kids. I'm glad Mme L told me in advance so make sure the apt is in tip top shape. I also took this opportunity to organize my things and put together piles of stuff I want to take home in two weeks. I'm only allowed one suitcase this time so I'm going to have to squeeze my stuff in there plus clothes for the trip! As it turns out I really only have my big cooking dictionary thats going to be a pain to pack cause its seriously heavy and my metal kitchen board cause its awkward.

I went to Marvejols yesterday and we got back just as the snow started coming down hard. It snowed all night lightly so we didn't get much but it started again this afternoon so its pretty beautiful out there. I got my xrays done and Mme H and I had lunch and walked around a little before. Then we went grocery shopping once back in St.Chely. I am 1 short of having half of the departments now and I have five I can trade away so I'm in good shape. I've stopped trying to eat the nuggets these days and I just buy 2-3 boxes every time I go and throw out the old ones if there's no room.

I'm super excited to go home in two weeks to see Oli! It'll be great to relax, see friends and family so I can get through the last two months.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This week has been wonderfully stimulating in terms of French, friends and being occupied!!!

I finally succumbed to buying the cable for my flat screen television in the apartment which means I now have color t.v.!!! I even get like 7 stations! I get tf1, 2,3,4,5 M6 and arte is a little fuzzy but should I want to watch a show its good enough. Last night I wanted the news (les infos) which pretty much every french person watches at 8 o'clock. Then I watch the weather and I even was able to watch a little of 'National Treasure' in french on TF1. Tonight I'm going to watch three episodes of The mentalist in french. Should be interesting....Yay for tv!!!!

So then I got my blood work done yesterday and I made the appointment for an xray in marvejols all by myself for this friday. Mme H is going to take me and then hopefully we can go see the city or go shopping so its semi worth her while to drive me all that way. I am soooooo lucky to have friends like her!

I'm not allowed to run for the next few weeks but we'll see about that.

The dinner with the gym was great! I'm going to expose the frenchies this weekend to tequila shots with salt and lime. They think its a very american thing to do but not really. In any case I plan to dance and have fun saturday night!!!!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Halting progress around lozere chimneys

Everytime its cold here in St. Chély my hair smells like smoke. Now you may be wondering -this is so random but indeed this is true. Since I walk everywhere I'm outside lots so my hair absorbs the outdoor air which consequently smells like smoke. (Chimney smoke that is) You may wonder (or not) why that is? Well people apparently heat their houses with wood stillllll here. So the colder it is, the more chimney smoke there is in the air. For those of you who know me well, I'm seriously attached to smelling things and this scent makes me think of lozere and fall in michigan. I love it. I wonder what summer will smell like here. Only time will tell....

I saw the doctor today in St. Chély.... the news was so-so and I'll give updates on my health as soon as the tests are all done. Needless to say, when the doctor saw my back she exclaimed in a less serious wording " oh shit".

I took G's french test she found today. I was also just as disappointed as her at the results. I really thought that I was improving beyond that. Alas, just proves I need to get back to grammar basics. I don't always use the grammar I have to know for teaching so I really need to brush up or I'll look like a fool. I lost ten points on the faux amis part alone...which just proves that I had I paid more attention at u of m I would be better off. JUST KIDDING!

Tonight is S's birthday dinner at The Bureau. I love their salads so I'm excited, plus I get to see all my friends from the gym. ;)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thoughts on cooking

I embarked on another baking experience yesterday with the cookie magazine my mom sent me. A couple of things have struck me during this process as interesting...

1. The difference between a tsp/tbsp in french. They are literally called a coffee spoon or a soup spoon. I like this better because had I know a coffee spoon was the same as a tsp then my coffee would have been so much better during college. I'm not sure why I just realized this now! Also, I tend to eat soup with a 'coffee' spoon or tsp here. I find these curious terms for sizes of spoons that in the end vary based on brand anyways!

2. The flour or something is off here. Everytime I make drop cookies they turn crumbly or very dry. It's not as if they taste bad but all the same they don't taste as they should.

3. I love my oven but after 5 batches of 7 cookies each time was getting a little much. I can't wait for my oven back home!

Mme H came to watch me make cookies yesterday which made me kind of nervous since usually I just wing it. Part of me wingning it means I always have a plan B...and she discovered it while we were waiting for the first batch to be done. She exclaimed...why are you making cookies when you already have some here! (I have bought an emergency bag of Bonne Maman cookies just in case) Well now that my secret is out... I leave you to your own thoughts on baking!

Happy eats and GROS bisous!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Je joue la montre! I haven't posted in a long time it seems. Well nothing too exciting has happened here lately except these things....

The teachers union had a strike yesterday. Quelle suprise. I can't expect to get out of france without having lived through one strike. Since these things happen frequently not all teachers participate. It actually funny because the school seemed to function like normal except for a few teachers missing. I gather they are upset about the suppression of job posts for the next year. France is suffering just as much as the US in term of the economic downfall and the governement is merging classes and limiting funds to schools. I directly see this in that I am only allowed to make 300 copies a year for my students. i.e. I don't make copies. The teachers here don't seem to care much because we are lozere, the forgotten dept in France. I kind of like that we are forgotten because governement politics make me uncomfortable when I have no stake in them.

I've come down with a cold this week and still the kids gave me ne reprieve or niceities. I hardly expected it but all the same my congested head made it hard to understand and focus in class. I wasn't sick enough to take time off but at the same time I wasn't 100%. The pharmacist gave me some great pills to ease the effects and they worked like a charm because I am good enough to go to the gym tonight.

Update on my magnets: I have 31 departments with 4 doubles to far that I hope to trade with a fellow teacher. I doubt I'll get all 100 but a semi complete map would be amazing.

I learned a cool expression today. "Je joue la montre." which literally means that I'm playing the watch or in our terms 'I'm stalling'. ( It can be used during sports or other things) I learned this for two reasons that are quite funny and french :
1. I am stalling with the MGEN, assurance company for my card. I don't care because I have my papers that work just a good as the card and they want me to do all the extra expensive stuff when I only have 3 more months here. Alas, I've been purposly pretending I don't understand and sending in paper work that will either work or be sent back which takes time. This is a very french thing to do and I'm adopting the local custom.
2. The spanish teacher was explaining to me that the assistant leaves same time as me but having the video conferencing with him is not going to work nor does she really want to waste class time doing it so alas she is stalling for when he leaves too. (This was ok with the headmaster anyways) This I understand because she only found out a few days before xmas break and its such a big thing to organize that she's just forgetting it for this year.

I love this expression!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Typical Thursday

Today was probably the longest mixed up day so far this week. Thursdays just suck in my book anyways but this one was so typically odd I've got to post about it. I've been having ups and downs lately but this day tops the cake. I can show you what I mean:

I had to get up extraordinarily early -7:00 to make it to the middle school and print, copy and gather tools for my three hours of class there today. While walking in the slush that covers the roads and sidewalks I realized that I had gotten up way too early for what I needed to do but oh well. Two hours of class with the honors kids should have made me content but after the way they behaved today I was ready to collapse from classroom management issues. Oh geez were those kids insane today! I expected it from my extra in between hour of 3emes but the honors kids? Needless to say by the time 12 rolled around I had my coat on and was rushing the last kid out the door so I could leave.

Then, I hurried to make it the special restaurant at the high school for lunch because it's only open on tuesdays and thursdays and I really wanted to enjoy lunch today. Luckily I made it in time to sit with S and I. The food was soo good, but I was so hungry I would have eaten anything. We even were able to eat galette de roi! Everything was super yummy and I'm glad I got to enjoy lunch!

Then I had more class which always tires me. I feel like I have to work really heard at speaking clearly and emphasizing and thinking about the ways I say things which is hard, believe me! At least at the high school its less than at the middle school.

Then I went to carrefour to get candy prep for my murder investigation in class tomorrow. A this point I was so linguistically tired but alas I made it home and into watching Fringe. What a disappointment! I thought Charlie was dead but apparently it was an old unaired episode from last season and it sucked. What a bummer and lame of FOX to do that.

For dinner I went downstairs to Mme L's apartment to eat with her and the kids. They are so cute and have so much energy! It was fun to not be alone for dinner tonight although I missed a few calls and texts. As it turns out I'm off to C-F this saturday for the soldes. Yay! I don't need to spend money but alas....sales...-50 + ...could you really blame me? (Oli didn't and that's a first so really people... be excited!!!) I haven't quite decided what to abv my new friend that I'm going with. I can't really use the first letter because it's already taken so I'll have to think of something creative. Anyways, I'm going with her.
Voila my up and down tiring day!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One month 'till DUBAI!!!

I normally don't try to post when nothing much has happened but I was so excited about this news that I just had to post a little word...

I'm going to Dubai in a month!!!! I leave Feb 12th and I'll be back in France on the 28th. :)


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow photos

So we've gotten quite a bit of snow in the last day and I took some pictures!

This one I like to call 'only in lozere'. Notice the kayak on top with snow tires?
Here this was taken in front of the school after a couple of hours of snow yesterday afternoon....
I took this silly photo myself this morning after coming home from the gym...I had snow all in my face!
This one is in front of my apartment building... lots of snow! I love it!

The stairs are completely covered!!! I'm wondering if tomorrow I won't be able to see the stairs at all. ;)
I hope all is well in your respective countries!


Friday, January 8, 2010

La Rentrée with snow and some dog food.

Hello again and happy new year!

Being back in St. Chely has made me realize that I miss my Oli and my family. Also that being alone isn't healthy but at the same time I'm glad to be able to get away from people when I want to. Brussels was ok but I became a little too overwhelmed with people all the time. Plus I hate cigarette smoke. It's going to take me a week to get the smell out of my clothes.

The train back was uneventful although I did have to purchase a last minute fare from brussels to paris since patty didn't want to drive me to lille. I got to travel first class so it was worth it I guess. I'm looking forward to my trip to Dubai. I get to fly into the Dubai airport so I wont have the 1.5 hour bus ride from the other airport where Oli works.

Everyone seems to be happy here at the start of the year and we all gave each other three bises for the new year and everyone says 'best wishes'. I find it awkward for me to say that so I just say the equivalent of happy new year.

We're getting a new zealander (girl) for the next 10 months. She arrives at school on monday and she'll be in the 1er STG class. Good luck to her because those kids are... well... nutso. That's the class I took a week off and took only the four girls who actually care about learning. Maybe this new addition will help them focus more. Also I'm glad to have a real anglophone so that when people ask me questions about stuff I'm not the only frame of reference and I can also ask her too if need be. I wish I had done what this girl is doing though. She's going to have the best experience living with a family and speaking french all the time!

The weather people here predicted snow all over france for the weekend except the lozere was green. I find this funny that we aren't on snow alert when all the departments around us are. This is because 1. They probably had no data 2. We are well equipped to deal with the snow 3. No one really cares about the middle of no where. My friends ask me constantly every time it snows here if there is snow where I come from. Duh! I feel more at home when there is snow than when there isn't and so far this winter I think Michigan has had more snow than us!!!

I used the wok for the first time tonight. It's actually a pretty cool tool and I think I'll use it more often now that I've opened it and put it together. The food I made wasn't very good cause all I could think about while eating the egg noodles was how they smelled like dog food. I got them from the international section here so only god knows how long they had been on the shelf. Even with the sauce I put on everything the smell still permeated through. Note to self: find french recipes that don't include random foods. In any case I say cooking with the wok was a success!

Well I've got to get back to my law and order svu marathon!!! (I'm catching up on season 11 and I might back track to season 10 since I missed it all last year)