Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crazy Times

Wow...the last two weeks are a blur.

My friend Shari came to visit for a week and we had a great time. I will post all about our adventures next week. She left last Thursday, and Friday we had a dinner party to do to for Cyr's last day at work. Then last night we had a few friends over to help us drink all our liquor before heading out to the US. Not the best idea to have a party on a Saturday night when your movers are coming on Monday.

So tomorrow, actually later today if you want to be specific, movers will arrive at 9am to pack our belongings and ship them off to Houston. We move into a hotel for a week, then it's off to Egypt on Saturday for a week, then return to Lille for two days to pick up the cat and then our one way flight to Houston after that.

I have two bags packed; one for Egypt and one for the other stuff. I'm sure I forgot something important. Like pants. I'll make sure to blog about our move. Our successful move. See how positive I am?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A last visit...

Well, I have finished my classes at all my schools now! It's so strange, I even finished tutoring at my Big School for the faculty. I really liked doing that, the person I worked with was so nice and so much fun to talk to. It wasn't much like work at all. I do have one more thing to do though! I received an email yesterday from the Small School asking if I would please participate in interviewing potential students for their Fall Term. Ha...interesting. I said I would and it's on a day I am free so why not? Plus it's paid...

Tomorrow I am going to Paris to pick up my last visitor of this stay in France. My friend Shari is coming for a week long visit and we have a full schedule! Paris, Brugges, and even a VIP tour in Reims at some winery! She is in the know of the cool peeps one should know. I'm an acquaintance but am more than happy to come along for the ride. I will take photos and let you know what that is like. That is planned for the first part of next week. I have never been to Champagne so I am eager to see what it looks like. According to mapquest and GPS it's just under 2 hours from here.

There is also a big party of some sorts here in Lille on Saturday that we are going to go to. There are some CRAZY statues on the streets I will make sure to photograph and post. Just to give you an idea, they look like black lacquer babies with dragon tails. And they are wearing diapers. Some have wings like bats. They are about two stories tall. I'm intrigued.

So everyone have a great weekend and I will post on Monday!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Kitty Passport

I'm sitting on the couch still full from another great meal at my mother-in-laws. Mmmm...champagne, little appetizers, great wine, some lamb and green beans with bacon wrapped around them and then home made chocolate mouse to top it off. I am one lucky woman!! I was mad at myself that I did not take my camera to take photos of it. She always makes things looks so good. We had a salad that had smoked fish, caviar, tomatoes, lettuce and grapefruit pieces and hard boiled egg pieces on it. It was fantastic. Next time I will take pictures darn it.

As you might have read in my last post; Duncan will be riding with us to Houston in the cabin of the plane. To do this he will need a kitty passport plus some drugs. A quick visit to the vet and about 130 euros and it was all taken care of. Check out the little guy with his passport!

Notice it says "France". Guess he will have to go through the "Non-US Citizen" line.

He also got a rabies shot and a chip put in the back of his neck so that if he gets lost they can scan him (like a can of beans at the store) and figure out where he is from. I guess we register him when we get to Houston with our vet. His chip says he's French. "FRA" plus his number. He will be the tres cool cat on the block. I wonder if he has an accent...

I also asked about drugs to make him sleep on the plane and if I should put a shoe box with little in the bag. You can see the bag, it's like a duffel bag with one end that is firm so it doesn't collapse. The doctor said she would prescribe him a pill for the flight. She told me to give him half a pill and wait two hours. After that I could give him another 1/4 or the other 1/2 if he needed it. When I paid she gave me a box with the following.

Uhh...didn't you say ONE pill? They don't have dosing here in France. I forgot. When you get meds you get a box full and take what the doctor says. It's the same for animals I see. Maybe I can get rich at the airport selling these things...anyone need to make an animal sleep? Just call or email me. Concerning the shoe box and litter idea; she just said to put some paper towels in the bag in case he had to go. I'm bringing zip lock bags in case of poop. I don't want anyone to be subject to that stuff. It's amazing what a big smell comes out of such a small butt. She also said to take his water away about 3 hours before we left. Poor fella...he is going to be thirsty.

So it looks like Duncan is ready. We also walked around a bit after the visit just so he could get used to the carrier. I don't know if it helped, but it made me feel better.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A quick week of travel

Many of you out there live away from your families, I know this because I stalk read many of your blogs. Even those of you that might live close to your family and friends can imagine what a trip home is like. Here is a brief overview of how my trips tend to go:
  1. Before you leave you need to plan your time home. Who will you see what days? You might book lunches and dinners and movie times. Don't forget the family time.
  2. Arrive feeling like you have actually walked to your destination as opposed to flying. While carrying your luggage of course.
  3. Feel guilty that you have not made arrangements with more people than you have, so you try to blend a few groups together maybe. Or maybe not.
  4. Feel bad that you didn't buy gifts for some people because you know just what they would like but it was raining/snowing all week and you didn't have the will power make the time to drive to the big grocery store.
  5. Stand in amazement of how we functioned without cell phones once you arrive (because you don't have one). Sometimes I get a throwdown phone for the time I will be there just in case.
  6. Make the rounds, wishing you had more time to visit family and just hang out and watch TV, because you actually REALLY like to do just that. Sometimes just being in the same room with family is what I miss the most.
  7. Eat LOTS of Mexican food.
  8. Board the plane home knowing you forgot to buy gifts for people that you should have.
  9. Arrive feeling like you not only walked to France, but that that you had to push a cart with other people in it and swim across the Atlantic.
So I know many of you are thinking "oh I wouldn't do that, I would just let people know that I can't see them. Yes, I try to do that too. The problem lies in that I really DO want to see these people that I miss. So here is how my trip went this time:
  1. Pack up a few gifts to take but see #1 above. We also packed clothes to leave in Houston because when we move we won't have our things for another 4 or 5 weeks. We plan to take our honeymoon after our things are shipped and leave two suit cases here; one for honeymoon and one for going back to Houston that we will pick up when we return from Egypt. I made a few phone calls and sent one or two emails but didn't plan much (which I am glad).
  2. See #2 above, although after a good nights sleep it's not that bad when you fly west. Sunday morning we felt pretty good. Until I almost had a heart attack when the front desk lady handed me a note and told me there was a family emergency. Turns out it was a little serious, but my Dad will always tell me nothings wrong and he is fine (yes Dad, I am on to you and will still worry about you). He's at home now though and making a slow comeback.
  3. Spent all day, I mean all day, Monday looking at rent houses. We found some we liked and decided to fill out applications for them.
  4. Had dinner with my Mom and some friends throughout the week, even got to see my friend Missy, oops, Melissa (she is so grown up now) and her 4 week old baby. Hello there River!!
  5. Waited until Thursday to get responses from house folks. Turns out both of the ones we liked found renters that would move in during the month of March. We really need May 1st but would pay for April 1st. We lost both of them.
  6. Friday - stress a little about the housing thing but realize we can find a place when we get back. There is a ton of stuff on the market. Besides, maybe we should buy...prices are great and with the tax benefits Obama is talking about it could be good. Still have time to decide.
  7. Friday night - go the Houston Rodeo Cookoff!! Rodeo is starting and the cookoff was going on . We had tickets to some booths and proceeded to stay out until 1:30AM. Then we ate at IHOP at 2AM. An American tradition...though Cyr didn't eat, maybe it is just an American thing...
  8. Saturday - buy $25 Levi's for Cyr and $25 Converse for the beau-frere at Target. In France Levi's are about 100 euro and Converse can be found on sale for 60 euro. Crazy...should have bought some and sold them to my students.
  9. I think I ate Mexican food 6 or 7 times. :-)
  10. See #8 and 9 above.
I'm glad we went and I was able to see my Mom and Dad and Sandy (step Mom) and even my Aunt Mary. But the week was too short and we were so busy. Right now I'm recovering from jet lag and working this week at my Big School and tutoring three days. I need to start worrying about tax stuff and get that all to my cousin...sorry Sally!!

Looks like my days here are numbered. I have a friend coming in from the 12th to the 20th and we are trying to schedule the movers for right after she leaves. Then we will have our honeymoon, come back to France for one day, pick up Duncan and fly to Houston to live in a hotel for a few weeks until we find a place.

Oh...and on the flight back Duncan (cute little black cat) is going to ride in the cabin with us because he so small. I'm a little worried about this. We are going to the vet to get some Kitty Quaaludes to make him sleep, but this will be a 13-15 hour trip for him if you include the train ride from Lille and time to get to the hotel in Houston. I was told to put a shoebox with litter in it in his bag so he could do his business in it if he needed. Anyone out there have to make a long trip with a cat in a bag? I decided this week he is going to take some field trips in it around Lille to practice. I don't want him freaking out too much. Any advice is welcomed, please post a comment if you know of something!