Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good ol' Texas

Well I made it back from Lille all the way to Houston. It was a long trip, but not too bad. Although I did have a Delta flight from Paris to Atlanta and the plane was not exactly new. Example: it had ashtrays in the arm rests. No kidding! The crazy thing was that it also had the little tv's in the back of the seats with a version of on demand movies and things. I say a "version" because they had the movies showing in intervals and you had to time when you started them. I only know this because I read this, I couldn't actually see the movies because the movie part on my little tv was broken. But back to my original thought; wow, they must have updated the seats with the tv's I guess because surely there was never a time when you could smoke on a flight and have your own tv.

I could however get the tv series. I skipped the Friends and Simpsons and watched CSI. It was a really good one, some guy was murdered and the killer made a miniature copy of the entire scene. Even used the vic's (like that use of the word "vic" as in "victim"? I know my stuff eh?) own blood inside the miniature of the room to duplicate the scene. I was involved and was glad it was a two parter because it ate the time. That is until I realized that they were not showing the second part. DAMN DELTA. I watched that stupid show 3 times hoping that maybe by some small miracle that the part II would show. Never happened. I think that might be because the small miracle was that my head did not explode due to the cabin pressure combined with a sinus infection.

When the lovely Delta plane landed (medium sized miracle) in Atlanta the first thing I did was find a place to buy antihistamines and Afrin. This purchase made the flight to Houston a little less painful. Flying west always seems so much easier. I don't sleep on the flight and by the time I get home it's time to go to bed so the next day I wake up and feel relatively normal. Today I had to drive around and do a few errands. I must say, after doing the little driving I have done in France, I am a brave and bad ass driver here now. Especially in my (I know it's cliche, but it does get good gas mileage) 4-runner. I probably won't get hurt, and I have insurance. Watch out all you crazy suburban drivers. I ain't scared...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Interesting Facts and Packing Up

Why is it that every time I plan to go home I seem to get sick right before I leave. I'm no where NEAR the sick I was the last time I went home, but I did wake up with a sore throat and have felt nauseous all day long. I'm also friggin hot. All these damn people talk about how friggin cold the north of France is and how I am going to hate it because it's so cold and the sun never comes out. Guess what folks, I'm sitting here melting with an oil slick on my face, the sun pounding it's way through my curtains and no air conditioning. Oh, and I'm going to miss Cyr's birthday and that makes me a little grumpy too. I love birthdays. Cyr hates them, is that a French thing? The good thing is that I get to have a wedding shower and see friends and family. Oh, there is also the slight possibility that being hot and sticky makes me grumpy.

I did want to blog about something I see here all the time. When I go grocery shopping I always see what I like to call the Strangely Focused Shopper. These people, the SFS's buy a whole bunch of one thing. Often I see men or women with no less than 10 baguettes in their arms. Why? Are they feeding an army? That bread will only last a few days you know, you can't store it like jelly. Or water, I always see people with shopping carts FILLED with water. Just water, nothing else. This happens EVERY time I go shopping. I'm not just talking about oh that one time I saw the guy with the shopping cart full of water. I mean I always see it, often more than once in an outing. I have also seen the soda pop cart. The last time I saw this it was a family with a shopping cart overflowing with coke, ginger ail and tonic water. They love tonic water here too, how interesting. I thought the French were supposed to drink wine all the time. What's up with all the water and soda? Are they meeting the people that have all the bread for dinner?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Wedding in France

Congratulations Bertrand and Ari!!

Cyr and I went to a wedding yesterday. The groom is from Dunkerque, the bride is from Guanajuato, Mexico and they live in Houston, Texas. Very international!

Cyr was in Brazil and flew in yesterday. We knew we were going to be late but the groom told us to come anyway. We missed the ceremony but arrived at the early part of the meal. We actually arrived during course 2 of a 9 course evening! It was amazing...some kind of melon drink to begin with. Actually, I'm so uncultured, it was probably a cold soup but it was served with a straw so in my book that makes it a drink. Then foie gras, I know it's cruel, but it's so delicious and I didn't want to be rude so I ate it. Then a fish dish, a sorbet, a meat dish and I remember the dessert was a chocolate mousse between two pieces of chocolate. Like a little tower of mousse...mmm, but I forget the other dishes for some reason. I know there were 9 though if you include the coffee. They had menus on the table and I counted. AND between each course there was dancing. I will have to post some of the pictures tomorrow. At one point they did a carnival thing and Bertrand's cousin pulled me out of the floor and we all marched around and hopped about while yelling something. I have no idea, but after a few glasses of wine I was singing in French so it didn't really matter I guess. We didn't leave until 4am. Man, those French can party! Actually the Mexico wedding she had in Guanajuato last year went until 6am. We went but left at like 2am. They are so much fun, I think they should renew their vows every few years because they throw great parties!

Today has been spent sleeping in and lounging around the house. It's too hot outside to do much else really. It's been a great day just being relaxed and being together. Ahh, l'amour...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Damn VAT, Yeah Egypt!!

So I loved my French school, and I am sooooo glad I took it. But it was pretty expensive. One of the ways I was able to talk myself into taking the class was that 150 euro of the price was a VAT tax which is like the national tax here. If you spend a certain about of money and are not a resident you can get the tax back. No problem right?

I go to the secretary at the French school and ask her for a receipt (all this is done in horrible French as they won't speak to you in English). She tells me they will mail me one. Of course it is not this easy, this is after I mime "should I call you next week" and "do I need to write a letter" and then I am able to translate the answer. Well class has ended, I get an envelope from them, and it's not a money receipt, it's a stupid letter saying I took a B1 level French class. UH!! I am so pissed! I want to yell SPEAK ENGLISH LADY!! But I know this is unreasonable, I should be speaking French. I know this, I am trying.

This really would not be such a big deal if I wasn't leaving next Wednesday to go back to the states for a family wedding shower and to pick up my dress for the wedding. I mean, I'm going to be in the airport, right there...and I probably won't be able to do it. 150 euro, that's like $500 American or something right now!! I could be making money on this deal! Well hell, maybe if I keep it a few months the dollar will raise even more and I can profit on this thing even more.

So yes, I will be in the US for a week starting next Wednesday. I plan to keep up my blog this time though. At least a few times a week. I'm having my last fitting for my dress and will pick that up. The wedding isn't until October and of course I am hoping that I will loose so much weight that I will have to find a seamstress here in Lille to take it in because my butt has shrunk to Jennifer Lopez size and firmness, but we will see. It could happen right? I think now I'm more Jennifer Hudson than Lopez, but Cyr seems to like it so I can't complain too much I guess. I love how he tells me "don't loose weight, I love your curves." As if this is really a concern eh? Seriously need to worry about that. Just show me a Leffe Brune, some L'Os a Moelle (not sure of the spelling) and Maroille and BAM! Curves are back babe...

My family has also planned a wedding shower for me which I think is kind of cool, but I don't live in the US so it might be weird. I'm excited to have the sherbet punch and to see the parts of my family that only come out of the woods for weddings and funerals, but it's not like I can get a toaster as a gift. I can't plug it in here guys, it won't work. So...I registered our honeymoon. Maybe this is tacky, but people keep asking me where I am registered and so now I have an answer. I researched a few places and decided on I set up a site for Cyr and I and I think it's the most practical thing we can do. This way if people feel like they need to give us a gift they can, and it's something that we really want. We are going to Egypt and plan to stay two weeks. YEAH!! I can't wait!! Beach for the first week, desert for the second. Whoohoo!! I hope someone buys the upgrade to the Oberoi Resort....if anyone has any suggestions for Egypt feel free to email or post a comment. Thanks!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baby Steps

Small victories in life can sometimes be savored as long as the large ones.

I backpacked around Thailand and Cambodia by myself for 6 weeks and was not scared. But it scares me to drive in the city here. How can that be? The freeway isn't so bad, you just have two lanes to deal with and go straight. But the cities have all these weird lanes, arrows on the ground, flashing lights and people are turning and going wherever there is an opening, not necessarily where there is a lane. I'm sure they have traffic rules, but they are what I might call iffy. Iffy in the sense of; it's iffy if they actually have rules, it's iffy if anyone knows what they really are, and it's iffy that people are going to actually follow them if in fact they do exist.

Well today I was brave. I drove the car to Auchan, purchased groceries and drove home. In the US this would be no big deal. Here, I feel like I have climbed Mt. Hood (again). I set out a little after 12:30 in hopes that most people would be at work and not on the road. My first hurdle was getting the car out of the garage. We have a cute little 1995 white Peugeot fella that has a brand new radiator. I think at first I didn't want to drive because I was scared the little guy would blow up and I would be stranded without Cyr in the country and not being able to speak the language. Now I feel confident about the new car parts and can bring a dictionary to help out if I need help. Back to "Mr. P" as I will from now on refer to our Peugeot. Mr. P also has a code thing you have to punch in order for the key to turn. Not that Mr. P isn't something that everyone would want, but I guess at one time this was a hot little guy and a little added security was needed to make sure he would be there in the mornings and not in the hands of some hardened Peugeot steeling criminal. I felt a rush of relief as I entered the correct code and the light went off. After getting the nerve to go I would hate to not be able to start the damn thing.

So I set off to Auchan without the GPS plugged in. I was feeling especially brave. Actually, I didn't know how to find Auchan on the stupid thing and didn't want to risk loosing my nerve while fiddling with it. They are doing construction on the main road so I had to ride the sort of feeder thing, but I only made 4 wrong turns the whole way! Let's all give a shout out to the turning radius of Mr. P! I have seen Auchan on the way to Brugge and Amsterdam, so I knew which way it was and that it was not too far. Once I found it (by following the signs to Quick Burger) I parked and commenced shopping. It was so nice to just buy as much as I needed and not have to worry about being able to carry everything on the tram and to the apartment. Grocery shopping is one of the things I miss about the US. You can go any time you want, even after 7pm or on a Sunday (gasp). You park your car in a parking lot in front of the store, you wheel your cart to the car and then drive to your home with all your bags in the car. Here it's more likely that you shop at a local store (which I do love I have to admit) but you only buy what you can carry. I needed water and beer and those things are heavy! Not to mention that toilet paper and paper towels are really bulky and take up most of the room in your bags.

It really wasn't that exciting, no wrecks, no close calls. On the way home I used the GPS, I just had to hit "HOME" and it very obediently showed me the way. There was a bit of a traffic jam as some truck had lost it's load, but we all drove by slowly and went on our way. It took me about 20 minutes to get there because of the wrong turns, and about 25 to get home because of the traffic and closed main road. I think it should be about a 15 minute drive though. Not bad. I will be doing this every few weeks I think. I like the exercise of going to the market, but it's nice to stock up on the necessities every now and then. If I wait for Cyr then we have to go on a Saturday when the entire country of France and the closer part of Belgium is also shopping at Auchan.

So I guess it was not very exciting, but when I pulled into our parking garage I had to do a little dance after I got out of the car. I didn't even care that I had to make two trips for all the bags or that our apartment is one house over from our parking garage. It's another great day here and I could use the exercise. Now if I could only learn that Passe Compose tense I might be able to conquer the world this evening.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Frisbee Moment

Today was another beautiful day. Cyr left for Brazil for the week and I have the apartment all to myself (read - I am being completely lazy and have not cleaned anything up since he left). My friend O called and we met for lunch then went for a walk to the Citadel and sat in a park for quite a while. We talked about life and love and watched a group of children play frisbee. There was a boy in the group who had problems with his legs, he couldn't walk or run very well. He would stand in the same spot under a big tree waving his hands and calling to his friends hoping for someone to throw the frisbee to him, or even just near him. Every time it would come close he would hobble over to try to get it but the other kids would always beat him to it. He never was able to get the damn thing. The other children seemed oblivious of him, as if they couldn't even see him. We sat for an hour, and for an hour he never got the frisbee. I found myself wanting to go to the group and grab it and throw it to him. The longer we sat there the harder it became for me to watch. They were not mean to him, they didn't taunt him, they just didn't make an effort to include him.

I have never been in exactly the same situation as this little boy, but I felt like on some teeny itty bitty level I could identify with him. No one likes to be left out, therefor I think people should make an effort to not leave out others. I just kept watching the group and thought to myself; "They must not know he wants so badly to play. If they knew, surely they wouldn't just leave him standing there alone, waving his arms and calling their names." But how could they not know? I knew and I was across the park. They were right next to him.

A little over an hour into our watch a girl all of a sudden turned and threw it right at him. I could see his eyes and mouth spring open wide with excitement as he grappled to try to pick it up. When he finally got it under control in his hands he was so excited he squealed and immediately threw it. It did the sort of up and back thing that frisbees do when not thrown level and came back not far from him, the other kids got to it first of course. He then laughed the shrill laugh of a child and covered his face with his hands and giggled. That one little throw probably made him forget the entire previous hour that he stood under the tree all alone. The great thing is, when he goes home I bet he talks about playing frisbee. Not about being left out. Not about being alone. Remember the good eh?

Course, I don't know anything about these kids, I could be completely off. But it's a nice lesson I think. If this kid can take away the good piece of his day (his frisbee moment), maybe I can too. My friend O is having a hard time right now with some things. I hope she remembers all her frisbees. I hope I can throw her one too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Amsterdam and sunny Lille!

Last Friday Cyr and I left for Amsterdam for a short holiday weekend. We drove over, about 3 hours, and it began to rain a bit when we entered the city. It also seemed to be much colder there than in Lille. People talk about how the north of France is cold and rainy, uh...what about Amsterdam!? Maybe it's just my weather karma but I have been there twice, the first was in April of this year and it SNOWED while we were there. This time it was about 50 degrees (10C) and rained off and on the whole weekend. The sun did come out though for a little while each day though. I think people just don't really care much what the weather is like there. I know we didn't! We had a great time! I had never been to an Amsterdam Coffee Shop, so we did that on Friday evening. Everyone talks about this so I had to try it out and wanted to be able to say I had a brownie. I actually had a cookie and a muffin. Pretty tasty, but the whole next day we were super laid back and didn't do much. I think I prefer a good Leffe over the muffin/brownie/cookie thing. Over the weekend we went to the Van Gogh Museum, the Ann Frank house, a photography exhibit and walked around looking at the local artists, having a beer here and there. It was really a great weekend. There was no stress involved and we held hands and smootched all over the city.

We got home last night around 5pm and my bad weather karma must have worn off because it is amazing in Lille today!! It's sunny and 75 degrees (25C)! I had lunch with my friend Marine's aunt and cousin who live here. We sat outside, drank wine and got a suntan over a meal, it was fantastic. They speak broken English and I speak broken French so it was all very entertaining. We actually had two dictionaries on the table and would pick them up to look up words. They were so much fun, I would love to see them both again, I will have to write more about them another time.

I'm actually going to study some French this evening and try to clean the house up a bit. Yes, this is Susan...I am voluntarily going to study and clean. My father might have just fallen out of his chair and broken his other arm after reading this. Maybe I'll just go super crazy and also cook something! Hmmm...maybe that muffin and cookie are still in my system...

Friday, July 18, 2008

The end of an era...

Well, today is my last day of French class. I would have never believed that I ever hoped a class would be longer, but I wish I had another week of this class to study!! I have learned so much, but I have not been able to put anything into much practice yet. Although I DID use the Passe Compose in a sentence the other day, that was very exciting for me...nothing like being able to talk about what happened last week eh?

This weekend Cyr and I are taking a weekend trip to Amsterdam to celebrate. We plan to try to speak French more and are even going to make Saturdays "French Days" where he only speaks to me in French. We tried last weekend and it went pretty well! We also speak in French during the week, but it's more casual and he will switch to English when I need him to. I'm hoping that by the time the wedding gets here, October 25th, that I will be able to understand most of what the priest says. Right now I can get the big picture, but I totally loose the details.

Right now I'm off to class and then off to Amsterdam. We are brining a lap top because I want to be able to make some phone calls and send a few emails. It's odd how fast time passes here. I know I have mentioned it before, but it seems that I go to class, come home and by the time we eat it's 10pm. Or 22h for those of you in France. I can not get used to the 24 hour clock here, I am constantly doing math in my head. So I actually speak French AND tell time like a six year old! Not to mention when I shop sometimes I have to look close at the register to see how much it is and hold out my hand for the cashier to pick through my coins. Oh well, at least I keep the Ch'tis entertained.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekend in Dunkerque and Reception Site Found!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. We have been really busy!! Today I will post about the wedding we went to last weekend in Dunkerque. It was so much fun, but we were so tired afterwards. We went to Dunkerque on Friday and had dinner with the groom's family. He comes from a very large family so it was really great, there were over 20 people there for the dinner at his parent's house. We had raclette. I love raclette. Each person gets a little baby frying pan that you put cheese, mushrooms, quail eggs (yes, little quail eggs) in and then you put it in a thing that looks like an adult Easy Bake Oven. The cheese melts, the eggs cook or what ever you put in there gets hot! Then you scoop out the gooey cheese or whatever onto a boiled potato or ham or something. good! Here is a pic of what small ones look like:

Then we decided, in all of our well intentioned state of minds, to go to a bar and have a sort of bachelorette/bachelor party for both the bride and groom. Interesting fact: in French the term is "enterrement de vie de garcon/fille" which directly translates into "Burial of life of boy/girl". Nice eh? Well, I tell you, the next day I WISH they could have buried me. We had to be at breakfast at 8:30, we were only 10 minutes late. Actually here is what the day looked like;

8:30am - Breakfast with family
9:15am - Walk to the Marie (city hall) for ceremony)
9:30am - Marriage Ceremony
11:00am - We have walked back to the home of the groom's parents and prepare and have lunch
3:00pm - Vin d'honour (drinks and hors d'oeuvres)
7:00pm - Dinner
8:45ish - We eat dinner
no clue what happened to this time
12:00am - The couple presents the typical French desert for weddings, the Piece Monte or Croquembouche for desert. See picture here:
It was such a great weekend, but it was very busy. All totally worth it though, his friends M and A are great people and they are very happy. I can't wait for our big day! Plus we can sleep another day I guess. Maybe this weekend??

On Sunday when we woke up we had to drive to Belgium to look at a place for our reception. We ended up loving can check out the website of the place here, though I don't have pictures yet. We are going to have the vin d'honneur in a beautiful chateau then walk to a larger club house type thing next to it for the dinner. I'm so excited. They have shuttles to take people to and from Lille and everything. It's a one stop shop. They even do the photography at the wedding all the way until the end of the reception!! It's about 20-25 minutes from Lille but we had to book out of town because within the city limits you have to stop at 11pm because of noise. Unless you are a club of course. But all of the hotels that were available said they would have to stop at 11 and we didn't want that.

So since then I have been going to class and all kinds of things. I called last night to catch up with my Dad and it turns out he was walking around the pool and he fell and broke his arm...hope you feel better soon Dad!! I love you!!
Oh - and check this out Dad (and Sandy and Mom); at the wedding I tried out my new French skills with the folks and Cyriaque was amazed! I didn't think I had made that much progress but he said he could not believe how much French I could speak. It really made me feel good how he kept telling people that I could speak that much French after only two weeks of classes and how proud he was of me. You would think I was a child who just learned how to ride a bike. I think I was even proud! Awe...he's such a nice man. I should marry that one...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Ok, I am aware that this is an immersion class, but I feel like it's 12 hours a day as opposed to 5. And why does the time pass so quickly here? I can sit down for 5 minutes, but when I look at the clock it's been a half hour. Must be something with the tides or something...

So today in class we did our grammar thing in the morning. We actually had a test. Oh yeah, another test. Oh - by the way I passed the verb test on Monday! Not by much, but I passed! The funny (or sad) thing was that the girl next to me saw my score and said; "Oh man, even you did better than me."


That's right folks, I was NOT the lowest score in the class!! I know this should not matter to me, but it gave me a little boost for the rest of the class. I think I should have been at least a little insulted by the comment, but I wasn't even the slightest bit annoyed. Hell, I wanted to take her out for beers for letting me know. Ok, back to today...

So we had this test that I thought was going to be on vocabulary and time like depuis, dans, en, il y a and things. In English it's kind of like since, during, ago and things like that. Well it was, but it was also on three other things that I had no clue about. The vocabulary was all fill in the blank with no choices. Seriously, give me something to work with here. I couldn't remember how the heck to say "fireworks" in French or "tablet" of aspirin. The funniest thing was we were supposed to write a recipie in French. I must have missed a class because I don't remember ever doing this. I made it more like directions and in English it went like this:
To make a goat cheese salad you need salad (I couldn't remember the word for lettuce), goat cheese and vinaigrette. You put salad on plate then put goat cheese on salad. With you put vinaigrette on salad and voila, there is goat cheese salad.

I know many of you have just now taken note of this amazing recipie. Let all your friends know that you have Susan to thank for this meal. Oh...I also titled it "Hot Goat Cheese Salad" and then couldn't think of the verb "to warm" so alas my cheese was cold. I guess I could have said "make hot" but I didn't.

After the test the teacher went on about something and said we were going to have the second part of the day in the language lab. When she let us out for break I packed my bag for the lab and was ready to go. I told the girl next to me "I don't even know where the building is that the lab is in, I'm just going to follow you." She looks at me and says "What? What do you mean?" I told her that the teacher said we were to meet in the lab in the other building. She then starts laughing and says; "Oh no Susan! We are on break now and we come back to this room after coffee. When we come back we will go to the next room, that is all."

I totaly was all packed up and ready to move. But hey, I did get one point higher than someone on the verb test. I will always have that memory to cherish.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Destress with Mika

So after a week of trying to learn 5 tenses, pronouns and negation in 5 days of French class, I needed a break. On Saturday Cyr and I went to a music festival in Arras. It was so fun! It was held in their Grand Place. The whole square was blocked off and you had to show your ticket to get in. I read in the paper today that 22,000 people were there! It was amazing...the buildings, the music, all the people, even the weather. Here is a shot of Cyr and I during one of the breaks.

Check out the buildings in the back, doesn't it look fake it's so pretty? Here is one during the same break at what was behind us.
It was just so, so...European! Cobble stone and buildings surrounding us that were probably over 200 years old. The music was great too. The Kooks, The Hoosiers, BB Brune, a band I can't remember the name of and Mika all played. I know a lot of you out there probably think Mika is a dork, but it was SO MUCH FUN. I mean this guy had all 22,000 people in the square dancing and singing and having a damn good time! He also spoke what I thought was perfect French between songs. What a cool dude...he even sang one of his songs and changed a verse to a French version. He went on at 9:45 as the headliner, here is a pic:

So yeah, he's a bit bubbly, but it was a blast. My friend O was there with a group, but I was able to see here and at least say hello. How cool eh? I knew someone there, I had a friend. Damn, life is good! The other bands were really good too, it was weird though, they were all cool and hip, then Mika comes out and performs on what looks to be a stolen set from Willy Wonka. I mean, there was giant candy on the stage people. It was hilarious. I didn't stress out about not knowing the Future Simple or L'imparfait tenses in French once the entire night. So I think I would like to end this post with a little Mika video for your enjoyment. Wait for the music, it comes in after a bit..I'm going to go study now.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Week one down!!

Well...I made it. Week one is over and I survived.

Today was a half day, we started at 9 and were done at 1pm. I'm so glad too. The afternoons are mostly conversation and I just feel like my time would be better spent trying to learn the main irregular verbs and the present tense. We are having a "petite exam" on Monday on the present, future proche, future simple and imperfect tenses. Yeah...sure. I am not even sure I can tell you when you use the imperfect. At least I have Cyr here to help me with the millions of questions I have.

After class I was all stressed out and ready for a small meal and a large beer. Some of the girls asked if I wanted to go out to lunch with them so I said yes. Apparently I don't even understand English now, because they were going to the cafeteria. booz-wa un grande bier! When they started to walk in I said about as much, they looked very sad and I excused myself to walk to the train station to head over to O's house for an afternoon of chatting and a secondary lesson. The more I thought about the last hour of class the more I got upset. I needed to just clear my mind. I saw a cafe that was filled with people all over the age of 65 and headed to the bar. I ordered a beer, he got out the 25cl glass and I told him, "Non Monsieur, s’il vous plaît." He totally got it. I had my huge 50cl beer and sat there dazed for about 20 or 30 minutes. I pretended to read the paper and just looked at the pictures, I pretended to conjugate verbs and wrote whatever. I tried to name all the new teams in the Tour de France this year without looking at the paper. I did everything but study and think about that last dreaded hour when apparently (as I learned from O) I was learning to use pro-nouns in the past tense. I had no idea...I was just following the pattern of the example sentences. No clue. Really? Passe compose?? Wow, I rock. I didn't know I could do that.

After chatting with O about life in general I felt like I could tackle the French language once more. We worked for a little over an hour and I feel like I really learned some of the concepts. I think I might no do so bad on Monday when we have our little verb tense test. I might not do super well, but I bet I do a heck of a lot better than I did last Monday. Life isn't so bad after all. It was a hard day, but it ended great, and I have a new friend.

And hey - thanks to all of you that have posted comments, you have no idea how good it makes me feel to read the little notes you leave me!!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!! They sure don't do much here for the 4th....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some times you're the windshield...

Today I might have been the bug.

Today was day 3 of class, really day 2 of learning. I'm so tired from all the thinking and walking, but it feels good to be doing something again. It's funny though, I go through these cycles all day in class. It feels like this;
Oh yeah, ok, I get that. That's good.
I know that. I'm understanding French.
I rock.
Ohh - look a bee outside!
What? What did she say?
I don't know that word, why are people laughing?
I should laugh. I'm laughing.
I think I want to cry..
Oh, I got that, ok, I understand...
Please don't call on me.
I am understanding her.
Ohh - look a bird!
I feel so ADD ridden it's crazy! After class today I met O for dinner. She is the Canadian girl that was too advanced for the class. I was super frustrated with the second half of class and felt like bursting into tears. The 15 minute walk to meet her felt good, it gave me a chance to burn off some frustration. Then it started raining. Of course I didn't have my umbrella with me, did you really even have to ask? I was meeting O in the middle of the square so I stood with my wet-rat self under an awing until I saw her.

Once we started talking she could see how upset I was. We went and had a drink and she helped me with just some basics. She even drilled me and had me conjugate verbs. By the time we were done with dinner I felt like I could go back to class tomorrow and not feel completely stupid.

So right now I'm on an upclimb on my French Language Roller Coaster, I hope the drop isn't too bad tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My French Class Rocks the Maison!!

I am sooooo excited about my French class! The professor let me stay, so no worries, but I am one of the lowest students in the class. She pointed out that myself and a guy that are in the class are a little behind but told us to get some specific books to help us. She was great, I really like her. I have no clue what she is saying sometimes, but most of the time I get the general idea.

I also love that I can actually understand some of the things about the language. Like past tense and future tense. I can't remember a damn thing, but I took notes and now I can logically see how things work. Now to just memorize all the verbs and vocabulary and no problem.

The class itself was pretty fun. Grammer and working with the professor in the morning and some kind of conversation thing in the afternoon. Today we had a fun group exercise. There are 10 of us in the class from 8 different countries; 2 from Spain, 2 from Korea, 1 from Japan, 1 from Russia, 1 from Poland, 1 from Jordan, 1 from Mexico and then lil old me from the USofA. She gave us a camera and sent the group out to take photos of things that we see in France that are different than we have in our home countries. Once we took the picture we had a sheet where we had to write a title of the picture and then describe what was different. One of the Spanish girls took a picture of dog poop on the sidewalk and was going to talk about how there is so much dog poop here. She is so right. I think that is why people don't look you in the eye when they walk, it's not that they are unfriendly, they just don't want to step in poop. I needed something I could actually write about so I couldn't really afford to get creative. I decided to take a picture of one of the small cars, I know that word; voiture. My description (translated into English) went something like this;
In France they have very small cars. In the United States we have large cars. I like the small cars because they don't pollute.

Brilliant eh? So verbose, and my use of adjectives is just riveting non? And yes, I know our cars are getting smaller, but I had to work with the words I knew. Watch out, I'm on my way to speaking and writing in French. I have to go take a nap now because I am completely exhausted.