Wednesday, July 9, 2008

She's baaaaaack

Guess what time zone I'm in!

Yes, that's right, good ol' ET. I made it here to NYC safe and sound today, thanks to Lufthansa, a most enjoyable international airline.

I am writing a quick note at 11:00pm ET while my body thinks it's 5:00am. That's what time I woke up this morning. In France. Which means I've pulled another all-nighter and I didn't sleep at all today. Things are getting a little hazy now and hallucinations might soon set in so I think it's best if I get to bed.

But I'm in New York. In my 'new apartment.' It is awesome. I went to Park Slope for the first time today and saw Rachel Paneth-Pollak! wtf? Awesome.

TIME FOR BED. Vive la France and vive mon retour!

Monday, July 7, 2008

In 24 hours I'll be sittin' at the airport

It's my last day in France.

I'm sittin' in the Brasserie de Conservatoire, chattin' it up with my cafe man. Turns out he's done three (3) three-month tours of the South of the US. Whatthebananas! His favorite state? Arizona. His favorite city? New Orleans. He rocks. Also he just made me the most chocolatey hot chocolate I have ever tasted... I can't even finish it (THIS, we all know, is HUGE)

Moving on...

Yesterday I went to the Mediterranean one last time. Specifically, I hung out at the Calanques (remember? The place with all the rocks and the water is this beautiful blue-green and everyone gets naked? Yup. There). I decided on a day-trip to Marseille to visit Emilie (daughter of Francoise, sister of Sandy) and Robyn and Brian who were finishing up their bike-tour of Provence there. Emilie took me to the beach where we se bronzered and then Robyn/Brian/I said adieu from their hostel.

I'm no good at goodbyes and I have been doing them since May. It's so weird to hear "au revoir" instead of "a toute a l'heure" or "a bientot." Because, nope, I won't be seeing anyone later or "till next time." I'm bouncing out, peace-ing from la France and everyone's wishing me a "bon voyage" and a "bon retour."

Luckily, with a few people I've been able to say "quand tu viens aux Etats-Unis on va..." ("when you come to the US we will...") because, for them, a future trip (hopefully in the near-future) is possible and in the plans. Emilie wants to study for a year in the US and if she does, it would be GREAT if her mom and sister visited and I could see them again. One of my students is going to do a tour of the Northern states of the US but he has no idea if Michigan is in his plans. Everyone I've met here knows I'm moving to NYC so I think I'll be getting hit up with CouchSurfing requests pretty soon/often :)

It's been amazing. Tonight's my last Red Sky night and I hope to drop some new covers and to sing with my fave guitarist. Fingers crossed that Celine and I sing together and that it's a good time.

Ok, I'm going to go start crying my eyes out now (mind you, I'm still at the cafe... I'm so classy). Catch you latah.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

C'est QUOI ca?

It's midnight on Saturday. I'm not sure when was the last time I slept... Thursday night, I think?


Why is it that, when you're just starting to wrap something up somewhere, things actually start going? C'est quoi ca?

First off, last weekend I went to Grenoble (a beautiful town surrounded by mountains). It was a beautiful and wonderful and super fun weekend and I'm glad I took a chance and went. It further confirms the fact that I have had the chance to meet some of the greatest people around.

Yesterday I went to a concert with a friend who was playing with his 20-piece orchestra at an outdoor concert/cookout thing.

This is the part where I tell you what we ate!
On the menu? Sardines, mussels, and french fries, natch.

The music? Medleys of everyone from Celine Dion to hard rock, music of Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble, Yannick Noa, Josh Groban, etc. It was an AWESOME concert and I didn't get back to Avignon till... 3 o'clock? At which point I did not sleep like normal people would. Instead, I made pancakes and walked around my lil' walled-city, waiting for it to wake up. I absolutely could not fall asleep after all of that so I've been fueled on adrenaline/caffeine the rest of the day.

I have just come from a Provencal BBQ at Francoise's house. Ahhhh I love that family. I keep meeting the most amazing people and then dang, I gotta bounce. Watched some "Prison Break" with French sous-titres and then sat down to a delicious meal.

This is the part where I tell you what we ate!

Whte rice, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, onions
Grilled chicken (I gave up the vegetarianism for a night - didn't want to be rude and it was SO GOOD. I have a feeling this will have MAJORLY horrible consqeuences tomorrow)
ratatouille (vive les legumes!)
apricot sorbet (made from apricots from her friend's garden)

Francoise is an amazing cook.

It was all delicious, of course. What I loved was just sitting around with everyone, catching different conversations here and there (due partly to my questionable comprehension of spoken familial French and due to the fact that there was a lot going on), piping in when I had something to say, and watching the Provencal life roll on.

Tomorrow is a day-trip to Marseille. Monday is holycrapthedaybeforeileave Day. I shall spend it freaking out, closing my bank account, chanign money, packing, guitar, and Red Skying.

It's all ending. As sad as I am, I'm totally geeked for the return to the States!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I wish I had a food blog

Not that this France blog isn't fun, it's just... has stolen my heart! As has! And so many others!

This post's for Jenny Yee.

Since I've stopped working and I have mucho free time on my hands, I've been surfing the internet for recipes that look delicious/might be vegan (ok, stop freaking out, everyone - I'm not vegan, I just like toying with the idea.)

Anyway! I've been cookin'! And here's what I did the other day:

This would be my 1/2 and 1/2 pizza I made the other day for myself and Amy. Left side: black beans, corn, red onion, red pepper, cheese. Right side: the same but no cheese. The crust: homemade! It was DELICIOUS, even if I accidentally undercooked the crust a little bit.

Dough is hard to make

And then I just had to make M&M/oatmeal (nothing-vegan-about-em) cookies.

Ooh but the other day I made the greatest breakfast cookies: vegan oatmeal/almond cookies.

Countdown to the US: one week.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the French healthcare system

I went to the doctor the other day (don't worry, it's all good in the hood) and I just got most of my money back. Deposited directly into my account. How's THAT for socialized medicine? Makes me feel pretty great about paying all these taxes!

Ah, question: should this blog end 1) when I return to the US - july 8th - or 2) when I return to Michigan - july 10th - ? You get to decide!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Last day of school!

Ok. I am now done with work here in France.


It is June 24th and I am finished teaching at Elsa Triolet and Mistral. I will no longer take the bus to Sorgues on Monday and Tuesday, with a stomach full of knots and butterflies, and I'll no longer wake up at 5am on those mornings, panicking about lessons.

I took pictures with my students. The teachers were so nice. I got so many bisous and lots of cards that say things like "emilieeeeee je t'aime." Email addresses were given to me, but without the names of the students attached, so I have no idea to whom I'll be writing. Oh, and these students are convinced we will talk on MSN.

It has been a crazy ride, this whole teaching experience. I'm so glad I did it. Et... voila.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lyon, Toulouse, ferris wheel

So I'm trying to carpe diem my remaining time here. It's june 20th... I'll be in Michigan in exactly three weeks from today!! As much as this excites me (and it definitely definitely does) I know there's tons here that I need to so/do so here goes...

This past weekend I went to Lyon (France's second largest city) for Gay Pride. I am bummed because I missed NY's and Chicago's and Paris's is next weekend but far too expensive for me to get to (Berlin's is next weekend, too, and I wish I could go there (it being my favorite European city and all)). So to Lyon's GP I went. I CouchSurfed with a Canadian, a German, and Robyn at the house of a really nice French engineer and her friend from Grenoble. Once again, CouchSurfing proves to be an amazing project, connecting us all for a weekend of sightseeing and fun. The gays in Lyon were having a great time but, I have to say, nothing quite matches NYC's. Ooooh and it was Brooklyn's GP the same day as Lyon's... wish i coulda been there. Hell, I wish I could have been all over the world this month, as it's Gay Pride month and everyone is going all out everywhere to have fantastic parades and parties and all of that.

Moving on...

Teaching this week was PHENOMENAL. I realize that it's been awhile since I last wrote about the actual teaching I do and here's this: thanks to Nicole's idea, I had the most successful song/learning session with most of my kids. We sang "Hello, Goodbye" and learned opposites! They are now all obsessed with the song and they now think it's hilarious to, when I say 'goodbye' as I leave the classroom, respond with 'hello!' So much laughter and enthusiasm and it was so encouraging. I'm here to give the end of my year a little boost and it's so good to know that, despite the occasional bad day, I've had a great time with (the majority of) my students and they've (actually!) learned.
Ooh I get to take my camera to school next week so I hope to get lots of video (don't you want to hear them sing 'The Weather Song'?) and cute pictures.

After Lyon and teaching I went to Toulouse (a big city west of me) and it was pretty good. I learned how to bake THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING IN THE WORLD and there will be a few lucky people in the States who will get to taste this fantastic creation when I get out the $$ for all the ingredients.

Upon my return from Toulouse, I hit up a picnic organized by the Anglaises who are all leaving quite soon (I cannot stand all these endings) and we all sat and ate overlooking the river. Oh MAN I'm going to miss the Jardins de Palais and all of that. Hell, I'm going to miss this whole city at sunset.

Annnnnnd so, the ferris wheel is GREAT and it's one of the cheaper things in this city! Only 5 euros!! Granted, for 5 euros you get to go on it for approximately 5 minutes (and at breakneck speed which was very curious) but we managed to convince the Roule Man to let us go on for longer.