Today I was feeling pretty good, no pain at all and feeling less tired than in recent days, so today we put up our little Christmas tree. It's the first time since I moved to France that I was able to use a lot of my own ornaments that I brought over last year from back home. I have a lot more still stored in NJ but they're all the really fragile ones and will have to be carefully packed and shipped at a future date. But it made me really happy to see familiar ornaments on our tree -- including one very tiny red glass ornament with blobs of old glitter, circa 1961. It was from my first Christmas tree and the only one that survived. It's nice to see the tree up now, and it will really cheer me when I come home and it's already here to greet me. I had a nice long Skype chat with my family which will be the last opportunity to video chat with them until I'm home (unless by some miracle this hospital has WiFi), and that did me a world of good, too. My sister decorates her home so beautifully... Read more →
Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of my move to Paris! I got caught up in other things yesterday, and though I intended to blog about it, at the end of the day it just didn't happen. Ironically, it's been very fresh in my mind of late, what it felt like to arrive here in Paris and to know I wasn't only staying for a few short days. I've been editing the hell out of my memoir (pleased to say I'm right on track to get it all done by the end of the month!) and just finished the "arrival" chapter a couple of days ago. So help you refresh your own memories (or if this is the first time you're going that far back in blog history), here's what happened: First, I found a great apartment in the suburb of Vincennes. Then, I booked a flight and got to use my frequent flyer miles, so it was FREE. Then the apartment fell through, and I had to figure out another plan. I had to tell people close to me that I was moving to Paris. I had to figure out what to pack and what to do with everything else... Read more →
It often happens that I will be in some restaurant in France where the French menu has been translated into English - badly. Sometimes, it's so bad I want to laugh - and then hand the owner my business card with an offer to fix it (for a price, of course). I keep thinking there must be some sort of a side business I could build here, just around bad translations of menus; but then I figure that if the restaurant owners are already too cheap to pay for proprer translations in the first place, they probably wouldn't take kindly to the criticism of being told they have completely screwed up their English-language menu. So, I just continue to laugh to myself... and say nothing to the waiter. This is what I saw yesterday, in a restaurant on the Ile Saint Louis. So the Quiche Lorraine is... a quiche lorraine. Well, that sure clears THAT up. Then there is the salade des crudités, which is actually just a plate of raw vegetables (carrots, radishes, etc.) - translated as "the salad of crudenesses of the season". BWAH-HA-HA! "Crudenesses"? Did they run that by Google Translate or something? That's not even a... Read more →
I've been so vacationed out that I completely forgot my own 1st Frenchiversary! It was one year ago August 8th that the French government decided that I was worthy to become a citoyenne and registered me as a French national. Of course, they didn't get around to informing me about this honor for three weeks more, but since they DID decide to keep me, I got over it. Things I did this year that made me feel French: the citizenship ceremony rooting for France in the World Cup traveling with my French passport or ID card instead of my American papers and voting, which made the biggest impression of all. In my heart, I will always identify as American first; its where my roots are and where both my character and my outlook on life were primarily informed. But even before I became French on paper, a part of me has always felt just a tiny bit French, too. Or at least I was strongly attracted to French things, French culture, the French language -- whether that attraction could actually make me French from the inside out is debatable. It's still a strange feeling, this having two countries. I don't... Read more →
Any English-speaker who has ever tried to master French has had difficulty with the fact that, in French, there are TWO forms of the word "you" - "tu" and "vous" - and a whole set of complicated rules about which to use when (there are 2 actual verbs to describe which one you're using: "tutoyer" and "vouvoyer"). "Tu" is generally a familiar form (I "tu" my husband and step-kids) and "vous" is both formal AND plural (so if I were speaking to all of my step-kids at once I would say "vous"). But it gets way more complex than that, and represents for the non-native French speaker a social minefield. Do you Vous or Tu your boss? Well, it depends - probably Vous, but possibly Tu if you've known each other a while and you get along well. Your new in-laws? That also depends. I Tu my sisters-in-law but if my parents-in-law were still living I don't think I'd have the nerve, I'd probably Vous them. Someone older than you? Younger than you? Your neighbor? Depends, depends, depends. As with most things in French (and in France), there is the rule... and then there is the EXCEPTION to the rule.... Read more →
Do as the French do - PROTEST when you think something is wrong. Join No Love Locks in speaking out, and SIGN our PETITION TODAY to ask the city of Paris to ban and remove love locks from all our beautiful historic bridges, and restore Paris to her former beauty for the enjoyment of all! You don't have to be French or live in Paris to sign.
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