Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Something is wrong.
People are smiling at me today.
And not just everyone on our street that I sureptitiously say hello to. It's everyone.
Is there a virus? A plague? Some sort of catastrophic event that made them realize that it's just not that bad?
It's like Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden out here.
Ok you got me.
I drugged them. All of them.
I DRUGGED ALL THE FRENCH PEOPLE SO THAT THEY WOULD SMILE AT ME IN THE BUS.
I would do that, too. I would sneak down to my clandestine, dark and damp lab in the cave (kaaaav) and make some sort of perfume that makes them realize that retirement at 55 and 35 days of vacation just isn't that bad.
Except that the caaaave is busy being full of wine and stinky cheese.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
So last Friday I was running around doing some shopping errands. And by that I mean going to 5 different stores in order to get the necessary ingredients to make some simple American cakes.
So… to the bio coop (organic co-op), then the primeur (produce seller), then the bus 35 minutes to the specialty baking shops, then with my 8 lbs of ingredients and new cake pans, I traipse back to my bus stop. Halfway home I realize I have one more stop before I’m done. Me and my 4kilos get off the bus and start looking for the map to find the shop I need, but of course this was the one bus stop without a map. So I start asking people, then my bags are to heavy, then I ask if I can leave my bags. Then I run around the neighborhood for 10 minutes looking for this huge street that was just above the bus stop I arrived at. I grab the last ingredient and a sandwich, before looking for another 8 minutes for the shop I left my stuff in. Then I kindly buy a bottle of wine from the man, and leave 1 kilo heavier. It’s good for me, right?
Then I run up to the bus stop (it’s 3pm, I am tired, hungry and heavy with baking supplies). I arrive just as the bus is pulling up. God love the bus driver with perfect timing! I sit down in a nearly empty bus, sighing in sweaty relief that I can put my 10 lbs of bags down and eat something. It’s going to be fine, I tell myself, I just have to get home with all of this stuff. And then it happens, the bus driver slams on the brakes to narrowly avoid an accident and suddenly I and my sandwich are mid-air. With hardly anyone on the bus there is nothing to break my momentum but a thin metal pole. (Should I say something about me being wrapped around a pole for the first time in my life? Because NOW – a week later when my bruises have turned yellow – it’s funny).
So, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, cheese and tuna (and slices of egg, because they put slices of hardboiled egg on their sandwiches here) fly out onto the floor. I am fully layed out on my stomach on the gray plastic linoleum.
Head on my forearm, I start to stand up. The bus driver asks me if I’m ok. I am prepared to yell out my feelings on him like a true Parisienne -but just then, I notice my adopted snobby Parisian pride on the floor...smashed between a chunk of tuna and egg.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Truck 2500 tons of sand, palm trees and lounge chairs into the middle of the city.
And stick it in front of an 800 year old palace/prison.
Monday, August 22, 2011
My kitchen is the size of your walk-in closet.
It is a good thing b and I are not fat because we wouldn’t be able to fit together in the kitchen.
My counter/prep space is 1 foot wide by 2 feet deep
Of the four burners, there is only one that works fast (less than 10 minutes to heat up). And only on high. It takes about 3 minutes to get HOT and then is hot/warm for 3 hours after you shut it off.
If you turn on more than two burners at once, it trips the circuit breaker, shutting off the electricity to our entire apartment.
Our oven is a “chaleur tournant” meaning that it has hot air moving around. The lazy susan in the center is supposed to move. It does this once every 6 months.
Our oven used to be on top of our college-dorm sized fridge in the kitchen, which meant it opened right to left over the only burner in the kitchen that works. Now it is on top of our stereo in the living room.
I asked b’s dad (a white collar retiree in his 50’s) to mount a 1 foot square slat of wood so we could put a coffee machine on it. He happily came over to practice his hobby and mounted then proceeded to mount the slat with a slight lean down to the right. When I asked him, he laughed. He retells the story at dinner parties and chuckles. I’m still not sure why.
I made Thanksgiving for 10 people in this kitchen.
I won that challenge beyotches.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
We are baking
And by baking I mean sitting in a 48 square meter dish with tin foil covering while we wait for the 90° heat and 79% humidity to bake us.
Our apartment, which is ¼ floor to ceiling windows, has direct sun until 2p.m.
So we are sitting inside with the shutters down. In the dark. With a lamp on.
At 10h in the morning.
This is what happens when there aren't enough hot days in the year to merit air conditioning. (<---more franglais)
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I've just come back from 2 weeks in the States without b. It is weird to feel like you have become a little French and even weirder when other people don't realize you may look like an orange and smell like an orange (or slightly better than an orange since the Borg has assimilated you into wearing perfume), but you have actually turned a little grapefruity on the inside. (because, of course, you live in Grapefruit land). And when people expect an orange, they are quite surprised and confused that you are not. These are some of my realizations during and coming home from my trip.
- I don’t need 5 feet of personal space, and so I don't need an apology when someone turns their shopping cart and *almost* gets within 4 feet of me.
- Is it possible your siblings can actually cause you to regress and act like a 12-year-old by engaging you in the same fights you had when you were 12? Yes, in fact, they can.
- I need a medium sized cup. Not the Sunday-Brunch juice glass that the French consider to be a normal water glass, nor the “small” cup at Taco Bell.
<-- Too big
- I still LOVE clean toilets I can sit down on without worrying about sitting in someone’s pee.
I really hate children on planes.
The same siblings that reduce you to a 12 year old are also the people that know you so well as to pick out the one gift you would willingly throw some clothes away to fit in your luggage and carry home on a 2 hour car ride, 1.5 hour train ride, 45 minute metro, 8 hour flight, 45 minute city train and 35 minute bus ride to get home. In other words, the perfect gift.
Watch out Cashiers at Target and gas station attendants, I am emotionally slutty. I will find a way to work my daily drama into our 2 minute interaction. And still have time to ask how your day is going.
The key to French food is sauce. And mold. And a little dirt.
I speak Franglais. Not only does speaking French (which I am quite good at) mess with my identity, but now it has succeeded in making me sound like an idiot in my own language.
Translated into American: We made a loop around the south of Spain.
Ex: We arrived to …
What I really meant: We were able to …
Wisconsin has bird-sized mosquitos that can give a 2 year old something that looks like a black-eye.
Americans outside of big cities don’t really know how to dress. I realized how far I have come since arriving in Europe. (see that – another understandable, but not American, bastardized phrase). I actually know the colors that look good on me and don’t buy anything else. Do you know what the style is now? Super bold bright colors. Do you know who looks good in that? Dark skinned people and creamy white skinned people with dark hair, and on occasion light blonds. Are you in that category? Me neither. I am pretty sure that designers sit around a table daring to see who can make people look the most ridiculous. Do you remember the hunting orange of 6 years ago?