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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mime Land: Bri-Ism #1

Bri tells me:

There is an area in Paris called mime land in a banlieu where all the Mimes live.

He tells me that the bread must be bought daily but- it's imaginary bread. I asked, "it's not a scam paying for nothing?" he says, no that's the thing you mime that you are paying.

Bri says that's the reason mimes are so thin- they mime eating. That's also why the lifespan of a mime is limited to a few weeks. Once a mime decides to become a mime they have a few weeks.

He says: don't come across a mime before they die because they tend to smell terrible and look emaciated since: they mime showering, all personal hygiene, and eating.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Perfect Burger

Don't judge me but sometimes I am a horrible person and crave a juicy burger. Granted, I'll never find a replacement for the typical American burger but I did find a pretty freakin' good version the other day. Bri and I went out hunting for lunch on Friday and I was utterly miserable. My grandfather had died that morning and I wanted to drown my sorrows in a burger- strange? Yes. When sad I either don't eat or I do eat... Lots. When we wandered out, we decided to go by our typical joint: BIEH or best I ever had. Normally restaurants who market themselves in English scare me off... But honestly? I wanted a bacon cheeseburger.

So BIEH located on Rue Merciere, another touristy food place, is my typical go to place. They have milkshakes, Dr.Pepper and an awesome student menu for only 10$. Better to buy a burger in a restaurant than in MacDo in my opinion.

The burgers are thick, often in France a burger is what they call a 'steak haché' which is a thin hammered out ground beef patty flash cooked and served with French fries and not often with a bun.

At BIEH the burgers are served with typically cheddar style cheese, bacon and the squishy dough bun. Sauces on the side, home made French fries- yum.

If not I have heard only good things from Ninkasi, although Bri tells me it's horrible.

Worse comes to worse it's easy to by some steak haché from the boucherie- mine if you wish (Boucherie Centrale) and make it at home. Monoprix has all the delicious go-alongs and hey hen you can stack it.

Although I sure do miss a good Henry's burger or a mass produced Red Robin.

Any other recommendations?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Home Made Latte in France

I live big coffee, those little pinky sized cups do me no good! Lucky enough I have a fabulous mother who understands this need and had smuggled over about 6 lbs of coffee now safely nustled away in the cupboard.

So how do I make my traveler latte?

Stars needed:
Creme anglaise
Coffe type French press
Hot water
Traveler cup

I simply make the coffee.
Pour in the creme.
Close he lid on the traveler.

Voila! Delicious and not the horrifying price of Starbucks in France.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Culture Shock: Things I Miss... Top 11

It's been more than one year since I've lived in France, recalling that I came with weak conversation skills and an open mind, one can't help getting homesick.  I thought recently, what is it that I truly miss? You know everyone has their weaknesses, the French I've met over the years displaced in Portland talk non stop about great baguettes or cheese.

For me I decided to compile a list, mostly to remember what's back at home and also a sort of 'To Do' checklist of things I want to do next summer if I can get back.

Starts with the Top Ten (Plus One).

  1. My Family. I received news over the weekend that my Grandfather is dying of cancer.  I had to call him from my ligne fixe and say goodbye over the phone.. it made me truly miss my family, my dad, my mom... my sister and my brother.  There is never a day that doesn't go by that it's difficult to not pick up the phone and say, Hey let's meet for lunch!
  2. My girlfriends. I had a close group of 4 girls that I'd been friends with since high school, one of which is a friend of about 10 years.  I am missing all their drama, drunken nights, our adventures around Portland.
  3. Portland. My city, my hometown.  While Lyon is charming in it's classy city life, Portland was so clean and fresh... a city of artists and nature lovers.  I worry I will go back and everything will have changed, hopefully for the positive.
  4. Taco Bell. Judge me if you must, but there is something familiar in those greasy tacos I'd buy at 3am in the morning with my girlfriends...
  5. Good Indian food. Sorry but Lyon has not impressed me in her Indian food, everything cultural in regards to foreign foods is completely "Frenchized', bread added to the menu, fois gras tossed into the sushi, bagels smeared with roquefort (YUCK).
  6. Good Sushi. Again, there's is something seriously wrong when my sushi has Fois Gras in it.  Mayonnaise? Good lord.  I just want a freakin' maki that's not 4€ a plate of 6 sushis.  I miss that cheap sushi that I could buy that was great quality.
  7. Real Happy Hour.  Oh man, can't even say how much I miss a Portland brew and a plate of greasy corn dogs and fries for only 5€.  I has just discovered happy hour for a year before I left to live in France, and in France... you know what Happy Hour is?  Discounts on drinks, but no food.
  8. Food Carts.  Yes, we got pizza carts and kebab carts, but no, not that awesome phenomenon from Portland... where at any hour in the night or day there's a cart set up with your heart's content of food.  Vegan tacos? Yes.  Greasy putine? Yes.
  9. Food Network. Enough said.
  10. Take Out Bags.  Man I miss going to a restaurant and having too much, then having leftovers for breakfast.  I'd be laughed out of a restaurant if I ever asked for a 'doggy bag'.
  11. American People. Yes, I know, we are nationalistic, we are fake and sometimes way too much but I miss that sometimes.. that whole comfortable way of talking to eachother. I miss not having to decide when to say vous and when it's appropriate to not? C'est compliqué. Man I miss being able to be myself in my language.
Can you tell I was hungry when I wrote this?  Are there things you miss?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day in the Life of a Masters Student in France

Well, it's a give-in that a Master's degree is difficult... I never assumed stepping into a year intensive course would be a piece of cake or walk in the flower garden. Of course I was utterly unprepared for the sheer force that has presented itself to me in the form of a Master's degree in France. The amount of classes, reading, theoretical studying, application theories, group or team projects.

I simply thought I'd bundle up the feeling in the Day in the Life post just so it's clear how hard it is.

I'll take a Monday as an example, which tends to be the day I have a crise and ask myself: why, why, WHY!!!

7:00am - alarm blares. I don't want to get up, bed is warm, but need to make coffee if ever going to make it through the day. I hit the snooze and jump up at 8am stressed already. As my coffee brews I surf for about 5 minutes and then jump into some team work and studying. Around 9am I decide I can't go to school in my pajamas, so I shuffle through clothes I managed to wash over the weekend and splash some cold water on my pufft eyes. I figure just mascara is okay today.

9:40am - Bri clings to me and tries to make me late, I think it is some form of French conspiracy, he is always late therefore I should be to. I peel him off, quick peck goodbye and shoot out the door to barely make it to class by..

10:00am - Class starts. I am feeling terribly rusty in my French and the teach is rapid fire spitting out theories left and right, I note as fast as my hand will allow as this is the teach that refuses computers. In her own words, "je suis vielle France, pas des ordinateurs." Lovely. I scratch out words, highlight and in the end it looks like a 5 year old art project with a scattering of question marks here and there.

11:30am - break. 60% of the class heads outside to smoke. I eyeball the cigarettes warily and now understand why stressed people start.

12:00pm - More rapid fire French. Explication of some project we are doing with the region that has no plan and no direction, but for us to figure it out.

1:00pm - Brian brings me lunch, I eat for 15 minutes and then cry and whine for 45 minutes. Some key words: I'll never pass.

2:00pm - comes too quickly. Today is a work day so I get my first taste of a reunion in France. We have an issue to work through and we crash our brains trying to hash it out. My French is still warming up so it feels like the most I offer is mmhmm or oui bonne idee. The student teacher rolls over and critics us as well as adding a dash of criticism over my writing abilities in French. I feel like switching to English and being all like- "oh bitch, no you didn't!". All our work after 3 hours is apparently crap so we all feel defeated, my brain decides not to cooperate and I say screw it and head to work..

5:30pm - work starts. Nothing eventful except I mention dropping my resignation letter and I get an email saying I owe 200 bucks for an accounting error on an insurance policy that was required that I never even used. I now regret not going to the dentist or something.

6:00pm - realize I have about 4 people to present to instead of the usual 3. My French now decides to cooperate but I think it's just simple exhaustion.  As I get on a roll, I realize about halfway through my presentation how exhausted I actually am.  As all 4 students listen and nod, I feel sort of on auto drive... thankfully I have had experiences in theater so it's sort of like acting... I guess..

7:20pm - finally done with presentation.  Mouth is starting to hurt from the focus on trying to pull off a less American accent.  I plop in front of my work screen and brain shuts off.  Go through the motions until...

8:00pm - why isn't the student done with their lab work yet?? I go and tap on their shoulder.

8:20pm - student finally wanders out, I grab my bags and drag myself home.

8:40pm - come home, Bri clings to me as I try to shuffle around the kitchen and pull some fragments of a meal together.

9:00pm - something is plated.  I eat, without really tasting it.

10:00pm - drag myself to bed, try to read a little bit for my class, type up some notes and then I am out.

And.  That is my life at the moment.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Release of the New Petit Paumé!

Hey all!

I received an email from one of the organizers from Petit Paumé... apparently the new season has just arrived and it is time.. to pick up.. your new french copy.....!

If you have no idea what Petit Paumé is, check out my post from a few months back:  The Petit Paumé.

Basically to summarize it's a special Lyon based guide and discount booklet for all those living in Lyon.  Pretty much a fabulous way to save cash and get some awesome advice (not to mention pratice le skills françaises) the new 2012 season has officially arrived.

Where to get a copy?

Well my little Petit-Paumé bird, Etienne, has informed me that next weekend on October 8th, starting at 12h30, Place Bellecour, free copies will be distributed until they have run out.

I have to work that day, but I've decided to send Bri out to get my copy in my absence.

Enjoy the savings and réductions!

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