Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One month mark

I can't believe it's been a month already. Sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday. There are definitely still times where I get pangs of longing, but when I think about it, they're more so for the loss of my life/future than they are for Fab. I still feel completely betrayed by what he did and how our relationship ended, but I guess that's normal. I hope he regrets this someday.

On the other hand though, I am excited about moving to Paris. I'm also nervous since I'm not 100% sure things are going to work out with the French family, but I just keep trying to remind myself that stuff always works out in the end, so there's no use stressing over it. Que sera, sera, right? But I think this is experience is going to be huge for me.

For one, I'm a serial dater. I've gone from one long-term relationship to another long-term relationship for probably the past 13 years. Second, I've never lived alone. And now I'm about to embark on a journey where I will do both. But I sort of feel like this is something that everyone should do once in their life. It will be good for me to learn to live with myself again. I need to find the old Samantha, the one who used to laugh a lot and have fun. I've spent so much time alone over these past few years that I feel like I've kind of lost myself (and some of my social skills in the process). So while I know that living in Paris won't always be a piece of cake, I do think it's the right step for me to take.

Every once in a while, I get these flashes of hope, like maybe my life is really just about to start. Like this was just a stepping stone to something bigger and better, and one day I will look back on this incredulously and wonder how I ever could've imagined spending my life on the farm. Either that, or fate will laugh in my face once again and make me fall in love with another farmer!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A pied

Continuing on my quest to become a French citizen, I headed over to the court house yesterday to pick up a new copy of my birth certificate and my parents' marriage certificate. Except....*gasp*.....I have no car here so I went on foot. What a novel idea. At least you'd think it'd was, given how people reacted. It was like a 20 minute walk max (think going from la gare to Thabor, for all the rennais out there). The sun was shining and I had nothing better to do, so I figured, why not? But everyone kept saying "I can't believe you walked here!"

I'd never noticed it before, but this city is not set up to encourage walking - there isn't a single sidewalk in my mother's pretty much brand-new neighborhood. There are all kinds of bike trails and whatnot outside the city, but what about inside? City planners, take note - how do you want to encourage people to be more active on a daily basis if they need to get in their car and go outside the city to do it?

It's not an easy battle though - driving is so ingrained in our culture. How many times have you seen someone at a shopping mall get in their car and drive a few stores down, instead of just walking? I keep trying to convince my mother to stop driving around and around the parking lot, looking for the closest spot. If it's a nice day, take the first open spot and walk! It's ridiculous how much time people will spend turning around in circles, looking for a spot near the door, when they could've been in the store ages ago! But I guess it's the same uphill battle when trying to convince people to take the stairs instead of using the elevator....


Monday, April 28, 2008


I wonder if coming back here was a good idea. I have no vehicle and am pretty much confined to my mother's house, alone, with nothing to do. Not much better than being at the gîte. But at least there's cable here, right? Though my word, why does there have to be so many damn TV shows about happy young couples buying/building their first home?

I keep thinking about something Fab's older sister said to me. She said "Surely there must've been things you were unhappy with in the relationship too?!?". But no. Not really. Besides the fact that he worked way too much, I was indeed happy with "us". Not with our life, but I always thought our relationship was worth the crappy life. She seemed surprised to hear that though - she said "Well, if you need a list of Fab's faults, I can give one to you". Which made me laugh - no, Fab isn't perfect (his nail-biting just about drove me crazy), but neither am I.

Isn't that what love is all about? Loving and accepting someone unconditionally despite their faults? If I stayed this long in France, it's because I thought he was "the one", l'homme de ma vie. It's sad now to think about how this time last month, I was thinking we'd be engaged by the end of this year. I keep asking myself - how could I not have seen this coming? How could anyone else not have seen anything?

Il a bien caché son jeu.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

No soup for you

Since I still don't really have an appetite, I've been trying to eat a lot of soup so that I at least get some kind of vitamins & minerals on a daily basis. And now that I'm back in the US, I've been thinking about something both my mom and a friend of mine commented on recently, ie. why are almost all French soups pureed?

I eat a lot of soup in France, yet this is something I've never noticed before. But now that I'm back in the US, I'm realizing that it's true. So anyone have any theories? Why are 90% of French soups pureed? It's kind of odd, non?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I wanna fly away

Well, here I am back in MN. The flight was long, but I do have to say that the new direct Paris-Minneapolis flight is really nice. Now that I've cut out needing to leave from Bretagne, I just need to convince my mother to move to Minneapolis. After five years of it taking 24+hrs to get home (6am train to CDG, flight from CDG to Detroit, layover, flight from Detroit-Minneapolis, layover, flight from Minneapolis-Grand Forks), it would be SO nice to just do Paris-Minneapolis, point.

And you what was so ironic about our trip home? Everywhere we went, we met nice French people. I feel like some kind of tide has turned here. Have I finally broken my streak of bad luck with the French? (Actually, I've generally had good luck my whole life, but Fab hasn't, so maybe it was just his bringing me down). But it all started at 5:45am, when my mother and I were trying to lug our 4 suitcases all the way to the gare. One of my suitcases tipped over in the street and as I was struggling to pick it back up, a man from the STAR (Rennes' equivalent to the RATP) stopped by and asked if we wanted a ride to the station. After the shock wore off my face, and I was like "Yes! Of course!" so he helped us load all of our suitcases in his car and away we went.

At the train station itself, a random guy helped us get our bags on the train, and as we were getting off at CDG, another man did the same. We made it up to the terminal and only dealt with nice airport personnel from there on out. It was really bizarre. Maybe it really is just Bretagne, and I'm about to discover a whole new side of France?? And then I sat next to a Frenchie on the plane who must have thought I was a bit nuts - I watched a bunch of chick flicks and cried almost the whole time, as they were all about women losing their partners for various reasons. The gentleman that he was, all's he did was say "ca va aller, ma fille" and hand me a pack of tissues. (Note to self: no more chick flicks until your emotions settle down a bit).

The other surprising thing is that when we got off the plane in Grand Forks, it was snowing! And it still is now, 12 hours later. My mom had a meeting on the other side of the state this morning, but she turned around after an hour because the weather was too bad. Seriously, it's April26 - how can there be a blizzard now?? And here I was worrying about having packed my spring coats away and only having my winter coat to wear. Ha!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Post 2

To answer some of people's questions - I'm only going home for two weeks. I've had these tickets for a few months now, so I thought I might as well use them. And then I'll be back in France on May 9th. I've got to stay in Bretagne for a few days to règle a few things (mainly my naturalization dossier), and then I go down south for another two weeks with the Technician. I'll be in Paris by the end of May though.

I don't have a 100% confirmation from the family yet (typical French being vague and not in a hurry to decide anything), but it looks like at least for the month of June, I will be staying in a chambre de bonne in the 5ème in exchange for 14 hours of babysitting per week. The mother seems really suspicious about me wanting to do this considering "how old I am", so she wants to do a trial period for 4-6 weeks to check me out and see how it goes. I really just want to be assured I have a place to stay, at least for the first few weeks, plus only working 14 hrs means I can still have another job on the side. Not to mention the benefits of not having any rent to pay....

As for why Paris? Well, for starters, because I've spent the past five years surrounded by cows and farmland, and I'm ready for a change of scenery (which does not include going back to MN to live in a small town surrounded by cows and even more farmland). Secondly, it'll be the easiest place for me to find a job in France. And last but not least - the majority of my blogging friends live there! It's the one place in France where I feel like I will be vraiment entourée, where there are so many people and there's so much to see that I won't just sit at home depressed. I've spent way too much of the past five years lonely, at home alone, and right now, I need to be out and about. And what could be better than Paris in the summer??

PS. I honestly considered selling the computer & the TV too cuz I could really use the money, but it's just not my style. Just because he stooped so low doesn't mean I have to, nor do I want that to be the last memory his family and everyone else has of me.


Post 1

Last night was my last night at the gîte. It looks so strange here, what with all of our stuff gone - almost like we were never here. I think Fab is going to be in for a shock when he shows up here tonight - he has no clue that I either sold or gave away everything. And I mean everything - all the blankets, all the dishes, tout. He asked for the TV and the computer, and that's what he's getting. Rien de plus.

My MIL is picking us up and bringing us to the train station at noon, and then we're off to stay in Rennes for the night (thanks Alisa!). And then we'll be on the 6am train to CDG, loaded down like pack mules with all of my luggage. I have to come back to Brittany for a few days in May when I get back to take care of a few things, but it already feels bittersweet to be leaving here today. Up until a few weeks ago, I was counting down the days until we moved out of the gîte (and into our new place), and I just feel sad because now this move represents so much more.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I felt bad about having my mom come all this way and not see anything, so today we left the boxes and the packing and went to Mont St Michel. It turned out to be a bad move on my part. Fab and I went there on my very first trip to France back in December 2001 and it just served to bring back all kinds of memories. At that point, we hadn't seen each other in over four months and were crazy in love, probably acting like those annoying couples who can't stop touching each other. And since it was December, we pretty much had the place to ourselves and spent the whole day holding hands, exploring, and just generally enjoying the fact that we were finally in the same time zone. So all's today did was bring all of that back - all the places we sat, the things we talked about - it all came rushing back. I should've known better than to go some place we had been together, but I wanted to take my mom to somewhere unique but yet not too far away since my poor little car can't handle long roadtrips. Sigh. I wonder if I'll ever be able to come back here and not feel this way?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well, with the exception of one kitchen cabinet and my wine rack, I've managed to sell every single thing I own. Two English families came and carted away 90% of my belongings, and the rest of the various bits and pieces have been sold (hi Danielle!). Although it was strange to watch people carry off my belongings (especially the newer things that were so carefully chosen for our new house), in one way, it's freeing. Besides my clothes, I have now have nothing. There is no longer anything tying me here, holding me back.

I finally saw Fab, and while it was painful, it wasn't as bad as I expected. He is still half-way in denial about this whole thing, and honestly seems to think that all of this is in my best interest. Hopefully one day he will realize what a mistake this has all been. And hopefully one day I will see it was all for the best. The funny thing is that I purchased everything we had, so he is essentially left with nothing besides the TV & the computer. He told me that he was shocked to realize that even though he is on the brink of turning 30, all of his possessions could easily fit in the trunk of the BMW. I find it sort of sad, but on the other hand, I think "Good. Serves him right". Since he plans on s'installing avec elle, I don't want to leave him with anything that was ours. Not a single plate, not a single sheet, nothing. Everything that I can't pack or take with me is being donated to Emmaüs, so someone else can put it to use.


Monday, April 21, 2008

A rose is a rose

So I found out that her name is Katell (pronounced cat-tell). I hope you will agree with me that this is un nom de pétasse, and just screams "I work in a factory, live to party, and have no ambition in life".

Which is pretty ironic, considering that up until a few months ago, this is what Fab's description of her was.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lord help me, my mother arrived today and will be staying until I leave on Thursday....this is my reminder to myself that despite how over-bearing she is, she means well and thinks she has my best interests at heart.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ever heard of a thing called tact?

Fab's two sisters came to see me today. If there's one thing I can say about French women (or at least les bretonnes) is that they are not the people you want to turn to in times like this. Instead of commiserating with me, they pretty much told me to suck it up and move on. My friend Nathalie told me practically the same thing word for word last night, as did the only teacher I told.

It made me wonder if maybe they're just more conditioned to men who cheat? Like it's not seen to be as big of a betrayal as I'm making it out to be? What they can't seem to understand (or maybe I'm just not doing a good job of saying it in French) is that it's not just Fabrice I'm mourning - it's my whole life, or what I thought was going to be my life. I look around here and see things that I thought I'd always be seeing, and it pains me to think that none of this is mine anymore. Not that I guess I'd want it to be now. I really need to just get the hell out of dodge so I can stop looking at the broken remainders of my/our life. Thursday cannot come fast enough for me.


Friday, April 18, 2008

One step forward, 500 steps back

Or at least this is what I kept telling myself yesterday to dull the pain after learning that Fab, aka M. Radin, was paying for nights in a hotel so he could sleep with his new girlfriend.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No longer a working girl

I told The Company yesterday that I would no longer be able to work for them. There goes my long-awaited CDI, but I just can't deal with them, or my clients, right now. Everything about this job is just so linked with my life in Bretagne that I just want to stop cold turkey. If I kept working for them, I'd have to stay in this region, and I can't stand the thought of constantly having to drive down the same old roads again, and possibly running into people I know/knew. I feel really bad about this since I know they were excited with the plans I had for France, so this is going to be a big set-back for them. But I just can't stay here.

I agreed to still take phone calls & do troubleshooting until May - my co-worker is coming over from the 14-28th, so I'll still need to translate for him, but after that, I'll be done. To be honest, I can't wait - it's so hard to have them keep calling me, asking how life is going and when I'm going to come visit them next. Most of the time, I don't say anything, just that I'll call them back later to schedule an appointment. I know they're going to be left in the merde though once I leave, and I feel really bad for them. But that's not reason enough for me to stay. Who knows, maybe they'll send the technician & his family back, and they'll finally fulfill their dream of being able to live in Europe. At least someone will end up happy in Bretagne then.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You've got a phone call baby

While I appreciate Fab's family calling often to check in with me and see how I'm doing, it's really starting to wear on me. Since they don't talk about what's happened amongst themselves at all (I don't understand how they could not - this is some good gossip, LOL!!), they all need to keep calling me separately to find out what's going on. Which means that I need to keep answering the same questions over and over again. It also means that just when I think I'm making some progress, I get dragged back into their family again. It hurts enough to think that I won't see them anymore, so every time they call, it's just one more reminder of what I've lost. But on the other hand, they're all being so nice to me, and I know they're just trying to help. Still. I can't wait until I'm out of Bretagne. I think I just need to make a clean break from all of this.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm feeling a bit better today - the sun is out and the skies are blue. I'm going to take the train into Liverpool to have lunch with Leyla's mum, so that should be nice. This woman is so lovely - she just radiates warmth and positive energy. Speaking of which, she's a healer, so I'm hoping that afterwards she'll be able to do a session with me, and send me all kinds of positive vibes. Lord knows I need it.

Also, some people have been asking if they should link to my new blog - I guess I'd prefer not, at least not right now. Maybe just leave the Samdebretagne link up for the moment. I just don't want 'certain people' to be able to poke around and find this one.

Anyways, thanks again to everyone for their comments and emails - it helps more than you guys will ever know.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm feeling kind of down today. One of Fab's friends called me this morning, and it set me back a bit. Another thing that's been really strange is not being able to call him. Since he worked so much, the phone was really how we stayed in touch, and I called him 4-5 times a day. Often for pas grande chose - just to check in and see how his day was going. I think it's going to take me a while before that urge goes away.

The other weird thing is not being able to wear my ring. I love my ring and I've been wearing it for six years now - Fab gave it to me the first time he went back to France without me, as we didn't know when we'd see each other again. It just feels so strange not to have it on me, I keep reaching for it. I've been trying to wear it on my right hand, but it just feels wrong. My left hand feels so naked. But I guess that will come with time too.

I've really just been trying to remind myself that this isn't permanent, that the pain will pass, that it will get easier and easier every day. My English friend went through this herself right around the time when Fab and I started dating, so she's been absolutely great about all of this, just listening and giving me the support I need. And it helps to see her so happy today with a guy that is so much better for her than her ex ever was. (Even if the idea of starting dating again completely freaks me out). But overall, I'm just trying to take it all one day at a time, and remind myself that I can do this. Just look at everyone else who's been through it. They survived and so will I. But God, sometimes it hurts.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Well, welcome to the new, private blog. It probably won't stay private forever, but at least for now, I don't want Fab to be able to read up on what I'm doing. And I'll work on the layout a bit next week, once I get back to France.

I’m sure many of you have been wondering where I am – well, I’m in the UK right now. I’ve got pretty limited internet access, which is why I haven’t been able to post yet or respond back to all of your emails. I just needed to get out of France for a bit, namely out of the gîte and out of Bretagne. My friend and her family are the closest thing I have to family in Europe, and they’re taking good care of me. I’ve been watching loads of crappy American TV, things like “E! presents the world’s top 20 billionaire heiresses” or “The extreme event that changed my life”. And it’s actually just what I needed. I also finally managed to eat some semblance of a meal last night – real fish and chips with vinegar & mushy peas, so that’s a start.

I do feel the need though to say thanks to my friends in Bretagne – Alisa, Yuri, Ann – for being so supportive, and for either staying with me or letting me stay with them. I know you guys are busy, and I really appreciate you letting me come and disrupt your lives like that.

Now on to my plan. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and have come to a surprising conclusion, one that will probably shock some of you as much as it shocked me. I’ve decided I’m not ready to go back to the US. Who’d have thunk it? But I don’t feel like my time here in France is done. And the thought of being 28 and living back home again in a tiny town in MN until I figure out what I want to do is depressing the shit out of me. Plus, as I’ve already told some of you, I really resent the fact that I’m being “forced” out of the country. I always thought that if I ever left some day, it’d be on my own terms, because I wanted to leave. Nor do I want to leave under these circumstances, with this being my last image of France. But yet I can’t stay in Bretagne – it’s too rural, and there are too many memories there. So where does a broken-hearted girl go, but gay Paris?

My carte de séjour is valid through next April, so I’m planning on moving to Paris for at least the summer, to try to figure out what I want to do. I’m hoping to find a place to stay or an apartment to sublet from June-August, and then see where I want to go from there. Either I’ll have gotten used to the idea of going back home, or I’ll have fallen in love with Paris and decided to stay.

Which brings me to my next point – I think I’m still going to go ahead and turn in my citizen application next month. It’s something I want SO badly, and I’m à deux doigts from getting it. The thought of having gone through everything to make it up to the five year point and then turning around and giving it all up right when I’m at the finish line is killing me. Fab knows how bad I want this, and has said that he’ll stay pacsed with me until I get it, if I want. I realize that I won’t ever fully be able to count on him again, but it is something I want to pursue, so I’m going to take my chances. Having French citizenship would open up so many doors for me – I’d be able to go anywhere, work anywhere. As much as I love the US, I’m not sure I want to live there forever – my line of thinking has changed, and I’m starting to disagree more and more with the direction the US is heading. So I just want to keep my options open.

Anyways, so if anyone knows of a pas trop cher sublet available for the summer, or of anyone job openings (the more mindless, the better), please send them my way!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'll get a post up here within the next day or two...y'all can thank Frog for giving me the idea for the new name!