Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fab just had the nerve to call and say that we owed taxes this year, and could I please send him a check for 300€. My response? "Ha! Consider it a break-up tax honey. You owe me, not the other way around". (Not to mention that he would've had even more to pay had we not been pacsed). His reply? "Yeah, you're right, but you have to admit it was worth a try"!!


So here I am in Paris, at long last. It's strange, it doesn't even feel real. I'm having trouble writing because my mind is spinning with the million different things I need to get done.

The chambre de bonne is nice but about the size of a shoe box (like I expected). It's going to take me a while to figure out how to organize things. But on a positive note, living in a small space just means I have less to clean, right?? And the view from my window is unbeatable - there are worse things than looking at the Eiffel Tower all day : And another shot from last night, just before it lit up:

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paris, here I come!
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Finally, I met a bitchy French woman again. I was starting to wonder!! We are staying in the hôtel le plus pourri du monde (the most run-down hotel in the world). It's absolutely disgusting - it kind of makes me think that if I had a crazy great-aunt Tilly, this is what her house would be like. With inches of dust on all the furniture and cobwebs everywhere.

Both my co-worker and I had trouble sleeping last night because we felt like we had creepy crawlies all over us. It's pretty funny though, because I hit my head on the wall last night while getting into bed (I'm clumsy like that), and the technician said it made his bed shake and he thought the wall was going to cave in. But the walls are so thin that every time the technician would turn over in his bed, I would wake up (or vice versa).

To top it off, the owner is an absolute garce - between the noise and my tiny little bed full of lumps, I asked her if I could possibly change rooms to one with a double bed instead of two singles and she looked at me and said "Sorry, the hotel is full. Why don't you try just being less noisy? ". Let me tell you people, that is a big load of bullshit - there is no one but me and the technician (and a shit load of spiders) in that whole place.

But this is the same lady who said, when I called to reserve a room for the technician last December, "Sorry we're full" once she found out he was a foreigner. But when our client called to ask, there was magically a room available for him. Also, the technician told me yesterday that during the three days he was there, there wasn't a soul in that building. So "full", my ass! I went to the tourist office today to get a list of all of the gîtes and chambres d'hôtes in the area though, so next time, she will not be getting one piddly centime from us!

Here's some photo evidence (click on the pictures to zoom in). This is the view from my room:And down the street - most of the buildings in this village are crumbling and have holes in them:


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh my God, yesterday was absolutely TERRIBLE. We were in Toulouse, and it was raining all day, we met some really boring bloggers and the city was hideous.

Ha, just kidding (come on B, you have to admit you deserved that one, especially after the million pictures you took, LOL). Seriously though, it really did rain yesterday and we got soaked, but despite that, it was a great day. L & B from "Toutes Directions" even braved the rain and spent the afternoon giving us a tour of the city. L knew so much about Toulouse - she was like a walking encyclopedia (or wikipedia, if you prefer). I'm telling you girl, forget the masters, you should be a professional tour guide - you'd rake in the money!

After that, we met up with Owen from "France Tales" and Greg from "Lost in France". Owen has an absolutely beautiful apartment with not one but two terraces offering gorgeous view of the city. He cooked a lovely meal for us and we all sat around talking. I enjoyed it immensely. And then I went back to L & B's house, where I found out what I'd already suspected - that I suck at the Wii. Still, it was fun and a great end to a long work week.

It's so crazy how each day, I feel like I get more and more of my old self back. Like I had all this stuff weighing me down, and now it's all slowly falling away. But I guess it's normal - I mean, how much staring and "What? I don't understand a word you're saying" can a girl take? Eventually it just gets to you and wears you down, and you stop fighting. And it happened so slowly over time that I barely realized that I had resigned myself to living a lonely life in the countryside, forever being considered an outsider. So it's nice to discover that there are people in France that I can identify with, that I can laugh and have fun with. And I know there's just more of this to come, which is why I'm excited to get to Paris and finally meet everyone.

Only two more days of work, and then Wednesday AM I'm off to gay Paree!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Now I know something is up....I sent France Telecom an email tonight at 7:31pm asking if they could resend me my phone number (because I'm a spaz and I somehow managed to delete the SMS they sent me - doh), and they replied back at 7:41pm. On a Friday night! I wasn't expecting anything back until next week at the earliest, let alone just a few minutes later.

Unfortunately they couldn't send it to me since they can't give out my number by email because I'd requested to be on the liste rouge, but they did say I could just stop by a France Telecom store with some ID and they'd give it to me in person. I guess I'll see tomorrow if it's actually that easy!


I honestly feel like I am in a twilight zone here. This cannot be France. Yesterday, I went to La Poste to mail something someone had bought off of me on ebay, and the lady was so extremely helpful. I had actually picked out a box, and she started scanning it and then said "Wait, I bet it will fit in this envelope, which will cost you a lot less - let me get it for you".

And yesterday AM, I filled out a form online to get the phone line in the chambre de bonne reactivated, and I thought to myself "Well, nothing will probably come of this since I'm doing it online, but it's worth a try". But about an hour later, a woman from France Telecom called to verify my request and to say that she could activate the line for me THE SAME DAY. And then I got a text message a few hours later with my new phone number, saying my line was good to go. What the hell? It took two frickin' weeks to get it set up at the gîte, and here I was thinking that was pretty damn good. I just can't believe it. I mean, you guys all know what a shitty time I've had here - maybe it really was just Fab's bad luck weighing me down the whole time. ;-)

So now I just need to decide if I want to stick with my old provider (I'm tied into them until October), or if I want to go dégroupée and go with someone else. All of this just seems too easy though, and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Where is all the struggling and cajoling and fighting that I'm used to? Even my usually-crabby clients have all been in good moods. And the normally-reserved daughter-in-law of the hotel owner came to knock on my room last night to give me some of the dragées that she will be using for her wedding on June 21. She had a 6am flight to Paris today to try on her wedding dress and thus wouldn't be able to say goodbye, so she wanted to give me that as a parting gift. I was really touched.

What's so funny is to think about how I spent five whole years living in such negativity, never knowing there was a whole 'nother side to this country. Part of me worries that maybe this good luck spell will end when I get to Paris, and the other part thinks "Hey, maybe my lucky streak is finally back!" It's like that Linsdey Lohan movie where she is the luckiest girl in the world and then she falls in love with this guy and he steals all of her good luck every time they kiss.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Argh, I am totally craving a cheeseburger right now. And not one from MacDo - I'm talking about a nice, thick, juicy cheeseburger straight off the grill. Let this be a warning to all of you Paris bloggers with BBQ's - I will be inviting myself over sometime in the near future, LOL.

The good thing is that the hotel owner is preparing us a special meal tonight, and I am drooling just thinking about it. Foie gras for starters (which I will likely skip - I'm not a fan), and then magret de canard with blackberry sauce (it's my favorite dish here), and then a warm piece of gâteau basque purchased especially for me for dessert. The gâteau basque they do here is absolutely orgasmic - I've never tasted anything like it. It's all smooth and almond-y and just melts in your mouth.

I can't believe there are still at least two hours until supper!!!

The sun is finally out here! Not that I really minded it being cloudy because our job sucks when it's hot out. I hope it stays nice for the weekend though - we'll hopefully be heading to Toulouse to visit the city and meet up with some fellow bloggers (I'm très excited about that).

Today was another good day though. It was really funny - I had my window open and all of the sudden I heard some people speaking American English. Turns out there was an elderly American couple from Oregon just passing through for the night, so we ended up spending the early evening hours chatting with them by the pool. Afterwards, the technician and I went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the hotel owner & her staff because it was their night off and they didn't feel like cooking. It was a little bit weird to go out in public with them, but everyone had a really good time.

It's strange to think that we only have one night left here - time is going by so fast. It's less than a week now til I move to Paris. How crazy is that? We've been so busy that I haven't even able to keep up with my emails, let alone all the blogs I normally read. But then again, I imagine this is how it is for people who have actual lives, and who don't just spend their days online because they are alone and bored. *S*


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I cannot believe how nice people have been to me lately. It's like I'm in a completely different country. And it leaves me wondering whether it's the change in region that's made the difference, or the change in me.

The Scottish lady called the hotel tonight to see if I still wanted to come over for "girls night" with some of her French friends. I almost said no since I've gotten to be so awkward around new people, but I thought "What the hell? Chances are I'll be coming back here again, so I might as well get to know some people". So I went, and we spent the night in the jacuzzi drinking champagne. This is significant because 1) I haven't worn a swimsuit for probably five years and 2) I spent the night hanging out with French woman. Real, live French women. Who were nice AND friendly.

Afterwards, we had supper out on the patio, and then her husband and the Scottish dude came back from their trip and we sat around the fireplace drinking red wine. And you know what? It was really fun. I'm sort of regretting it this morning since I'm now exhausted, but this kind of stuff is good for me. It's good to get out of the "house", to see people, to get myself out of my head and to remind myself that I do have interesting things to contribute to the conversation. So yeah, it was a good night - and hopefully there will be many more good nights to come in Paris!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My SIL (the nice one) told me yesterday that the MIL was planning on inviting Fab and the girl over for dinner soon. Again, WTF? Give me a break, it's been like six weeks, they don't even know if it's going to last. It really kind of made me feel bad for a while afterwards that they have all seemed to move on so quickly, but she just said "Well, you know how they are - they never talk about anything and just keep going on pretending like nothing ever happened".

They had a surprise retirement party for Fab's dad Saturday, and she said it was like I'd never existed. The only person that said something about me to her was Fab's older sister, and all's she said was that if Fab's dad hadn't told her a couple weeks earlier, she would've shown up that night and asked where I was. How weird is that that neither her sister or the MIL would mention it to her, for like almost a month? They are so bizarre, I just don't understand how none of them can be talking about this, it's good gossip.

Anyways, I felt bad for a while afterwards, but then I realized I preferred hearing stuff like this - it helps me move on. Like so many of you have said, if they can forget me so quickly then why should I spend my time feeling bad about losing them? So it passed, and now I'm doing okay again. But lord, is this blog like free therapy for me - talking about it helps, but it's really only once I get it down "on paper" and put it out there that I can feel liberated from it. Like it's the only way I can really get it out. I've never been one to keep a diary, but it's been that way ever since I started blogging about my life in France. I'd feel frustrated, come home and let it out in a post, and then feel a million times better. Who'd have ever thought?


Monday, May 19, 2008

I am 56.

One of the things that's been niggling me about moving to Paris is the changing of departments. I mean, I've lived in Morbihan for almost five years now - it's MY department. I am Morbihannaise. Le 56 is my number.

It's been so engrained in me - everyone knows 44's are bad drivers, and that 22's are hicks (kind of like North Dakotan & Wisconsin drivers, lol). And don't even get me started on anyone with a 75 - then you automatically know to watch out. You know, parisien, tête de chien; parigot, tête de veau, and all that jazz. And now I'm going to be one of them! :-)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

First of all, Jules, your comment totally made me laugh out loud. I mean, I know it's a possibility, but on the other hand, I know the owner and there's a good chance I'll keep coming back here for work, so it's just not something I want to do. Plus, apparently the poor kid (cuz he's only 22, he's just a baby!) got really chewed out for talking to me Friday night. He's "the help" and the owner doesn't want him mixing with her clients. It's really put me in an awkward position because he keeps trying to talk to me and buy me drinks, but I feel like I should avoid him because I don't want to piss her off since it already took her so long to accept me. Plus, he was kind of creeping me out because he was supposed to be videoing the soirée but instead had the camera on me almost the whole night. I hate being on camera, so he def didn't win any points with me there.

And anyways, the owner was trying to keep him away from me, so she sat me next to a 28yr old Scottish boy who is in town on vacation. He was really nice & funny, but again, not my type. Maybe it's just too soon, who knows. The Frenchie asked me if I wanted to go bowling today and the Scottish dude asked if I wanted to go the pool. He also asked if I was looking for a boyfriend. Non, non et non. Do I have a big red arrow over my head flashing "single" or what?? In reality, even though it'd be nice to have someone to spend a lazy Sunday in bed with, right now, I'm exhausted from our long work days and just feel like spending the day on my balcony in the sun, catching up on everything I haven't had time to do in the past week. Already, the Scottish dude's aunt invited me over for a "Sex in the City/Girls night out" night on Tuesday, and this other French guy who spent 10 years in the UK invited me over for dinner on Thursday. I'm not used to being around people this much, it really makes me realize how much of a hermit I've become, especially since moving to the gite.

But the soirée américaine itself was great - between the two guys, I didn't pay for a single drink. And there were two competing country line dance clubs that were there (one from Dax, the other from Pau), so we spent the night watching them battle it out. It was too funny - one group would get up and dance and the others would scowl at them, and then they'd change places. They were all so serious about their line dancing - they all even had matching country western outfits (with hats & boots & everything)! I did get up at the end to go to dance to Sweet Home Alabama though - but how could I not? :-)


Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's been really funny - I'm staying back at the same hotel we always stay at when we're down south. Some of the older readers might remember that this is where we got mega yelled at for eating in the room and also where how I liked my steak became the topic of discussion for the entire restaurant. But that was before the woo technician came and the owner decided she liked us.

This time around, I've been getting the five-star treatment. I believe this is my fifth two-week stay here, so we've officially become regulars and have thus now worth of their time. When I walked in the door Wednesday, they were all there to greet me and the owner came over and gave me the bises and said "Mais qu'est que t'es belle!! (because apparently we now "tu" each other) Ta nouvelle coupe te va super bien. Et t'es toute maquillée blah blah blah". So I explained what happened, and that I was feeling the need to feel belle and they commiserated appropriately with me re: the injustice of it all (they're about the first French women to do so, LOL). And then we all sat down at the bar and had a cocktail. She also said I should've told her I was arriving at the train station in Dax, because she would've come to get to me (instead of me waiting 1 1/2 hrs at the gare, and then having a 1hr+ bus ride on top of that...all for what normally takes 20 minutes by car).

After a few drinks, she took me up to my room, and decided to give me a free upgrade to a lovely room that overlooks the garden. When we went down to dinner that night, I explained I still didn't have much of an appetite, and for once, she didn't make a huge fuss when she came back and found my plate not 100% empty. I am definitely going to milk this for all its worth, especially when she brings me bloody red meat.

And the chef/barman has been eying me up as well, which is nice for the ego. He's been coming to chat with me while I have my nightly apératif. Last night he sat with me after supper and we drank his bottle of "special" wine his parents had given him. He called it "du vin jaune". Doc, maybe you can help me with this one - he says it's a wine from the Jura mountains - it smelled like Cognac, but was a really dry white wine. Anyways, he's really sweet, but not my type (a little too muscle-y & brawny for me). But that didn't stop me from sitting on my balcony yesterday afternoon and watching him mow the lawn shirtless while I caught up on everyone's blogs. But of course since Fate couldn't just sit by and let me enjoy this, I learned last night that his name was Fab. What are the odds? But at least it's short for Fabien and not Fabrice, right? :-)

They were also all really excited because they planned a "soirée américaine" for while we were here. Apparently there is a French country music band coming in, along with a mechanical bull and an animateur. So we'll see how that goes, and how many people show up for it. They're going to have to ply me with quite a bit of alcohol if they want to see me getting up on that bull, but the owner has promised to let us try out a bunch of the vin moelleux she's testing for her son's upcoming wedding, so we'll see. The technician is promising to take pictures, LOL.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about being down here - I was a bit nervous since the nights are usually a little lonely, but we've got a lot of work to do, so that's keeping me busy. Plus, this technician is really chatty, so instead of me spending my nights bored in my hotel room, we spend the evenings talking with each other and/or with the owners, and it's often bedtime before I know it. Pourvu que ça continue.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Human Tetris

Ha, this just about made me die laughing. I will never understand what makes grown Japanese men go on these types of game shows.

PS. The beginning's a bit slow, but it's worth it to keep watching until the end - it's hilarious how seriously they concentrate on trying to contort themselves into pretty much impossible shapes!!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Good lord, this is f**ked up. Fab called last night because UPS never showed up to get my packages, and as he hung up, he said "I lov...uh, I'll talk to you later". He also keeps calling me "mon lapin" despite my asking him to stop. Old habits die hard, huh?

Now on to the MIL story. When I saw Fab the other night, he was all mad at first, and I told him to calm down, that we should be civil. He then asked me what I had told the MIL at the gare when she dropped me off. I said that I'd told her that if she thought Fab's dad was just going to stop farming on May 1 when he officially retired on May 1, that she was in for a surprise. Once a farmer, always a farmer, especially if one is still living on the farm. Fab said "What else?" and I said that was basically it. But apparently she was crying when she got home from the gare and she told everyone that I said "Mefie-toi, Fabrice et sa nouvelle copine vont arriver et ils vont te mettre dehors". (Watch out, Fab & his new girlfriend are going to move in and kick you out). WTF???

First of all, that's not even a sentence I would construct myself. Second of all, that doesn't even make any sense. If he didn't do it when I showed up, why would he do it with my replacement? But the whole family is now up in arms about this and thinking I'm a huge bitch. What I am is stupid. Here I went to see her Tuesday and I sat at the kitchen table talking to her for like an hour and a half, and she was all nice and sympathetic to me, and I believed her. I just wish I'd knew what she said earlier, so I didn't sit there like a fool talking to her.

Fab thinks maybe she dreamed it and thought it was real, but I know why she said it - she's so scared that the same thing will happen to her and she'll have nowhere to go. That's her biggest fear now that she's sold her house. That either Fab's dad will leave her or that he'll die and the kids will kick her out. Pretty much every time I've seen her since, she's gone on and on about "Et si ça m'arrive???" So she invented this story so that everyone would reassure her that it would never happen. But fuck, to drag my name in the mud? C.R.A.Z.Y. And all's it does is make people start thinking that I'm manipulative and that I deserved this, instead of thinking Fab's the jerky one here.

I don't really care about the rest of the family, but I don't want that to be Fab's dad's last memory of me. I really like(d) him, and I know he liked me in return, so I'd hate for him to think this all is true. I asked Fab to tell him, but I know he won't since his dad is already mad at him for doing this, so the last thing he wants to do is bring it all up.

This is all so frustrating. And it pisses me off that I'm so trusting of people, that I thought she had changed. I should've known better! Seriously. And it's made me question whether or not I can really count on her to let me know when they call the farm to schedule my interview. Knowing my luck, she'll just tell them "She doesn't live here anymore" and hang up. Grr.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm on the train headed for the South now - I'm a little nervous about changing trains in Bordeaux since I've got three bags and only two hands, but oh well.

I saw Fab last night - he worked until 11pm and then came to pick me up. The first thing he said to me was "See, you're not missing anything - if we were still together, you would've just been waiting at home for me". I asked if the girl was bothered by his work schedule at all, and he said "Not yet, but she probably will be soon enough".

He apologized for staying in the gite, and said he felt "really guilty, but didn't have any choice" because he doesn't have any income and she is a temp worker, so no one will rent to them. And I think they need to be out by the end of the month - ha, sucks to be them!

He told me several times that I looked beautiful and that he was sure I was going to find someone better than him, and that I'd be happier. And that I'd come back in ten years with pictures of my kids and my rich husband and find him still there on the farm, likely fat and bald, and that I'd thank him for doing this. Hopefully he's right.

We talked for almost three hours in total, and I actually felt ok when he dropped me off. He was actually worse off than I was - he was crying as he drove away. I felt relief almost - relief that it was over, relief that I stayed calm, relief at the realization that I really do deserve better than this, better than what he had to offer. Finding out he was at the gite with her really threw me for a loop yesterday, but today's a new day, and I'm feeling back on track again. And two weeks from today I will be in my new home in Paris, ready to move on to bigger and better things.

This is getting kind of long, so I'll write more tomorrow about how it went at the prefecture, and also about the big lie my MIL told everyone about me. Fun stuff.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Get me out of here

I just accidentally found out* that Fab stayed on at the gîte with the girl instead of moving out at the end of April like we were supposed to. I am so hurt and digusted right now - he sat there and looked me in the eye and promised me he wouldn't even bring her there, let alone move in with her in OUR HOME. His excuse was that they didn't have anywhere else to go (and I guess it must have been getting expensive to keep paying for hotel rooms.)

I just keep thinking to myself "Who is this guy? This isn't the Fab I knew." I can't believe it. He has no shame. He's sleeping with her in our bed. Our bed!!! Now I'm even more happy that I threw all the sheets and everything else away. And I'm really not looking forward to having to see him tonight, but it'll hopefully be for the last time, at least until next April when I need to renew my cds.

Every time I think I'm getting over this, I just keep getting knocked right back down again.

**La Poste was supposed to be holding my mail until today, but instead, they went and delivered it all to the gîte this AM, so I had to go there to get it, and the owner told me Fab was living there with another woman so I should get the keys from them.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

I had a little bit of deja vu at the airport yesterday.  I got to my gate and

realized that I was at the exact same gate I flew out of went I went to live in
Finland back in 1999. I remember it so clearly, because as I was sitting there,
thethought "This is the last time you are going to see one of your parents"
popped into my head. Everything was just in slow motion after that, and I kept
telling myself that it was ridiculous, but I still turned around to take one last look
at my parents before boarding the plane. That was indeed the last time I saw
my dad, he died unexpectedly not too long after.

I've had moments like that several times through out my life, where I just get
these kinds of flashes of what's going to happen, or premonitions if you will.
Usually it's when someone is going to die, but not always. My grandma is the
same way. But I've always been right on up til now. I remember the very first
time I saw Fab - before we'd even met, before I knew he was French. I saw him
across the room and out of nowhere, "That's the man you're going to marry"
flashed through my mind. Now, I'm not a huge believer in love at first sight, but
to be honest, that thought was part of the reason I moved to France, and part of
the reason I stuck it out. I thought it was just meant to be. So it kind of makes
me doubt myself now when "Paris is where you're supposed to be" keeps running
through my head. But I'm just going to go with it for now - it's certainly a better
option than small-town Minnesota!

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

On the road again

My bags are packed, and I'll be leaving for the airport in just under an hour. I'm really not looking forward to living out of my suitcase for the rest of the month, but oh well. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The one in which I'm on my cranky soap box

This is quite the surprising realization, but for the first time in the past five years, I no longer feel at home here in the US. I don't identify with these people, with this life. Living in France has changed me, more than I ever realized. I don't know, I don't want to live in a society of mass-consumerism, where the government makes you feel guilty if you don't spend every cent you have. Going to people's houses, I'm just amazed by how much STUFF they have. Stuff, and more stuff, everywhere. If there's anything I've learned these past few weeks, it's that stuff is just that - stuff. It cannot make you happy, and it's actually quite freeing once you get rid of it.

This whole culture of lower and lower prices is so frustrating. Don't people realize that by constantly demanding lower prices, we're just forcing more and more jobs out of the US? And screwing over some other country in the process? That there are actual people making these products, and that our insistence on low prices means they're barely subsisting? There's a new Walmart in my town, and I refuse to set a foot in it. I don't want to take advantage of the low dollar if it means supporting global conglomerates like that. Sure they've brought jobs in to town, but how many have been lost due to small businesses closing because they can't compete price-wise?

Even though I don't have much money, I'd much prefer to pay more and buy something that was made in the US (or France, etc), and know that the employees were being paid a decent wage. BIC is a good example - most of of their products are still made in France, and Fab and I always tried to buy other items made in France when possible. Unfortunately though, the French are becoming more and more Americanized and are starting to demand lower prices as well, which, combined with the high taxes, is resulting in more and more French companies moving out of France to either Eastern Europe or Asia in order to be able to cut costs. Something we should all be asking ourselves - are those lower prices worth the jobs lost?

And don't even get me started on the health care issue - we call ourselves the greatest nation in the world, yet we can't even provide basic health care to our citizens. I find it extremely irresponsible of our government. Not to mention that like the low-price/délocalisation issue, it's just an endless cycle. Health care costs keep rising, more and more people can't afford it & thus go to the emergency room, they can't pay the bill so the hospital passes it on the insurance comapny, who then passes the costs onto their clients, who then can't afford to pay for insurance and we're right back where we started. Our health care system is spiraling out of control.

Some of you might not agree with some or all of this, and that's just fine - you're all entitled to your own opinions, but these issues are what have been playing and replaying in my mind these past few days (along with Bigger is not indeed Better). It's so funny, I've been dying to move back to the US for the past five years, and now that I have the chance, I don't want to take it. Maybe I'll be ready after I've had a few months to get used to the idea, but this is how I'm feeling now. It's taken losing Fab and our future to finally make me realize that France actually is my home.

(Don't worry, the irony of this all is not lost on me.)



Just wanted to say a huge THANKS to Ali, Bart & Corine for offering to help me with my citizenship letter - you guys rock!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

After trying on what felt like hundreds of dresses, I finally found two I really liked (and that fit me - because those two don't always go together, lol). I preferred this one, but it had a bunch of netting under the skirt, so it didn't fold up well. Room in my suitcase is extremely limited and considering that I'll be living out of it until the end of the month, I just figured it wouldn't be very practical to lug a dress like that around for the next few weeks. Nor would I have a steamer available before the wedding to get all the wrinkles out. But it was really pretty and springy!
So I went with this one, which was still flattering, but will fold up a lot nicer and take up a lot less room:My mom sells jewelry on the side, so now I just need to raid her collection and find a cute necklace or bracelet to wear with it.

PS. Judy - I ended up making this blog only semi-private because I ran out of invitations for people, so you should be able to subscribe to it now. I just checked on bloglines and it shows up on there, so it should be fine for Google Reader or whatever feed reader you use!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Grr, what is wrong with me? I keep waking up at 5am on the dot. I can go to bed at 1opm, midnight, 2am - doesn't matter, I'll still wake up at 5 the next day. And it's not jet lag since it's been happening every day since "it" happened. But why 5am? I guess I should be happy that at least here in the US, I have cable so I can always find something to watch that early.

I've also had this song stuck in my head for the past few weeks. Maybe I should send the link to Fab, lol.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ha, thanks, you guys are too kind! I need the self-esteem boosting right about now - getting thrown out like an old sock has a way of kicking one's confidence to the curb. :-(

In other news, my little brother is now a college graduate. How 'bout that? And how's this for odd - he got a job working for a bank in the Twin Cities....but not just any bank, MY bank. Out of all the banks, and all the branches, he gets hired as a manager at mine. How crazy is that? I'm really proud of him though - they interviewed over 100 candidates for only four jobs.

The graduation ceremony and the party afterwards were a bit hard on me. Everyone kept asking "So where's that lovely Frenchman of yours? Didn't he come back this time?" and "When are you two getting married??" I know this is part of life in a small town, and it's exactly why I've been sort of secluding myself since I've been back - since no one here but my family knows what happened, the less people I run into, the better. I don't need everyone gossiping about me, at least not yet. It's still too fresh. Plus, with my high school reunion coming up, I'd prefer just to stay under the radar for a while. I'll tell them next time I come home and am a bit distanced from it, and when I have a better idea of what I'll be doing. So until then, I guess I'll just keep forcing a smile and saying "Nope, no wedding bells yet".

I did have one kind of "light bulb" moment though during the ceremony, when it hit me what the true meaning of commencement was - a beginning. It's not something I'd ever thought of before - for me, a commencement ceremony was always the celebration of an end. But really, it's a chance for a new start, and it was a good reminder for me that I can choose to make this a fresh start as well.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

La grande transformation

I haven't posted any photos of me for a long time now 1) because I'm really unphotogenic and 2) I was worried about people I know finding my blog. But since this blog is semi-private (and I figure it'd be pretty hard to not recognize me from my writing now), I'm just gonna go for it. So here's a before picture at the salon, all washed out from the bright lights:And the after picture - you can't really see it from the front, but the underneath is dyed a dark reddish-brown:
I would like to say that it has been two days now, and my mother still has not noticed a difference. Hello? Not only did I borrow her car to go to the frickin' salon, but I cut like 4" off and totally changed my hairstyle! And she wonders why we have communication problems, LOL.

PS. I scheduled my LASIK surgery for the end of July, and can't wait to be glasses-free. I'm just not a glasses person...

Friday, May 2, 2008

"But it's only ten dollars!!"

So I got my hair cut & colored yesterday.....and I absolutely LOVE it. It's a huge change, but it looks good. I might have to wait until I get back to post a picture though - I forgot my camera cable and my cell phone isn't letting me email a picture to myself (maybe that feature doesn't work abroad??).

In other news, I also did a bit of shopping today and treated myself a new Coach purse and a really cool Vera Wang black spring jacket. I'd like to get a dress too for my friend's wedding, but I think that will be it for shopping this time around. I'm trying to get away from buying stuff just because it's cheap, and move towards buying a few high-quality pieces that will last me a while. I've been here a week, and I haven't even been to Target yet - can you believe it? I'll probably post more about it later, but I'm just growing tired of this whole mega-consumer culture, where everything is so cheap and disposable. Everyone just has so much crap everywhere and since it's so cheap, anytime something breaks, people just throw it out and buy a new one. We're filling up landfills like nobody's business.

My friend Yuri sent me a link to "The Story of Stuff" a while back, and it really resonated with me. If you've got twenty minutes or so, check it out here.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

The one in which fate really does laugh in my face

So I got home tonight and turned on the TV.....only to discover a brand-new show entitled "Farmer wants a wife". Oh, the irony. It was a pretty close copy of the French version entitled "Le Bonheur est dans le pré", except the farmer was a lot cuter:But I swear, someone out there in the universe has a really sick sense of humor - out of all the shows, and all the channels, that one had to come on. I'm not kidding fate - I don't want any more farmers coming my way!!

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