Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Friday, June 25, 2010

We are currently crossing the immense state of South Dakota. I am still on the look-out for some buffalo, but they must have all decided to take the day off.

We had a great but short time in Colorado - which gets extra points from me for having full EDGE signal even in the mountains (South Dakota and Wyoming, take note).

I have two cousins who have birthdays just a few days after mine, and we always used to celebrate together as children. Since all of them teach and thus have the summer off, and this year (tomorrow, actually), I will be turning the big 3-0, I thought it might be fun to celebrate again together. And indeed it was.

C also continues to amuse us with his C-isms. We were playing a game and I asked him to blow on my dice for good luck. He got all horrified and refused, and I was like "What? Just blow". And then he whispered in French "But you told me the other day that it wasn't polite to talk about blowing in public". Ha! There's a difference between blowing and blowing yourself my dear.

Later on that day, a chain on my cousin's husbands motorcycle broke, rendering it unusable. C came up to him a while later, put a hand on his shoulder, and said "I'm sorry for your loss". We all thought he was making a joke, so we started laughing. And he looked all confused and said "What? Isn't that what you say?". Oh, the poor boy! I'm sure he will be relieved to be back in France.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Goodbye Mt Rushmore....

Hello, Colorado!

PS. If anyone has any plans to visit Mt Rushmore this year, let me know and I'll send you our park permit - it's valid for the whole year.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

To say that the weather has been awful since our arrival would be an understatement - it's basically been Paris all over again, with lots of rain and temps in the 60's. They were finally forecasting sunshine for Wednesday though, so C & I decided to take advantage of the respite in the weather and go camping. C is a big fan of bivouac camping, and I'd promised to take him up to the Boundary Water Canoe Area in Northern MN. Some poor planning on my part meant that we ended up having to go to Voyageurs National Park instead, but it ended up being a good choice. The park had several free tent sites located on small islands, all with tent pads, fire rings, food lockers & outdoor toilets (boy was I relieved).
The cloudy weather cleared up just as we arrived and we spent the afternoon setting up the tent, exploring the island and basking in the glorious sun. Even though I'm more of a city girl, I have to admit that it *was* really nice just to be out in the middle of nowhere, listening to the birds signing and the waves crashing on the shore. And then C built a campfire and we had a gourmet dinner of Mac & Cheese, fire-grilled corn and roasted marshmallows.We watched the sunset and then went back to the tent. And here's the part where I decide I like camping right up until the sun sets. Cuz I'm telling you, I've never heard such creepy noises in my life. We were in the middle of bear country, and the ranger took great pleasure in reminding us to lock up our food at night, because the bears swim from island to island in search of their dinner. So every rustle of leaves or branches cracking made me jump 10 feet. And just as we were about to sleep, something HUGE came crashing out of the forest right next to our tent. We heard it breathing a bit (meanwhile I'm freaking out "It's a bear!! It's a bear!! We're going to get eaten alive!!"), and then it went on down to the water for a drink. We sat frozen in place for several minutes. Luckily C remained calm and did his best to convince me it was just a dear coming for a midnight drink. It was about that then that I accepted his offer to put in a pair of earplugs - I figured if something was going to eat me, I'd rather not know it was coming.

But we survived the night and woke up to another fairly sunny day. The only problem (because there always has to be a problem) was that it was windy....and we had a little rowboat with no motor. And the wind was blowing strong in the exact opposite direction of where we wanted to go. Doh. C, bless him, gave it his best effort and rowed his little heart out, but it just wasn't enough and the waves kept pushing us farther and farther away from shore. I started having a small panic attack - the waves were pretty big, and I was worried about capsizing. (And okay, I admit, I was also worried about my blackberry and iphone getting wet). Twittering was helping me keep the crazy in control, but just barely.

And then our saviors came along, in the form of two very nice fishermen. They'd seen us struggling and had reeled in their lines to see if we needed help. I shouted a big YES, and they tossed us a rope and towed us back to shore. It took over 20 minutes, and I was ever-so-grateful to them, and to be back on dry land. So once again, it was Minnesota Nice to the rescue!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We've been doing a lot of shopping these past few days - though I am regretting the fact that the Euro has taken a tumble. And it's been funny watching C's reaction to everything - we went to Sam's Club today and he couldn't believe the size of everything. I had to stop him from buying half the store - like what on Earth would we do with 50 rolls of scotch tape? But he did get permission to walk out of there with a 12-pack of Mac & Cheese.

He's also not using to watching TV at all, so he keeps getting caught up in the ads. I'll be in another room, and I'll hear "Oh, I want the Ab Blaster. And it's only $99 for a UV teeth whitener! Whoa, look at that steak - we should go to Outback Steak House. Oh, look, a 25 horsepower lawn mower!" And I'm all "Dude, we don't even have a lawn!" He's normally such a conscientious shopper, so it's funny to see how much of the super-consumer tendencies he's taken on in such a short time. I guess the US will do that to ya.

Speaking of buying things, does anyone have any experience with the SlingBox? I'm considering getting one for my birthday, but I'm not 100% convinced I'll use it enough to make it a worthwhile purchase. I'd want it mostly for the evening TV line-up, but my mother doesn't have TiVO and I don't really feel like staying up until 2 or 3am to watch my favorite shows. Nor do I want to spend $200 on the SlingBox plus $300 on a DVR. So if anyone else out there has used one, please let me know what you think.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

I can't believe one week of our vacation has already come and gone - time is flying by here. My co-workers have as usual been taking great care of me, and now of C too. Last night they took us out to a local vineyard for a wine tasting and a free concert, and I felt so joyous on the way back. There really is nothing like summer in Minnesota. And the people here are so kind and giving, and it just bowls me over everytime.

C came into work with me today and everyone has done their best to keep him occupied. He's done tours of various departments, got taken out for lunch, and now almost my whole team here has spirited him off for a bike ride around the lake. And tonight we've been invited over to a BBQ/bonfire. (Which may explain why I've been dreaming about s'mores all day).

One of the other highlights of the week was a trip to my favorite restaurant to get my bi-annual honey mustard fill, where I introduced him to the fact that 1) in America you can indeed have breakfast for dinner and 2) that it wasn't a big deal if we didn't finish because we could box it up in a doggie bag and take it home and 3) many places have free coffee refills. I'm telling you, it was like his head was going to explode at the impossibility of it all.

It's also been funny to watch him interact with people. He's been going for runs everyday and basically everyone he passes says some little phrase to him. I remember the first day he came back, he was all in a panic because an elderly man had said to him "Slow down, you're making me look bad" and he didn't know how to respond. Or when several people had done the famous Minnesota hand on the pickup steering wheel one-finger wave (which may or may not be combined with a head nod) as they drive by. How was he supposed to respond as a runner? Should he wave? Smile? Nod his head? Do nothing?

It reminds me of back when I first moved to France and I would come home and ask the same types of questions. Though it was more so how respond to people who had been too rude to me rather than too nice LOL. But still, you forget about all those little things as times goes on and it just becomes natural, so it's funny to watch him go through it here.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Land of 10,000 lakes

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but C and I are now in Minnesota. He's staying for 3 weeks and I'm staying for 4. I have to work this week, but as you can see from the picture, my aunt was nice enough to lend me her cabin again, so we're staying in some nice digs. C has been spending his days reading, watching a bit of good ol' American TV, reading, running and playing his guitar. His dream is to own a cabin one day, so he is currently happy as a clam.

He's asked to speak English while we're here, and it's led to some pretty funny conversations. My favorite was the other day - I was just about to head out the door to work, and he came up behind me and said rather urgently "I need to blow myself". I froze for a second and thought "what on Earth could he be talking about??" and then said jokingly "Well, I'm on my way to work, so I can't really help you out there buddy..."

And then I realized he was sniffling and was trying to find a kleenex so he could blow his nose. His NOSE, people. This one will definitely go down in history.

Other fun times have included trips to the super market, where he marveled at all the different kinds of Mac and Cheese and I drooled over just about everything, followed by a 1O minute discussion of how banana bread was not really a bread. I was like "But it has bread in its name!! How could it NOT be a bread?". C's defense was that it was like brioche, so thus it was obviously not bread. To which I replied "What are you talking about?? Brioche is bread too!". But apparently I'm wrong and it's a "cake", and now banana bread has been deemed cake as well.

Next on the list is explaining why on Earth people use their pick-up to drive a cabin out onto a frozen lake in the dead of winter. One thing at a time, don't want to boggle the poor boy's mind.

But I'm telling ya folks, the multicultural fun never ends around here.

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