Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where to go?

Now on to the honeymoon itself.  We went back and forth on where to go for a little while, and ended up choosing St Lucia based on the following criteria.

We wanted:
  • an all-inclusive place (more on that later)
  • no kids 
  • not a huge party destination
  • a great beach/warm weather
  • interesting excursions
  • someplace within our budget that had decent accomodation
  • and that would leave enough money to fly first class
  • little to no French people (at C's request)
  • not your typical American destination (at my request)
So that ruled out all the French islands plus all the more popular Caribbean destinations.  And anyways, I was sort of against going to the Caribbean because it seemed like everyone and their dog had gone there on their honeymoon as of late.

C suggested Thailand, which we researched but couldn't find any all-inclusive places.  We'd decided on an all-inclusive resort because neither of us had ever tried on before and because we wanted to have a good handle on our budget.  Ie I didn't want to be sitting thinking the whole time"Omg, that cocktail costs HOW MUCH?"

I really wanted to go to Bora Bora, or more specifically to Vahiné Island, but everyone kept telling us you had to go for a minimum of three weeks because it was so far away, and that ruled it out budget-wise.

Our last idea was the Maldives, which fit all of our criteria except the all-inclusive one.

And so we started reconsidering the Caribbean, thinking that its proximity to the US would make it a shorter trip and thus doable during our already-planned trip to the US.

So the Caribbean it was and then it was just a matter of narrowing it down.  Jamaica, Barbados, etc where out because of their popularity, but then we came across Saint Lucia, and like I said in my previous post, its Anglo-French history appealed to me. On top of that, it had been voted the World's Best Honeymoon destination eight times, and the resort we chose was listed as the most Romantic resort in the Caribbean.  So Saint Lucia it was!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

C & I are finally back in France after 32 days in the US. For some reason, we got an upgrade on our flight back to Paris and ended up in Air France's new "premium voyageur" class.  It was a nice surprise and the perfect end to a great trip.  Plus the larger seat size meant we were able to actually recline back and get a decent amount of sleep. Between that and flying first class to our honeymoon destination, we have gotten spoiled and going back to the cattle class next time is going to be hard!

Speaking of our honeymoon, I can't remember if I mentioned it, but we went to Saint Lucia.  Saint Lucia is an island in the Caribbean, and we picked it because of its Anglo-French history.  It was first settled by the French in 1643 and between then and 1814, it changed hands 14 times between the British and the French!  The Brits won the last battle though and it is now an English-speaking Island.
An old fort on the hill
Traces of the French rule remain, mostly in the city names (almost entirely French), as well as in the last names of the locals.  But other than that, no one really spoke French at all, which was surprising given its proximity to Martinique, just 20 miles north.
Martinique in the distance

The people do speak a sort of Creole, though minus a few French words here and there, it sounds nothing like French.  I asked one of our guides about it, and she said it was a mix of English, French, Spanish and African languages.  Up until a few years ago, it was a 100% oral language, but they have recently made attempts to establish an alphabet for it in order to preserve the language.
Here's a list of a few of their Creole words with French or English origins:
  • quart d'heure becomes qadé
  • pain d'épices becomes pannépis
  • lumière is limyé
  • torche is toch
  • à l'écoute is annékout
  • boy become bwoy
  • computer becomes konpyouta
  • health center is helsenta
  • teacher is titja
  • cheeky is tjiki

As a side note, one of the tours we went on used a boat from Martinique and it had a sticker in the Martinique Creole - it's the green one in the middle.  I'm assuming it says "Protéger notre pays":

Interesting stuff, huh?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tropical Island Paradise

We're back from our fantastic honeymoon....I've got lots to say (including much-requested info about our Butler!), but I'm also back at work now through Christmas, so it's likely going to have to wait until we're back in France.

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Religion + popular media = disaster

Thank you to everyone for your comments & emails - so far, C seems to be on the mend.  And on a lighter note, while holed up in the hotel room this weekend, C & I came across a new show on TLC called "The Virgin Diaries".

The whole show was strange, but especially these two who, in addition to being virgins, were getting married without ever having kissed anyone before. Take a look for yourself:

Isn't that awful?  It's almost painful to watch - neither of them know what to do, so they are doing their best imitation of what they've seen on TV and the result is they look like they are eating each other's face off. And the whole time I'm sure they are both thinking "Is this what I've been waiting for all these years??" 

On top of it, all throughout the show, they interviewed these two and they talked about how much they were waiting for there first night together and how perfect it was going to be.  But as the viewer, you could just see they were just setting themselves up for disaster.

And of course, they interviewed them the day after the wedding, and you could see how let down they both were, talking about how it wasn't at all like in the movies, that it was a lot more complicated and painful. I don't just makes me sad that these kids hold out for so long based on religious reasons and the whole idea is so built up for them that they expect it to be magical and perfect from the get-go, and no one ever warns them of the contrary...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

All Shook Up

And not in a good way.

C woke up yesterday feeling a little under the weather, and as the day went on, his symptoms worsened. Our hotel room has a gigantic bathtub, so he took bath and felt a little bit better.  The yucky feeling came back later on though, and so we decided to go sit in the hotel's hot tub.  After a few minutes, he mentioned he wasn't feeling well and so we got out.

As we were exiting the pool area, he sort of stumbled and caught himself on the door. I asked him if everything was alright and he wouldn't answer.  I kept insisting and then he said "I can't see anything" in French.  And then he passed out and fell on the floor.  Have you ever seen a 6'4" man go down?  It's pretty frickin' scary.

Luckily a bunch of military personnel had just arrived at the hotel and an EMT came racing over straight away. He was out cold and we both sat there doing our best to wake him up. I heard someone shout out "Call 9-1-1!"

Those few seconds? Minutes? that C wasn't responding - It was like a lifetime passing before my eyes. I imagined the most horrible of things, and felt my heart starting to break all over again. But then he finally came around. I started to feel hopeful, but he had a really glassy look and couldn't speak for a few seconds and I got even more scared. You could see he was looking at us and was very confused and disorientated.

But then all of a sudden he was back and awake and able to sit up, which was when the paramedics arrived, racing in with a stretcher. C tried to refuse their assistance (as he refused my suggestion of getting travel insurance), but they said they were required by law to check him out.  So out came the oxygen and the heart monitors.

After running several different tests, he was deemed okay, though he did have slightly low oxygen levels and slightly high blood sugar. The paramedics got the okay from the doctor they worked with and went on their merry way. Funnily enough, one of them was the husband of The Company's vet - which means that everyone and their dog will be au courant by the time I go into work on Monday.  But oh well, that's small town Minnesota for ya.

We went back to our room, and I just sat there, on the couch, with so much adrenalin running through my veins. So relieved he was okay.  But also scared. Scared of loving someone that much and scared at the thought something could ever happen to him. Scared at the idea of having to live without him. Scared of another broken heart.

I think that for a long time, I sort of kept C at arm's length because I was worried about getting hurt again.  And now I have let him in, and it's suddenly hit me that this means it could happen all over again. Not on purpose, but a freak accident, a disease, whatever.  Of course it's highly possible that we could both live happily ever after until the ripe old age of 90.  But thinking about the idea of "What If" scares the frickin' bejeezus out of me....

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

So as you may have surmised from my last post, C & I are in the US. We arrived here after a whirlwind week which involved me waking up extremely early for work all week long, arriving back home at 9pm Thursday night and then leaving for the airport at 5am Friday.  20 long hours later, we touched down in Northern Minnesota. Minus C's suitcase - I seemed to have passed my baggage curse on to him.

Oh, and did I mention our US wedding reception was the next day?  Good thing I had him pack his suit in his carry-on.  Seriously, why I thought this insane week was a good idea is beyond me.  Though I guess to be honest, I was never that hot on it in the first place, but we were talked in to a Thanksgiving Saturday reception so that friends and family wouldn't have to trek back to MN two weekends in a row.

But no matter, it ended up being an absolutely lovely day** and I felt very blessed to finally have been able to introduce C to my dad's family.  He was a big hit with the ladies, and I got so many compliments on how handsome and kind he is.  It is oh-so-true and I hope it is something I never take for granted.

So no Thanksgiving for us, but we sure do have so many things to be thankful for this year.

**The day was made even more lovely by the fact that I was at the last minute able to convince my mother that a Taco bar was not a good idea for a wedding reception.  I was highly perplexed by the idea - why on Earth would any one think tacos and wedding dresses go together?!  Not to mention that C hates eating with his hands...  But apparently Taco bars are all the rage in MN - my aunt told me the last three weddings she'd been to had them. Go figure.  Instead, we had the good ol' MN standbys of mini-ham & turkey sandwiches, potato salad, cut up fruit & veggies and wedding cake.  Which C has taken to like a mo-fo.  I swear he has eaten at least 20 pieces in the past few days. Good thing the man is a bottomless pit.

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