Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sorry, But I'm off to Paris!

I have a few blog entries to catch up on, but I have to leave to Paris in the morning! So, not sure that I'll be able to blog for the week I'm there, but I will catch up when I get back. AND I'm coming back with my baby! I'm so excited, I miss my love and I can't wait to show him all of the amazing sights, and discover new ones, together!! Woo-hoo! I am so thankful for all that I am able to do right now, and my incredible host Kim, her fantastic daughter Johnelle, and the big guy ;) THANK YOU WORLD FOR THIS!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ISO "Le Big Mac"

Today a friend of Kim's was nice enough to offer to take me back to Emmouse (the GW/ Salvation Army type place) to pick up my bag I had forgotten, and it was all still there! Yea!
On the way back he wanted to stop to get some coffee at the French McDonald's. I saw this as my opportunity to confirm whether the ever so famous scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta talks about the "little differences" in Europe was true. One of the "little differences" was that they call The Big Mac "Le Big Mac". I didn't see that or a "Royal with Cheese" either. But I did see a "Le Double Cheese" which was still amusing for me.

We took a very scenic route back, on this very hot day, which was beautiful as always. The valley here looks so much the Willamette Valley, of course, until you see that castle (excuse me Chateau) off
in the distance. We stopped by a lake and waded around which was quite lovely as well. I think we'll go again when I get back from Paris (going next weekend) and actually have a bathing suit.

Well, I think I'm going to go on a little bike ride to the cemetery now!

Still on my mind...

Today when I was at the market I saw a couple (English I believe) that had two boys that appeared to be the result of international adoption (of course you never know, but genetically speaking I really don't know how these two could have biologically produced their beautiful boys but who knows?), I am in another country now though, I shouldn't assume. It's quite possible that they were adopted domestically in their home country, okay I've been diplomatic...moving on. I've been in a small village, and a few others now, and the races don't vary dramatically (granted being in Paris will be quite different!). It's almost like being in Corvallis again where you know (GENERALIZATION, forgive me) if you see people of certain races that they are students, adoptees, or something else exotic and exciting, "hp"?

I felt that my adoption aspirations, which means kids in general for us, had cooled since being on this grand adventure, but seeing that beautiful family as well as having down time that allowed to read a few of my Eithiopian adoption blogs (families being united after long waits, families being made in a court of law "official" and family firsts) just put me right back there. I'm happy to wait and happy to explore and educate myself in the process (which I think is the only intelligent option when having kids in general, not even adopting!) but I can happily say that I can't wait for our lives to be at that point and for us to start the adoption process when we're ready. It's just another grand adventure that awaits.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (a little late): A lunch out in Brantome.

My first French windows...

Yesterday I finished my first window installation at Kim's shop, The Bohemians. When I was researching the windows that I would be doing while I was in France I tried to come up with one window that would be pretty much ready to go right when I got to France. The birds are made out of tissue paper so they packed very well. I used double stick tape, then adhesive spray glue and finally a glue stick to put them all up and here they are!

Market day in the village!

Today was the market day in Brantome (my "home" village), it's very much like a Farmer's Market in the US but it also has clothes and other wares, every kind of food you could imagine, flowers, sausage, everything! I bought a bag of nectarines and this beautiful little item from the Patisserie or Boulangerie, I always mix them up. One is for pastries and one for bread but this one has both, so it's a patisserie and boulangerie?

After the market I walked over to the riverfront and wrote in my journal for a bit, cheesy I know, but it was quite lovely! I'm finding myself stuck between this thinking of "being in the moment" and "enjoying the moment", just reading and relaxing and taking everything in, and then the feeling
that I should be documenting all of this. Will I forget the weird white, big as my arm, sausage that I saw at the market?
Or the black spandex, liquid leggings I saw on a woman today who was at least 60? I don't want to forget these little details and yet I also don't want to be spending so much time writing, or on the computer that I miss these things in the first place.

When I stopped philosophyzing and headed back to the house Kim and her friend made Brochette (like shish kabobs) and sausage with fresh vegetables and meat from the market over the barbecue. It was amazing, but then again every meal that Kim makes is incredible (I swear she made soup out of a box one night, that was better than I would have done from scratch!) and vastly
improved from what I had been eating for the majority back home. Perhaps if mon amour starts working mornings (fingers crossed!) then I'll start cooking for us all more...that and not working three jobs in one day so I'm actually home at dinner time, that would help as well!

We were invited to a BBQ at a friends house on Monday (when the shop is closed) and we may possibly be going swimming
at a lake too! I can try out my new bathing suit and, sigh, have to confess, my romper *cringes apologetically* for the first time. Very excited!

I have been thinking that I want to start doing a fun French (ugh, not only am I not able to speak French, but I kid you not, I have actually started forgetting English words! And I fear my spelling (which, honestly I just spelled wrong) are suffering greatly as well!) fact each entry! Today: I learned that it is not proper, or thought of as appropriate, for a woman to drink from a bottle in public. Mostly, I was told, this is from the perspective of older people. And a straw is more polite if you were going to a park or something.

Another thing that I found amusing, which is not actually French, was an RV that was driving by (English I presume) that had a bone china teacup and saucer on its little table through the window! Very different from the view I feel you would see inside an RV in the US, but maybe I'm wrong? There are actually a lot of RV's in town now because it's tourist season and they have a campground right next to the park, it's so beautiful! French and English mostly, but German and Dutch commonly as well.

I also got to see the French garbage truck and collectors this morning, cleaner and more attractive than in the US, both the truck and the men...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Et plus...

I'm going to start doing my posts more frequently because it's already hard to remember what I did five days ago! In my defense I wasn't "back to normal" (whatever that means) with sleep until yesterday I think.

On Saturday I got le grand tour of the house and shop, although to be fair
I don't think it was until last night that I actually saw all of the house, I swear Kim has revealed a new room or wing of the house and shop each day! It's so beautiful here. The house is very long with a cellar and attic as well as full workshop with loft, the boutique, unrenovated wing with extra bathroom, storage, living room and bedroom as well as a garage with loft! There's also a huge garden with well, old
outhouse, outdoor sink where people used to do laundry, an area to dry clothes and lots of flowers.

Last Saturday I mostly caught up (or attempted at least) on my sleep and had the big adventure of walking into town to the atm and boulangerie all by myself!

Sunday was so much fun, we went to the Viet Garnier (which is like a nicer flea market) where I bought some treasures to bring back for Mignonne. We went out to lunch, I had French fries (in France!) and a tartine which is a piece of toast with (what I chose) atrichoke, bell pepper and chicken on it. My host thought it was a little too soy saucy, but I don't think my taste buds had woken up yet either! We finished with ice cream and a nice canoe ride! It had been raining off
and on all day, but we had some nice breaks in the weather.

I started the windows on Monday, slept twelve hours and started to actually feel human again. On Tuesday, I drove to the Super Marche all by myself and it went pretty well, there was a slight misunderstanding when I tried to leave the store with the store's basket, oops! That night we went out to Indian food, it was amazing, and I even ordered dinner almost by myself!

Wednesday we went to this store that is similar to Goodwill or Salvation Army (Emmouse) and I bought Alex a vintage Tin Tin and a few more items for Mignonne. I also accidentally left a
bag there with some other things for Mignonne and some really cute vintage mismatched glasses that I'm praying they won't have re-distributed by the time we can get a hold of them. Oh! We also got the most parfait black vintage vello (bike) there too, we bought another one but someone else accidentally took it (that's still up in the air) and to make it up to us they pulled out this other one they were saving for a sale and gave it to us instead! I love this one so much more and it's just tres parfait for my fantasy French adventure, pictures soon to come!

Today I finished the windows and I'm going to do a seperate post for them. Kim made another amazing feast out of an impressive four
ingredients and I saw one of the largest spiders of my life, some bugs are surprinsingly large here! A bientot!

France at last!

I can't believe I left a week ago! Excuse the much belated post but apparently not sleeping the week before you leave then not sleeping for another five or so days after that can make you too tired to come up with an amusing blog entry!

Now that I have begun sleeping again I can say that I am here, I am safe, and I am having an amazing time! In my next entries I'll wax poetic about how fantastic France is and how I am already not looking forward to leaving it! For now, I'll just tell all about my journey to get here.

The day before I left for France was wonderful, Alex and I had a great day together and I was able to finally relax. I had made sure that all of my packing was done early so that our last day together would be without stress. I packed Tuesday night then Wednesday we slept in, saw a few movies, had a massage, ate dinner and saw another movie (SATC 2, wasn't terribly impressed with the movie, but the audience was an experience!) came home took a shower and "slept" for two hours before heading to the airport! I did a very good job at holding it together knowing that I wouldn't be seeing Alex for another three weeks after we said goodbye.

The first flight went very well, Alex is having me edit his latest project right now and it helped a lot to have that to focus on while I flew (which, if you've forgotten, I hate more than anything!) I think I may have slept 45mins on that flight. We were on a smaller plane (compared to the giant one I took across the ocean!) so we were closer to the ground which I took as an opportunity to see my country before I left it...I even had my rubber band around my wrist to "snap away" any negative or scary thoughts I had! Every time we had turbulence or started to turn in a scary way I just recalled what my book had said, we were just "finding better wind", "It's a comfort issue, not a safety issue." And, shockingly enough, I was even able to hold it together when the pilot told us that for the next 45 minutes we were not allowed to play our electronics and that the flight attendants would be seated for the rest of the flight because we were going to be "avoiding some weather" read: impending clouds taking up entire sky.

We landed and I was feeling VERY proud of myself but started to get anticipatory anxiety again when thinking about the fact that I had to do it all over again, for an hour longer, in just a few minutes. But, I took my pills, tried to relax and know that we would be taking off again soon (once in the air I'm usually better, it's the gearing up for it that's so hard for me). That is until we were grounded because of a storm for the next two hours. In Newark. You can imagine my joy at having to sit in the ENORMOUS, stuffy plane for two hours while watching lightening flash against the tarmac outside my window, all the while knowing that because we were taking off so much later I was now going to miss my train ride. Awesome.

The actual flight to Paris also went very well, surprisingly good food, more room and thank the Lord I brought my ipod because there weren't really any movies, just previews and horrible in flight "entertainment", and you had to pay $6 for the movies on my first flight! I slept a little, maybe an hour and a half? It was also really fun to wake up every so often, or look out my window thinking it had at least been an hour or more since I last looked and to see nothing but OCEAN every time!

However, I did very well again on the second flight and made it safely to Paris! I did miss my train ride though so I had to wait three hours for the next one and buy another ticket, very annoying. Then, as if I wasn't delirious enough from lack of sleep I somehow had boarded the train and was on my way to Brantome! This is me after no sleep and 20 hours of travel, don't I look happy?! (The glasses hide my very dark circles and the bush deflects from my very greasy hair!)

On the stop before mine I got my luggage down, sat it next to me and got very excited to be done traveling for the day! The conductor called out the station name and I happily gathered my things and walked towards the exit...and then watched in horror as the train pulled away from my station and continued on to its next stop...

Oh! Also, all the people that said "Oh, everyone speaks English!" not around me they didn't! I asked four people, as tears of sleep deprivation and utter confusion, threatened to spill down my cheeks, if anyone spoke English. "Non." was all that I heard, again, and again, and again. So I waited by the door trying to hold it together for the next thirty minutes as the train came to its next stop. When it finally did and the train actually let me escape, I ran to the nearest phone to
call Kim to tell her that I wasn't actually going to be at the train station where she was waiting at but instead at another, more distant station. Sadly, I came to find that not only was I at a strange station, in an unfamiliar country but I also could not use any of the phones because of my American debit card (it's a different slot that accepts their cards) so I found a nice woman holding her phone and asked if she spoke English "a little" she said as I begged to use her phone, to which she responded "Non". Super! Then as tears started to rise again the woman sitting next to her said I could use hers. I called Kim and after accidentally telling her the name of the station was "Exit" in French we figured it out and she drove an extra 45 or so minutes to get me.

The day ended with trois fromage pasta or "heart attack food" as Kim called it and trying desperately not to fall asleep while we drove the nearly two hours back to Brantome. Finally in bed I had a restful hour of sleep before I was awake for the next four! This continued for three days until I slept for twelve hours one night. I guess I was tired after all that!?