Tuesday, 10 July 2007


Tuesday's craving...CUPCAKES! When I go back to Seattle at the end of August, I am going to Cupcake Royale.

A weekend in Les Contas

Saturday, we went to a ski-jump competition and barbeque to raise money for a local ski-racer. It's a completely different world here sometimes. It was sunny and beautiful. We drank white wine at the buvette with friends and had saucisse and frites from the barbeque. The competition was for kids from all over the region. The jump has water flowing down it and they land on wet astroturf and then go skidding onto a soccer field to slow down. Some of the better competitors jumped 30+ meters. I ooh-ed and ahh-ed like I was a local. What else can you do?

Sunday, Alex and I went to see Persepolis. If you have the chance, GO SEE IT! I have to say one of the best things I have seen in maybe a year. I loved it. Absolutely wonderful.

Friday, 6 July 2007

It's long but I think there is a moral at the end of the story...

Finally! I'm finished. It was long painful and felt degrading but I am done with my carte de séjour classes. I despised attending these sessions. "Vivre en France" was no exception. Let me set it up for you, I walk in and get settled, make myself a cup of tea, get out the booklet we were asked to bring and mentally prepare myself for the day that it said to last from 9:30 to 5:30 pm. The instructor of the class pops up out of nowhere, puts her face 2 inches from mine and demands to know my nationality.
>>Euhh, americaine.
>>Je suis desolée Madame mais on n'a pas de traducteur anglais. (Excuse me? Who asked for a freaking translator?)
>> Il n'y a pas de problème, je n'en ai pas besoin. I wanted to strangle her!
During a long-winded review of every topic that was covered in the previous session, Madame decided to really lay into how laïque the french public schools are. And I agree that the french have really made an effort in this and have been very successful in attaining a completely secular environment in public schools. The Russian two seats away from me volunteered that the term laïque appears in the american constitution. (Madame whips her head around to look at me.)>>Vraiment, il y a le mot laïque. La-ïque dans votre constitution.
>>Il y a une phrase qui specifie qu'il faut avoir une séparation entre l'état et la religion.
>>Parce que les francais trouvent que c'est drole comment vous dites c'est laïque mais le président jure sur la bible.
>>Et oui madame, je n'ai pas dit en pratique c'est le cas. J'ai dit simplement il y a une phrase dans la constitution qui demande une séparation entre l'état et la religion.
>>Avez-vous le mot laïque dans votre constitution? Est-ce que ça existe dans votre langue? Parce que la langue devoile beaucoup de choses sur un peuple. On voit les principes qui sont importants aux gens.
>> (Grit teeth) No, le mot laïque n'est pas dans notre constitution. (There are so many things I wish I followed up that with but in frustration, I fell silent.)

Moving on, I won't go through every single thing she found wrong with the US, our expensive University system that selects people based (paraphrased from her rant) on their financial status as the most important criteria and isn't based remotely on merit, etc. Or the assumption that all of us in the session are all out of work and trying to take advantage of the french system. And we all shouldn't complain about finding work, if you speak multiple languages you can find work in retail. There are lots of Russians and Japanese that enjoy coming to France on vacation so if you have those language skills you should just work in a clothing store.

The best advice I got on how to deal with these classes came from a friend at coffee this morning.
>>Tu sais Karen quand t'es pas contente, tu fais comme les francais. Tu mets le feu. Petit feu dans la poubelle et hop, sentiments bien exprimés.>>
That made me laugh so hard. I feel much better just imagining a tiny fire with acrid smoke in the wastebasket.