Friday, June 30, 2006

vivi takes the stage

Tonight is our year-end concert for the choirs of the Conservatoire of Troyes. Well, technically it's our second concert, but since Tuesday night's affair coincided with some silly football match (kidding, I raced home after to catch the end of it!), it was more of a preview than a concert. I think there weren't more than thirty people there. Anyway, I'm much more nervous about tonight's performance, since Steph and other family members will be there to see me, my sister-in-law and Steph's niece sing. At last night's dress rehearsal, my section flubbed up a song bad enough to warrant stopping and starting over. That may not sound so bad, but it's a featured song and there's only three people in my section. *gulp* This is uncharacteristic of me, and I can't fall back on the excuse of being under the weather. This should be second nature by now. I don't think I'm going to breathe normally until that song is over this evening.

The fun part is that instead of going to a restaurant after the concert en masse with friends and family in tow, everyone's bringing food and drink to nosh on at the performance hall after the show. As much as I'm looking forwarding to it, I hope Steph and I will be able to mix and mingle for more than ten minutes, since he's at the end of the school year and a walking zombie, and I'm seeing double and can barely stand up straight myself. Anyway, I'll be making my piggies in a blanket, which I've always received compliments on, which cracks me up considering they're just hot dogs baked in some pastry dough. Next thing you know, I'll be offering up corn dogs and jello molds only to be proclaimed a culinary genius.

Meh, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

why i feel yucky

There are various and sundry reasons why, when issues stemming around something very personal, like health, pop up, I do not blog about them. Some of these reasons include:

1. Nunya.
2. I don't want to put my family in a panic just because I feel a cold coming on.
3. The name of this blog is Dispatches From France, not Dispatches From My Left Fallopian Tube.

That being said, I have been feeling quite low for the last couple of weeks and after a visit to the doctor this week, it seems this is going to go on for a bit. Long story short: my period was late, I felt crappy, but a home pregnancy test said I'm baby-free. My doctor has ordered blood tests and a sonogram to see what my ovaries are up to. I've just received the blood test results, and it seems that, despite the fact that we have cut out many high-fat foods from our diet, my cholesterol is climbing. The sonogram is scheduled for next week.

In any case, I always swore that when we do start a family (whether children are issued forth from my loins or not), I would do what I can to keep this from being a "Mommy" blog (or at least keep posts to how raising a family in France is different in my world view), and the inverse of that is I will do what I can to not make this into a "Waaaah My Uterus Doesn't Work!" blog as well. This is because that's not why you come to visit me and also because I don't really want my comments box filled up with "Don't worry! You're sooooo gonna get pregnant!" messages. I know they are well meaning but in the end are really insensitive.

Meanwhile, I am trying to live my day-to-day while feeling like crap and trying to psychologically prepare myself for some really serious questions that may need answering. I am dealing with it the best I can and will hopefully stop gazing at my navel long enough to post about other things going on as well.

So, erm.... how about the French, eh? Allez les bleus!

Update: I'm such an idiot! My cholesterol has actually dropped over a whole point!! Yay!!! So my heart isn't going to explode after all!

Monday, June 26, 2006

the "i don't have anything to say so here's a meme" meme

I've been feeling very unwell the last week or so, and besides that I don't really have much to say. Yay, the French made it into the next stage in the World Cup, though I'm going to miss the match because I have a concert tomorrow (boo!). So in lieu of a real post, I'm stealing Karla's meme. It's quite long so I'll put the first ten on the main page. Feel free to steal if you like.

1. How old do you wish you were? I don't mind being 33 really. There are times in my life I'd like to revisit for a day, maybe, but not forever.

2. Where were you when 9/11 happened? In my office (back when I had my own office for like five minutes). Someone came inside from the bay (we installed police lights and scanners and such) and said that a plane had hit one the towers at the WTC. Thinking it was like a twin engine prop plane, I scoffed and said "Well, that was stupid." After we learned the details, we walked around in a daze all day. I'll never forget the conversation I had on the phone with my Mom, herself a Long Islander Who Moved South who was supposed to go to Queens two days later for a memorial for her uncle. She said, "Eh, they'll have it cleaned up by the end of the week." I don't know if she didn't realize the scope of the destruction (it was still early in the day) or was making a statement about the strength of New Yorkers.

3. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Give it a little hip action. If that doesn't work, I generally don't get too upset, unless I'm dying of thirst - water fountains seems to be few and far between here.

4. Do you consider yourself kind? Yeah. I need all the good karma I can get.

5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be? I would like to have a tattoo of a G clef (music symbol), but I don't know where I'd put it. Hence, I'm still tattoo free.

6. If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be? Geez, still working on French...

7. Do you know your neighbors? Um... I could pick them out in a line up!

8. What do you consider a vacation? Not having to cook for a couple of days in a row. (The Lament of the Housewife) Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but I need a break now and then!

9. Do you follow your horoscope? I used to, religiously. I got over it, I suppose.

10. Would you move for the person you loved? Heh. If I hadn't, you wouldn't be reading this now...

To continue, please click "Tell me more!"

11. Are you touchy feely? Oh yeah. Freaks out my French family sometimes.

12. Do you believe that opposites attract? Yep.

13. Dream job? I wouldn't mind owning a small shop filled with things I like. Crafty things, handmade things for sale, stuff like that. But I wouldn't have to depend on it to live on. See, that's why it's a dream job.

14. Favorite channels? Well they aren't French, I can tell you that. I miss the dorky channels - History, Biography, BBC America, stuff like that.

15. Favorite place to go on a weekend? The only places I seem to go are to Doc's house or to see my girlfriends in Paris. Both are nice but thank goodness Steph is almost out of school - we need to get away.

16. Showers or Bath? I tried to be a bath person, I really did. Sometimes I found it nice but mostly I couldn't figure out the appeal of lying in a pool of your own filth for hours on end. Maybe filth is a strong word, but you know what I mean.

17. Do you paint your nails? I really like the natural color on my nails, so I don't bother. I haven't "done" them in ages, but when they're really nice I'll throw some clear polish on them to keep them strong. My toenails are usually painted in the spring and summer.

18. Do you trust people easily? Not anymore. Finally grew out of that.

19. What are your phobias? Snakes. Cockroaches. Both give me the serious heebie-jeebies.

20. Do you want kids? Yep. Workin' on it.

21. Do you keep a handwritten journal? No. This is the most consistant journal I've ever kept in my life.

22. Where would you rather be right now? My dad's house.

23. What makes you feel warm and safe? Being surrounded by family. Being snuggled up in my bed with my favorite things around me. Oh, and my husband too *cheesy grin*.

24. Heavy or light sleep? You mean I get a choice of sleep??

25. Are you paranoid? Should I be? *looks over shoulder*

26. Are you impatieYes.

27. Who can you relate to? Carrie, whom I've known the longest and can pick up with after years of losing touch and fall right back into place. The Birches, who have our own language. And of course, my girlfriends who have followed love to France.

28. How do you feel about interracial couples? Karla's right, this is a stupid question. Next!

29. Have you been burned by love? Oh honey, I could tell you some stories...

30. Whats your life motto? Not to name drop or anything, but my Dad once worked under Fred Haise, who once told him his motto was, "Never panic too early." I hope Mr. Haise doesn't mind, but I've since co-opted it.

31. What's your main ringtone on your mobile? Don't have a mobile. Back when I did, I had an Incubus song on there. "Nice to Know You," if I remember correctly.

32. What were you doing at midnight last night? Trying to sleep, failing miserably. Steph's been snoring like a freight train here recently...

33. Who was your last text message from? Probably from my manager. Two years ago. Next!

34. Who's bed did you sleep in last night? I guess the guest bed is still mine. Thank you Snorey McSnore (grr).

35. What color shirt are you wearing? A grey t-shirt from college that commemorates the tour the choir did one Spring Break. It's my comfy "lyin' 'round the house" shirt.

36. Most recent movie you watched? I watched the Godfather trilogy last month. Dang, I haven't watched a movie in a while. Maybe I'll open a DVD rental store instead...

37. Name five things you have on you at all times? My glasses, my watch, my French drivers license (for ID), my wedding ring, and... um... my hair.

38. What color are your bed sheets? Blue. If I can get off my butt, they'll be rust-red by the end of the day.

39. How much cash do you have on you right now? Less than five euros.

40. What is your favorite part of a chicken? Breast. I LOVE chicken breast, I know twenty different ways to prepare it, and I could eat it just about everyday.

41. What's your favorite town/city? I don't think I have a favorite. I miss towns, but I don't prefer one over the other.

42. I cant wait till... the big party we're throwing next month.

43. Who got you to join MySpace? Yeah, right. Next!

44. What did you have for dinner last night? The last of the tomato sauce with meatballs that I made with my dad this past December. Still delicious after six months. Now I'll have to attempt to make my own batch...

45. How tall are you barefoot? 5 feet 2 inches. Please try to hold back the midget jokes...

46. Have you ever smoked crack? Seriously? Why is this question here? Who would say yes, like they're all proud of that?

47. Do you own a gun? No. I have shot guns (verb, past tense, not noun, plural), but I have no desire to own one.

48. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Mimosas. But since that's impractical, I drink a huge mug of Nestle instant coffee with milk and sugar instead.

49. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Pfft. Hell if I know. I'm sure Steph falling for me was a happy accident.

50. Do you have A.D.D.? I don't think so. I can get so focused on a book or a project that Steph will have to say my name three times before I answer. On the other hand... ooh look! A butterfly!

51. What time did you wake up today? 8:00? ish. Unless I'm sick I always get up to see Steph off for the day.

52. Current worry? Only one? Pfft. I got worries on top of worries. I'm a born worrier!

53. Current hate? Politics actually make me so upset I have to lie down.

54. Favorite place to be? My grandmother's farm (it's not really a farm now, but we call it that), preferably with lots of family and friends around.

55. Where would you like to travel? Where don't I want to travel? There are places in France I still want to see, nevermind the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland... I could go on.

56. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? If not in this village than one not far away, hopefully in our own house, raising our little family. Hopefully gainfully employed.

57. Last thing you ate? For lunch I made chicken (see?) tossed with tortellini pasta in a cepes (mushroom) sauce, with some parmesean sprinkled on top.

58. What songs do you sing in the shower? Bluegrass. So there.

59. Last person that made you laugh? Steph.

60. Worst injury you've ever had? Besides the ones I did on purpose (foot surgery), the worst was a broken big toe. I don't recommend that, however.

61. Does someone have a crush on you? Time for all my secret admirers to reveal themselves! Leave a note in the comments and I'll add your name here.
Secret Crushes Revealed!
karla "bighead" godwoman

62. What is your favorite candy? Peanut M&Ms, which I'm so gonna buy at the store tomorrow now, thank you very much.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Of course I'm annoyed, I've just come from the post office! This time I asked Clueless Lady for ten stamps, and she asked me for which country.

I mean, honestly.

We got the bank card today, so that particular drama is over. Tonight I'm going to a dress rehersal for the choir concerts which are happening next week, one on Tuesday night and one on Friday. Really looking forward to those. If you'd like to come, drop me an email or let me know in the comments and I'll email you the particulars.

Now I'm heading downstairs to watch the USA play against Ghana in the World Cup. I think we need to win by at least four goals to continue. I'm not holding my breath.

Update: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO They're showing the Italy/Czech Republic match instead of the USA/Ghana match!! Now I'm really annoyed!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

allez les bleus

Steph and I have been watching a few World Cup matches here and there, particularly paying attention to the US and France. Neither one are doing very well, alas, though we noticed a marked improvement for the Americans in the second match. They seemed to be sleepwalking in the first match, and for the second one, they woke up. Both teams desperately need to win, and by a large (in football/soccer terms) margin to continue.

Meanwhile, this commercial has been airing during the competition and it cracks me up everytime. I've got my sing-song "Allez les bleus!" impersonation down and it still makes Steph laugh. Enjoy!

Allez Les Bleus
Video sent by Sitedeouf

Friday, June 16, 2006

we've won the battle, but not the war

Happily, we've had something of a reprieve the last couple of days, with cooler temps and, for the moment, not sweating all over the computer. Looks like the temps will be climbing again over the weekend, but for the moment we are enjoying a little break from the heat.

The war I'm refering to in the title is what I consider to big the biggest cultural difference between France and the States: customer service. Believe it or not, it wasn't me who faught the battle today, but Steph!

Wednesday marked two weeks after my visit to Bank Dude to sign a contract for a new carte bancaire, or check card. When Steph called the bank to see what the problem is, he learned that for the second time, our request for a new card was denied, again with no phone call or even an automated letter. With no one able to tell us what the problem is, Steph asked to get a call from Bank Dude as soon as possible. He was so upset about the situation that he threatened to change banks if we didn't hear an answer by Friday. The secretary assured him that Bank Dude would call by the end of the day.

Which he didn't.

Yesterday, when Steph got home from work, he called again, only to have the secretary apologize profusely and say that Bank Dude would call by the end of the day.

Which he didn't.

Watch out kids, a top is about to blow!

This afternoon, with still no word from Bank Dude, Steph called a third time. This time, the apologetic secretary was replaced with a flat out lying secretary, claiming that Bank Dude had called several times and left messages!! Steph promptly informed her that if we didn't hear from Bank Dude by the end of the day, the next time he'd see us would be to close our accounts.

Well, what do you know, Bank Dude called back!

What followed was such an empassioned heated conversation that I could barely follow it. When the conversation ended peacefully, Steph told me what happened. Basically, Bank Dude finally admitted that the error was his mistake - when Steph lost his card three years ago, the automatic renewal was stopped, and Bank Dude finally just realized that this was what was holding up the process. But instead of apologizing for the error, he blamed everyone on Earth except himself. It's the system, it's his boss's fault for giving him double to clients he should have, and he actually said that the bank has other priorities than fixing our problems so it's not his fault he wasn't able to call sooner.

Steph said that if he was Bank Dude's boss, he would have fired him for this last comment alone. So I asked him why he thought the French seem to be so complacent with this behavior. In his opinion, it's because it's the easy way out - if you can blame the system for not being able to do your job, why change anything?

In any case, we'll have our card in the next couple of days. Time will tell when we'll have to fight against another complacent customer service representative.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

how to survive in high temps with no air conditioning

The weather has been brutal this week. Temps have soared into the high 80's and you can really feel it when you live in a house without air conditioning. In the shade, it's really not so bad but our place faces west, so all that lovely direct sunlight that I loved in Winter is now kicking my ass. And remember those two skylights I raved about six months ago? Yeah, hello, I'm an ant under a magnifying glass, ZAP!

The other thing that we've done to screw ourselves over is put both our computers in the "office," or the smallest room in the house. Yeah, two computers, small room, no a/c. Are we rocket scientists or what?

In order to make it as comfortable as possible, I've had to change my routine around a bit. It looks a little something like this:

Please click "Tell me more!" to continue...

MORNING. Go downstairs, open shutters. After obligatory cup of coffee (yes, it's actually cool enough in the morning for coffee!), do whatever you need to do FOR THE DAY. House cleaning, laundry, cooking, do it now! Believe me, you're not going to want to move in the afternoon...

We are very lucky to have a clothes dryer (many people don't) but that thing generates enough heat to bake bread, so one load a day first thing in the morning (which still isn't finished before noon) is all I can take.

Generally speaking, lunch is considered the big meal of the day, but thankfully it is just tolerable enough to cook a decent meal around noon. Later on, it's a different story!

AFTERNOON. Finish up anything on the computer. Go ahead and finish catching up on blogs, play your games, write emails, because right around 2:00 it's going to be too hot to sit in the office. Turn off computer *weep*. This works fine while Steph is working in the afternoons, but when he's home (today, for example) I don't think he's going to be able to tear himself away for that long. We shall see....

Upstairs, close the shutters and the windows, and close the doors. This is my sad attempt to keep direct sunlight from the windows and from the skylight in the hall out of the rooms. I'm not sure it's making a difference.

Go downstairs, where the temperature seems to be staying below 75 degrees. Close the shutters and sit on the couch. Drink a cold drink, read a book, be crafty, but move as little as possible.

EVENING. This forcing ourselves away from our computers has not been easy. Steph and I are content to sit side by side typing away and hardly say a word to each other for hours, happy just to be in each others company. Luckily, we have the World Cup to distract us. There are matches at 6:00 and 9:00, and even Steph takes a break from the heat and watches a match.

Dinner has recently consisted of anything I can think of that I don't have to cook. I made a huge batch of chicken salad the other day, and we've been enjoying sandwiches. I had planned to make a tuna rice salad today but the store was out of cucumber (side note: how can you be freaking out of cucumber??) so I may try to pass off some tuna fish sandwiches instead.

After dinner, we just can't help ourselves and end up in front of the computers again. An ice cream for dessert is a nice little distraction but hardly keeps the heat away for long. I must be insane but by midnight I was sitting here sweating, unable to move because of my internet addiction.

Once the sun goes down (around 10:00 or so), it's safe to open up the windows and let some the cooler air filter in. Unfortunately, this also brings in the entire cast of A Bug's Life. I do believe that the next time I visit a grocery store I'll be spending some time in the Bug Massacre section.

When I'm finally able to pull myself away from the computer for the day, my next stop is the shower, where I take as cold a shower as I can stand. Then it's off to bed; together with Steph if he's not generating enough heat to melt an igloo, or in the spare bed if he his.

So that how to deal with a heat wave in France. I say "heat wave" because these temps are a bit warmer than what we are used to here, and still not nearly as bad as the famous heat wave of 2003 (which I remember well as I was here on a two week vacation) when the temps rose to over 100. We are supposed to see some thunderstorms this evening and for the next few days, which will hopefully drag the temps down to their normal range of the low 70s by the end of the week, because honestly, if this keeps up for a while you might have to come looking for me in the cellar.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Medieval Festival, Provins, France

Yesterday we went to the annual Medieval Festival in Provins, France. How was it? Well, imagine taking your usual run-of-the-mill Renn Faire and dropping it in a town that actually existed in Medieval Times, and then imagine that everyone in the town gets in the spirit of the thing, you have a pretty good idea of what the festival is like.

For some reason, I can't manage to go to Provins unless the temperatures are at an extreme. The last two times I went, it was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers. This time it was so hot they were making announcements to remind festival-goers to drink plenty of water at the free well water stations scattered through the town.

One of the nice features of this festival is that those who arrive in some kind of costume gain free entry. This leads to costumes from as simple as little girls in Fairy Princess costumes and guys in leggings and funny hats to elaborate brocaded dresses and men in full armour (whom I'm surprised we didn't see strewn all over the roads from the heat). We eventually ran into bands of knights templar, a family of barbarians, and one Robin Hood type fellow with the best up-close make-up job of an axe-wound in his face that I've ever seen.

After a brief visit to the Leper Colony (which is indicated by the photo here), we made our way to the center of town, which had so much stuff going on I'm sure we didn't even see everything. There were food stands, roving musicians, vendors selling everything from helmets to leather goods, and the crowds were something to see themselves. After a refreshing(ly strong) cup of apple cider, we visited one of several "camps" set up around the town and headed back to the center to find something to eat.

We grabbed a couple of medieval sandwiches and sat in some welcome shade for a few minutes before continuing around the town. We made our way this time towards the main gate of the old city, passing yet more vendors and circling around a large encampment before heading outside the town to visit the vendors camping outside the town. Here we saw people actually living in their medieval tents for the weekend and selling their wares. Unfortunately, it was much too hot to stay down in the moat without a breeze for too long (I really don't know how those people managed to stay down there) so we made our way back in the town. Once back in the center of town, we treated ourselves to some medieval ice cream (?) before making our way back to the present day and our air conditioned car.

There are so many things I would have liked to have seen, but the weather was just so miserable that we could only stand walking around outside the three or so hours we were there. There was an archery tent set up which I would have like to have tried (I took archery in college so it would have been funny to see what I've retained), as well as shows featuring falconry and siege weapons of the era. Maybe next year the weather will be a bit more cooperative.

Friday, June 09, 2006

slow week


I haven't neglected to post for any particular reason, there just isn't anything interesting going on. Highlights included making American sandwiches for lunch since Steph was still doing his stage, and I found a grocery that sells pita bread. Um... the weather's been gorgeous, blue skies and temps in the low 70s. We might go for a walk later.

See what I mean? Nothing particularly blog worthy. That being said, we are going to do something interesting this weekend, so please do stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

words in a french life

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I have just finished reading Words in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse. Based on her website, French Word-A-Day, the book is made up of vignettes of the daily life of Kristin, an American from Arizona, her French husband and their two children in southern France.

For those of us who have been long time readers of her website (French Word-A-Day was one of the first websites I added to my sidebar when I started my own blogging adventure), some of the stories are familiar, but many have never appeared on the website, and she even shares with us how she came to be living in France in the first place. Each chapter is prefaced with a French word, its pronounciation, and its translation, and is then followed by a charming story associated with the word. At end the of each chapter, we revisit the "word of the day" to learn everyday phrases that contain that word.

Kristin may claim that she's expressing her love of the French language, but I submit that she's in love with language full stop. Her stories of day-to-day living in the South of France are filled with such warmth and wonder that it's easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the same place. While the South of France and the North-East, where I live, certainly have plenty of differences, I found myself chuckling along at her stories of village life, which at times can seem like a different world from the larger cities of Nice or Paris.

Not only are the French lessons tucked inside very practical, but the stories are told not with the wry sarcasm of most other "Ex-pats in France" books I've read, but with genuine endearment and fascination of the world around her. If you're interested in books about Americans in France, I say put Words in a French Life at the top of your list.

Monday, June 05, 2006

a calm weekend

Steph is celebrating not having to work by going to school and working. What is it about going to the office (or the school, in this case) that is so appealing when you don't have to be there? As he walked out the door this morning, he said he was looking forward to running into his (apparantly not very pleasant) boss, who would then read him the riot act for being late, after which Steph would gleefully tell her that he doesn't even have to be there. Ah, Office Politics, how I do miss thee.

Friday night Steph suggested that we go fishing on Saturday, which involves driving about 45 minutes away and paying for an afternoon of fishing in a couple of stocked ponds. Alas, Steph slept till 11:00 and I didn't feel much like leaving the house so we called it off, which was a shame because it really was a perfect day to spend outside - considerably warmer than the last three weeks and mostly sunny.

Yesterday we had lunch at the in-laws with Steph's younger sister C. and her boyfriend J. where we learned that C. is not, in fact, carrying a boy, but a girl, who will say hello to the world some time around the middle of October. Good thing I hadn't started making anything for the new arrival, though to be fair, since I don't knit or crochet, anything I make would really be for either/or unless I stitch BOY! BOY! BOY! on it.

So now it's Monday and the house looks like the pantry and all the closets vomited all over the place. Why is it that one day your house is nice and clean and the very next day crap springs up everywhere like so many weeds?

Friday, June 02, 2006

the non-holiday holiday weekend

an unexpected guest
Originally uploaded by vivi en france.
Monday is Pentecost, traditionally a state holiday in France. Last year, the government announced that Pentecost would no longer be a holiday, and instead all wages earned on that day will be donated to assist the old and infirm. An enforced donation, if you will.

Today on the lunch-time news, they talked about the plight of truck drivers. Apparently, the truck driving unions have decided that they will work on Monday, but the government said that trucks should stay off the roads, because it's a holday weekend. Apparently the only people that are being forced to work are the ones who won't get in the way of government officials going on vacation during the non-holiday holiday weekend.

Steph told me that he heard today of a teacher who has to work on Monday because all teachers must go to work, but her husband must stay home to watch the kids, because they don't have to go to school (teacher workdays are pretty much unheard of here).

So if you're in France, what are you doing for the non-holiday holiday weekend?

And yes, the photo is apropos of nothing, I just turned around and caught this peeping tom in action before he flew away!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

everyday living is exhausting

First of all, when I went downstairs this morning to see Steph off for the day, the thermometer said 16C (or 62F)... INSIDE THE HOUSE. The calendar says June 1, is someone playing a cruel joke on me?

I was Errand-Running Woman yesterday. Steph came home Tuesday evening and announced that the brakes were shot so I learned a new word (frein = brake) and visited the local garage after dropping Steph off at his rendez-vous point yesterday (he's carpooling with another teacher from Brienne le Château). After much gesticulating, smiling, trying not to sound like a jackass or tutoyer the owner of the garage (whoops!), I managed to get the parts ordered and make an appointment for Friday morning. One thing done.

I had a quiet morning, finishing part one of my SSCSP and a tasty lunch, and then it was off to Troyes. First stop was to do some grande surface shopping. Since the bank card expired yesterday, I was determined to stock up as much as possible. I loaded up my cart with dry goods and visited the ATM on the way out of the store. Then it was downtown to see the Bank Dude.

Our bank is just in front of the préfecture in Troyes, where they are in the middle of building a massive underground parking right between the two. I may have mentioned in passing last year that construction was halted after they broke ground and discovered a centuries-old cemetery, so archeologists were called in and the construction site became an archeological dig for almost two years. Now they're back on track and I stood there on the edges of the construction sight, along with about twenty other people of all walks of life, mesmorized by the enormous bulldozer digging up ground 100 feet below the surface. Wish I'd had my camera....

Anyway, at 3:30 on the dot I walked into the bank and told the secretary that I was there to see Bank Dude. Next thing you know, Bank Dude comes out and says that our appointment was the next day. Instead of being embarrassed, I was mad; even if I'd misunderstood the date, when I hung up the phone with him, I'd said "A demain," which means "See you tomorrow!" and he replied, "Oui, à demain!" so WTF, Bank Dude? So I told him that I wouldn't be able to come back the next day because I wouldn't have a car but was going to suggest rescheduling for Friday when he told me he had a few minutes before his next appointment and ushered me into his cubicle. Then he asked me once again (although, to be fair, it has been nearly two years since I saw him last) where I was from and once again told me how he loved New York City. How nice. Then he ran around like a poulet sans tête, running to the secret office in the back to get his manager's approval to get us another bank card (even he didn't know why it wasn't sent automatically), I signed a couple of pieces of paper and that was it. Can't wait to see how long it takes to get a new bank card; I am not particularly inspired by his apparent lack of organization.

So I flew home, threw the shopping bags in the house, and grabbed an empty gas tank (our Easy Bake Oven runs on gas) and another shopping bag, and went to one of the local groceries to replace the gas tank and buy some fresh veggies and meat. Then I picked up Steph at the rendez-vous point, drove home and fell over.

I couldn't figure out why I was so exhausted until I realized that I'd spent the day running errands like Normal Everyday People instead of hiding inside my house all day. Huh. Maybe I'm finally starting to emerge from the Immigrant Blues?