Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vivi makes a friend

I have to admit, doing my 365 photo project makes it a little harder to write here as well. January has been mostly quiet except for one extraordinary thing: I've made a French friend! I met her through work and we got to talking about knitting. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago because she wanted me to show her some knitting stuff, and since she was willing to come all the way out to Tiny Town I invited her over for coffee. We had a really great visit and we didn't even see the time pass! I'm really looking forward to hanging out with her again.

I'm having a hard time trying to express how huge this is for me. I have, of course, made lots of anglo friends since I've lived here, a few of whom I consider to be very close friends. Of course the fact that they all live far away from me doesn't help. But making a French friend is something that has eluded me for six years. I've had a few acquaintances, people I would certainly stop in the street and talk to or even meet for coffee but this, for the first time, I willingly wanted to invite someone into my house. Not because she bothered to contact me, but because I think she's cool and I'd like to get to know her better.

The other thing is that Fry and I have been very sick this week. A particularly nasty gastro, or stomach bug, is floating around. Stéphane seems to be pretty much immune to them (being exposed to them for years at school I think has done it) and usually I am as well, but it looks like Fry picked it up from him and then passed it on to me. We are both on the upswing and getting our appetites back, thank goodness! It's times like this that I'm really grateful to be working part time (and even less than part time right now!) because this week would have been a logistical nightmare if both of us were working full time! Up until now we've been so lucky, Fry has certainly had his share of the sniffles but I don't think he's been this sick in over a year. I guess we have more of this to look forward to...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nothing really exciting happened last week

so here's a picture of a castle:

9 : 365

OK, it's not reeeeeally a castle. I took this on the way to work yesterday. It's the Hôtel de Vauluisant in Troyes. It was originally built to be the Troyes home of the Vauluisant Abbey near Sens, in order to be closer to the Count of Champagne (and better benefit from the closer proximity, of course!). I should note that “hôtel” doesn’t always mean the same thing in French as in English; in this sense it’s meant more like Manor. Anyway, it had become a private residence by the end of the 15th century.

Today it houses the Museum of Hosiery and the Museum of Troyen Art, which was extremely influential during the Renaissance. The Museum of Hosiery (Musée de la bonneterie) sounds like a pantyhose museum, but Troyes was a very important textile center from the middle ages up until the industrial revolution. All manner of stockings and caps were knit by hand - until 1746 when the first knitting machines were installed in Troyes - and the museum showcases some examples that have survived the test of time, including silk and pearled stockings that are amazing to admire, especially if you're a knitter!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

you know you're in France when...

... you must be prepared to say "Happy New Year" to every living being you pass during the first thirty days of the year. If you're very lucky, they'll say it first so you can save face if you forget. This year, however, I'm taking a certain amount of pride in a) remembering to say it first and b) actually having occasion to say it.

This morning I had errands to run, and despite the fact that it was -4°C (25°F!) I decided to put Fry in the big country stroller and walk (exhibit A). I won't call it a New Year's Resolution, as I don't do them, but as luck would have it, I saw my icky doctor a couple of weeks ago and received some not-entirely-unexpected news - the cysts are back. The best way to get rid of them and get the baby factory up and running again is to lose a little weight, so I'm going to try to get out and walk as much as possible.

Anyway, off to the bank, and this is where living in a small town has its advantages - our banker was free, came out to meet me (where we wished each other Bonne année! of course) and offered to write out my deposit slips (which can be a little complicated since I had an American check to deposit) and we chatted about our kids. Would she have been so welcoming if she hadn't been the one to do our loan for the apartment? Probably not, but I'll take what I can get.

We swung by the post office to drop off some letters (and thankfully did not have to go inside - we don't generally suffer from long lines, just one completely idiotic postal worker who I pray isn't working when I have to go, it's seriously like playing Russian roulette) and then hit the boulangerie on the way home. Since it's the first time I've been since the New Year, I obviously had to wish her a Bonne année! as well. I also saw the gardienne of our apartment complex who always has something to say about the weather so I wished her a Happy New Year as well.

But the best was yesterday - as Fry and I were heading out to run errands in Troyes yesterday, we met our upstairs neighbor, who actually kissed me (you know, in the French bises way, silly!) and wished us all a Happy New Year. I was so shocked I nearly fell down the stairs!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Bonne année, bonne santé !

Happy New Year, my friends! We celebrated in the traditional manner, with Stéphane coming down with some mystery bug so I couldn't make the fancy pants dinner planned and ended with us knitting and reading in bed at midnight. My god, we are rock stars!

It has been a mellow and chill week, saving the two days I ran away to Paris to eat pizza and stay up late drooling over movie stars with no toddlers in sight, a much appreciated break! Nothing has been done in the kitchen, the house is a disaster, but we are well rested, that's for sure!

A friend of mine recently challenged her circle of friends to a 365 photo project. I know quite a few people that have already done this and I've been wanting to try it for a while, but this challenge finally sent me over the edge and I created a new blog for that. We'll see if I last a week. If you'd like to follow along, you can do so here.

To all my friends and family that keep coming back to my humble little blog, I wish you all health, wealth and happiness (not necessarily in that order) in 2011!