Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ça avance

Ooh before I forget, here's our new car:

82 : 365

A Citroën C4, 2005, 50,000 km (31,000 miles), in gorgeous condition. I don't even think we realized that this is the top of the line edition - every time I drive it I find some kind of new feature I didn't even know I needed! Love love love!!

Ok, so that's the car, but that's not the update I wanted to give you. This is even more exciting! It's not even one cool thing, but a small succession of cool things!

First, Stéphane and I have agreed that I should get more information doing a stage on bookbinding. There is a stage available in Paris during school vacations, which pretty much works for us (and the fact that he is ok with me going away for five days to really see if this is something I want to pursue makes him a hero in my eyes!), so we figured the one in October would be good for both of us - I'll be able to take less days off in the fall than in the summer.

The next cool thing that happened is that a dear friend of mine caught wind of the fact that Eddie Izzard will be performing soon in Paris and, knowing my love for him, invited me to come and see him with her! Even better - he's performing on a weekend I'm not working! WOOO! I've been a huge fan of his since I stumbled upon his Dress to Kill show on HBO lo these many moons ago, so seeing him live and in person is Just! Too! Exciting!

So. Stéphane said, "hey, don't you have something else you wanted to do in Paris?" and oh yes, of course, why not kill two birds with one stone and see if I can't meet the professional bookbinding lady that weekend as well? So Saturday I hunched over my keyboard and cranked out a letter in French explaining who I am, how I'd like to learn bookbinding, and does she have a place for October and can I meet her on X date. Much to my delight, I got a response on Monday, and though I'm still waiting to hear if she has a place for October, it turns out that she also has a workshop in the Marne, the département just north of us, it's less than an hour away, and she just happens to be holding an open house this weekend and maybe I could come see her there?

Just imagine my face when I read that. It all seems much to good to be true! I can't believe this is all falling into place! Can it really be this easy?

Please don't answer that. ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vivi goes to the cinema

...and sees a movie in English!! Now there's something I didn't think I could do a few years ago!

When I visited Stéphane in 2003, there was a cinema right in the middle of old downtown Troyes that showed movies in VO (version originale) and we saw Lost in Translation there (no, irony was not lost there). By the time I moved here in the Fall of 2004, that cinema had closed and the new multiplex didn't show movies in VO. Going to the movies, such an integral part of my life before, simply slipped away. As my French got better, we started to see a few movies (I think I saw one of the newer Star Wars movies in French) and by the time the huge French sensation Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis came out, Stéphane and I were making a habit of going to the movies again. Of course, when Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis came out, I was pregnant with Fry... so yeah, not a lot of movie-going after that.

I eventually gave up on checking Troyes' cinema web page for showings in VO, even for the big blockbusters. A few weeks ago, something made me check it again, and lo and behold, there is was, the magical VO, for The King's Speech! I casually mentioned to my MIL that it sure would be great to see a movie in VO and she actually volunteered to keep Fry for me. So guess where I went this afternoon?

Today is the last day of Le discours d'un roi in Troyes, and it just happened to be in VO, so I dropped Fry off just in time for his nap and went to the movies. I have no problems at all going to the movies by myself (I did it quite a lot when I was younger) and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and it completely deserves all the Oscars it won.

Now, that is a completely civilized way to spend a Monday afternoon, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

the other good news!

So I promised you some good news last week and here it is: we bought a new car!! Well, new to us. It all happened very fast, isn't that the best way? We've been talking about it for years and finally everything kind of just fell into place.

This is our current car, Old Faithful:

62 : 365

Bless her. She's a 15 year old Citroën ZX and while she has loads of cosmetic problems (she's been broken into twice, the windshield's cracked, the lock on the trunk is messed up, etc. etc.) she's run really well until recently. I'd say 15 years is a pretty decent run, wouldn't you?

So anyway, we went visiting friends last week and Stéphane and his friend got to chatting about the car and they gave her a once over, and noticed, for example, that she really could use some new tires. Plus the fact that she needs an oil change which runs about 100€ ($135!!) and she's really starting to turn into a rust bucket, we decided that now is the moment. On the way home, we discussed our requirements and budget and I set to work on the internet.

I found a couple of good prospects right away and the next day Stéphane called to get more information. It turned out that one of them, which seemed too good to be true, was available to look at but not quite ready to be sold. It turns out that it's at a garage in Troyes and needs a little body work and a detail and they accidentally put the announcement out too early, but we could come take a look.

So last Thursday we went to see it and instantly fell in love. It's a Citroën C4, 2006, with just under 50k kilometers (about 31k miles) and just has a few bumper scratches. There was only one owner, an older fellow that just used it for in town driving, and it's never been in an accident. Obviously we scooped it up, signed the papers right away! We'll pick her up in a couple of weeks. I can't wait!

For once it seems that something will come together smoothly and easily for us! Can you believe it??

Thursday, March 03, 2011

a whole month gone

Whoops. To be honest with you, I was nearly ready to give up on the whole blogging thing and then my grandmother told me that she checks my blog every other day for updates. Sorry Grandma!!

Actually, a lot of stuff has happened in the last month. We managed to got the fan installed over the stove in the kitchen:

43 : 365

and Fry has completely fallen in love with painting:

47 : 365

but the biggest news is that we spent a few days with friends in Switzerland last week! We visited the gorgeous village of Stein am Rhein:

Stein am Rhein

visited the amazing Rheinfall, the largest (by width) waterfall in Europe:


and took a cogwheel train to the top of Mt Rigi:

54 : 365

and of course had a super fantastic visit with our friends. It was only four days (of course one day going and one day coming back included) but it was just enough for Fry, he started getting punchy the morning of our return, but he had an amazing time and just adores our hosts' much older boys. You can see all the photos from our visit right here.

I have some more exciting news to share with you but I'm afraid that if I tell you everything today, it will be another month until I blog again, so I'll save it for next week. Happy March everybody!