A Travellerspoint blog

Gasoline...my cat...the world traveller!

Once upon a time, there lived a cat named Gasoline…
…and he lived happily ever after! The End!

This is Gas’ story.

Short Version:
Gasoline took a week’s vacation in Sudbury!

Detailed Version:
After 2 years of living in Jaca: Spain, Montpellier: France, The Anchor: Canada and then 2 months in a garage and the-great-out-of-doors: Sheguindah (while Dana sauna-ed in Finland)…Gasoline was relocated to a Campbell Street East residence…a cosy little house with a tin roof on a peaceful little street in Little Current, Ontario, Canada.

Gasoline’s new life offered all he could ever want; a warm bed to curl up in, nightly Temptation cat treats, a door leading to a big yard full of mice, squirrels, chipmunks and birds, a clean cat box which Dana dutifully cleans twice a day because Gas refuses to poop in the neighbours gardens…stability and Dana!

So Gas had absolutely no reason to fuck off one fine autumn Sunday afternoon!

Gas did not come home Sunday night. Gas did not come home Monday night. Nor did he come home Tuesday night. Or Wednesday night. Or Thursday night. By Friday, Dana had done ALL she could to find her feline friend: called the vets’ and dog catcher, posted an add on the Internet, local TV ad channel and Facebook, informed the entire world and printed and laminated posters.

It was the Friday afternoon when this story unfolds, a hopeful encounter led to solving the case of the “Missing Gas”!

The Post Office wouldn’t post his “Missing” poster, as Gas doesn’t fall into the category of Non-Profit Advertising…but “Go to the town office where they can post the poster on their town office bulletin board on our main street.” At the town office, I was empathetically told “sorry”, once again, Gas isn’t non-profit material! Amidst our conversation, a town employee overheard and asked to see the photo of Gas.

So, now, the story gets good…
Gas was CAT-NAPPED!!!

This woman’s brother-in-law and wife, from out-of-town, lost their Gasoline-look-alike cat in Little Current last May 24th. Katie, who was really a K.T., who had just been neutered at the vet’s and they brought him along for the journey to island! K.T. escaped, traumatized…

While visiting the island this past weekend, at this couple’s friend’s house (MY NEIGHBOUR), they found “their cat” who was reported as a stray that had been frequenting my neighbour’s deck and door since…well, since we moved into the neighbourhood…see where this is going?!

The couple returned to Sudbury Sunday afternoon with “their cat”…Gas has been missing in action since Sunday afternoon! But the proof is in the microchip!

So, my friends…Gasoline is temporarily vacationing, 2 hours from home, with a temporarily relieved cat-napping, but incredibly apologetic, couple, and 2 dogs! And he’s seemingly happy! And, he’s comin’ home tomorrow at 9 am! And me and Carburetor,we're having a “Coming Home” party tomorrow morning, featuring Fancy Feast and Temptations! Do drop by to greet Gas. My cat the survivor! Whew!

Posted by hiitsdana 13:23 Comments (0)

CLUB MED…IT’S BEEN REAL! december 2008

CLUB MED…IT’S BEEN REAL!

CLUB MED…IT’S BEEN REAL!

DECEMBER 2008, BC=BEFORE CHILD!

~So let’s see…since the proposition of “Do you party much?” by the old-enough-to-be-MY-grandfather-English-speaking-Frenchman at the local market, I’ve been invited to the Nimes Corrida next June by a too-old-to-be-smokin’-weed hippie artist and just recently in a bar Sabine and I, although I suspect it was Sabine he was targeting, were invited to “touch” a really unattractive guy…for 20 Euros! Another common characteristic between France and Canada…the good ones seem to be already taken…or gay!

~On one of our bar nights, Sabine introduced me to a guy named Gas…oh, I soooooo wanted to tell him…!

~Gas, my cat, in human form, would be the guy of my dreams! A little weird (he’s still doing the shadow thing), but I like weird, laid back, castrated, an avid traveller, eats anything put in front of him, huggable, has a good sense of humour, can appreciate an afternoon siesta…not too sure about his love of hunting or Clic-Clac potato tendencies…but overall, a decent guy…maybe next life I’ll return as a female cat!

~5 hours of wine tasting is a dangerous Saturday morning sport on an empty stomach! My favourite was the unmarried French guy (I asked) in the 5th booth!

~Now I understand why the French were defeated in attempting to conquer Canada…after yet another inquisition to my potential Internet provider…I was informed it could take up to 2 months!

~Carb could market his new after battle perfume called Eau de Polysporin!

~In response to your responses on the “Pink Santa issue…Imagine if Santa “came out of the closet”? What a twist on our “reality” that would be…Headlines…”Santa is GAY! So then who is Mrs. Claus?” Imagine the reaction of Governments worldwide?

4TH CHRISTMAS ABROAD!

~It had been 9 months to the day or 2 since I last saw Lauren…9 months…the same length of time as a pregnancy…the night before she arrived, both times; delivery and Montpellier, I was pacing and saying the same words…“Enough already! I want to see my kid!”

~As suspected…I had a wonderful Christmas and much needed visit with the kid! Santa decided neither of us needed a lot of “stuff” and thank God, ‘cause Lauren checked in with Easy Jet at 19.5 kg and stressed out backpack zippers! She had arrived with 14.8 kilos, “gave” and “got”…that 0.5 kg shy of Easy Jet’s weight restriction is exactly the weight of the skimpy black dress I found hanging in my closet when I got home! Darn! Wish she had forgotten something more practical that goes better with my hiking boots!!

~Best Christmas gift? 1 package of No Name White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese! And I ate the whole box in 1 sitting, avec du vin rouge, bien sûr, cooked in a wok ‘cause I gave Lauren my good cooking pots as she’ll have her own kitchen in the fall! Why did I SO enjoy and SO devour the entire package of this North American processed shit, in record time I might add? I think it’s like the peanut butter syndrome effect! When I can’t have something…then I want it more than under normal circumstances would I ever have dreamed of wanting it! Normally, I just don’t really eat much peanut butter, but crema de cacahuete-less Spain drove me to desire the stuff!

~You know your kid is no longer a kid…when Santa Claus brings her condoms…French condoms!

~And thanks my Canadian friends for the Christmas cards!!! Spotting a Canadian stamp on an envelope amongst bills and publicité to an expat like myself is like…ecstasy…although I’ve never tried the stuff!

~Karen and Cassandra…Lauren couriered all your amazing goodies and gifts which she received the day she was departing! Whew! And I now have happy cats…they especially love the treats which I thought were “BEER Flavoured Dental Treats” till I put my glasses on and realized BEEF Flavoured did make more sense, but they can hardly be considered “Dental” treats when these guys swallow them whole! And I devoured “A Year in the Merde” in one evening! Thank you for everything, truly…I have photos of your gifts beneath our stolen hemlock hedge branches…and I have photos of that event too, arranged professionally in our French Bidet (bi·det n a low bathroom plumbing fixture resembling a toilet and equipped with a spray or jet of water, used for washing the genital and anal areas), and photos of this aussi!

~Lauren is a Moroccan magnet! Had to stop taking her out drinking in that neighbourhood! Mind you, even I was picking up guys there…no wonder it’s my favourite bar district!

~Christmas dinner was an unexpected success for various reasons!
1 Our turkey-impersonating bird fit in my Kenner Easy-Bake oven, at a 45° angle after I stood on it to press it down!
2 Our turkey-impersonating bird, un “chapon”, tasted like turkey! And it even had one cavity to stuff…I couldn’t find cavity # 2! And chapon farts are just like turkey farts!
3 Not only did I finally find, after great searching efforts, cranberries, les airelles, but, they were imported from Canada…I danced a big dance in the middle of the grocery store, much to Lauren’s embarrassment!
4 Dressing/stuffing was made with Canadian poultry seasoning imported by Lauren at my request…”Don’t bothering coming to France unless you bring poultry seasoning”!
5 Mashed potatoes and cream corn, Lauren’s favourites, are almost foolproof in any country, except for the lack of a potato masher…make do with any hard, clean kitchen object, yup, that’ll do!
6 Whipped Shortbread cookies tasted good-but-not-normal due to, I think, the mysterious French cornstarch ingredient, if that is indeed what I purchased…it was next to potato starch and definitely had the word corn in it! As my pizza pan slash cookie sheet was 2 inches too big for my oven…I improvised and stuffed the crack between oven door and oven with aluminium foil! Et voilà, les abnormal tasting cookies!

~The Christmas holiday is a blur…but New Year’s Eve is THE blurriest of all! The 12+ hour drinking frenzy began at 2:30 in the afternoon in mon apart, continued in the streets of Montpellier and ended in a rockin’ Irish Pub at 4:30 AM…here is my personal menu…give or take a few alcoholic items…(capital “S” indicates “a lot”!)
~RyeS (Canadian) and coke
~Red WineS (with dinner)
~pre-bar Tequila shotS…Lauren made me
~1 pint of Kronenburg at O’Carolan’s Pub, just to mix things up
~Thomas’ homemade Rum Ti’PunchS
~Jaggerbomb…my first
~RyeS (Canadian) and coke
~Tequila shot courtesy of Lauren’s newfound New Year’s Eve friend!

Partied and danced the night and year away with the best English speaking Aussies, French, Scotch, even a fellow Canadian or 2…but no Irish! Finally authentically got to use the French expression, “J’ai la gueule de bois” (I have a hangover!) on January 1st, but I maintain it was more fatigue induced than mixing-too-much-alcohol induced! I only really felt my heart beating in my head when bending over trying to brush Gasoline, but otherwise I felt quite okay lying in Clic Clac the entire-ish day after!

~LET IT SNOW…in Montpellier??? January 7, 2009 and I’m feeling rather Canadian, sliding through the streets on my bicycle, Jeep, wrapped in my Pyrenees ski attire. It’s so sweet observing the bewildered Mediterranean locals wiping out left, right and centre! Even Carb got excited and bounced around outside in a dusting of winter, a reminder of Canada! And then a big bad French dog wearing a stupid looking sweater came along and spoiled his fun…get him Carb! Gas decided not to shed for a day…Hallelujah!

~Well folks…it’s time to depart France! Work’s not happenin’ and I’m needing a fix of familiar…in other words…broke and homesick (and tired of Camembert)! We’re Canada bound any day/week/month now…depending on cat and visa complications…keep in mind, I am only allowed to be in Europe for 3 months…15 months beyond my welcome…oops! And really, the cats were accepted into Spain…we snuck across the French boarder unnoticed, but now how to get home! Hmmmm! I’ll let you know what prison you can visit me in…maybe I can teach in prison, free room and board…wonder if they accept cats…?

~A bit bizarre packing up my life abroad. Kind of a microcosm of life…you build your home from nothing (only what you brought in your backpack) then you give most of it away in the end. And it’s really interesting to analyse what you do chose to take home. The $200 fleece jacket is chucked and replaced by items of a different kind of value! So this is what’s coming home with me:
~gifts from Lithuanians, Latvians, Mexicans, Spaniards, French, Brits, Aussies, Canadians…a lot of good people
~stolen beer glasses from 4 countries…forgot to steal one from Finland…and Muslim Morocco…
~a new way of pronouncing WIFI
~spices from Morocco and Turkey
~The ability to name Huey, Dewey and Louie in 2 more languages:
Spanish ~Juanito (Johnny)
~Jorgito (Georgie)
~Jaimito (Jaimie)
French ~Riri
~Fifi
~Loulou
~a computer full of international music, email addresses and photos
~international invitations
~2 dictionaries with dog-eared pages
~really sad looking underwear
~a few new “experience” wrinkles
~a taste for Lyndt Pyrenees chocolates
~2 cats
and…
~enough incredible memories to see me through old age should I never venture off again like this! (although I’ve never been one to obey the word should!)

~It doesn’t seem to matter how gently you introduce the concept of moving to Carburetor…as soon as he sees that backpack come out, he sets off to find the nearest corner to pee in…his way off saying…that will teach you for not leaving me in Bella Bella, minus the swear words!

~The summation of a journey such as mine leads me to better appreciate or RE-appreciate some very basic valued and useful commodities:
~the privilege of being born in a first world country
~cotton sheets
~the luxury of space…re country and house/apartment size
~ovens
~water…especially the hot and soft kind
~education
~clumping cat litter
~people who aren’t afraid to “think outside the box” and follow through
~measuring cups incremented in cups
~a strategic clothes line
~countries with weather conducive to clothes lines
~common sense
~people who can pronounce my name the way my mother meant it
~beginnings and endings of any journey are the toughest

~So, I promise I’ll keep you posted on our continued challenges…and that’s what life is all about, is it not?…challenges…it’s how we cope with them that determines our happiness!!! And I’m coping just fine!

siempre, toujours and always,
dana, carb and gas xox

P.S. January 6, 2009, the very day I am packing up our apartment, our non-existent Internet provider company calls to come and hook us up! Fuck off…that’s just mean!

Posted by hiitsdana 17.01.2009 06:54 Archived in France Comments (0)

CLUB MED…HAPPY DECEMBER! november 1-30

CLUB MED…HAPPY DECEMBER!

CLUB MED…HAPPY DECEMBER!

November 1~30, 2008

~In France…Santa is PINK!!! At least he is at the Central Commercial in Montpellier and he looks retarded! Sorry, but unless a recession has hit and there was a sale on pink satin fabric…there’s no reason to be changing Santa’ s uniform! Ever! Of course I took photos!

~In a perfect world, the neighbourhood stray cats would not sneak into your apartment and steal Carb’s toy mice! As in any scene of the crime, I took photos of the culprit! Now I have photographs of an Ecuadorian pickpocket and a French feline toy mouse thief!

~Gas LOVES to be brushed! But he doesn’t like being brushed in reverse…I tried. You gotta go with the flow of the fur! Gas isn’t normally a violent cat!

~Carb is a sun worshiper! And he meows like a girl!

~One day Gas said, “You know what Dana, you’re right! Why get up to throw up a fur ball on the throw rug over there, when I can throw up right here on your bed!”

~You gotta love someone who calls you up on a Monday morning and suggests a walk on the beach would be a great way to start the week! You just gotta love Sabine!

~I’ve got the slowest “TO DO” list in the world! Never have I had such a slow list!

~I can now say “Yeast Infection” in three different languages!!!

~In France, a “cave” is a basement storage unit, and in my “cave” I found this year’s Christmas tree stand…a Bidet! It’s in my living room now awaiting the honoured recipient French tree, which will actually be coniferous branches strung with lights…I’ve got my eye on a Hemlock hedge which needs pruning! And I’m awaiting Lauren’s arrival to help me with my silvicultural duties…because I’m thinking after a bottle of wine or 2 it could become writing material!

~Things that were abnormal are becoming normal!
~Personal cheques!
~Television!
~Not working!
~Intentional Physical Exercise!

~I’ve discovered my neighbours love their garden more than they love my cat! They’ve inserted tall repulsive spikes in their garden…in all of Gas’ favourite siesta spots!

~I used to be a “hood” person…but with the advent of bifocals came the need of an umbrella…and geeze it’s hard to light a smoke one-handed while carrying an umbrella!

~Eggs here are Metric…they’re sold by the 10’s! How imperial of me to think 12 is normal!

~Wow! Spaghetti Sauce has never been so international…tomato paste brought from Spain (in fear I wouldn’t find it here), Canadian, Moroccan and Turkish spices accumulated last year from travels and parcels and the fresh stuff French! Ever bought celery by the “branche”? No, neither had I. And hamburger here is the cheapest meat available AND I can digest it…unlike Canadian beef!

~In my quest of minimizing possessions, I maintain that a feline-loving caffeine addict cannot survive without a vacuum cleaner and coffee maker!

~And now I know why all the good garbage in the streets! The city of Montpellier does here weekly what the megatropolis of Little Current did annually…large household garbage pickup. In any other life I’d be making weekly rounds…but I’m already rearranging furniture so Lauren will have a place to put her backpack at Christmas!

~As the French are such connoisseurs of wines and cheeses and actually, all food in general…I’m afraid to admit, out loud, that I’m hanging for a hunk of new Cheddar…something that doesn’t smell like the inside of my hiking boots, doesn’t deserve a pension and something that is a positive colour! Now, my fellow Canadians…don’t go sending me parcels of Canadian Cheddar…’cause given the way Canada Post operates...!

~As cigarettes in France are the same horrible price as in Canada, I bought myself a pouch of good old fashion “Drum” tobacco. Drum triggers flashbacks of my youthful years, travelling and camping! Happy cigarettes! Now I’m feeling a bit like THE hippie I’m often accused of being! (But hippies were already in full swing as I was being born…so I’m too young to rightfully achieve the title “Hippie”!) Back to Drum…and advanced technology. How much can a pouch of tobacco evolve in 30 years? Drum now comes in 4 different strengths…how cool can one look rolling a Drum Light…just doesn’t seem right…and the package now has a Velcro closure AND a little sticky spot to adhere your rolling papers to!!! I am so impressed!

~Haircut # 2…haircutting academy again…1 ½ hours later…I got a really green student… but this “kid” was so careful and precise, I can honestly say it’s probably the best cut of my life! When was the last time your hairdresser spent an hour and a half making you beautiful?

~Long distance parenting is cruel…and you don’t need to be in a different country to define distance, non-daily contact suffices. How many of you out there can attest to my findings…I know if my mom were alive, she could! First the phone call, YOUR bill, because you’re the parent, the crisis situation, generally a lengthy call because it’s a crisis. Post call, the worry period, you replay the conversation over and over, of course you’re routing for your kid’s side…she’s your kid. Then the gap period, you’re still worrying but what you don’t know is that the crisis is actually resolved. Next phone call, YOUR bill, because you’re the parent, you immediately inquire with continued concern and the kid responds…”Oh, THAT was resolved the day after we last spoke!”

~Here’s the abbreviated sequence of events (if I can remember back that far!),
in order to attain a French Bank Account in order to attain the Internet:

~Bank # 1 …rejection
…forgot to pack an old electricity bill!
~Bank # 2 …rejection
…general confusion on both bank guy and my part!
~Bank # 3 …bingo
…with my heroine, Sabine the translator!

Now I await Bank Card to deposit  so I can order Internet…

~False Alarm # 1 …received Internet Access Code in mail...
…which requires having the Internet to use…
…which I don’t have…
…which is the reason for need of this Bank Account!
~False Alarm # 2 …Registered Letter…must go to Post Office to sign…
…different Post Office than last delivery
…Bank only wanted signature to confirm my place of
residence!
~Receive Bank Card …after a phone call and a visit to bank…but…
…can’t deposit money until “maybe this afternoon or
probably tomorrow”!
~Deposit Money …finally
…which is all I ever wanted to do in the first place!

Now I await Cheques so I can pay my bills…

~# 1 Trip to Bank …come back tomorrow
~# 2 Trip to Bank …didn’t take in all my documentation, Bank Card and
Passport won’t suffice!
~# 3 Trip to Bank …THEY WANTED TO TAKE MY BANK ACCOUNT AWAY
FROM ME!!! FUCK!!!
…THEY MIGHT AS WELL HAVE DEPORTED ME!!!
…they realized bank account lady gave me the
account without me having a Visa!
…3 hours later, using my best, worst and only French,
they allowed me the account AND I got my
cheques!
Now…I…can…get…the…Internet…and…pay…my…bills…!
With Bree and Thomas’ help…

~Phone call # 1 …phone ran out of  mid call!
~Phone call # 2 …apparently my apartment doesn’t exist!
~Phone call # 3 …they need the street address of my Bank!
~Phone call # 4 …December 2nd …still waiting!

I imagine the month of December will be a crazy-busy one for most of you…for me I’ll be busy ticking the days off till “Lauren Day”, December 19th, reunited after 9 months apart…I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Joyeux Noël et jusque janvier…
Wishing you tranquillity and calm, and all the love you can handle,
Love dana carb and gas xox

Posted by hiitsdana 03.12.2008 11:15 Archived in France Comments (0)

Feliz Navidad 2007 y…Joyeux Noël 2008 et…Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad 2007 y … Joyeux Noël 2008 et … Merry Christmas!!!

dana biernacki hiitsdana@yahoo.ca
and lauren mccormick lauren__mccormick@hotmail.com
75 Rue de Fontcarrade
Bât. B3, Appart. 302
34000 Montpellier, France
(011 33) 645638385

Feliz Navidad 2007 y … Joyeux Noël 2008 et … Merry Christmas!!!

Volume 26 & 27
(Did you notice…I missed last year!)

The Alphabet Through A Broad’s Broad Eyes…Living Abroad!

A is for alcohol, an affordable word.
Not to drink “When in Rome”? Absolutely Absurd!
B is for beer…detecting a theme?
It’s my interim retirement, a life made from dreams!
C is for Canada, our image is clean.
In Europe we’re known for the cold and Celine!
D is for Dana, I’m so glad I’m me.
By any other name, me, I might not be!
E is for European Economic Community.
If Canada would join up, I’d be granted impunity!
F is for Fr-An-Glish, a linguistic mix.
It’s just English words working out in Spandex!
G’s for gâteau (French) and gato (Spanish).
Both comfort me when I’m faulty or famished!
H is for happy, if I could, I would purr.
And lick my bum, and vomit after cleaning my fur!
I is for Internet, which I desperately now want.
After years of refusing, it ironically haunts!
J is for Jaca, a special dot on my map.
Magic mountains, amigos, shrooms, memories and naps!
K’s for kiss every familiar cheek you meet.
Lota PDA goin’ on in these European streets!
L’s always for Lauren, still forefront of thoughts.
I’ve sorted my priorities…kid, smokes, coffeepot!
M’s for Montpellier, my personal Club Med.
Warm soleil and amis, and a lot of long bread!
N’s for Non-Smokers, a rare breed in these parts.
Customizing new smoking laws, a French/Spanish art!
O’s for “Oh-la-la” and also “Olé”.
As an ambassador of Canada, I’m obliged to spread “Eh"!
P is for people, from all walks and talks.
Thank God for body language, deodorant and locks!
Q is for quest without an objective.
Builds character, sore muscles, wit, debt and perspective!
R is for recognizing my life in the “now”.
Not dwelling on future or past, takes know-how!
S is for style-of-life that feels good.
What is YOUR “if…” clause in the conditional “I would…”?
T is for treats, Canadian “Temptations”.
Cats can crave Canada when on vacation!
U is for Updates, my story of mistakes.
But my learnings become my souvenirs and keepsakes!
V is for Visa (OK, and Master Card), vin and vino.
Without my “V” words, I’d most definitely be Emo!
W’s for world, an ever-shrinking space.
With Internet and planes, home can be any place!
X is for Xmas, short form for Christmas.
“I’m coming home,” says Lauren! The best gift is “us”!
Y is for Yo, this trip’s all about Moi.
Free to discover and staying free from the law!
I can’t successfully end this poem with “Z”.
So, I’ll wish you the superlative of Merry, instead!

besos, bisous, kisses
carburetor
gasoline
lauren
dana
xox

Posted by hiitsdana 16.11.2008 06:58 Archived in France Comments (0)

CLUB MED…BEEN THERE…DONE THAT!october 11-31

CLUB MED…BEEN THERE…DONE THAT!

CLUB MED…BEEN THERE…DONE THAT!

October 11~31

~Carb has flatulence! What I mean is Carb has gas…but that’s confusing, given my cat’s names! Farting is just not normal for a cat. My diagnosis is, he either has worms or age! I’m pretty sure my flatulence is exclusively due to age!

~Gas has taken up gardening…I hope the neighbours are appreciating his newfound hobby!

~So, today was have-a-cold-shower day! I don’t know why…but now I have to call Le Gaz Company, and you know how I feel about using the telephone in a foreign language!

~France is a killer country when it comes to bureaucracy…even a lifetime of French experience doesn’t seem to clarify the systems to even the French! Although, if my memory serves me correctly…any institutional dealings in Canada take at least 2 attempts too! It’s just a little harder to interpret what’s NOT normal in another language and culture!

~Miracles DO happen! Sabine is my bilingual miracle! Sabine is my interpreter of this new-to-me world called France! She is the provider of assistance in acquiring a French bank account, RE-sorting out electricity and gas contracts, stimulating companionship, forcing my lazy brain to work more in French, new music-French music and REALLY good, expensive Espresso coffee! And she names stray roof-walking cats! Everyone living abroad needs a Sabine…but you can’t have mine!

~Sabine also lent me “un petit four”…a baby oven…basically an overgrown toaster oven which I am grateful for and anxious to experiment with! Might be eating turkey yet for Christmas!!!

~So now with a French bank account I can get the Internet!…only, not just quite yet. Sabine interpreted bank-account lady’s words as, you can’t deposit money into your account yet because this bank doesn’t have money! That was difficult to comprehend even in my own language! So now I have to wait till my new bankcard is delivered by mail, 15 days, which I’ll have to sign for…I smell potential writing material in that process!

~Week 2, 3, 4…of Volleyball were not quite as scary, confusing or brutal on the knees and feet! New sneakers, kneepads and an exact “X” on the map contributed to the facility! But here’s the catch to joining a club just to have a little fun and get a bit of exercise…I need a doctor’s note stating I’m fit to play! More rules! Thanks Ken in Canada, who’s not really MY doctor, but he’s SOMEBODY’S doctor, and a fellow Volleyball companion who knows me well enough to call me “Dirty Dana” and to know I’m not expected to drop dead mid-volley! Ken has agreed to write a note on behalf of my competent physical condition… although he says he cannot vouch for my mental status!

~With 2 additional pair of de-flared, de-holed altered pants, I now feel overwhelmed by my wardrobe selection! What used to take me seconds, now takes minutes to decide what to wear! But I think the Lauren-leftover cords will be forwarded back to Lauren…they’re soooooo low cut I suffer plumber’s crack even before bending over! Not a pretty sight!

~Speaking of aging…with age, my eyebrows have taken on a life of their own!

~I heard or read that Montpellier receives 300 days of sunshine per year! I haven’t been counting, but yup, I think that’s about right! Sunshine may be unhealthy for the skin…but it does miracles for the mind!

~I love running out of milk in a European country…you run to the cupboard instead of the store! Let’s hear it for sterilized UHT!

~I try to avoid shopping during those “grey hours” of the day…that transition time from Bonjour to Bonsoir…where the guy in line in front of you says Bonjour to the storekeeper who responds Bonjour…so you in turn also greet with a Bonjour and again the storekeeper responds Bonjour…then the lady behind you pulls out a Bonsoir which is responded to with a Bonsoir! So, like, did it switch over while I was waiting in line? And what if the switch was supposed to be me and I blew it? I like the one-word-all-day approach…hi! Just way less confusing, neither masculine or feminine, just 2 little neutral roman alphabet letters…acceptable 24/7!

~The only disadvantage of living in a ground-floor apartment, especially if your terrace is situated directly next to the building entrance door, is every resident has the privilege of viewing your morning bed-head and inspecting the colour and condition of your 8 pair of underwear you’ve been wearing for the past 15 months as they dry on the rack! I feel like my neighbours really know me!

~I have been informed by a reliable source…he’s French…that the French don’t actually really eat “escargots”! Someone ought to tell that to the world.

~Thanks Dave and Lynda for the stove-top dessert recipes…if I can find the ingredients or near facsimiles then I’m anxious to add a few calories to my waistline so I don’t have to use my toilet paper dispenser every time I wear my newly de-flared jeans!

~I hate when things evolve without my knowing it! Someone changed the rules of the French language between the time I studied it in High School and now! For all you young or new French learners take note: “Tu as…”, for example doesn’t exist …it’s “T’as…”! And the ne’s have completely disappeared! No one, except me, ever says “Je ne suis pas…”, it’s “Je suis pas…”! And it’s also true what they say…”You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”! What little conditioning I had of this language is embedded and difficult to erase!

~Did you know…
une canadienne, according to my 2nd best French friend, mon dictionnarie, is a tent, a fur-lined jacket or a canoe! Put a capital on it, and you got me!

~Another funny French finding:
~Font (on a computer menu) is Police…caught my attention!

~I finally met The Med! An exquisite, sunny autumn picnic on the “Champs-Élysées de la Mer” as Sabine named our white sand beach. I’m feeling comfortable in this new life now. Of course, it’s always the people who create the atmosphere of a place; they are what solidify your connection and determine your degree of comfort. Playing Mediterranean beach volleyball, comparing swear words and sharing food amongst French, Chilean, Armenian and Canadian folk on the 26th of October is my definition of comfort!

~In every corner of the world there are Sabine’s, Marc’s, Liliana’s, Bree’s, Thomas’, Anna’s and Phil’s…and I keep finding them!

~Sabine and Marc of Montpellier are like my Liliana of Jaca…including me into their lives and sharing the opportunities and people of their lives…and Bree and Thomas are like an Anna and Phil…my taste of similar heritage and language winding our ways in a foreign culture in a nice kind of way!

À plus tard l’alligator…wait, maybe, à plus tard le carard works better in French! Later duck…

Des embrassades (hugs and kisses)

dana, carb et essence xox

Posted by hiitsdana 02.11.2008 09:31 Archived in France Comments (0)

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