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
~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)
~a computer full of international music, email addresses and photos
~2 dictionaries with dog-eared pages
~really sad looking underwear
~a few new “experience” wrinkles
~a taste for Lyndt Pyrenees chocolates
~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
~the luxury of space…re country and house/apartment size
~water…especially the hot and soft kind
~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
~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!