A Travellerspoint blog




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 09:31 Archived in France

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