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Thursday, September 30, 2010

and so the construction begins...

This week we have re-started our construction on the apartment...

It's been a bit stressful since F is on a business trip and M was sick this week. But we are almost to the end of the week and F will be home tomorrow!

The electricians are laying the power lines for the rest of the apartment (except for the kitchen - that will be last). And they will be installing our radiators (next week...freezing in here...can't wait!). The floors are dusty with plaster debris...I just can't stand it but no use in really scrubbing since they are not finished (but I will hit it hard tomorrow - so we can enjoy clean floors for the weekend).

Then Monday the contractors will begin work on our smallest bedroom (which will be M's new bedroom when it is complete). Hopefully the construction will only take a few weeks - up to 3 weeks. M's room will become our temporary room. And we will use our large master bedroom as the living room until we are ready to do the next phase of construction.

It is hard to have M here when the electrician is in and out of rooms. Lucky M's room is complete and we can chill in there.

It is also COLD here and RAINY (today - yesterday was a pretty good day - We went to the Zoo).

Other than that I am in class 3 days a week/3 hours a day (plus the commute - so total 5 hours away 3 days a week...very tiresome). But I have met a few nice people...who don't speak English (well I don't think they do - since they are from Spanish/Arabic speaking countries). So French is what we have in common...even though my French is not very good and I ask them to repeat themselves A LOT somehow we understand each other ;-) My Professor is an older man (maybe 60's) he is very sarcastic and funny. He makes the class and learning fun. I feel more confident as I am understanding almost everything that is going on. But I really hate grammar still...haha!

until next time....

Friday, September 24, 2010

my creation!

Well here it first piece of jewelry!!!!

I made this from Silver Clay...I molded the clay, decorated it, dried it, filed it, fired it (well the owner did this part), polished it and then voila my very first piece of ART!

Now since I have finished the silver clay class at La Petite Manufacture I can now work on my own by the hour in studio time. La Petite Manufacture is such a great concept and I am so glad it is just around the corner!

I have a few ideas of things I would like to make next...can't wait!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

did you know...

did you know....

That French Milk and Eggs are not REFRIGERATED?!?

There is "frais" (fresh) milk meaning it requires alert when buying (well in person it is a no brainer...the fresh milk will be in the refrigerated section of the store)...but I buy my normal grocery items online and I bought 10 liters of "FRAIS" Milk by accident. Oopsss...but no problem since M goes through milk fast!

The non-refrigerated milk is ultra-pasteurized and sealed into special containers either plastic or box. It is really convenient with a baby/toddler since when we are on the go we can just take a 50ml bottle and hit the road.

With the eggs...there is NO difference! US eggs can be left out of the fridge also. I read that refrigerating them only extends the shelf live for 1 week. And the French, British and many other countries do it and don't get sick. I was always taught the eggs have to go in the fridge to avoid them going bad. Guess that is wrong! Also supposedly if you leave them out the molecules breakdown and bring out more flavor in the eggs. But be careful they could get really it depends on your taste.

These 2 did you knows....are prb new to everyone in the US huh?!? I never knew until I lived here (i.e. meaning I did not notice when I was a tourist or even in my in-laws home).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

did you know...

Did you know...

There are so many US/British TV Shows/Movies being aired in France...not just dubbed in French...nope they are in Original Version or Multilingual Version!

Yes you can watch Grey's Anatomy, Mad Men, Entourage, Desperate Housewives, The Mentalist, CSI, Modern Family, Friends and many more in English!!!!!!!!!!

Not every channel offers VO or VM versions a lot of shows/movies are only dubbed in French.

F says 10 years ago French TV was not like this...could you imagine watching Friends without the "Chandler" or "Ross" voices...or without Joey saying "How you doinnn?"?!?!?

Monday, September 20, 2010

jewelry making class!

On Saturday we found an Arts & Crafts "Atelier" (workshop) around the corner from our apartment!

I have been looking for a place to learn how to make jewelry and other Arts & Crafts.

At La Petite Manufacture you can either take scheduled classes with an instructor (all materials included) or pay for studio time (use of tools and non media materials included).

Classes they offer this month are:

Clay Modeling - Sculptures
Glass Fusing
Enameling on Copper
Painting Pottery
Glass Etching
Creating Jewelry out of Silver Clay
Creating Jewelry out of Leather
Intro to Drawing
Intro to Photography

I am going to take the Jewelry Making Class out of Silver Clay on Wednesday afternoon! So excited!!!!!!!!!!!!

They speak English too!

I will post pics of my creation and let you all know how it goes!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

french classes

I have started my French Classes...

Friday I went to the Alliance Francaise (a French Language School that teaches French to students all over the world) register and take my placement test. I think AF's placement test is pretty hard btw. You have 30 mins but it could easily take 2 hours. I am not quick on my feet nor am I good at reading and comprehending in French yet. Which is the majority part of their test.

I tested somewhere in between A2 (advanced beginner/or beginning intermediate) and B1 (intermediate) and my counselor let me choose which level I would like to take. I decided to take the harder/intermediate level. Well after 2 days I feel that I need to go down 1 level and do a review. It has been 2 years since I have taken a formal French Course.

I can understand almost everything someone says to me (i.e. when F's parents speak to me, when shopping, when I was at all of my immigration appointments, at M's doctor's appointments)...BUT being able to speak easily/freely is the most important thing to me! I need to be able to express myself in French and to conjugate my verbs properly.

I am also soooooo shy in French...

Living here has shown me that I have a shy side...I find myself sticking to what I know (i.e. not trying new things). This is NOT the French Gov't wants. So taking these classes allows me to break out of my shell a bit while learning the language.

I'll keep writing on my progress...but right now I feel disappointed and discouraged. I can's just how a 5 year old would speak haha! But I'm sure just one day the light will turn on ;-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

le weekend dernier

We went to F's parents campground (they go every weekend when there is mild weather) which is near Chantilly, France. It was a great place next to a public forest, an Abbey and Chantilly (which has a Chateau)! We just had lunch (French lunches take all afternoon btw) and walked through the forest. The trail is very flat that we can go biking here when M is a little bigger. Maybe he will learn to ride his bike here! Next time we plan to visit the Abbey and Chantilly. I forgot my camera or I would have taken pictures of the wild Blackberries we picked and ate ;-)

Here is a pic of a sunflower we umhummmm borrowed ;-0

Sunday was spent in Versailles with some good friends. They live just walking distance from the Chateau. We had a wonderful lunch/conversation and took a tour of the Chateaux Gardens. It was a great day - the weather was a bit gray and the leaves were already falling!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

did you know...

did you know...

That there are strikes today with all the labor unions. Trains/Metros/Buses (which I like...because there is less noise on my street btw!) and other unions are striking today to protest the retirement age being increased from 60 years old to 62 years old. The trains/metros and buses are still operating but at 30% or so.

This is actually the 2 time in 2.5 months that there has been a Metro strike while I have been here.

On one hand it is annoying for every one...but on the other hand I see their point. Especially for those who are 59 years old right now. Can you imagine you have been working your required 40 years and you are up for retirement this year...and boom they change it for another 2 more years (there prb is some kind of exclusion for these people...but even if you were 5 years from retirement and then after this law passes it is 7 years...what a bummer!).

Anywho that is what is going on France today...oh and it is cold and cloudy today (yesterday and prb the rest of the week boooo!). Looks like fall is nipping at our toes...better put some socks on ;-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

bois de vincennes cont...

We went back to Bois de Vincennes for a picnic and playtime in the park for M.

It was also our (M & I's) first ride on the metro alone with the stroller.  We only rode our line all the way to the park (no changes).  There weren't too many stairs to take (and yes that means there is NO ELEVATOR).

I just carried him down/up in his stroller bags and all!

The metro agents let me go through the handicapped access (after swiping my ticket through the normal ticket thingy).  I would have fit through both of these metro entrances/exits (some though are so small I would like a weight challenged person would have trouble - to be politically correct ;-)

Anywho...we had no troubles at all.  But it was 11:30am and 2:30pm and the metro was dead (also it was August = Vacances for most Parisians).  But I am confident I can maneuver just fine if needed.

F met us for lunch in the park.  As you can see M loved the cheese!
BTW playground is awesome...for older kids.  They had about 3 or 4 play areas for the different ages.  Pics are just from the little ones area...

I think they might have had a zip line too!  I could see it over the hedges but it started to rain...I will verify and take more pics next visit.