Mon Anniversaire en France

Yesterday was my birthday! I am now an old lady (23).

My day started out a little boring; I had school from 8am until 4pm.  But no worries, I made sure to find a way to spice it up… In between classes my friends and I grabbed a table at a café and celebrated with a large beer!  YUM 🙂  And to top that off, the day was absolutely gorgeous! Sun shining & hothothot temperatures.

I need to stop posing with beers (re: previous post)

When I got home that afternoon I was just expecting to get some happy birthdays and a cake.  Like normal I expected to throw a dinner together and help with some homework.  But that was not at all the case.  I really am the most spoiled Au Pair alive because I had such a wonderfully unexpected celebration with the family.  A few weeks back I was asked what my favorite meal in France was. I answered Boudin Noir. Some of you might get grossed out by this but my favorite meal is a blood sausage! That’s right.  I was a little apprehensive the first time I ate it but it was actually delicious with Dijon mustard (of course) and mashed potatoes.  Anyways, its my fav and it was on last night’s birthday dinner menu (which I got to watch being made while sipping on champagne)!  This time we had it with warm apples which now I believe is the best way.  Dont hate until you try it…its delicious!

So we ate that, had some wine (duh) and Skyped my family back in the states.  Mid Skype session the cake was brought out accompanied by “the birthday song” and presents!  The best part was sharing cake and presents with my family back home.  I really have become such a Skype advocate since my arrival in France because of the cool memories it allows me to have and the proximity it gives me to my friends and family back home.  Living across the Atlantic is not half bad when you can see anyone you want at the drop of a hat (and free too).

So all in all it was a fantastic day and night!  I am thankful for my two great families, this great job, this great country and Skype heheh

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Vendredi Run Down

So it’s Friday and it was a GORGEOUS day today! Got to enjoy the weather while grabbing coffee (and a beer) in between classes.  Can you tell that I am on an Au Pair salary here? Cheese crackers and a beer…I choose to shop during the week and leave myself with 2 euro to spare come Friday. OopsI am tired and am about to chow down on some wonderful Friday night plancha (thinly cut meat cooked on a hot plate on the table) but I wanted to post a little something. So here are three things from my week, enjoy.

This is how we park in France. Or at least how I park when I am given a TRUCK to drive through Dijon…

This house/château is in the village next to mine.  I am in love with it and one day hope to live here (or in another castle like it).

When I wait for Célénie to finish music class in Nuits St George I sit at this fountain and read. Dont you just love her big tush?!

 

TGIF people 🙂

le premier jour du printemps: donc j’ai bu du vin!!

March 20: Frist Day of SPRING!!  I thought it would never come.  Winter is for sure long here in France, and even though we had a nice spring weather tease a week back, the past few days have been dreary and awful.  But amazingly for the premiere of spring lucky enough today the skies opened up and showed us some much enjoyed sunshine!

Perfect weather for a stroll in Nuits St George for the annual Ventes des Vins! Just like the event which I attended in Beaune, the hospice of Nuits St George produces wine that is sold each year during this festival.  The event which last Friday and Saturday begins with a 1/2 marathon run through the vineyards.  There is a parade on Sunday morning, wine tastings throughout the weekend and plenty of vendors to visit and carnival-like games to play.  Friday I went to the salon du chocolate where I tasted some chocolate and saw amazing displays of chocolaty talent!

Saturday I met up with some friends and did the wine tasting.  We received a nicely ingraved wine glass and were able to mingle with many of the viticulteurs/wine makers of the area. We also  made sure to enjoy the weather by just wandering around town.

Vide Grenier

Remember homeroom moms? You know, the moms who would plan the class parties in elementary school, would “man” the wrapping paper sales, come in to talk about the holidays, things like that.  I remember my mom putting together a Christmas presentation in 4th grade. I was a bit of a home body (I’ve made big leaps since then. i.e. living in a foreign country) and absolutely LOVED that my mom came in for the afternoon.  I also loved when my mom was chaperone for those class trips to Washington DC or Baltimore Aquarium. It meant I didn’t have to hold my lunch, duh! Before I get too off track here, my point in bringing up these moms is that I was totally a homeroom mom tonight! Célénie’s school is doing a flea market type thing and I have agreed to participate in the event with her and her brother.   She is lucky because there aren’t just homeroom moms at the school; there is a whole committee of parents who put on different events (one being a class trip for a week to the beach: sweet right?!)  So tonight I got to meet all these wonderful parents as there was “une réunion” (meeting).  We went with pen & paper in hand; ready to learn more about this yard sale.  Ends up the night is a work night and not very information based at all.  Creation of the promotional posters was the goal of the evening.   So as Célénie played in the courtyard with her friends (this was HER idea wasn’t it) I was with the parent crowd gluing promotional pages to large cardboard squares. All worth it when—and this is why I LOVE France—the bottle(s) of champagne were popped for the apéro.  Solid!  I could definitely get used to being a French “homeroom mom”

lights, camera, NO ACTION

It was all planned out. The bike race that goes from Paris to Nice was passing through Nuits St George at 17h.  I had to pick up one kid at the bus stop around 16:30, and the next at a friend’s house around 17:30.  I could drive into Nuits before going to the second and catch the bikers as they passed.

But plans never work.

First kid didnt want to go with me and parents weren’t home.  Always a plan B: go alone and just be a few minutes late for the getting the second (he likes to play at his friend’s house anyways).  Well, ends up I have to take a new route to the friend’s because there was a Franck Dubosc movie being filmed and roads were blocked (It was a beautiful day to film the countryside!)  Pretty cool reason if I do say so myself.  But this meant I would have to wait until later to go into Nuits and hope to catch the end of everything.

Welp by the time I got there I was walking in the opposite direction of everyone: very clear indication that things had ended already. Merde!

Bikers–but not the right ones 🙂

The trip that never should’ve happened

I had my first visitor from the US last week! It’s been 5 months since I have seen my friends and family so having Lori come out to visit was so exciting.   I felt like it was a scene out of a movie when she arrived by train into Dijon.  I was standing on the platform staring into the crowd, searching for the familiar face…then I saw it and I literally cried 🙂 Precious, I know!

So our first adventure together (Lori has never been to Europe so I wanted to see as much as possible) was a weekend in Switzerland.  Us along with my friends Orsi and Megan and two boys I didn’t know (don’t worry somebody knew them just not me) planned to spend the weekend in Genèva.  The boys had an apartment there (love when accommodations are taken care of!) and I planned to go with Orsi and Lori by car while Megan went with the boys.

The perfect plan was that I would take Louis-Auguste to music school in Dijon early on Saturday morning.  The school is right across the street from where my friend Orsi lives so I would pick her up after and we would leave from there.  It’s too bad nothing ever goes perfect for me…

It all hit the fan when I ungracefully got into a car accident Thursday evening.  With the radiator “shot” driving to Switzerland was out of the question.  After getting over the annoyance of the whole situation, me and Orsi put our brains together and decided that renting a car would be the best & cheapest option.  So the plan would remain the same except that I would drive back home after Dijon to drop off one car and leave with the rental we would pick up on Saturday AM.  Not too bad.

We pack up our petite Fiat 500 and hit the open road–better description would be very crowded road! So much traffic because the 2 week vacation was just beginning. But we had music, food, sunshine and things were fine…until we could no longer go above 60km/h–PROBLEM!  Long story short we stopped for an hour or more at a rest area because we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the car. Called all the possible people, nobody had an answer. Ended up calling a highway service company who came with a tow truck.  Told him there was no way we would tow the car away, we wanted to get on with our weekend getaway asap.  Because we were “charming girls” he told us to just take the side road where we wouldn’t be a danger if the problem continued (he also couldn’t tell us what was wrong with the car).  As we continued I decided to hit a weird button to see what would happen.  The word “city” comes up on the dash and all of a sudden we can accelerate! Why nobody could have told us about that I’ll never understand.  Still had no horsepower in the car (which made our trip super long both ways) but it was nice to know we wouldn’t have to go 60km/h the whole time–and that we weren’t going to be blowing up during the drive.

Sorry, that really wasnt a “long story short” explanation was it?!  I will list the rest of the mess below so that I dont get carried away with explanations like above:

1) GPS dies

2) Sleeping arrangements were a little more crammed than the boys led on…and we weren’t told about the changes until 5am.  Ended up sleeping 3 girls in a little futon and one girl on hard floor and two boys in beds?! So not ok.

3) walked home for an HOUR in rain…at 5am

4) expensive dinner of bad cheese fondu and gross “Switzerland” wine

5) for Megan: skiing was all booked and it rained on the slopes.  spent the day people watching at the lodge instead of skiing

6) didn’t get home to France until 11pm and went over the allotted KMs because of the amazing horsepower and lack of good directions.

BUT other than those things the trip was fun.  Did a lot of sightseeing on Sunday and found a sentimental family house for Orsi.  Didnt rain (too hard) so we could walk around AND we didn’t end up paying for the extra mileage (score!)

Once in Switzerland we had a good time.  Saw some sites, found a sentimental family house for my friend, ate fondu, had a night out on the town…  One thing to remember though, Switzerland is expensive, even if you dont buy a SWATCH.