Sunday, September 16, 2012
I finally figured something out that has been bothering me. It seemed like almost every time a French person would ask me my name, I would receive a very quizzical look when I answered. They would often ask me again, I would answer and then spell it out – “double vé, a, i grec”. Then a look of understanding would pass across their faces and they would say “ah, way.” Geez, isn’t that what I said? I know my French isn’t perfect, but I know how to say my name.
The answer finally dawned on me the other day. It actually wasn’t my horrible French accent. The issue is that the French have different dialects in different areas, and we weren’t hearing the same thing. While we have learned that the correct way to say “yes” in French is “oui”, the pronunciation of that word varies. I was taught that the pronunciation was like “whee”. But in Paris, the South of France, and other areas, they pronounce “oui” like “whey”. Do you see the problem? They ask me my name, I reply “way”, they hear me saying “yes” and they wait for me to say more. Pretty funny. Now that I’ve figured it out, I’m quick to add the spelling immediately after I say my name – saves lots of confusion on all parts!
Will give more info on my great solo vacation away later – here are a couple of parting shots in anticpation…
Monday, September 3, 2012
Paris is all abuzz with la rentrée – the return of everyone from vacation and back to school. We started school a week ahead of the French schools, so that gave us time to adjust. Not looking forward to the return of traffic, but I am looking forward to the return of my favorite local bakeries and restaurants. It’s amazing how Paris empties out in August. We were away for most of it, but could still sense the quieter, calmer scene when we returned.
We had a great time in California this summer. I can’t believe we were there for 1 month. That seemed like such a long time when we first planned our trip, but man did it fly by. Before we left, we had 4 sets of friends visit us here in France - starting in May and ending in July. We had a great time with everyone and hope they had fun also. We headed to the US a couple of days after our last visitors left, going first to visit my family in Pasadena. I miss my family so much while I’m in France, it was just so great to see them. We also lucked out with amazing weather for our whole trip – it was sunny and warm without being too hot.
My dad, Barbara, my oldest friend Mary, me and my sister
Always gotta go to Houston's in Pasadena for the best ribs!
Favorite family pastime: Mexican Train and Bailey's!
After a great time in Pasadena, we went to stay at Hermosa Beach for a week enjoying some SoCal beach time. It was incredibly beautiful. We splurged for a house right on the Strand, and we just loved seeing the ocean through all our windows. Big sandy, empty (!) beaches and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean with plenty of dolphins – I never wanted to leave. I still feel in my heart that I’m meant to live at the beach somewhere. Some day…
Hermosa Beach view out my bedroom window
Wet burrito and Racer 5 = heaven!
Beautiful sunset seen while sitting on our front porch area
Thank goodness the ice cream man came by so I could indulge in my favorite - Sno Cone!
The girls stuck with Bomb Pops - another fave
Can never get too much time playing in the sand
Next on the agenda was to take Rach & Claire to sleep-away camp in Santa Cruz. We spent 1 night in Santa Cruz, dropped them at camp and then Sean & I headed to Burlingame. From there Sean went off to Japan on a business trip, and I stayed with friends. While S was in Japan that week, I took the chance to get up to Sonoma County with friends for some relaxation and tasting of delicious California wines. Yes, I do enjoy French wines, but I also really love my California wines! I wish I could have brought a bunch of bottles back to France with me, but we managed to drink all the ones I bought before we headed back!
None of my shots turned out but it was fun going over the Golden Gate Bridge again
The peaceful beauty of Sonoma
Sean was able to get a little time off work so we spent another week in Burlingame seeing friends, running errands, eating foods we’ve missed and shopping. Getting in the last bits of California before we had to head back to France. It was amazing to us how easy everything is in California – you forget after being here in France for a while. Laundry only takes 1 ½ hours! How is that possible? Stores are open every day, often all night long. Service people are eager to help you. We could get spice in our food! :-)
New haircuts all around
Yes, burgers and sweet potato fries are on our list of things we miss!
It was sad to say goodbye once again to our family and friends, but it was time to head back to our French lives. We came back 1 week before school started to make sure we had time to get over our jet lag and adjust beforehand. The girls were also eager to see their friends, find out their classes – as was I. It was almost like starting over here again – this time being here at the beginning of the school year! I’ve got more volunteer work with the school this year, so will be kept very busy. I’ve already had so much fun with my friends here in France, that I do think this will be a better year. If we had to do it all over again, I don’t think I would have moved mid-year. I think I would have sucked it up & waited until this fall. But c’est la vie – what’s done is done. La rentrée is also like New Year’s Eve – a time to start anew. We are doing our best to embrace our life here as we recognize how fortunate we are to have this opportunity. We will still miss home and all our friends and family, but our lives here can be pretty darn amazing. Time to enjoy la vie à la française!
Back in Paris with friends from school