Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The Christmas frenzy has come and gone at my parents' house. We all exchanged gifts yesterday and for the most part everyone was happy (I think). My mother received an electric fireplace, which we opened first. My stepfather had tried to raise the fire frenzy by putting the "yule log" on television. She was disappointed to begin with, because she had wanted a gas fireplace, but she's warming up to it now.

Jube and I received joint gifts: tons and tons of tools. We now have every kind of screwdriver, Allen key, monkey wrench, or pliers you could want. Now we just have to figure out how to use them... My little brothers received more fun stuff, like iPods, winter jackets, and Lego sets. I did receive some less-useful gifts, but I don't really mind the tools as much as I thought I would. I figured out that we were getting them about two days before Christmas when I saw a saw-shaped gift. Both of my brothers had already received tools. I guess my stepfather was just waiting until I got married to be able to give me such a masculine gift.

After a Christmas dinner of Cornish game hens, we drove out to my father's house. Unfortunately the gift we ordered for him still hasn't arrived, so he hasn't received a gift yet. Someday, someday! Today we ate lunch at Red Lobster with my grandmother, who ate an entire lobster tail. We were all pretty impressed.

Now I'm making plans for my friend's wedding in Indiana. We will be flying to Ohio on Friday and spending the night in Columbus at my friend Brooke's house. Then on Saturday we'll drive out to Indiana for the wedding--and by Sunday we'll be back in Maryland at Dad's house for New Year's Eve! I'll try to post more about the wedding as it comes up. It should be fun!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Vacation

After my last message, I decided to push myself a little bit and actually do something besides relaxing. A few days ago I bought cream cheese and peppermint extract, and yesterday I made peppermint cheesecake brownies. They are very tasty indeed and I have to keep myself from eating too many of them!

Yesterday I also got the chance to practice my Spanish. My mother works with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and yesterday she went on a home visit to one of their houses. Little Fani's parents don't speak much English, which makes for an interesting problem for her and my mother. At school and with my mother, her speech therapist, Fani speaks English, but at home she is surrounded by Spanish. Since she couldn't hear until age four, when she had an operation and received hearing aids, she is already behind other children in language development. My mother thinks that, added to this delay, she is also experiencing language confusion by learning three languages at once (English, Spanish, and American Sign Language). But when I met her yesterday, she didn't seem to be doing so poorly! She could say "Where is..." and "Donde esta...", and play little listening-comprehension games. It really made me think about how lucky I was. Even if I can't always pronounce French correctly, I can
hear the difference between the words. Little Fani has problems hearing the difference between "kite" and "nine."

I was embarrassed to hear how my Spanish has declined since learning French. I couldn't remember simple words if they weren't similar to French--I even forgot how to say "Christmas" which everyone knows if they listen to Feliz Navidad! But I think that Fani's mother was happy that someone could explain even a very little bit to her.

Today we are headed into town to go to a store called "Chocolatier." They are giving out free homemade chocolates and giving a discount on prices! We might also play a little bit of Scrabble, since today is my mother's last day at work and can stay up a little bit later. Now I think I might go get a brownie...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Home for the Holidays

Having finished all of my papers and finals by last Thursday, Jube and I caught a ride with Willie and were at my parents' house by 6pm the same day. I know I said I would write more often once I finished all of my schoolwork, but accessing the computer is a little bit more difficult here.

Since Thursday, Jube and I have gone Christmas shopping, made Indian food, and been to the town Christmas party where I stuffed myself on homemade chocolate covered toffee. Nothing much has happened. We bought Christmas cards and mailed them to Jube's family in France. I played with the dogs.

Maybe the reason I don't update much during the holidays (I've checked my past posts as well) is that I don't do very much. Sorry.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Anything But That!

For the moment, Jube can't work. Sometimes that is annoying (like when I get another bill from my student loans), but I think he's enjoying his life of leisure. When I leave in the morning, he is usually still in bed, either sleeping or on the laptop. When I come home in the afternoon, he might be making lunch--or he might be playing either the guitar or the Dreamcast. He enjoys watching the morning talk shows, too.

He's a pretty laid-back kind of guy. A few years ago I asked him what was annoying about me, and he was quiet for awhile. Finally he said, "There's only one thing I can think of that really annoys me. It's that when you make lunch, sometimes you don't think about making lunch for me, too*."

I think this is a big cultural difference between America and France. His family always ate together, at a set time, and they all ate the same thing. I appreciated it when I was in France. My family, on the other hand, didn't always eat together. On Sundays we always ate the same thing, but during the week we all did different things, and so would eat at different times. For lunch on Saturday, I usually made myself a sandwich or some pasta, and everyone else made themselves something. When we go back to my family's house for holidays, the same patterns hold, except now I know to make Jube something at the same time as myself.

This morning we woke up late and I poured myself a bowl of cereal. "What am I supposed to do?" he asked me. "Now we won't be able to eat until four o'clock because you won't be hungry!"

"Come on, Jube," I said, "we never eat until late anyway."

He gave me a dirty look and said, "I'm going to have to call Dr. Phil so we can have a talk about this."

*This is either really laid back, or really diplomatic, because I have lots of other annoying habits.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Heart ODU

ODU students are very proud of their alma mater. They name their most precious possessions after it:


Awww! I'm sure ODU was a really cute puppy!


Get outta here man or ODU's gonna blow you away!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


So what have I been up to lately? Mainly finishing the semester, working, and getting all the documents together for Jube's green card. I'm afraid I haven't done anything interesting or fun, although if you want advice about fiance visas and/or adjustment of status, feel free to email me and I'll help as much as I can.

If I haven't done anything interesting lately, then why am I writing here? Good question! Well, tonight I took a break from paper-writing (that's scheduled for tomorrow--1pm-11:59pm) and went to see Anthem Live! James Blake v. Andre Agassi!

Agassi's Serve
(There's Andre's serve!)

Boy do I love tennis! The affair started when I was a freshman in college. I had free access to the university gym (the HPER Center, which we pronounced "hyper center") where I began to play racquetball pretty frequently. I've never been a very athletic person. I played softball during the summers in elementary school for fun; I've always known how to swim well (thanks, Water Babies!), but I've never been able to do it fast or competitively. My extra-curricular activities in high school were marching band, pep band, theater, and In the Know. I still don't know why I started playing racquetball, but I ended up loving it. It also turned into a way to flirt with Jube, since he also likes racquet sports and would sometimes play with me.

Since I liked racquetball, I figured I'd like tennis too. As one of my required PE classes in college, I took Tennis 1, which was pretty enjoyable.

And Then....

Then, in France, I discovered the joy that is watching the French Open. I love the commentators--their unabashed impartiality and enjoyment of the game--I love the atmosphere on the courts. (No, I've never been, but I can feel it.) I made Beau-Papa laugh by imitating the French fans: "Alleeeeeeeez!" In 2004 I had to watch Roland Garros in the US. I recently discovered a never-sent letter to ESPN complaining about their tennis commentators. They didn't seem to be watching the game!

Enough about me and tennis! I went to Anthem Live!, which is a charity match which raised money for cancer research. It was really fun, with a relaxed atmosphere and lots of fans. It was my first live tennis match, and it was great. Agassi and Blake took their match to two sets and a tiebreak. Blake finally won, but the crowd favorite was (of course!) Andre. Here is a shot of Blake dealing with his tough serve:

Blake Returns

And now I'm off to bed to prepare myself for intense paper-writing tomorrow.

PS: I almost forgot to mention! Jube and I really really wanted to be French and shout "Alleeeeeeeez!" like we heard on France 3... but we were pretty embarrassed. After I heard an old lady shout "Come home with me tonight, Andre!", I realized I had nothing to worry about. So I shouted "alleeeeeeeeeeez!" Jube couldn't be seen as less courageous as his wife, so later on he shouted it too. I think we're ready for Roland Garros now!