Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Only yesterday I was thinking that I hadn't done anything interesting lately. I wrote one of the most boring blog entries ever, because I couldn't think of anything you might like to hear about, but I wanted you to know that I am still alive.

I almost wasn't, today.

As I was crossing the road on my bike to get back home,

a car hit me.

I was hit by a car!!! A pickup truck, actually, hauling a trailer. I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw the truck coming closer and closer to me... I remembered to look at the driver's face, in his eyes, as my dad taught me--but he wasn't looking at me! I didn't have time to scream, and he hit my back wheel as he hit his brakes. The bike kind of jumped 2 feet away from the truck and I fell on my right leg. I didn't really understand what had happened to me, even though I heard two pedestrians shouting. After yelling at the driver a little bit, I actually got up and hopped on my bicycle again, ready to bike back home, but the chain had been jolted off of the gears and it wouldn't go. I was forced to walk it to my apartment. The driver of the truck apologized--"I'm really so so sorry, ma'am!"--and a good Samaritan double checked before the truck drove away.

When I got back to my apartment, I still hadn't figured out what had happened. I had to tell Jube that my bike was broken and that I was hit by a car for it to REALLY hit me. I kind of cried a little bit and had time to be glad I'd bought health insurance. I was also glad that my only injury was a little scrape on the ankle and some splinters in my hand.

To feel better, I went to get my hair trimmed at a nearby salon (I had a coupon). I am a little disappointed with the result, since she gave me kind of poofy hair. Jube told me, "I'm sure it will look better when you wash it," which means it's probably pretty bad. But since I had to leave my regular coiffeuse, Belle-maman, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything amazing.

To sum it up:

hit by a car + bad haircut = not an amazing day

But at work we had chocolate ice cream cake, so it wasn't a total bust.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mail Call!

Today Jube and I received some good mail. I got my W2 forms. That might not sound very exciting, but I haven't received any income tax refunds ever in my life--and for the last 2 years, Jube and I have had to PAY income tax*! So I'm going to file my taxes and hope for a tidy little check.

Jube got a notice from USCIS telling him that his green card application has been forwarded to a different place. That doesn't sound really awesome, I know, but it does mean that we have all of the correct forms and fees turned in and ready to go. According to his "connections" (i.e. an internet forum), the green card process will be accelerated this way. I'm glad to hear it! Let's hope for REALLY soon!

This weekend we didn't really do anything except clean the apartment. That's a pretty good accomplishment, though, considering that I hadn't completely unpacked my bag from Christmas vacation. On Friday night we went to the American-International Graduate Student Connection Dinner, which was really pretty awesome. We ate good food, met some new people, and enjoyed some ethnic dancing. Afterward we went to a nearby Mexican restaurant for drinks and dancing. Even Jube got in on the act!

And today it was back to work and school--and time to file my taxes!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Something Psychological...

Once, while enjoying an apĂ©ritif with Belle-maman, Beau-papa opened up a cabinet to get some more beer glasses. He chose two or three and took them into the kitchen. Belle-maman called after him, “Close the cabinet door!” Grumbling, he came back in to close it. Belle-maman turned to me and said, “He never closes doors. Never! He would leave all of the drawers open and the cabinets, too, if I weren’t there to remind him. It must be something psychological chez lui.”

Beau-papa gave me his patented “long-suffering” look, but agreed. C’est vrai, I always leave the doors open. Who knows why?”

I had never noticed it before that day, but Jube is very similar in the kitchen. If he puts away the dishes, he leaves the cabinets open, and I have to close them behind him. Maybe it is psychological.

But I do notice that I leave my dresser drawers open, and Jube never nags me to close them—so if it is psychological, I guess there are things we can learn to live with.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back In Norfolk

After the first week of classes, I was ready for a vacation--and luckily this weekend was 3-days thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Not only that, the weather has been gorgeous, sunny, 70s... it invited us outside! On Saturday we went to the mall in downtown Norfolk to take advantage of the post Holiday sales. Right next to the mall is a beautiful old house that is being renovated for a museum, the Moses Myer House. Since only about half of the rooms are totally finished, guided tours are free. Jube and I were the only people for our tour, so we got very personal attention to our questions. Here is a picture of the dining room in the Moses Myer House:

Moses Myer Dining Room

All of the furniture in this room is original to the Moses Myer family, so it's pretty old (from the American Federalist Period). I really enjoyed the tour, but it took a lot longer than we had expected. Afterwards we scoured the mall for good deals, and I had a green tea smoothie that was really tasty.

On Sunday, the weather was even nicer than on Saturday. After getting a late start to the day, Jube and I biked to the Virginia Zoo. I bought us a membership since it is only about 15 minutes by bike from our apartment. We really had a great time.


The African section of the Zoo is really well designed, with interesting vistas. For example, from the lion enclosure, you can see giraffes, elephants, and rhinos in the distance. You feel very close to the animals.

I'm glad that we were able to take advantage of such nice January weather, since it looks like it will be much colder this week.

Monday, January 08, 2007

First Week Back

We got back to Norfolk last Wednesday, because I volunteered to help with International Student Orientation. If I had known that I would have to be back before classes started, I might not have signed up (yes, I am a bad person). But I came and I had a really good time. My group of six students included five from India and one from Turkey--no chance to practice my French or Spanish! They were really nice and happy to have another graduate student show them around campus. We picked up free bus passes and had pizza all together. A Russian student complimented my English before he realized I was American. On Saturday we went downtown and had a scavenger hunt, walking all around town and getting to know Norfolk. I really liked it because I got to discover places I had never seen either. We finished by eating Indian food, my favorite!

Hanging out with international students really made me think about my years in France and my study abroad in Spain. I had a tough time meeting Spanish people when I lived in Valencia. In fact, my closest Spanish friend was met in France! In the past I blamed this on "French girls" or "Spanish people," not really thinking about how few international friends I had in the US. All of the international students I've met here at ODU are excited about meeting American students, and it made me realize how hard it will be for them to do. It's not that Americans are closed to foreigners--but it's a lot easier to make friends with people who have the same conception of the college environment. Most of the international students I met hadn't chosen to live in student housing, which is where I met most of my closest friends from college (yes, including Jube).

It made me think about myself abroad. While I wanted to meet Spanish people and French people, I didn't change my behavior to do so and stayed with what was comfortable--speaking English, going home early, and other cultural issues that were normal for me and my fellow American students but did not facilitate meeting the "natives." I'm going to try really hard this semester to keep in touch with the students I've met the past week, and if I ever live in France again I will put more emphasis on myself to meet French people. Instead of blaming other things (schoolwork, language), I will hold myself responsible. I'm kind of excited about it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dog Crazy

My family loves dogs. I love dogs too! Unfortunately Jube doesn't feel the same way about them that we do. Not only that, but he has had to sleep in the same house as 7 different dogs and 8 different cats throughout our vacation, from my mother's house (3 dogs) to my father's house (4 dogs) to Brooke's house (8 cats). If I'm very very lucky, maybe one day when we live in a place where we can have dogs, he will buy one for me.

I made this video of my mother's little bichon and she begged me to publish it. So I did! Poor Jube has been forced to watch this video about a thousand times, and he can't believe that it is now available for the entire world to enjoy. (I do hate my voice, though, especially in doggie-mode.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007


[I actually started writing this on January 1, but everyone knows how time flies...]

Phew! We had quite a busy New Year's Weekend! Jube and I flew into Columbus last Friday afternoon, and immediately went out to dinner with old Friends. Brooke very kindly hosted us at her house, where we were able to meet her fiance and play a very strange card game. BB drove up from Springfield and Jube's old buddy came over to eat dinner with us. We went out to a couple of bars on Columbus's High Street and went to bed late.

The next morning we woke up around 9 to get dressed in our wedding finery. Catherine and her husband Chuck picked us up and we drove down to Batesville, Indiana for our friend's wedding. We had an interesting time finding the church... Catherine's MapQuest itinerary told us to turn left on a small country road. The road was only paved for the first 100 feet or so, when it turned into a gravel path that dead-ended in a cornfield. We turned around and stopped at the only house on the road to ask for directions.

"We're actually looking for a wedding," we explained.

"Oh, you're looking for the church! Everyone makes that mistake."

We found the small church at the end of a winding rural road. Now, the bride's father and her father-in-law are both Lutheran pastors, and they both officiated at the wedding, so we enjoyed two sermons. The bride was quite moved by her vows; she repeated them quite low and very emotionally. She wiped her eyes and made it through the rest of the ceremony without fainting, as Jube thought she might.

The hotel was in Cincinnati, so we drove back after the hors d'oeuvres reception to check in. It was quite luxurious (and expensive!), but we shared with Catherine and Chuck so it wasn't too bad. The reception was held in Newport, Kentucky, making it the first tri-state wedding any of us had ever attended. We ate in an Irish pub in a private room. The food was very good--and copious!--so we were very full by the time we were finished.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the last two open hours of the swimming pool. Catherine and Chuck had remembered their bathing suits, but Jube and I hadn't, so I bought some cheap pajama sets for us to wear. Jube was unhappy with his shorts, which were black with pink stars on the left corner. I know it sounds pretty girly, but they were the most masculine I could find! (Mine had pink hearts across the derriere.)

Of course no outing can be complete without a tiny hitch, and ours came when Jube forgot our (my!) digital camera on the shuttle between the hotel and the reception. I freaked out and yelled at him, but we were able to get it back in about 10 minutes, since the shuttle was on a loop. No Frenchmen were harmed during the reception.

Sunday: We woke up late and left the hotel late. Jube and I had a flight that left Columbus at 7:30pm, so we made a quick lunch stop in Yellow Springs, visiting BB and some other friends at Ha Ha Pizza. Then we drove to the airport and checked in quickly. Everything looked to be going well--the flight was on time, all the passengers were waiting at the gate... when five minutes before boarding a flight attendant announced that they "had just been informed that we were missing a pilot." What?? How can you suddenly discover that the pilot isn't there? He explained that a pilot had called in sick, and we were waiting for another pilot who was flying a charter plane in from Atlanta, etc etc... We finally boarded the plane at 9:15pm and took off at 9:40. We didn't get back to my dad's house until 11:00, where we ate dinner really quickly and then rang in the new year by banging pots and pans as usual.