Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Lesson: Gender!

Jube recently volunteered to teach a community education course at a nearby school: Introduction to French Culture and Language. He was in for a bit of a shock when he read the course description...

"If you want to learn about France and its language, what better person to learn from than Jube? She is a native of France, educated at Universite Montpellier III in the south of France, and she has worked at several middle and high schools in France as an English teacher. Her informative course will cover beginning French for travelers/tourists, a discussion of contemporary French culture, and analysis of French stereotypes."

"One of my coworkers pointed it out to me," he said. "I guess the first thing I do will be to make sure they know I'm the teacher! Actually, maybe I could get you to teach the class... they'll never know the difference!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Over the river and through the woods...

We're off! It's more like "over the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and North on 17," but we're going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. The past few weeks have been pretty intense, so a little holiday will be great.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Le Pacha just called to talk to me about visiting the US next summer.

Le Pacha: "I'll be on vacation, and I'll bring my friend Manou! I told him that he could see some hot girls in the States."

Me: "Oh really!"

Le Pacha: "Yeah, that's right! Everyone thinks that the girls in the US are fat because they eat at McDonald's all the time. But there are skinny girls, for sure!"

Me: "And you tell your friends?"

Le Pacha: "Yeah, I tell all of them, 'Open your eyes, guys! [
Détrompez-vous!] I went to America and there are definitely skinny girls there!' I show them pictures, and they all say, 'Well, they must not eat at MacDo.' I even tell them about your brother's girlfriend, that she's vegan or vegetarian, I don't know which, but that she definitely doesn't eat there."

Me: "You know she isn't vegan anymore, she eats cheese and eggs."

Le Pacha: "That must be because she visited France and tried all the good cheese!"

Me: "Yeah, that must be it. And what do you say about your
belle-soeur, do you say she's fat because she eats at MacDo?"

Le Pacha: "No, you're skinny! But I can't tell my friends that you're hot, you're my sister now!"

Me: "Okay. You can come visit us in the US."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was our first anniversary. We weren't planning on celebrating on the real day, because I had to prepare a big presentation for class. But when I got home, Jube needed to go out and get some supplies for work that he'd forgotten before, so we made a night of it and went to the Indian restaurant. Our waiter was very nice, although I think he was embarrassed to talk to women, so he addressed all of his conversation to Jube. Unfortunately Jube finds it quite difficult to understand Indian accents, and he kept trying to direct our waiter's attention toward me.

We had already gone out to eat for our anniversary on Friday night. We headed to The Monastery restaurant in downtown Norfolk. It is a very nice place with an Eastern European theme. I had duck with sauerkraut while Jube had the entrecot de boeuf grille aux champignons - the waitress said that he was the first person to pronounce it correctly.

The part of the meal that I was most excited about was our appetizer - raclette! It wasn't real raclette, since the cheese was pre-melted for us and came out as a puddle on the plate, but it tasted very authentic.

And that was how we celebrated our first year of marriage!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lunch Party!

A couple of weeks ago, while watching The Office, I was surprised by one of the jokes. The officemates had created a banner that was supposed to read, "Launch Party!" Instead, Phyllis messed it up and printed out a banner that said, "Lunch Party!"

It was a cute joke, but it reminded me of my junior year in high school when my friends and I would put together our own Lunch Party! every Friday. It operated on basic potluck principles, with everyone bringing a dish and sharing. I usually brought the drinks, 2-liter plastic bottles of pop. I even bought plastic champagne glasses from a party supply store. I'd bring them to the Lunch Party! and rinse them out afterwards, keeping them in my locker for the next Friday.

One of my friends was the editor of the school paper and wrote an article about Lunch Party! (forever immortalizing the silly exclamation point). Another one of my friends painted a posterboard that said "Lunch Party!" and hid it behind the pop machine in the cafeteria. I think it lasted for a couple of weeks before one of the custodians threw it away.

I hadn't thought about Lunch Party! in years. High school might not have been the best four years of my life (as promised in my class's valedictorian speech), but I had a good time with good friends.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

12 Hours in London

This Christmas Jube and I will be heading back to France to visit with la belle-famille. It took us the better part of a month to find an acceptably-priced plane ticket. Unfortunately it leaves us with a 12 hour layover in London and some of the worst ever arrival and departure times. And we have to switch airports during the layover. Added to that - we're flying into Marseille instead of Montpellier, so Beau-Papa will have to drive about an hour and a half to the airport to pick us up. I wonder if it was worth saving $400...

The only good thing about having such a long layover is that it will give Jube and me the chance to visit London together. I've been there twice before, and he has been there once, so we'll be able to take touristy pictures in front of the Houses of Parliament, ride the London Eye, have tea at the Orangery and be able to say, "We visited London!" Of course, the $400 we saved on our tickets will probably all be spent during our time in England.

I've been having a good time planning our "trip." I learned the importance of planning these things out during our trip to Vienna in 2005. We were visiting one of my friends who was teaching in Austria, and that was about all the planning I'd done. We managed to do lots of fun stuff - touring the Hapsburg palace, the cathedral catacombs, checking out Schonbrunn, and even watching the Lipizzaner stallions practice. We also had a huge fight that almost ruined our trip when my friend and I lost Jube; we didn't eat at any nice restaurants because neither of us had any idea where to find one; and we didn't even visit the art gallery that I discovered later was full of Klimt.

Our 12 hours in London will be really great with all the planning I've put into them. Now we just have to hope that we won't be too jetlagged to enjoy them...