Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

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C’est Bizarre

One word that appears to be used a lot in France is “bizarre”. Said in about the same way as in the US, you understand it immediately. In language class, it is used by our professor for every irregular verb conjugations (there are many) and idioms (even more). Then, as kiddo mentioned, there’s a weirdo on the metro at least once a day that is making policy statements or acting super psycho and people shrug and say “c’est bizarre” after the guy (they’re all guys so far) gets off.

Just now, Kiddo and I are sitting in our living room while some handyman is fixing our phone that lets guests call from downstairs to say they are here. Apparently the phone has been unworkable for some time but because the apartment was vacant for 15 years.  Because we’re here, it is getting fixed. No problem. Except …je parle juste un peu français. Ya know. Hubster (who speaks better French) is in England for work. So a little bit of well parsed words, some pantomime and shrugging of shoulders and whatever… he gets started. Then he gets a call. And he proceeds to pace up and down our little hall while holding an extremely loud conversation. I wish I understood French so I could at least eavesdrop. (Good reason to learn French.) But anyways, he is drilling away in the wall, without any forewarning because of course (bien sur) the language gap…. as I try to think a thought and all I can think is how bizarre this scene is…

It’s the word of the week.

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Weird Guys

Sometimes when we get on a metro we see these “Weird Guys”. They play some music and then walk around expecting you to pay them, or they run around saying random stuff until you pay them to stop. Those weird guys!

(This is a presentation of the weird guys)


Crazy Guy

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Writing “En Français”

I was required to write a small essay in french for emersion class, and this is what I came up with. I didn’t finish, but I find it cool.

  My Notes  

For people who want to read this, I have transcribed it here:

Bonjour, Je m’appelle Andrew. Je déteste le poisson, mais J’adore écrire de histoires. Mon père aime les échecs et I’l cuisiner avec Ma Mère. Ma Mère adore écouter de la musique. Elle est super. Ma sœur, Julie, a un fils. I’l s’appelle Lincoln. Lincoln adore faire de football et –

and that’s where I ran out of time.

If you need help translating, click the second “the” in this sentence.


So, How’s It Going?

Starting the week, my personal commitment was, ‘I will only eat one croissant a week.’ Then, “have just a few croissants a week.” But that, too, turned out to be too much restraint. There is no self-discipline I can muster strong enough to withstand the amazing local croissants and baguettes just a block away. Plus, kiddo has become enthusiastic about going and getting what he calls “the happiness”. Paris is going to work out FINE, people. Caloric, yes. But, also, fine.


It took a bit to “get settled”. We rented a fully furnished apartment. So I thought settling in would involve the complex act of … unpacking bags, and BOOM, done. But we kept figuring out things we needed… from umbrellas, to hangers. Now that seems inconsequential, yes? But as we went (again, and again…. and again) to the markets to find stuff, I got crazy tired of this move. (like whiny, complaining, irritated kind of crazy tired.) At some point it seemed ludicrous because we’ve been doing this nonstop for about 6 months and I thought we were done, already.  We stood in front of the dishwashing soap section of Monoprix trying to figure out something. Curt knew the translation for the word salt–> sel. When you don’t know the language, figuring this stuff out is like studying hieroglyphics. When you see three letters in a row that make the word, you get so excited. Whoohoo. But there were no boxes marked dishwashing Sel. But some boxes had sel as part of their description so I then figured out it must be called something else. Like an informal word or something. So, 20 minutes later, we figured it out. But OMG. This turns every errand of 20 items into a mind-boggling, 2 hour-long, and sometimes herculean task. (Have I complained enough???!! Okay, let’s move on…). The boys got me to go for a walk just to remind me … that, you know…We Now Live in Paris. Sooo… GET OVER IT. (which, by the way, worked).


Recommendations of this week:

–       To drink: A Manhattan scotch blend that is ridiculously good. Found at LMDW. Seriously. If you come to Paris, go here. Tell Stanislaus that Nilofer sent you. You can thank me later. And you will.

–       To do: Kiddo fell in love with chess all over again. He is whomp*ing*ly good. If you are into chess, go meet up with the “old” guys in Luxembourg Gardens.

–       Plan: Bastille Day in Paris (July 14th) is a crazy-amazing celebration. They turn buildings into flags and stuff. Come one day. In every neighborhood, you are invited to go to the local firehouse for “open house”, to dance the night away.

–       To eat: La Cremerie (9 Rue des 4 Vents, 75006 Paris). Bistro that serves ! 10 dishes and matches wines to what you eat. I had the duck and OH my my.

–       To read: In the NYT, there was a great OpEd on value of learning language. Kiddo and I just did four days of class. More on that next week. But the bottom line is “je nes comprende pas” now rolls off my tongue. 😉