all the world’s a stage

Talk about an awkward ele-vader encounter.

Talk about an awkward ele-vader encounter.

Although I like to tell myself that I am the soul of wit and easy repartee in English (constantly…validation is so comforting!), it’s becoming painfully obvious that I’m nowhere close in French. Generously, I’m about the level of awkward elevator dialogue: my conversational one-two punch is 1) the weather and 2) how’s it going..? – with the hope that the answer is a simple ‘fine’, or ‘ça va’ as, with nothing left in my verbal arsenal, my follow up usually reverts back to 1) the weather. Fortunately, I am somewhat less terrible at hearing and understanding French, more so in person than, for example, over the phone. I’ve made much more progress here, but I need to focus very hard to pick up on facial and vocal cues to understand the words and context. Were I to be less forgiving, I might admit that it probably looks suspiciously like staring. So: awkward elevator encounter with someone who says next to nothing and stares, probably stands too close, and that’s French me in a nutshell. (I’m a hoot. We should totally hang out some time.) …This is why I prefer to communicate via email. Read More

livin’ on the kedge

think I have a job. I’m mostly sure – I have an email in my inbox which seems to suggest I’ve been offered a stage, or internship. There’s still an interview to come, but it sounds like it’s more to confirm details than to ascertain whether I’m an axe murderer (I’m not, I promise….Although that’s exactly what an axe murderer would say… oh dear. Nobody tell the folks in Alsace about this.) There’s nothing to negotiate, really. All interns are paid the same – a minimum of €500 per month (roughly a month’s rent in Bordeaux) – and this particular offer includes lodging, so this is a pretty good deal. I’ll tell you more about it when I’m sure that I have this stage. Read More

to bio or not to bio: that is the question

Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night can stay these Bordelaises about their fashion.

Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night can stay these Bordelaises about their fashion.

I’m starting to notice that there is no correlation between Bordelais fashion and climate. Remember that photo from swelter-y August when I first arrived? Apparently I missed the memo informing of the local uniform, as the skinny jeans and sockless ballet flats are still in evidence as the temperature approaches freezing. Perhaps it’s the steady diet of wine, coffee and cigarettes which has some impact of internal body temperature regulation? Whatever it is, I’m definitely doing it wrong.

Here I am, rocking my three sweaters layered on top of each other (I rotate the one on the outside each day so it’s not obvious I only have the three), plus my fall jacket because I stubbornly refuse to buy a new jacket better suited to the wind and rain.  I tried, really, I did. There are massive sales on in Bordeaux right now, but after the week of wine-econometrics, I can’t help but see even lowered pricing as a clever ploy to pry every last consumer dollar out of my pocket. There were options, of course; I could have purchased a raincoat for €30, but I didn’t love it, you know?

Things are moving on the housing front. I’ve located a one-bedroom apartment, and there is enough paperwork in play now to make me think that a rental contract is not too far away. All being well, moving date should be in two weeks. Fingers continue to be crossed. Read More

raindrops keep falling on my bread

If the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, then surely the snow in Bordeaux blows slowly with the…? Nope. We’re as rain-drenched as the Pygmalionic plains, fortunately something I planned for, returning from Canada with a brand new (the Bay) umbrella and proper rainboots. I’m grateful for the unusually pleasant weather we had in Toronto, as back in Bordeaux, most days are short and wet, so sightings of the sun are few and far between.

Memories of the holidays keep me warm and dry: a bowling game with rules that nobody knows, someone plots to steal the camera, our own personal Scrooge doesn't want to be disturbed from his morning paper. A rare moment where no one is making faces at the Toronto Brickworks, and a 1920s themed New Year's Eve in London. (Thanks John and Cat #1 for your pictures!)

Memories of the holidays keep me warm and dry: a bowling game with rules that nobody knows, someone plots to steal the camera, and our own personal Scrooge doesn’t want to be disturbed from his morning paper. A rare moment when no one is making faces at the Toronto Brickworks, and a 1920s themed New Year’s Eve in London. (Thanks John and Cat #1 for your pictures!)

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