Monday, November 30, 2009

Sanksgeeveeng etc.

On Saturday I had my first taste of Thanksgiving, courtesy of my American flatmates. What a production! I can't believe they voluntarily do this so close to Christmas... Especially if it involves flying home from all over the States etc. But anyway, a day themed entirely around eating and drinking is okay by me! It took me all morning to track down the ingredients for my contribution - raspberry and marscapone tarts (recipe courtesy of Dad). Turns out the French apparently don't believe in tinned or frozen fruit at all, and I had to go to two different supermarkets (including the freakishly large, blood-pressure-raising Carrefour) to find ready-made pastry shells. It ended up costing me a hideous 20 euros for my ingredients, which made 8 large tarts and 12 bite-sized ones, and then only the small ones ended up getting eaten, so I could have made half as many... Anyway... I'm of the fond belief that this was owing to the abundance of food, not because the tarts were no good. I liked them at any rate. There were 10 of us to dinner, mostly Americans and me and two Brits. Most of the food was pretty good - no dreaded pumpkin pie! I did try the sweet potato casserole, against my better judgement, and I'm sorry but it was absolutely hideous. It was so sweet that it made my teeth ache - and it was a main course dish! The turkey and stuffing were delish, however, and there were some yummy sides like mashed potato and stuffed courgettes, and my colleague Ibi made a lovely apple crumble as well. We're still working our way through the leftovers, which doesn't include the 10 empty wine bottles accrued by the end of the evening!

Have been reflecting on my working life and come to the realisation that, other than the two observation weeks which don't really count, I've yet to do all 12 hours in any given week. One class I've only seen once, which is a bit of a pain, because they never tell me they're not coming so I just have to sit there for a decent amount of time before I dismiss my class of one. So yeah, no complaints still on the teaching front.

It rained today and yesterday, probably about the 5th and 6th or so days of rain since I've been here - not bad for 2 months. However, it simply cannot seem to rain without thundering, and it's the loudest and longest thunder you've ever heard. Usually starts with a very loud crack and then rumbles on for 30-odd seconds, and always at night. It always puts me in mind of storms on the Med and Turner-esque seascapes... So it's not always beau on the Cote d'Azur, but mostly...

Cannot believe that it's December tomorrow - nearly my birthday and 2010! Tomorrow I'm planning to do an exercise with my kids: 'the best of the decade', since such lists seem to be popping up in every newspaper, blog post etc. I find it VERY hard to believe that it's 10 years since the millenium. In the year 2000 I was 17, in my final year of school... in the decade since I've gained 3 university degrees, travelled overseas 4 times, to Europe 3 times (and to Canada and Australia), lived in Auckland, Wellington, London, Prague, Moscow, north-East France, Chamonix and Nice, had probably a dozen different jobs, broken up with my boyfriend of 6 years, learned and (mostly) forgotten Russian, partied a lot, and made lots of new friends. So yeah, an eventful decade!

Here's my list for my best of exercise. If anyone would like to chip in with theirs in the comments, feel free:

1) Best band: Kings of Leon
2) Best actor/actress: I can't think of anyone, so if you have suggestions, please put them on the back of a postcard to me by tomorrow :)
3) Best film: No country for old men was the only one I could think of. Not very good at remembering films.
4) TV show: The League of Gentlemen. Classic surreal insane Britcom.
5) Most influential person: Gotta be George W. Bush. Love him or hate him (hopefully hate him) he definitely had an impact.
6) Most historic event: 9/11 is the one "I'll always remember where I was when I heard..." moment of the past decade that I can think of
7) Best product: I heart my iPod!
8) Hottest celeb: This is another hard one... I might go with Wentworth Miller, the cute one on Prison Break.
9) Best song: The only 00s song to get 5 stars on my iPod is All These Things That I've Done by The Killers. Epic rock
10) Best book: Again, I drew a bit of a blank, but for the moment, I have fond memories of The Crimson Petal and the White, a contemporary re-imagining of the epic Victorian novel, starring a London prostitute... For those of you who live in my house, it's on my bookshelves and recommended for long plane journeys!

Okay must run, they've asked me to come in specially this afternoon to help build up a sound archive of native speakers talking about stuff. Blech!!!


  1. oooohhhh I'm so excited about hunting down that book as soon as I get home! (Very cunning - this way, you get me to BRING IT TO YOU SO YOU CAN READ IT AGAIN! Mum x

  2. Ha ha it's a long 'un though. But yeah, it's good - style of a Victorian novel but like "the other side of life" they didn't talk about at the time. I would like some magazines bringing though. Everyone keeps (well not so much anymore) asking if I brought any authentic NZ materials with me. Er, sorry, no!

  3. Oh - I've got Listeners in the recycle bags which I'll get out and bring! (Good job I missed the last collection.)

  4. Best football team - the reds.

  5. Happy Birthday
    D XX

  6. Happy Birthday! Lots of love and best wishes for a lovely day. M xxxx

  7. Watch out next time you are in the park!!

    France was in mourning today for one of its oldest and best-loved lotharios, a giant tortoise named Kiki, who died at the age of 146.

    Staff at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris announced that its veteran resident had succumbed last week to an infection.

    They paid tribute to the zoo's "doyen", whose distinctive personality and "demonstrative lovemaking" had made him a favourite with the French public.

    "We are rather upset to have lost Kiki. He had been here for such a long time …that we had kind of thought of him as eternal," said Michel Saint Jalme, the deputy director of the Ménagerie. "He had a kind of charisma … a certain personality."

    Kiki, who arrived in the French capital as an exotic newcomer from the Seychelles in 1923, when his species was on the brink of extinction, was never slow to use that charisma to full effect.

    According to Marie-Claude Bomsel, a vet at the zoo, he was so vigorous in his pursuit of female tortoises that his grunts could be heard from the other end of the zoo and the Jardin des Plantes.

    "To be honest, from time to time I even saw him go after a wheelbarrow. You see what we were dealing with," Bomsel told French radio. "That was one of his characteristics. We all loved him."


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