Monday, August 12, 2013

Post the Last

After a summer spent with the new in-laws on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France, my new husband and I are in the throws of preparing for an international move. After 3 years in France, I'm finally packing up and saying good bye as we prepare for a one-way flight to Portland on the 19th. "A" will be working on a vineyard in the Willamette valley and I shall be feathering a new nest somewhere within the city, basking in the ease of being surrounded by English, burritos, and price tags written in the same currency as my bank account. So, with my love affair with France coming to an end in a mere 7 days, I figured IFFTP deserved some closing words. 

I've ardently loved this blog and the ability to put my adventure, which started as a chronicle of a single and somewhat sex crazed swinger in a foreign city and ended as some startling steps into adulthood, into words.I regretted the anonymous nature getting a little lose and my parents and husband discovering it, which of course lead to censorship and long hiatuses, but those of you who stuck around from my lonely Paris wanderings through my heartbreaks and on to my eventual departure made it worth the while. 

Browsing through the posts from year one I'm left with a surprising but pleasant discovery that I did manage to learn something, and the most I can hope for having started this blog is that some readers shared that with me along the way. The first thing is to never underestimate the value of cashing in on your courage- especially on something that may seem small or at the time, not worth it. I was terrified to come to France alone, even for a short time. It would have been so easy to back out and wouldn't have seemed like a great loss. But, here I am three years later still abroad, with an unexpected graduate's degree and a new family. All those motivational pamphlets and speakers and cheesy commercials saying "take the plunge!" -They're right.

The second thing is never take your plans too seriously. Miss a train, let your miles expire, make changes and sacrifices when everyone tells you it's a bad idea. Mistakes are just another kind of path to the same peak. Your old plan can wait, or change, or just get scrapped all together. I abandoned everything, (apartment, long term relationship, university,) and 6 months after I thought I was completely lost, I saw my future husband across a crowded room and was suddenly found.  

Everywhere in the world there is someone waiting to meet you.  I'm so glad to find this to be true. If anything, that lesson was worth each and every challenge. 

Au revoir la France - and to anyone out there considering doing something out of the ordinary, go get em, and write a terrific blog. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Wedding

The long version of the wedding story:

As some of you may remember, this wedding was planned to be absolutely underwhelming. The original idea was just to sign the papers - but, as weddings often do, sentimentality was stirred in several hearts and before we knew it, our guest list had grown a bit. A's parents drove up with his sister and her boyfriend, my dad flew from Hawaii, our friends, the newly-wed French and American showed up for moral support, and good-ole Jonas, who'll you'll remember from the Turbulent Harry Saga, showed up with tears in his eyes and pleased as punch that he'd been there on the night that A and I had met. 

It was a little nerve racking because we had no idea what to expect. We'd never gotten a briefing on where to stand, what to say, etc. The parents got dressed in their hotel, A and I put on our suit and dress together in our apartment, (his mom also bought me a GORGEOUS bouquet of white and green carnations and pink roses,) and we all wandered over to the city hall. (The Palais de Duc, here in Dijon.) We followed signs to the "marriage waiting room." I had heard rumors that in France, instead of saying "I do," you say, "oui, je le veux." I wasn't sure about this though and I was getting nervous for the moment when I'd be asked. 

There was obviously a big marriage ahead of us as we could hear them clapping and cheering, and it took them a while to file out of the room. Eventually we were called in, the family were seated, and A and I stood before the mairie, where we were read a long missive about the laws of matrimony in France. It got a little tedious, though my heart was racing and I was clutching my bouquet with nervous white knuckles. Finally I was being addressed and I knew I was supposed to say something. I sort of mumbled, "oui.." and then tentatively  "j-je le veux." "We can't hear you!" The mairie insisted. "OUI!" I shouted then, more or less terrified. Before I knew it A had done the same, we'd kissed, cheered, and then were busy signing the papers. I tried to invent a new, more elegant signature for the moment, but mostly defiled our marriage document with a scribble. 

Then we exited out the back where our friends threw rice at us and the heavens threw.. hail at us. -But no problem, honestly, I was surprisingly overcome with joy. So was everybody, seemingly, and we laughed and kissed and smiled and took a whole bunch of photos and, before we had realized it was happening, our "fake," "no frills" marriage had become the real thing.  

We drank champagne back in our apartment and went out for dinner in the evening. It felt amazing to finally have gotten over the hump and passed from girlfriend to wife. I thought it would feel old and strange, I thought it would feel old and strange all the way up to the moment I was standing in the city hall clutching my bouquet, but as soon the words were said and the deed was done, there was only elation, and a whole lot of gratitude.  

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time my face has ever appeared on IFFTP

Monday, June 3, 2013

May 25th 2013, I Got Married.

Well, on May 25th I got married. I'm deeply in love, happy, and all around moved by the occasion, but I do feel a bit like I'm standing in front of a dark window trying to see out. The skepticism about love and relationships I've cultivated all my life in order to be a practical and realistic adult some day, (an absurd notion, I know) has me trained to feel that a marriage between two people so young is bound to.. deflate. I sort of doubt my husband and I know each other half as well as we've even come to know ourselves, which is probably not at all. Are we even people yet in our twenties? There's no question we both have a lot of growing to do, and it seems reasonable that we will outgrow one another. 

I think a lot of people expect their wedding to be one of the "happiest days of their life" and plan on it to such an extant that all the expectation washes over the love and sincerity of the occasion and all they get are a bunch of plates covered in cake crumbs and scads of posed photographs. (Not to mention a huge wedding tab.) It's interesting: A and I had such little expectation, and such a small ceremony, I think both of us were surprised by how happy we were. Several times since then I've thought it was one of the happiest days of my life. Who knew?

Here in France they say, "marriage pleveuse, marriage heureuse." A rainy marriage is a happy marriage. Well, on the day we got hitched, it rained, hailed, thundered, and blue sky and perfect sunshine appeared sporadically throughout. It was bizarre. Does anyone know the appropriate proverb? As everyone keeps telling me- everybody goes into this sort of thing the same way: knowing nothing, but hoping for the best. In other words, while we have a lot of growing to do, I may as well count on us growing into our relationship, rather than us growing out of it. 


..and, yes, before anyone blows a gasket, there will be photos and details to follow

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Frenzied Five

Busy busy busy. If wedding planning for a throbbing, frenzied guest count of 5 is this much work I shudder to think what a ceremony of any "normal" size might be. Housing the parents, choosing/booking the wine bar, hair appointment, mini wedding dress, the future mother-in-law has now talked me into a mini wedding bouquet, (for those interested I'm going with green and white carnations,) - not to mention travel documents, international paperwork, uh... city hall parking permit? Geez.  Dijon also has a requirement that all weddings, no matter how small and lacking in hullabaloo, are published in Le Bon, the silly local news paper. So that as well requires effort and attention. Oh lets not forget, translations, international prenuptial agreements, and lots, and I mean lots, of visa related paperwork.  Those of you doing the real thing, you have my sympathy.

In other news my dad arrives undoubtedly bewildered in Paris tomorrow morning, having come all the way from the Hawaiian islands. Im going up first light the day after via train to meet him and take him around for a day. I managed to get him a hotel up there and another on our little street here in Dijon. 

I still have a heated bar fight I'm itching to recount to the online community, featuring my intended in the streets vers 4am with blood on his fist all because I got my hair pulled in a club - but that's a story for the next post. -not fit for wedding banter. 

a bientot!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Discount Waxing is Not a Good Idea

Today I learned that finding a salon which advertises a brazilian wax for 15 euros isn't always a find worth celebrating. Now, sitting delicately on the couch of my future parents-in-law's apartment, I'm slowly coming to mental terms with having lost at least as much skin as hair and how I'm going to face the next weeks of life with a butchered bush. 

The waxing took place on the top floor of an eclectic old world building where I was met by an INSANE frizzy haired gypsy French woman who lead me into a room divided by a standing screen. On one side she was apparently in the middle of doing another woman's nails. The other side had a table for waxing. She told me to take of my pants while she returned to her nail painting. I stood feeling nervous for a bit and then called, "..should I cover myself with something.. er??" 

"No no!" She called back, already back in idle chat with her other customer. Things were already looking a bit sketchy, but I did as she said. Next to me and on the other side of the screen, she tells the girl to "wait ten minutes." Then, coming to my side and without even so much as washing her hands or donning a pair of gloves, she attacks. She doesn't even bother tie her hair up and I watch, rather startled, as strands of it get caught up in the wax she's spreading haphazardly on me. She exclaims that I have thin skin and I look down (against my better judgement) to discover that I'm bleeding in several places and looking like a diseased desert animal with the mange. I resist the urge to face palm. She finishes up, sprinkles me with talcum powder, and again without washing her hands, goes back to working on the other woman's nails. 

My lesson learned is that cheaper doesn't always mean better. ouch ouch ouch

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Great Dress Drama

Welp. So much for avoiding shameless shopping. The dress that I posted about a week ago arrived, was too big and more brown than cream, so I returned it and bought an open back from ASOS; too modern, not so flattering to the figure, and returned it as well. I've since GONE INSANE  trying to find the prefect little white dress for a spring civil union with cocktails apres, and I'm driving my postal service, credit card company, and boyfriend insane. Do any of these speak to any of you??

Cream, Lace Back Bodycon From French Connection

White, strapless with bow back from PromMagics

Lace Open Back Dress From Lipsy


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Red Tape of Love and Marriage

Getting married in France is, well, fricken' complicated. My birth certificate arrived from the land of aloha-style, (aka three weeks late in all directions,) and A and I faced the challenge of getting it translated IMMEDIATELY so that we could dash in the city hall and reserve a date. (Everything is happening in high speed, I remind you, so that we can submit his green card application ASAP.) The only official translator we could find in Dijon was expensive, old, unfriendly, and clearly insane. 

On the day it was supposed to be ready for pickup, I rented a street bike and ventured far and away in the freezing rain to find her hermit-like dwelling. When I buzzed, her wrinkled face appeared peering around a lace white curtain in a window above me. She had tapped on the glass to get my attention. She looked suspicious, so I waved. She disappeared for a moment, then opened the door to demand what I wanted. I said I was there for the birth certificate. She responded with a blank expression. "..The translation? For the birth certificate from Hawaii?" I added meekly.

Finally, signs of recognition. "-I told you after 10am!" 

"...It's 11..?" I offered delicately. She sized me up a few more moments before allowing me in to sit beside a giant, stuffed elephant to wait for my documents.

Couldn't dash away from there fast enough. Then, meeting A at the city hall with our hundred-page dossier, we are told that our attestations of residence, a bank statement for me and an insurance statement from A, were no good. Too old and they don't accept bank statements. We run home and scrounge up a phone bill for me and and a newer insurance statement for A. Then back to the city hall, where we hold hands in the seats across the desk from the mairie, panting. -She tells us they don't take phone bills either and points out that there were two addreses on A's insurance - one ours and one his parents - (which was "confusing,") so no good. We're told to go the office of electricity in town and get one there with both our names. We gather up our dossier once again and run across town to find that the office is closed uniquely that day for re-decorating. Awesome!

At that point we were out of ideas and returned to the city hall defeated. We ended having to photocopy every piece of identify in existence for A so that I could return the next day without him after going back to the electricity office and getting an appropriate attestation. Far from a walk in the park, this business! Luckily, I got it done this morning and we now have an official date: the 25th of May. (-Three weeks after the date we wanted, but beggars can't be choosers.) 

The one enjoyable part of the whole effort was putting a heart on the calendar.  That part felt good. 

(Dijon's city hall) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Dad, Overcome with Sentimentality, Plans to Cross Two Oceans to Attend a Civil Union

When dad first heard I was having a semi-secret civil marriage in mere weeks, I heard from the family that he more or less retreated into a few days of mumbling and non-communication. Word on the family grape vine was that he was "sulking;" -expected, maybe, of any daddy when he hears the news second and it's that his youngest kid is tying the knot. But, as is the usual pattern with my dad, what is first rebutted usually resolves into agreement with time, and, a few days after the news broke the headlines, daddy called waxing poetic about who would give his daughter away at the ceremony- "out alone into the open seas, no longer under the watchful eye of her father?" 

For some context, daddy's a gruff old naval captain from the times of yore, a sea dog, so the ocean-themed sentiments were all very touching and.. salty. 

Day before yesterday I received an ominous one sentence email saying that I was going to meet daddy in Paris, "9:45 in mrn on 2nd." Initially I was filled with terror. How was I going to get up there and fetch him? How was I going to guide him through the airports and onto the metro if he tries to go into the city without me? Where will we put him up? How long is he staying? What will A's parents think? How will they communicate?? 

That said, like my dad, what was first met with rebuttal has since metled into acceptance. The above questions remain unanswered and he's been very secret and vague about his travel plans, but all n' all I'm glad he's coming. It will be hilarious watching A's parents try to communicate with him, in a few words of English and daddy's few words of comically self assured island-French which he picked up in the 70's in Tahiti with a crew of vulgar sea dogs. :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Successful Sublimation in Greece

They say it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. But, now that I'm wallowing in the pain of separation, I have (undoubtedly as many before me) come to doubt that statement. Now that I have known Greek food in its native land, the pain of returning to the country of cream and butter bland-ness, (yes, that is my assessment of French food after three years here,) is almost unbearable

Coming from the land of meat in abundance and veggies far and few between, I found myself in a haven of vegetarian dishes, all cooked with an astounding medley of flavorful Mediterranean produce. We visited the morning farmer's market in Chania, (pronounced "hhhhania,") and bought raki, honey, mountain teas, a mouth watering assortment of veggies, and some excellent herbed goat and sausages. I had a traditional spanikopita for breakfast almost each morning. Holy crap, the ones in the states can't hold a candle to the ones you'll find in Greece. Oh and the yogurt and cheese! herbed pita breads and fresh, minty sauces.  Heavenly! 

Needless to say I had a wonderful, tremendous, time. I was so sad to leave and to have booked the adventure for so few days. Beth and Perry, my old middle-school teachers I was visiting, were an engaging, silly, adventurous and optimistic couple. They spoiled me with my own studio with a view of the sea in a eclectically dirty, colorful, friendly, and cat filled part of the old town. We cooked and sang and drank raki and munched olives and visited a new and titillating archeological site each day, including Knossos and Aptera. I dug up old pottery at a dig site and danced on Zorba's beach at Stavros. It truly fed my soul. 

It was so good I almost managed not to notice the photos and videos arriving on the facebook Oenopiades of students drinking, dancing, partying, puking, pasing out, and even a video of A, the boyfriend and fiance in question, crowd surfing. -On a bus. Seriously. But the sublimating, all in all, was a success. 

I returned home laden with raki, herbal teas, and nostalgia.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Going to Crete to Sublimate

Tomorrow I once again board a train to Paris, (hopefully more successfully this time) to catch a plane at Charles de Gaulle to take me to Athens. I'll stay the night there in an airport hotel, (assuming I find a bus or a taxi or something) and fly to the island of Crete the next morning. I'm doing this partially because I love to travel and my spiritual hero is Zorba the Greek, and partially because I need to get as far away from the dreaded Oenopiades as possible. The Oenopiades, happening this year in Bordeaux, is a crazy camp out that all the wine students in France participate in each year. It's three nights and 4 days of drinking, partying, puking, helicoptering, fornicating, and oh yes, the one academic redeeming factor: networking! 

Despite trying to think of it as a bachelor party or something, the thought of all that alcohol, rowdiness, and substantial number of young ladies both inebriated and undulating is enough to make me sea sick. So, the decision was made that I SHOULD NOT be at home pining and seething, but distracting myself with raki, olives, and Minoan ruins.

The unexpected opportunity arrived out of the blue with an email from some of my middle school teachers back in Hawaii; a couple who were and are somewhat radical, progressive, and.. innovative. I remember spending a whole school day which Mr. W had deemed "savage day" mostly naked in the brambles and underbrush, battling with other student tribes and fighting over scraps of beef jerky. Mr. W thought it was an important lesson on human nature in the wild. 

Needless to say, the two didn't last long in the western education system, and have spent the last 8 years or so traveling the wilds of Africa and, now, the warm islands of Greece. They sent me an email asking if I wanted to visit. It fell on the Oenopiades weekend, so I probably shocked them with an instant and enthusiastic "YES!!"

So, A and I both head out tomorrow, me at noon and he at 7 for an all night bus ride to the South West of France. What shall become of us? Only time will tell! (Though I strongly suspect a hangover is likely.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

If I'm Gonna Have a Tiny Wedding it's Gonna be a Tiny Hit

Yesterday I found my mini wedding dress for my impending mini wedding. Paired with an updo and some pearls I think it will do perfectly. -So perfectly, in fact, I think I'll probably wear it at the real ceremony in several years. Plus, $60 is a nice price tag for wedding attire. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Mechanics of Decision Making and the Joy of "Yes"

I realize I never gave much insight into the lengthy and somewhat painful decision making process that came with deciding to get married. I went through the most absurd and, I have to say, surprising phase of fear, uncertainty, and all around cold feet. Before the concept of suddenly getting married had arose, I was fairly preoccupied with the idea of marriage and convinced I wanted A to be my family. But, once the real decision was put on the table and I was given a week to pick a side, all of that confidence fell off me like snow evacuating a rugged mountain peak in a brisk avalanche. 

The string of stinging questions: Will I never have romance again? Is he the right one? What about butterflies? Crushes? The thrill of meeting someone new and the electricity of new attraction? Is he the right one? Is he really, really the right one????

Close friends and colleagues were concerned that if I were plagued by these questions I probably shouldn't go through with it. Their doubt only intensified my own, and on several occasions I was firmly convinced the answer would be "no." 

In retrospect it's hard for me to wrap my head around this, because in the decision making after math, the storm subsided and  warm elation took its place. When I was agonizing and going back and forth, I even asked A while we were having a drink in a wine bar on the beach, (seriously,) "aren't you concerned about never having another girlfriend..?" He matter-of-factly shrugged and said "no." -without a moment's hesitation. I was impressed, but still churning with an internal ocean of turbulence.

Now, in the weeks after "yes," everything has calmed. Like when the wizard comes into the room after Mickey had caused the big flood with all the bewitched brooms in Fantasia- he just waves his hands and all the rushing water subsides. I'm confident and happy. Now that I'm no longer stressing over the decision, I think I can actually see the reality of the situation: I'm in love! And, geez, I'm happy! And even more surprising and elating, I don't give a damn about crushes and electric attraction. I've had plenty of that and none of it compares to the real thing. The real joy of being with someone who speaks to you on much more than a superficial level. 

We're not doing it the conventional way, sure, or even the most glamorous or romantic. But it's the right way- and it feels so good to know it. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

The French Twenty Fifth

Yesterday, astoundingly, was my third birthday since moving to France. Incidentally it was the best one thus far and not so surprisingly my oldest yet- 25. I'm officially half way through my twenties and there's definitely a shift of consciousness that comes along with it. The pre-25 20 birthdays were all very fresh, sexy, and dangerous. This one feels significantly more serious. 

I treated myself to a bike ride to the Parc de la Colombière where I visited the spring baby goats. So tiny! The size of cats and springing and jumping like popcorn. Little French kids were reaching their hands through the fence and feeding them bread and leaves.  In the evening, A took me out to a pretty extravagant dinner of six courses: escargot, tartar de beouf, echine de chouchon with heavenly mushrooms de Paris, a ridiculously rich cheese platter, avocado and citron sorbet, followed by a perfect port wine with a terimisu. Not to mention several to-die-for wines. Poor A, I clearly saw him break a sweat when the bill arrived. Luckily I was too tipsy and happy to feel guilty. My birthday present: a calcedoine ring. It's beautiful and it fits.  

Anyone who has been following this blog from its beginnings will know that this birthday is a vast improvement to the lonely lamentable situation of my first birthday abroad.(Entrapped with B in his messy, monk tower apartment questioning the decisions of my life- followed by dinner with some seriously unpleasant company which I payed for.) Ahhh. It's so true what the say about needing the bad to appreciate the good, though. Had I never suffered a birthday with B, or five years of mediocre relationship with K, for that matter, I'm not sure I'd know how good my situation is now. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paris Perturbé

OH. MY. GOD. If anyone had ever suffered a more miserable day trip to Paris I  would be very surprised. Of course I was mildly excited, I love Paris, (who doesn't) and was looking forward to lunch someplace romantic on a pleasant spring day + getting my marriage paperwork + scenic train ride home with little to no complications.

Well. Ominously just before I arrive at the train station here in Dijon, I get a puzzling text from SNCF telling me that circulation is "fortement perturbé," and that I can exchange or cancel my ticket at the service desk. But, I've just arrived, I'm a bit late, and see on the information boards that my train is at the quai, à l'heure, and ready to leave. So I figure the SNCF people have gone insane and I jump on moments before the doors close and the train starts rolling. 

I text A to tell him how silly the SNCF people are and sit back happily.

As the train moves North, the warm sunlight of Spring turns from pleasant, to gray, to snow blizzard. Before I know it the train is stopped on the tracks in a sea of white, where we sit for the next two hours. I miss my embassy appointment and learn from the chatter around me that the Gare de Lyon is completely blocked by snow, no one is getting in or out, and I start fearing for how I'm going to get home in the evening. I havent eaten and I start thinking I might die. Also, I'm not dressed for snow. 

The train finally arrives in blizarding Paris at 2:30 in the afternoon, two and a half hours after my appointment. (I tried calling the embassy on the train but the operator kept disconnecting me or sending me to an answering machine.) I run down into the metro and catch the subway to rue Rivoli, just beside the gardens at the Louvre. I pop back up into the freezing snow blizzard and see the hazy, gray form of the Eiffel Tower peering through the white and for a moment feel a little burst of butterflies in my heart: I can never see that tower without remembering how in love I am with the city. The moment is short lived however, as I shield my eyes from the snow and skid across the slushy, busy intersections to the embassy. 

I get there and only one guichet is left open. I take a number and wait. After 20 minutes, the person abandons their post and I'm seemingly left alone in the American Embassy. A janitor eventually approaches me and asks what I'm doing. I tell him about my appointment and he tells me that everyone in notarial services is gone and that I'll have to come back another day. I muster my most miserable, helpless little girl face and tell him I don't live near Paris and can't come back. It seems to work and he takes pity on me and gets on the phone. Thank goodness, someone was still there for me and they met with me at one of the desks. Straight away they asked me if I had cash. I said no. Then they proceeded to tell me that they couldn't give me my marriage documents because the cashier had left and I couldn't pay with a credit card. I give her my miserable look I used earlier on the janitor. Again she takes pity on me and produces a map of the area. She draws a little path on it to an ATM, and tells me to hurry, because everyone was trying to leave.

Back out into the snow blizzard. I'll remind you here that I had bronchitis, was wearing spring clothes, and was running through a freezing wet blanket of white in a complete panic. Long story short, after stopping and asking several people in the streets,  I found the ATM, got back to the embassy in time, and got my paper work. By now it was time for my train home, so I turned on my heels and dashed directly back to the train station.. where all the trains were still delayed or canceled. Snow was falling in the station and I was freezing and still hadn't eaten. I took shelter in an expensive station cafe and made a hot chocolate last for the rest of the evening until finally, a train heading south appeared on the info board. I got home at 8 feeling victimized. Dieu merci, A had made me a bath and a cocktail. 

Sitting in the hot tub and sipping my drink, I thought, at least I'm marrying the right guy. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Come What May

The annual wine gala was on the 2nd of March and I went despite being under the weather. I just couldn't handle missing the occasion to wear the dress, the shoes, the updo, etc. and leave A on his own for a raucous night of drinking. I SHOULD have, because I'm still hacking and coughing and suffering the slow pain of bronchitis and walking pneumonia. That'll teach me. I spent most of the night with my head down on the table feeling angry with A for drinking himself into a stupor. 

ANYWAY, as most events tend to produce, I have a slew of classy, happy looking photos which misrepresent the evening ENTIRELY. 

The day of the big decision was the day after and, facing swelling tonsils and a hungover boyfriend, (surprisingly) I decided the marriage was a go. (It took a lot of convincing though, that day and the next, trying to drown out the image of him singing and yelling on the bus home at 5am while I suffered in a little germy ball against the window.) 

So we're getting married. We're going to set the date in May. Alban has told his parents and I've told mine, which for both of us was sort of the officiating move. Tomorrow I'm catching a train to Paris to pick up some documents I'll need at the American embassy. 

I went with a girlfriend to city hall to pick up the dossier  several days ago and we were mistaken for a couple trying to have a gay wedding. A cheery, American couple trying to have a gay wedding. The woman at the desk told me very seriously it might be complicated and my friend and I both looked confused until we figured out what was going on. Never underestimate the danger of doing anything oficial in your second language. 


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Juice and Smoothies

Despite the sweat inducing decision making going on in the apartment this week, I've been managing to divert a great deal of energy on health and healthy eating. This is an enormous challenge in France, one that I managed in The States, but am only now managing to grasp in non-veggie friendly Europe.

The two big steps to succes is that I've embraced juicing and blending. Several weeks ago I bought a juicer and followed it quickly by a blender.  Since then, by days have been going more or less like this:


I've done a lot of reading about how liquids are the best choice for the morning. They kick start your stomach's engine and your metabolism after the night and are considerably easier to digest than solids. So! I start with green tea, followed by a juice: usually carrot, beet, ginger, lemon, a chunk of cucumber, and a few greens: either spinach or a romain heart. 

The result is very aesthetic and oh so good for you. Be careful with this though, get too creative with your juices and you'll end up with something that tastes pretty terrible, so stick to  recipes until you get the hang of it. 


Since this meal interjects the more active part of the day, (usually,) I cut loose and allow myself something more substantial. Yesterday it was baked sweet potato topped with my vegetarian chocolate chilly. Oooo so tasty.

This is where things get really exciting: healthy smoothie time! Starting with a salad, (often chopped endive, walnuts and raisins,)  I finish off my my night with either a green smoothie or a "chaco-cado" smoothy: (banana, avocado, cacao powder, almond milk, maple syrup, and a handful of spinach.) 

I'd been dying to try this recipe since in the past weeks I've become an avid follow of The Detoxinista, and it was.. interesting, but not nearly as tasty as she lead me to believe it would be. But! On the bright side, I drank a whole avocado and an extra serving of leafy greens! My skin, hair, and morning flat tummy thanked me. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Say "Yes."

Marriage. All those times I've whined and complained about wanting to get hitched. Now, grace of a series of events which I shall summarize below, I have until SUNDAY, as in, March 3, 2013, to decide if I'm going to legally marry my boyfriend or not, and I'm cripplingly conflicted.

Over the past two years, our relationship has been plagued by international paperwork obstacles: I have to pay high taxes on my visitors visa and have never managed to get the right to work. Now, that A, (formerly TMI,) and I have decided to move to the United States' west coast in september to work on our respective fields, (winemaking and art dealing,) the issue of "how are we going to be legal" has again wedged itself into our relationship to jeopardize our plans and career and even threaten to tear us apart, for good. 

Coincidentally, there is another couple our age here in Dijon going through THE EXACT SAME SITUATION. I met the girl on expat forums and, like me, she moved here on a touristic visa to live with her french honey. They've also decided to move to The States in September to work and have decided to legally marry here in France to solve their travel and right-to-work problems. She and I have booked a train ticket to go to the American embassy in Paris together in several days to get some of our necessary documents and begin the process. 

A has agreed, but I keep going back and forth. We had an enormous fight night before last about how I like to read not-necessarily-scientific articles about "hippy" health and lifestyle topics like yoga, microwaves, chi, chacras, etc. I dont necessarily believe all of it, but I appreciate it and enjoy reading about it. Conversely, it drives A crazy that I would read and consider anything that isn't published in a scientific journal and doesn't have data behind it. My argument is that I like to read both sides of everything and am naturally curious. His is that I "don't know how to research." He's very judgmental in this sense, and I, this week more than ever, am being VERY critical. 

On the other hand,  I've resolved that our basis for marriage is more practical and sensible than most puppy-love young couple situations. We have a very promising career path that we're both rearing to takle together, and marrying as an international couple opens up many opportunities for the both of us. In addition, we've been living together two years and are happy, seemingly compatible, and in love.

The stipulations are as follows: No rings, no name change, no hullabaloo, and no spreading of the word. We plan to have a real ceremony in several years and don't want to detract the significance from it. 

We've decided to decide by Sunday, so I have time to cancel my embassy appointment in Paris. Woah!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blogging From Abroad: Version 2.0

It's been a hundred years, much has happened, and at last I think its time for IFFTP to rise from hibernation, shake the snow off, and turn over a new leaf for Spring.

For those of you who are still around after the long hiatus, I've put a lot of thought into the fate of this blog and have decided that in order for it to continue it has to make some serious style and behavioral changes. When IFFTP began, I was a bit of a swinger set lose in the streets of France and made that more or less the topic of the blog. Times have changed though, and it would seem I've been roped into a domestic relationship. No longer is it practical to try and talk under cover about my sex life and not expect personal repercussions. (-And at times long, lame, hiatuses.)

So! Change number 1 is that I want to change the focus of my blog from sexual gossip, (sad I know,) to travel, eating healthy abroad, and the trials and tribulations of international relationship and romance. (They'll be some mild sexual gossip, of course, I can't resist a little from time to time.)

That said, I've just returned from the South of France, Perpignan, from visiting with my boyfriend's parents. (Formally known as TMI, now known as "A". Gasp!)  The train home today returned us to the snowy, cold and gray region of Burgundy that we presently call home. Statistics show that Dijon saw an astounding 12 hours of sunlight in the month of July- Astounding because I'd personally guesstimated it to be much less.

While in the South, we visited Eus, known as one of the most beautiful villages of France. Pretty enchanting. Especially the feline inhabitants. 

Posts to come
1: I'm probably getting legally married for passport benefits in a mere few weeks. Serious case of cold feet inevitable. 

2: I'm starting a juice fast wednesday to evacuate 2 years of french toxins

3: I'm randomly visiting my radically anti-establishment middle school professors on an impromptu adventure to Crete in several weeks. 

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