Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.. almost

I love Thanksgiving. I love to cook for it.. and I love the food that is involved. Sweet potatoes, turkey, green beans,macaroni and cheese, Grandma's homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll. Yum. There is just something about taking the time to prepare this meal for the people you love- I have inherited it. My mom is a big time believer in taking the time to cook, help, make for those she loves. She has definitely rubbed off on me in this area. I love to see someone's face light up or hear a "yum" when I make their favorite pie, cake, cookie, meal. (John gets lots of special treats due to this. ha!)
For Thanksgiving next week, John and I are going to work at having a traditional dinner. I even have pumpkin for pumpkin pie- for 4.25euro a can. Yes, that is a normal sized can of Libby's pumpkin. We have learned that sometimes it is worth it to splurge for those little bits of "home".
I am also going to make a pie for John to take to work. We will see what the French think of a good ol American pumpkin pie. They will probably all be surprised that it doesn't have a pound of sugar in it. (The French think we are all fatties who eat sugar nonstop. Ah well, some of us do I guess.)

Hope you all have a blessed week before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh the joy of modern convenience!

France is not really all that hip when it comes to the latest electronic conveniences. Well, maybe they have them, but they are about 2 times the price of what we would pay in the US. For example, microwaves in the U.S. are cheap. Really cheap. I think John and I paid about 40-50 dollars for the one that we had in Lexington. Here, the most basic, cheap-o, turn the dial to get the timer going microwave is at least 60euros. Because of this ridiculous expense, John and I have not had a microwave for the past 6 months. You would be amazed at how easy it is to live without one if you have to. Lucky for us, I found a used one in an online classified ad. Hurray! Back to the land of the living!

Snow in them there Hills

I know all of my readers in Tennessee will really enjoy that title. And, it is actually very fitting. We already have snow in the mountains behind Nice. I am a big fan of snowcream, snowmen, sledding, pretty much all things having to do with white fluffy stuff so living within 45 minutes of snow covered mountains is fantastic. Whenever we want to play- we can just drive into the mountains, play for a while, and then drive back down to our sunny palm trees. Not bad, not bad!
We are planning on taking a trip up there in the next few weeks, I will try to get some pictures up of Sadie playing- I am pretty sure she loves snow more than John and I put together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Holidays!

The French love their holidays... vacation days.... memorial days.. Any reason they have to not go into work- it is a winner! I know that Americans think the same way about their days off, it's just that the French have so many more than we do.

They have their regular vacation days- 5 weeks. Then they have their "RTT" days- around 18 days. Plus all national holidays, and since this is a loosely catholic country, these days include Easter, assumption, ascension,Christmas of course, and All-saints Day if it falls during the week. All total they have 11 national holidays. So, if you add all of that up, John has 64 days of vacation. Oh, I almost forgot, if one of the holidays falls on a Thursday or Tuesday- they just add on a Monday or a Friday.

The American in me is very torn. On the one hand, I love that John has all of this time off for traveling and just general downtime. On the other, how on EARTH can these people be productive if they are never at work? Ah well, who am I to argue with so many years of tradition- just enjoy it while we have it. But returning to 2 weeks of vacation for the year will certainly be tough!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Day in Dublin!

I feel like I have been talking about Dublin for weeks. I guess I have been, but it is so worth it.

Our best day in Dublin was the last and I have to admit, it was all John's idea. We knew we wanted to get outside of Dublin and see the Irish country side but we weren't sure how. One day in Nice we met some people from Ireland and they had told us to take a bus tour. Let me just say, I was not at all excited about this. Bus tours, to me, are what my grandparents did for their vacations- not what mid-20's couples did on vacation. Well, turns out, it was great. Not expensive at all, we didn't have to look at a map, didn't get lost, John didn't have to drive on the wrong side of the road, and the majority of the bus population was under the age of 30. (Other than the inconsiderate Frenchman who decided he needed to recline his seat onto my knees. Argh.)

The first stop on the tour was in Glendalough, which was my favorite part of the day and probably John's too. We wandered around a 6th century monastery established by Saint Kevin and had a short hike around the lake just behind it. There was a heavy fog on the mountains that just added to the atmosphere of the area- so dreamlike and green.

Then we went on to a couple other tourist stops and ended the day in Kilkenny. Kilkenny is one of the larger cities in Ireland and the former capital, but it felt so quaint. The main street was decorated with antique-looking light-posts complete with HUGE hanging baskets of flowers. We ate lunch here at a fantastic coffee house that was crowded with young, loud, irish teenagers eating lunch. If you ignored them, it was a GREAT place. Fantastic soups and sandwiches complete with a wonderful Chai tea. (Oh specialty coffee.. how I miss thee.) After lunch, we spent the afternoon rushing around trying to find all of the landmarks in Kilkenny. We did pretty well- 3 churches, 1 irish brewery, and 1 castle. Not to shabby.

By the time we left Kilkenny, I was dead on my feet and ready for a nap. Alas- the Irish country side is just too fantastic and I couldn't keep my eyes off of it. Fields of green farmland and sheep for miles and miles. I could have stayed for at least a week. When we finally made it back to Dublin, John and I headed back to the Guesthouse to get some rest. The 6:20am departure time for our flight was coming up really fast. Now, we just wait for our next trip to the Emerald Isle. Who wants to come with?