Browsing Posts published in March, 2012

When I first decided to embark upon this epic adventure many questions came my way: “Was it scary to quit your job?” — No, it was scarier to think of staying. “Do you speak any French?” — Not much but I’m sure I’ll pick it up in no time. I hear it’s easy. “Was it hard to give up your car and all your books?” — No (lip quivering, voice cracking). And of course, the most common question of all, “Why France?” The answer to that one is too long to write but here’s reason #132:

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, Chilean and Argentinian wine? Why the hell is that a reason to live in France? Wait for it … Continue reading “Another Day, Another Dollar” »

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Objection Overruled

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There’s no denying it. I’m intensely homesick. Yeah, yeah France is magnifique, blah, blah, le blah, but still. I miss the sea and my people and I’m counting the sleeps (28) until I touch down in the homeland. Of course after 18 solid months of French bureaucrazy, it’s easy to romanticize the land I left behind. That place where I can competently communicate, where I know what the hell I’m eating at all times. But I imagine that after 36 hours of mini-malls and high-rises, I’ll be longing for stone walls, scrolly iron balconies and decent wine for 3 euros a bottle.

At any rate, the phrase that’s floating around my melon today is this: be careful what you wish for. I was successfully tracked down recently. I received an email from a lawyer representing a former patient of mine and how did she find me? I’m plastered all over the internet, that’s how. Anyway, it turns out that I’m being called as the key witness in a trial to take place in Canada towards the end of the year. Continue reading “Objection Overruled” »

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Clearly it doesn’t take much these days to rocket me into a state of euphoria. In about a month I’ll be appearing on live television. If you know me at all, you know that that’s not the euphoria part, that’s the pooping in my pants part. I figure if I talk about it the terror of mixing my mouth with no chance of bleeping or editing will fade to black. Judging by the cold sweat forming on my back I need to keep talking.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I told you this already but if I did, well, too bad, indulge a scared to death middle-aged lady for a moment. The show is scheduled for April 27 at 8:15 in the morning (only with god’s graceful hand will I be awake enough at that ungodly hour) and, like anyone, I want to look my best. I booked my flight into Halifax a day early to ensure jet lag recovery and adequate time for de-sasquatching myself. Continue reading “I’m Ready For My Close-Up” »

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Spring Forward

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Well the clocks go ahead in France this weekend which can only mean one thing: SPRING!! But I don’t need time to tell me anything. Being funemployed what need have I for schedules and timepieces? Besides spring has been making itself known to me for a while now. These have been on my table since my birthday …

And the other day I was up in town and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I could smell it, I could feel it and I could see it… Continue reading “Spring Forward” »

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You know this being an immigrant in a foreign country is enough to drive you to drink. The hits just keep on coming. After months and months of paperwork, we finally wrangled French health coverage. Then we got mired in the driver’s licence debacle. Then, because apparently I didn’t have enough bullmerde in my life, I decided to enroll at a new gym. Sounds easy, right? Sorry, I couldn’t hear your reply over god’s wild guffaws.

Several months back I joined a gym in another town, a no frills place that seemed to be my only option. But lately I’m disenchanted with it. Mostly because it’s a haven for every bodybuilder in the region. Oh they’re polite, sometimes too polite, as in asking me for a date. Plus, and no disrespect to anyone with testosterone levels higher than mine, the place stinks. Don’t get me started on the unisex change area. Continue reading “Take This Gym and Shove It” »

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Day of Reckoning

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It’s true what they say, the days are long but the years are short. Today is my birthday. I’m 44 but I don’t look a day over 57. I’m usually pretty into the Day of Me. I expect a lot of fanfare and serving. I demand special meals and cakes and cookies. Balloon animals and confetti, maybe even a small parade. But this year it snuck up on me. I completely forgot about it. I sometimes know what day of the week it is, but I never know the actual date.

This is the second birthday I’ve celebrated in France so I’d say it calls for something really special. I know many of you delight in the rock star life I live over here and today I’m really ramping things up. At 10:30 this morning I shall treat myself to the crème de la crème of birthday pleasures — détartrage, more commonly known as descaling. Yes, who wouldn’t want to spend their birthday getting their teeth ground clean by a French dentist? Continue reading “Day of Reckoning” »

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Lord of the Dance

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This blog is about France. But it’s also about seeking joy and embracing life. So today from France I say, “DANCE, DANCE in your UNDERPANTS!” He makes me happy all over …

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All Aboard

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Well I’ll tell you something: I’m nothing if not a woman of my word. I’m a big fan of following through on stuff. If you say you’re gonna do it, then do it. Okay, this policy doesn’t apply to reducing wine consumption or to anything related to French bakeries, but last week I decided to crack open my emergency fund and blow it on travel. I’m happy to report that the Carpe Europe Project has officially begun.

I decided to start small. While poor Rusty has been slaving away at driving school (I’m still working on a loophole for me), I’ve been studying train schedules. So starting next month, the first stop on the giraffe express will be Avignon.

Continue reading “All Aboard” »

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Rainy Day

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Well, that little book I wrote is off being printed so I guess I can stop editing the manuscript. And, of course, already people are asking, “Any plans for a sequel?” Jaysus god alive, I’m not sure I’d have the energy and imagination to write another book. I may not even finish this post. But still, the word plans has an interesting ring to it.

I myself wonder what my plans are now that day and night blook business has come to an end. I do have the “tour” to think about. There’s the TV thing that I try my best not to think about and of course many tubs of sour cream to tear through once I land in Canada. Many friends to see, many szechuan dishes to devour at the Great Wall Restaurant in Halifax. I’ll stand by the sea in my hometown and swoon over the sound of my mother tongue. But then what? For those who think that I can rest on the proceeds from a goofy book, it would be wise to remember that even best-selling authors in my country usually have day jobs that pay the bills. Continue reading “Rainy Day” »

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A while back I was moaning about the drama of getting a driver’s licence here in France. So let me update you with more whining and complaining. We did it all. We begged and we pleaded. We (Neil) wrote long, eloquent letters en française outlining why two drivers with 27 years of driving experience a piece should be allowed on the road. We procured driving records from 4 different provinces as well as ancient Canadian licences and letters from every authority known to woman. We consulted with a contact at the Canadian embassy.

We even drove to Dijon (multiple times) in this mess …

for a meeting with the powers that be. And while the foggy drive brought back fond memories of my years on The Rock and Dijon does have the world’s most inspiring mustard shop … Continue reading “The School of Hard Knocks” »

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Up until this moment, the whole blook business has felt entirely surreal. Despite finalizing the manuscript and planning a trip home for the launch parties, it’s always felt like it was happening to someone else. But now there’s no denying it. Nothing like seeing your own book on Amazon and Indigo to jolt you into reality. So, I (meaning my brother-in-law Scott and his brother Neil) spent some time over the weekend creating a blook page.

I hope the links work for you (one at the top of the page, one at the right side of the page). If not, well, I look like a jackass but it’s all their fault. If you click on either link, you’ll see a bigger picture of the blook cover. I think it’s just beautiful. It was made using a travel journal that I gave Neil many years ago when we took our first trip together.

The cover was designed by the immensely talented, the wonderfully generous and the interminably nagged Neil. In case you didn’t know, Neil is an award winning professional graphic designer/art director/brand consultant but more importantly, he cooks, takes out the garbage and has patience enough even for the likes of me.

Anyway, the page shows any upcoming events and offers you ways to pre-order the blook. Now Americans, take note. The blook is 100% Canadian, eh, but fear not. If you wish to purchase a copy and talk it up all over the home of the brave (you know you do), no worries. All three points of purchase will ship it right to your red, white and blue mailbox.

Same goes for the rest of the world. If you happen to be in Atlantic Canada in late April/early May, come to the launches/signings and I’ll sign one for you. Imagine what that’ll be worth someday! At least a fraction of what you paid for it.

So this is me, standing under a streetlamp on a deserted corner and opening my rumpled raincoat, a dozen fake Rolex watches dangling on one side and a shiny new copy of Finding Me in France on the other, “Psst, hey you, wanna buy a blook? Tell you what, seeing who you are, I’ll make you a special deal — if you master the phrase “No, you can’t borrow mine, buy your own and here’s how” — I’ll throw in an hour with Rusty over there. As long as you whine long and hard enough, he’ll do whatever you ask.”

ps All jokes aside, my sincere thanks to Neil McCulloch for the Finding Me in France cover design and to Scott McCulloch, blogmaster

 

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