Feb 11, 2016

Making Love, the French Way: Coeur de Cocagne


One time I asked my then-95 year old grandfather how he ended up marrying my grandmother, and he told me, "Right after I met her, I started to make love to her a lot..."

Argh! My ears! My ears! But then, of course, he went on to tell me about how he made love to her...by bringing her flowers, holding her hand, taking her on walks. Ah, so "making love" had a very different connotation in his day, and in our modern era, he just was getting the lingo wrong. Well, living in France, I now have a lot of sympathy for how out-of-date he was. After over four years here, I still can't correctly "make love" the French way.

Feb 2, 2016

Under Where?: Le Coup de Pied au Cul


You know those underwear you have that are for laundry days, most definitely not for special dates, and you just hope you don't get in a car accident and have to be examined in a medical emergency? French women don't have those. But guess what? You know those regular underwear you have -- comfortable, cotton, cute, in great shape -- that you wear pretty much on a normal basis? French women don't have many of those either.

Jan 28, 2016

Le Bac, Le Fac -- Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Goutte


I've written about French elementary and middle schools, but it looks like I may never write about French high school and university experiences from a first-hand parent perspective. There are plenty of good reasons to return to the US: my husband misses San Francisco's nature and sports; the work visa is expiring; we've been away from family and friends a long time; there's a shadow of terrorism over the city; we'd kill for good tacos or Chinese dim sum. But of all the reasons, it's the schooling that will send us running back to the US.

Jan 19, 2016

Take the Cake (Please): Brun de Noix


There are plenty of French concepts we get wrong: for example, entrée (not the main dish of a meal, the appetizer!) and à la mode (not adding ice cream to something, but being in style). So it's only fair that the French occasionally mangle their English concepts. Enter exhibit A: le cake.

Jan 8, 2016

Egypt Us!: Pyramide de Chèvre...and Mish


Where does an American living in Paris go for vacation right after the nation's worst-ever terrorist attack by Islamist extremists? How about the Middle East? Knowing the region is always volatile, I only confirm the trip at the last minute when it seems safe enough -- at the beginning of November. As fate would have it, I believe I am paying for our non-refundable airplane tickets into Israel and out of Egypt just as the Russian plane from Sharm El-Shek is being blown up. Two weeks after that come the Paris attacks.

Dec 23, 2015

Collecting Crumbs: Crottin Repassé


What would you pay to have a household chore become so enjoyable, your children actually beg to do it? I pay 8€, a bargain. And it's all because of the antique ramasse-miette ("crumb gatherer") that my friends have at their country home in Bretagne that we visit each summer.

Dec 15, 2015

I'll Be Your Eyes: Grand Volcanique


I don't want to dwell on the terrorist attacks in Paris, but I can't help writing at least one more post on the subject. Specifically, I thought you might want to see some of the tributes laid down in front of the sites of the attacks and also in the nearby Place de la Republique -- a convenient, large plaza and a symbolic one; it's right there in the name.


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