Monday, January 7, 2008

Let's be positive.

I am in such a funk lately.

Here is a list of things I love about France.

1. Patisseries. The stores, the pastries, and the sweet ladies who work in the patisserie down the street. There's this new one I haven't seen yet; it's called la figue or the fig and it looks like green almond paste. I hope there's fig in it. I cannot WAIT. It's my reward for this weekend.

2. Hot chocolate and toast with Nutella for breakfast. Oh my goodness. Now to hire someone to make it for me, because I have become that lazy.

3. The teachers I work with. I love Monsieur Modeste, the directeur of School One, who jokes around with me and gives me les bises (kiss kiss greeting); Madame Cousty, the directrice of School Two who sometimes greets me in English; Monsieur Barbe the directeur at School Three who I rarely see but is always very friendly; Astrid, Luc, Valérie and Virginie at School Three who always say hi and have nothing but help to give; Jean-François, Alexia, Katell, Catherine, Fabienne and the hordes of other teachers at School One who are so super friendly; Christophe, Sylvie, Marie-Pierre, Catherine, Monique, and the other teachers at School Two who always smile and say hi and love what I do even though I mess up all the time. I am so so so lucky to have such great colleagues.

4. I love Rocio, even when she is a sniffly coughy mess. Pobrecita.

5. Ben is awesome. He's smart. I appreciate that more than he knows.

6. Françoise. I could not express to her well enough in the Christmas card I gave her how much her support and friendship means to me. She is amazing.

7. The teachers at the high school: Karine the marketing teacher, the two librarians Krystyna and The Little One, Blandine, Marie, Marie-Jo, Pascal with the lisp and lazy eye who I cannot understand but love anyways, Madame Menardi and her husband, Madame le Proviseur who gave me a scarf for Christmas (!!!), and heck even the laundry lady. I am so so so lucky to be in a place where people are friendly and patient and kind. So kind.

8. Saturday markets are fun, even though the one in Ussel has become pretty po-dunk.

9. God bless the SNCF. And please make them stop striking.

10. I truly enjoy the French concept of cooking: anything can be put into puff pastry form. Fish? Puff pastry fish! Cheese? Cheesy puffs! Chicken? Vol a vent! (Chicken and gravy puff pastry dumplings.) Fruits? Well that's what puff pastry was made for.

11. Inexpensive high-quality wine.

12. Teevee.

13. Vacations!!!

14. Ussel-specific: Due to the location and geography, it rarely precipitates here. During the day, skies are usually clear. Any rain that comes from the Atlantic dries up, and we're just to the west of the mountains. It's also been unseasonably warm, so much so that I'm very much so anticipating a good sale at Depech'Mod' to get a nice light jacket. (The one Mom bought me years ago is kicking the bucket.) It's foggy a lot here which can be very thick. It sometimes rains at night. But it's just not cold or high enough for snow, and we're too far inland for rain. How happy does this make me?!

Things I wish France could figure out:

1. Meet the salt and pepper shaker.

2. You live next door to Italy. What is up with your Italian food.

3. Automatic cars are not bad.

4. Curb your dog please.

5. Central heat.

6. Customer service.

7. Convenient store hours (ok, convenient for ME).

8. A sensible immigration policy. (The US could use this as well.)

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