Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ahir vam anar al moll de la fusta

The Barcelona World Race is about to begin and yesterday we went to Port Vell to examine the competitors. On New Year´s Eve 15 boats, each manned with just two people, will embarque on a 3 month adventure, without stopping....

Seamen going around the world.
The course is from Barcelona to Barcelona via three capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, Cook Strait, putting Antarctica to starboard.
The length of the course is approximately 25,000 nautical miles (46,300 km) along the Great Circle line, the shortest route traced on a map across the world
The start will be given on 31st of December 2010 at 13:00 (local time GMT+1) opposite Hotel W in the Port of Barcelona. The arrival of the leading entries is forecast for the end of March 2011.

What makes two-handed sailing so attractive to the best solo skippers, such as those who compete in the Volvo Ocean Race? There are as many answers as there are sailors. Some consider it a version of solo sailing where you can rest and have the advantage of not feeling completely alone.Others see it as a very different kind of challenge, that of building a team which is not just the sum of two personalities but a multiplication of the crew members’ individual abilities. One could say that two-handed sailing is like fully crewed sailing, except that there are fewer hands to do the work.
my pick to win: Foncia, then President, then Estrella Damm
I picked Hugo Boss to finish last yesterday and just found out today that they may not even race because one of the two sailors has to have an emergency apendectomy. 

in other news.... we´ve begun the process with the legal paperwork and made our first visit to the local priest.

Witherspoon joins Shania Twain, Natalie Portman, Lily Allen, Hugh Hefner and LeAnn Rimes in the club of recently engaged stars.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm in Houston thumbing through my new favorite book about Sewing and can't wait to get started on some new projects when i get back to france.
i was looking for another song and stumbled across this one, i guess it was in a How i met your mother episode which makes it even cooler.

but i think i like this one better

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Shakira kicked off her European tour here in Lyon on Tuesday!
I still can't believe that I went, she was absolutely amazing.
She finished with Loca and then Waka Waka but did a lot of her old stuff too.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

love this!

so far from real

i'm feeling like martha stewart today. Started the day off sewing my new project I'm working on, then I went out to shop for table mats and now I'm finishing off the day making my very first lasagna using a greek yogurt in the cheese sauce because it's my newest crave.
This was playing on the French Virgin radio as I was cooking and reminds me of sunny San Diego. Hopefully will get back there one day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

new music

I started Modern Jazz dance last week.
love this song, bob sinclair, and tennis too.

but i I need some new music.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a week of strikes and strike-outs

We're finally back on the good end of things now. The strikes here are over and with the strike-out last night of former team member Alex Rodriguez, the Texas Rangers will advance to their very first world series.

and just to clear up any confusion over the difference between the Texas and Chilean flags...

Friday, October 22, 2010

a long week of riots and manifestations

but the metro was working today and no major incidents. This is whats been happening in the neighborhood this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a tour of my neighborhood

Lyon: le message des manifestants terni par les casseurs
envoyé par leprogres. - L'info video en direct.
Yesterday the kids were burning trash cans in the city center causing security to close off this major hub's 3 metro stops. I got stuck in the middle of a stampede of young boys running from the armored police. It seems as though the high school kids are taking advantage of the opportunity to revolt. The locals say that it's common for them to show up during manifestations to break and burn things. Today the metros will not go to anystops near the center which is on a Presq'uil seperated from the rest of the town by two rivers.
I guess this is why....

I usually get off the metro here and make my way up those stairs in the back to get to french class.

This is also by my school. needless to say I didn't make it to class today becuase I lost so much time on the messed up metros today and I figured it wasn't even worth risking the 10 minute walk into the main streets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

king of spain

He received his SMU degree in Arts just months before me.

(From 2001) On Friday, March 30, King Juan Carlos will receive an honorary degree from SMU, the highest academic honor the university can confer. The citation for the honorary Doctor of Arts degree recognizes him "as the gifted designer of one of the most remarkable political transitions in the history of Europe, and as the architect of a vibrant democracy and civil society."

tintin (tin) - oct 10, 2010

laying on sheets covered in Tintin here in bcn, listening to the rain and surfing the net. R is gone to a ´despedida´ for the weekend and I´m hanging with his fam solo. Today we went to the Torres winery today where we had such a fun adventure on the mini train, sampling the goods and getting a very unexpected employee discount on our take-home bottles. then we enjoyed a 3 hour lunch where we had the best calamari, duck and finished with coffees and ice cream topped with figs and brandy. After we drove into another town to buy special chocolate covered almonds and then took to walking the streets for a cava block party. pretty amazing. his mom bought me a jacket at a local boutique down the street from their house. such amazing and generous people. i´m a lucky girl.

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

i can´t believe this is real and to top it off the music is by a group called Barcelona. I love the whale shark at 3:12.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

paris in the morning

roger and I are headed back on the first train to Paris in the morning to celebrate our first anniversary!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Revolutions *a must read

1. As much as I love Olive Bread, yes (say it outloud)- I love bread but I Love Olive Bread. Trying Anchovie and Olive Bread today was a terrible mistake, NEVER AGAIN!

2. After watching Amelie last week again, I was inspired by the scene in which she takes an old blind man by the arm and guides him on a whirlwind 30 second adventure. However, I´ve realized today that she was lucky it went so smoothly because today i tried to help a blind man onto the metro but ended up upsetting him by giving him directions in my wretched french accent and ultimately making him miss the metro, leaving him waiting in the same spot as I rode away on the subway. I hung my head in shame since the whole fiasco had been witnessed by the other passengers there. I started this day feeling like the biggest jerk. Thanks Amelie.

3. However, thanks to the following clip I´ve finally come to understand what the difference in appearance is between the french and everyone else. It´s the Lips, the sounds, and the eyebrows.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

we had to listen to this yesterday in class and expected to understand the words. Not quite there yet....

but after class I went home and watched La Mome, the movie about this singer Edith Piaf. Saddest Movie Ever. What an amazing voice she has but her life was tragedy after tragedy. Little did I know this is where La Vie en Rose came from but hers what anything but that.
You can't go wrong with Gerard Depardieu.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome to my days

in Spanish-French-Catalan-English. Someone tried to capture this life in a movie.

this is my blog from last year at this time and on October 3rd i met Roger. i had no idea what was around the corner.

love this scene

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A new Australian girl at school reminded me of the New Zealand group Flight of the Conchord´s song in french. When I showed Roger he said that it reminded him of an anti-sex video that was released years ago as a viral spam suposedly by the Young Catholics group in an attempt to persuade the youth to abstain. Check them out.
and this was intended to be a serious campaign believe it or not. They are saying, ¨Together we are working this crossword puzzle, and we like each other. WE sing together, you make me so happy.....I Love Laura but I´ll wait til marriage. I want to kiss you but I don´t want to dirty you.¨

Here is another FOC that reminded me of Lonely Island but was a blantant ripoff of the Pet Shop Boys´s West End Girls.

Monday, September 13, 2010

french roast

We arrived back in Lyon this morning just about 3 hours ago and it's barely now 11.
After being in two very hot climates recently it is refreshing to see that the weather has changed here and it's feeling very fall-ish. There's something about the Autumn time that is so invigorating for me. Even though we only slept about 3 hours last night, I've got endless energy now with the cool weather. Fall has a magical effect on me. Back home it was the start of the football season, my favorite coffees brewing,  the fantastic smells of firewood burning and fabulous feasts cooking that really make me feel so good every day. It was difficult saying goodbye to my family and home this time but I think that I can find some of the same things I love so much back in the states right here in France. Today for example, the smells of the Indian restaurant downstairs firing up their grills and preparing delicious curries for the lunch service have made their way up to our window. Hopefully all the kitchens will have this effect of inducing a terrific aroma in the air these coming months. Also, as we left the cab and made our way down the street to our apartment my local retail friends were out opening their shops and welcoming us back home with a "Bon Jour, ca va?" Not to mention, all my friends are back now after the summer trips and the start of our third season to prove we are not such newbies to this town anymore.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This feeling increases every day...

The Libertine, the American and a Secret Show

My trip back to TX flew by as I revisited old stomping grounds, caught up with good friends, and my #1 priority getting in the QT with my family.

Wednesday (sept 3) I met up with my favorite Sara (no H) Blackard and her hubby Beau to get my first heaping dose of Tex Mex since returning at Chuys. Afterwards, over some miller lites and shiner bocks, we gabbed about all the changes since we last saw each other 3 months ago including one particular scandal involving an unreturned heating unit. This brought up a lengthy discussion of etiquette when borrowing and lending things between friends. It's interesting when you loan a friend and item and they never return it, and eventually the item's value becomes irrelevant and you begin arguing with the pal solely on principle. Then when all is said and done 7 months later, you've got your $100 heating unit back just in time for fall weather, you're minus one disrespectful friend and feeling like you've won a battle.

Thursday I met up with 5 of my former co-workers for lunch and it was so great to feel like time hadn't passed between us. It was all the fun of being at the job without the hassle. Then I headed downtown to pickup my official passport from the federal building and then on the road to Dallass with my dad and dog. Friday I reaquainted myself with the Dallas shopping scene and just in time for the labor day sales. After shopping in France and Spain, it's good to get back to some familiar stores again.

Saturday we joined up for lunch with our good friends True and Elizabeth, and their niece also named Elizabeth, at my friend Dana's bar The Libertine on lower Greenville Avenue. We had no idea that her food was awarded best bar food in Dallas and the menu was better than most pricier establishments I've been to. We munched on Pork Wings which were phenomenal, the house mediterranean plate, and amazing onion rings just to start. I had a medium-rare tuna sandwhich with sweet potato fries and it was mind-blowing! We had a 3 o'clock movie time to see The American with George Clooney. Our opinions were all the same, booooring! We paid $12 each to see what George Clooney does behind closed doors with his Italian girlfriend. Maybe the Tea Party can do something about this. The good news is I got a text from Dana while I was in the movie inviting me to go see the Old 97s that night. They just happen to be my favorite band and I was really surprised because I checked their show schedule before coming out and there wasn't any Dallas dates. Come to find out my friend Dana, who I've know since I was 8, failed to tell me that she's know the band personally for a long time now and this is a party for the lead singer Rhett´s birthday. Not to mention it´s going to be at my old hangout called the Green Elephant which is now called The Barley House. Anyways, we found ourselves standing next to the stage with only about 50 other people and the band rocked both old favorites and great new songs soon to be released!
Here we are...

Now I´m back in BCN super jet-lagged still after two days and taking off for Lyon tomorrow. This week I hope to get back to my french courses and start up salsa dancing classes with my friends.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

who cares?

Barçe got rid of Ibrahimovic, and sold him to Milan.
LT is going to the Jets. 

Neither player has been particularly impressive lately. 
However it looks like unfortunately Piqué will be missing Zlatan just a bit.

Roger´s Aunt turned 90

..and this is what she she told us about 90 years of living in Catalunya:

¨I´ve lived through a civil-war 
a world-war
 a post-war
 a dictatorship
 and finally a democracy. 
I remember running through the streets as a little girl, dodging bombs.¨

then she asked for some birthday cake and champagne.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I italicized my favorites

45 Best Maya Angelou Quotes

1.If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.
2.Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.
3.If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers. – Maya Angelou
4.If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
5.Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
6.The honorary duty of a human being is to love.
7.Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage. –
8.I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
9.My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.
10.One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. – Maya Angelou
11.The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
12.The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
13.Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
14.I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.
15.I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. – Maya Angelou
16.Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
17.My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
18.You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result.
19.A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.
20.I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
21.Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. – Maya Angelou (Letter to My Daughter)
22.We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
23.You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
24.Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
25.The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise
26.Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
27.You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!
28.I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
29.Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
30.I sustain myself with the love of family.
31.I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. Maya Angelou
32.A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.
33.The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.
34.The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don’t know my story…
35.A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best, challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.
36.The sisters and brothers that you meet give you the materials which your character uses to build itself. It is said that some people are born great, others achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. In truth, the ways in which your character is built have to do with all three of those. Those around you, those you choose, and those who choose you. – Maya Angelou
37.Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.
38.Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
39.You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
40.We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.
41.When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
42.This is my life. It is my one time to be me. I want to experience every good thing.
43.I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
44.We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
45.You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I’ve never been so strong. Now I’m where I belong.

Some photos from our last night in Menorca.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

come along for the ride

I´m a gypsy and so is Shakira evidently.
She´s been filming a new video for her song Vixen here in Barcelona but she stayed for more than two months. Rumor is she and Piqué have been doing the waka waka. (See the video from the World Cup blog).

In the meantime here´s some waka waka with Rafael Nadal.

and one of my favorites-


Got last minute tickets to the Super Copa tonight and made it in time to watch this exciting game between the Spanish League Champions and the King´s Cup Champions (Sevilla).  This was a two match competition and Barça entered the ring tonight the underdog having lost in Sevilla last weekend 3 - 1. They would need to win by three goals in order to be victorious.

Camp Nou was filled with tourists and Catalans all wearing the various shades of red, blue, yellow, and  odd neons of Futbol Club Barcelona´s Nike jerseys. The lineup of first half consisted of some of the favorite players I´ve talked about before including Xavi, Messi, Piqué, and Dani Alves. Being the first game since the World Cup, everyone was stoked to see the players back at the home field. The first 45 minutes of play time ended with the home team leading 3-0. The energy was amazing and everyone was singing and chanting, the first-time guests were wide-eyed at the charisma of the team and the fans.
With such a great start, a lot of the pressure was taken off. However, the 2nd chapter was much more tense with the players battling the dry heat and exhaustion. In order to keep the lead at this point it means that every time Sevilla scores, Barça would have to match it to ensure the win. I guess with a break or not feeling as much pressure the game slowed down a lot and Barçca wasn´t dominating like they had in the first half. Soon Iniesta and David Villa, the stars of the Spanish World Cup team were sub´d in and everyone was on their feet cheering. Finally with minutes to spare, Messi scored the 4th goal (his 3rd of the game) to seal the deal.

This is what it´s like being at the game....

Ohh lay lay, oh lala, Ser de Barça es, al millior que hi ha*.
*being from Barcelona is the best that there is.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

sleep tonight

Haven´t had time to update a thing lately, the past two weeks have been so busy. I´m Back in Barcelona after a week in the small island of Menorca and three days in Veilla before that. The time spent in the countryside and the ocean was priceless! Especially upon arrival to Menorca, I appreciated the vacation so much more since I didn´t think that we would even be taking the trip after months of planning. Just 14 hours before the flight to Menorca my entire purse was lifted off the back of my chair in a Starbucks in central Barcelona. I heard that the thieves were sly in this tourist city but I had no idea they were that good. I was sitting with two other people on the not-so-crowded second level of the cafe and no one saw a thing. Pretty much immediately after realizing it was gone, the sky fell. I´ll never forget running through the crowded Plaza that night in my soaking wet dress to the police station where I had to sum up all the things that were stolen from me including my passport, ids, a camera, sunglasses, ipod, keys to my house, etc. It ended up being about a $900 frapuccino experience. However, we went to the American consulate the next morning and they issued me a temporary passport book in just about an hour. Talk about a reality check, but at least it all worked out and I got on the plane that afternoon.
On Sunday I will fly once again to Lyon, and return back to Barcelona by next Friday. Then off to the states on the following Monday for 10 days of quality time with family and friends. 
In the meantime, here´s a song I´ve been hearing everywhere that sums up my gypsy traveling ways.

Friday, August 6, 2010

cool video

Arcade Fire will be making their rounds to Europe very soon hitting up Barcelona and Lyon.
They are such an Amazing and Diverse sounding band!
      Below is one of their haunting songs set to a phenomenal spaghetti western called Once Upon a Time in the West. It was directed by Sergio Leone, I remember watching this years ago in college in my Italian cinema class.
 He actually was approached first to direct The Godfather but turned it down. If he hadn't, we may never have heard of Francis Ford Coppola, Coppola wine or his daughter Sophia. Anyhow, Leone was responsible for much of the success of Clint Eastwood having directed him in three western movies. It's interesting to think back to the 60's and how the prevalent the western movies were and how much things have changed.

 Enough rambling, enjoy the mini show and song.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I & Love & You

The more i listen to this song the more it reminds me of me and the ties i´ve broken, the tracks i´ve jumped and the loved ones that are gone. I think that we can all relate to it at some point but what makes it universal is that we all deal with different types of love in our lives. Maybe it´s hardest sometimes not having the courage to say the three words or it just not being possible, or it being so so hard because you know it could be the last time you will get to say them. The moral of the story is to say them if you can.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

As the world turns

Last night we went to a Rhumba concert at the summer festival here in Lyon, France called Les Nuits (Nights) de Fourvière. The aura of the evening was absolutely surreal. What makes this concert series so unique is that we are sitting on huge slabs of stone in an old Roman amphitheater that was constructed when they founded Lyon in 15 BC. We are up on the hill above the town and there are no city lights here, just the effects from the stage and the full moon above. The moon quickly passed over us and we could see and feel rotation of the earth through space.

Roger chose this night to go because of the 2nd artist in the lineup named Peret, an iconic musician from Catalonia known for his invention of the guitar technique known as ``fanning``.  His latin groove was absolutely infectious and eventhough he didn´t speak more than 3 words of french everyone there was dancing.
Here´s a silly little song of his and the video from the 70s is just great.

We enjoyed his performance so much and didn´t want him to leave the stage for the rest of the night. We were both a little concerned for whoever would have to follow his act.

However the third and final group had no problems holding their own. The lights came back up and four men in wheelchairs and one on crutches came out on stage along with 3 other band members. I was completely surprised and curious not knowing anything beforehand other than the last band performing was from the Congo. As I´m sitting here writing this I am still struggling for the words to adequately describe how electric, energetic and phenomenal they were. The You Tube recordings do not do them any justice because their voices were so unique as well as the unusual instruments one of the members was playing. Plus one of the men in a wheelchair absolutely rocked the guitar. They are on a tour set to go through October and will finish in Tokyo, pretty inspirational for coming from the streets of Africa and being stricken with Polio.

I recommend checking out their CD Tres Tres Fort and reading more about their struggles they fight to make a name for themselves.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Restaurant the beginning

Today at school the director came and taught our oral comprehension class. In france it's not taboo to talk candidly about all the different stereotypes surrounding various nationalities. He did a little Q&A session with us and went around the room asking each of us a couple of get-to-know you conversations going. He asked one Polish student if she was good with pipes because the french think that all Poles are plumbers. I'm not sure she understood what he was saying but I must admit I was a little shocked at his bluntness and this is not the first time one of my professors has crossed this line since I've been here. My turn came, and he said 'Sarah, [everything was in French] you come from America, ummm, why do you hate french?' Seriously? What a loaded question but I tried to be diplomatic with my response, because french is after all the language of diplomats, and said simply that I like french but I find it very challenging to change between english, spanish and french all the time, blah blah blah... I thought about asking him why he asked me that but I figure maybe that's exactly what he wants is to get a rise out of the students or maybe it's part of the French child-like curiosity.

However, they also have a wild sense of humor of themselves and love to hear what outsiders think of them. Besides the typical association of croissants and berets here's a few more stigmas about the French:
•Lazy : people who do not work and demonstrate in the streets (when they are not on strike)

•Cowards : they always surrender, unreliable allies

•Rude, anti-American and ungrateful, people who don't speak English, distant and difficult to meet

•Communists : people who live in a bureaucratic Socialist system and who are totally dependent on the State

•Dirty : people who do not use soap (recently, I received a message : "why do French women use perfume instead of taking a bath?")

•Arrogant and conceited people, always giving lessons to the others

•Not democratic : people who do not respect religous freedom

I think these are not completely accurate but are slightly humorous because the French are just so French and you'd be mad to take them completely serious. I think it's like the child being afraid of a spider and the mom says not to worry because they are more afraid of you. As long as you show you are willing to bend a little, they will too. As soon as you make a valid effort to speak french, more times than not they will respond in the little english they know and it usually ends up being a comical exchange of bad grammar on both parts. Plus I must admit I don't completely disagree with their work ethic: they don't live to work, they work to live. However they do live to eat!

One of the topics the director covered today was how the french believe they invented the restaurant so I've been doing a little research on wikipedia and it seems his statements are valid. Here's what I've found:

"The term restaurant (from the French restaurer, to restore) first appeared in the 16th century, meaning "a food which restores", and referred specifically to a rich, highly flavoured soup. It was first applied to an eating establishment in around 1765 founded by a Parisian soup-seller named Boulanger. The first restaurant in the form that became standard (customers sitting down with individual portions at individual tables, selecting food from menus, during fixed opening hours) was the Grand Taverne de Londres (the "Great Tavern of London"), founded in Paris in 1782 by a man named Antoine Beauvilliers, a leading culinary writer and gastronomic authority[13] who achieved a reputation as a successful restaurateur. He later wrote what became a standard cookbook, L'Art du cuisinier (1814). "

En greve = on strike. They really do love to strike especially in areas of mass transportation.
French kiss. Some classmates and I were discussing this yesterday and the french don't understand how that term was coined. In French slang, a "French kiss" is called a "patin" (ice skating shoe) or a "galoche". Doing a French kiss is referred to "rouler un patin" (roll a skate, as in ice skating shoe) or "rouler une pelle" (roll a shovel).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 141 (20 weeks + 1 day)

I haven't counted the days in such a long while. I can't believe how much time has passed and how much has changed since I first arrived in Lyon.
Yesterday was the Le Fete National which is basically the 4th of July for France, except they only won independence from themselves in the French Revolution. Anyways last night there was a beautiful fireworks show that lasted about 25 minutes. We stood by the river and watched the bursts of lights form palm trees and rain showers in sky between the Cathedral and Le Tour Electrique.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Reading

I recently finished Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, and recommend it to anyone who's looking for a mystery, sort of supernatural story with a twist of love. It was hard to put down but wasn't a quick read being more than 500 pages.  This follows the author's book The Shadow of the Wind which I've just started. Both books take place in Barcelona in the beginning of the the 1900's and give you a bit of a histroy lesson on the grueling past of the not-so-distant Spanish Civil War as well as various historical landmarks that are still visible today.

Besides my normal classwork I'm attemption to read Charles De Gaulle, a brief history of the former french president written in french. OOOh lala, c'est dificil and I'm thinking learning french is going to be a much longer and treacherous road than I expected. At least I started a new school yesterday where the teachers seem to get the class involved in many conversations which is great. Plus the class size is about 7 students instead of 20 so we get to ask questions and read outloud more. My favorite thing about Inflexion is that you can pick and choose which classes you want to go to each day, some of the classes include: Phoenetics, Written Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, and so on.

The weather has been stifling here. It's hot in Texas but at least everything there is air-conditioned. Here it's about 35 C or 94 F but the best you can hope for is an oscillating fan, the schools don't even have that much. The public transportation can be best summed up with the word "stench". People packed in buses to avoid walking in the heat only to be crammed in like sardines with their arms in the air and doing what Richard Simmons does when he listens to the Oldies.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A brief history in pictures - Discovering Futbol Club Barcelona

Tonight was an amazing victory for Spain and especially for the players of Barcelona's soccer team. Pujol, Iniesta, Busquets, Pedro,Villa, Xavi and Piqué were just some of the keyplayers in Spain winning the World Cup.

Me at my first Barça game in January - Barça vs. Villareal.
I've never heard such a loud crowd in my life.

 View of the "camp" and the Catalan flag.

The next three are from a game on a perfect day in April.

Outside Camp Nou on May 15 when Barça won the Spanish League.

Shortly after we joined the celebration party in the center.

Two happy fans.

 In June, we returned to the stadium so Roger could place his vote for Sandro Rosell to become the new Futbol Club President and after we got to tour the stadium inside and out.

The Players' locker room.

Mes Que Un Club - "More than a Club"   Sitting on the Barça shield

Gerard Piqué, one of my favorite players and one of the frontrunners on the national team during the cup.
You can see him here in this video, he's the first one with the "It's time for Africa" t-shirt on.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Weekend for Spain

Not many outsiders know that there was a peacefully rally yesterday in Barcelona where more than 1,100,000 Catalans, officials, and supporters protested the Spanish government's recent decision to remove certain rights regarding taxation and the Catalan language that have been in place for years.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I love to say it....

"I told you so!"
Well, at least me and the octopus told you.

Last night Spain did what everyone thought was impossible and they beat Germany.
Seriously though, since the World Cup started I've been telling the half-dozen proud & boisterous Brazilians in my french class that Spain would be going all the way. Nobody saw them coming. I started following the FCB (Football Club de Barcelona) this past year, which the Spanish team is basically the same roster of players, and it's obvious can tell that there is just an amazing dynamic and chemistry there. Simply put, they're an exciting group to watch. The team should have gone further in the Champions league race this year but were robbed by Italy's Inter. At first glance it's easy to think that Argentinian star Lionel Messi makes FCB successful, but after taking him out of the equation during the World Cup games it's evident that's not the case.

Anyways, I was fortunate enough to be in Barcelona this past week and able to watch them beat Paraguay in a nail-biting match last saturday and play confidently against the Germans last night. On Saturday we happened to run into the newly-elected FCB president Sandro Rossel on a mountain 50 km NW of Barcelona while visiting the very obscure beautiful and spiritual Montserrat! No big deal.
    Thanks Roger for the vote!

Good-looking Catalan guys!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Delicious food

my latest discovery, and only 10 calories per each chocolate-dipped stick. so good.

I tried out this recipe on Wednesday and it was surprisingly easy and delicious! I left out the parsley and sub'd onions for Ciboulette.

Mushroom Baked Albacore
1 ½ pounds troll-caught albacore tuna steaks
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup Half & Half
1 tablespoon flour
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley

Saute onion, parsley and mushrooms in butter for about 10 minutes. Place albacore steaks in a greased baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Spread sauteed mixture over the steaks, then dot with butter. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes; remove from oven. Take juices from the pan and blend with Half & Half and flour in a small pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour sauce over fish, return to oven for 5 more minutes. Top with parsley and paprika

Simple Things

Today on my way to school a young girl stopped me as I walked by her car and asked for a "crayon" or something to write with. That was Easy. Then I get to class and realize that I did the homework completely wrong, it seems I haven't quite grasped Passe Compose, Imparfait, and Plus-que-parfait. These are all different verb tenses used to describe things that happend in the past. Luckily today we had a student teacher sitting in and he was able to explain the concepts in English. Sometimes I swear it's impossible learning grammar about a foreign language when it's taught in that very language you're trying to understand. At least I think I might be on  the right track....
Speaking of tracks, at the metro station a little later a woman approached me with a map and immediately I thought Geez I can't wait to tell her that I don't understand what she's asking. However, she was speaking English and wearing a New Zealand sweatshirt, but how she knew I spoke english I have no idea. Some say it's easy to spot an American in other countries, I had hoped I was blending in better these days. Anyhow I was able to help her and explain that she needed to catch the next tram to get to where she was going. I have come a long ways since I first arrived here.
   Once on the bus a family of travelers came aboard, I could tell they were American immediately. They came all the way from Alaska and are on a 6 week tour of Europe. Unfortunately they had no idea of what had just happened at their next destination over the past few days.  It's really a catastrophe.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today my friend Natalie and I inadvertantly did a bit of a triathalon. We started out looking for an indoor pool and ended up walking for more than an hour trying to find it a neighborhood we knew nothing about up on Fouviere Hill. Did I mention I was lugging about 10 lbs of my school books, in the rain? Anyways as it turns out, this is no ordinary pool but an olympic-sized pool so after completing about 10 or so laps I was done. Now onto Yoga for the final event, well maybe....

As always, I start out with a main purpose for getting online and then I get completely lost on You Tube, Facebook,, etc. Tonight I was looking for some cooking ideas and stumbled across this jewel. Bon Apetite!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The next chapter

I'm calling this second term in Lyon Part Dieu, for two reasons:
1) I'm about a block from the Centro Commercial which is called Part Dieu. The shopping mall, the train station, buses, and metros all come together here in the more modern part of the city.

2) After taking an official break from this whirlwind of an European experience and going back to the states for about two weeks, I returned to Lyon. It's not that I didn't think that I would come back, but I was definitely wondering before if I would have second thoughts once I was at home in Houston. Before leaving  the states in February, conversations with my family were along the lines of  "well, I will try it out and see how it goes" and "this won't be a permanent relocation". The first three months were a mix of shock and awe, adventure and boredom, just about any two extreme opposites of emotion I went through them all.

My assignment for my French class tonight is to write about all the things that have changed since arriving in Lyon. To that I say, "Merde, there isn't enough paper in my notebook or time in the world for my teacher grade this assignment."
Hmmm, a few key points in my paper will probably talk about.....
- Crying on the first day I was on my own in the city and got lost for about four hours in the twisted streets but now I can successfully navigate any of the transits systems without a hitch!
-Not being able to read a menu or order anything on my own not even at McDonalds. Now I've got favorite eating spots and use a french cookbook for meals at home.
- Not knowing how to workout without a gym to walking/running( only when headed downhill  =P ) through rose gardens and next to giraffes, elephants, and bears at our beautiful park down the street.

Everything is looking so much better already this time around.

I can clearly say though that I came back with the soap washed from my eyes and now I couldn't be more excited, in love and ready conquer anything this country and/or continent has to throw at me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm so glad summer is here, and can't wait to explore the mediterranean in the next few months!
Menorca is going to be so amazing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In today's news...

So much going on in the world right now, it's unbelievable!
First of all, I've been mentioning the Air France flight 447 for a while now. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the accident. The families of the victims still do not have any answers as to why the plane went down and the airline is reluctant to continue their investigation because it's so costly. Today I will be flying Air France from Houston direct to Paris and then taking the speed train back to Lyon. It doesn't matter how many times I fly, I always get the pre-flight jitters. 

In other headlines:
Behind the Gores' Shocking Split The Daily Beast – 48 mins ago

Five confirmed killed in British shooting rampage Reuters – 16 mins ago

Anti-incumbency takes down another congressman AP – 1 hr 29 mins ago

Could Gulf oil spill bankrupt BP? The Christian Science Monitor – Tue Jun 1, 6:53 pm ET

US soccer team in fortified South Africa hotel AP – Wed Jun 2, 4:55 am ET

Are moviegoers tiring of sequels? Reuters – 43 mins ago

Military to Adopt NFL's Instant Replay Technology – Tue Jun 1, 10:45 pm ET


Lyon Part Dieu

It doesn't take a scientist to know that I'm excited to get back to France tomorrow!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bon Dia = Good morning in Catalan

Me @ Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain May 15

I woke up this morning, checked my e-mail and received a surprise. Roger is back in Barcelona and sent me some songs to get me up and going. I couldn't be any luckier.

this one reminds me of when we were in the city after Barce's big win two weeks ago and a live band was playing this and everyone was dancing, chanting "Barce" and singing in the streets.