Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brazil Day {la nuit}

Pimms in Provence

After the volleyball tournament, we left Brazil Day to go home for a bit and freshen up. When we returned, we did so with a bottle of Pimms. If Big Man was going to charge us €2.50 (or €2.70 depending on if I looked like a tourist or not) for some fizzy lemonade, we might as well mix it with some happy juice (that's what I like to call Pimms... happy juice).  

Not wanting to risk the wrath of Big Man (You've seen the size of him right? His hands are like shovels.), Mrs. London and I, being the mature ladies that we are, hid our bottle in a bush, and whenever we were ready for a top up, would order another glass of lemonade and sneak off to mix our drinks before stashing the bottle back away in it's hiding spot. We're pretty classy.

And so the evening carried on... sitting around the 'beach', chatting with friends, listening to what sounded like the same techno song banging on and on for hours, and scampering off to mix our bootlegged booze. When dinner time rolled around, we opted to go to the 'normal' fête that was taking place in the school courtyard.

Sidenote: The normal fête used to be the night before... so it went traditional village fête on Wednesday night in the school courtyard followed by the fireworks and dancing and then the next day (Assumption of Mary, a Catholic holiday in France) Brazil Day would take place. But for some reason this year, they decided to do the whole shebang on the one day.

When we got to the courtyard it was packed, every one of the fifty tables was full (these tables are always booked in advance... we never have ourselves together enough to book one of the tables). We got in the line and ordered our dinner... a round of hot dogs and frites. Our ticket said we were number 47, and then we heard them call number twelve. WHAT?! That wasn't good. 

Panic set in as I scanned the crowded courtyard and noticed that not a single table had plates of food on them, everyone was sitting there waiting. And then I looked over at hungry Gregory. Uh, oh.

The numbers rambled off slowly, but not as slowly as the older patrons took to acknowledge that it was indeed their number that had been called and make their way to the counter to collect their dinner. Hungry in the tummy Gregory decided to take matters into his own hands.


He grabbed the microphone from the announcer and got to work, "Number 14 your order is ready. Monsieur Mulot, that's you, your order is ready. Please make your way to the counter to pick up your food. Hurry up." And then a small old man would shuffle up to the counter, smile at Gregory (probably in an attempt to appease the hungry giant), take his tray and shuffle away. And it continued, "You really need to move faster, your dinner is getting cold. If you don't want it, someone else will eat it. Let's go."

People must have thought it was part of the entertainment, part of the fun, because they would come up, laugh with Gregory, pat him on the back, and walk off chuckling. They loved it!  Of course they were completely unaware that they themselves were in danger of being cooked and eaten if number 47 wasn't called soon.

French Village Festival Provence

Night time descended on Le Petit Village, the colorful lights came on and the carousel lit up. The pretty carousel is brought in for the children. They won't even let an adult sit on it which I think is kind of lame but being a rebel, Mrs. London ran and jumped on it for a quick photo. Unfortunately I'm a chicken and the photo came out blurry because I was in such a rush to snap it before we got caught and ended up in fête jail or something.


At 10PM the church bells rang out telling us that the fireworks would be starting. We made our way to the hill below my old house and found a patch of grass to sit on. In small villages in France, health and safety kind of goes out the window. There is no barrier to tell you where you should sit, or what a safe distance is. We all sat in the exact same spot we've been sitting these past few years. It probably would have been a good idea for the man setting off the display to stay where he has always done it as well but nope, he decided to move about 50 meters closer (that's a total guesstimate of course, it sounds right in my head though).

When it comes to the fireworks portion of the fête, Le Petit Village does not mess around. The majority of the budget is blown on the fireworks. It's quite a display for such a small village. And it's quite a display when you're practically sitting on top of the guy setting them off.

The fireworks banged off and we oohed and aahed as they exploded over our heads... directly over our heads. Happy laughter turned into nervous laughter as we realized that we were taking shrapnel. You know that saying, 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye'? Wiser words have never been spoken. I took a direct hit into my eyeball. THERE WAS A FIREWORK IN MY EYE! Luckily all of that Pimms I had been drinking managed to keep me calm until we returned to Le Petit Bar, where I was able to wash the grit out of my eye. (After Mrs. London looked at it and exclaimed, "Oh sh*t! You've got a meteor in your eye!" Way to keep the situation level and panic-free Mrs. London.)


We returned to the courtyard for some dancing and cotton candy and finished the night with a round of Champagne courtesy of Big Man, a small apology for all of the price gauging I'm sure. We sat on a bench, watched the madness unfolding on the dance floor (and next to us as some random guy decided our picnic table was his personal shake your bon-bon podium), and laughed hysterically while we toasted to having survived another Brazil Day.



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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brazil Day {le jour}

Here's the thing about Brazil Day. It's madness. Pure, unadulterated madness. Not as much the event itself but the happenings surrounding it. You know that song from Love Actually, Love Is All Around? Yeah, well, if it had been written about The LPV it would have been called, Crazy Is All Around.

Experiencing Brazil Day is one thing, trying to recapture it in post for you is a different kettle of fish altogether, it's very difficult. But the thing is, you have to believe me when I say this, Brazil Day is nuts (but then again, The LPV is nuts). So I will endeavor to do my best in describing the nuttiness that was.

The Croupier was attending Brazil Day for the first time this year, and since Mrs. London was going as well, Gregory decided that a Thursday morning gossip session was much more entertaining than sweating it out on the hot sand playing beach football. (The Croupier is Gregory's all time favorite gossip partner. They started gossiping together when they were tweens, stopped briefly to date each other and then decided that they shouldn't mess with a good thing. Best gossip buddies they've been ever since.)

Sidenote: Every year Brazil Day is held on le jour de l' Assomption, which is a Catholic holiday here in France and a day off. So that's why everybody can sit around drinking beer, listening to loud mind numbing techno, and playing beach soccer in the middle of the week.  

{Bubble, Baby Cousin & Honey Jr}
An hour or two in, Mrs. London and I got up from our seats to do a lap around the village and stretch our legs. As we walked into the street behind all of the festivities, Child Bride's youngest sister, Wolf (she's about ten I think, I can never remember), came running up to me shouting my name and waving her arms in all sorts of Gallic gestures. A pigeon had been attacked by a cat and was left flapping about under a car and she wanted me to come and look at it. For some reason this was something she just HAD TO TELL ME. Why me? Why did I have to see it? And I'm I really the proper person to deal with something like that? No, I'm not. I told her I'd go and find Brother-in-Law so he could deal with it and continued on my way.

(I've told you the above anecdote purely to highlight the random craziness that one encounters in The LPV... flapping semi-lifeless pigeons, murderous cats, and a girl named Wolf. For the record, I have not nicknamed Wolf, Wolf, it's actually her name. OK, not Wolf, but the French word for Wolf, Loup. And there you go. )

Flapping pigeon crisis averted we returned to our seats and found that George had foraged some mint in an attempt at Mojito making. (Once again I was promised by the Brazil Day Committee that there would be Mojitos or Caipirinhas and once again I was lied to. I really need to stop being so gullible.)

We ordered a few shots of Rum and a couple of glasses of fizzy lemonade and figured we'd be all set. The waitress dropped off our drinks and charged us €2.50 per cup of fizzy lemonade... €2.50 (that's $3.35)! These weren't cans, or small individual bottles but small cups, poured out of a plastic bottle. That's highway robbery and Big Man had our hands in the air. But, what were going to do? Of course we paid...

For the next round, I walked into the bar and ordered the lemonade from the waitress that had been hired for the day (never seen her before in my life). She charged me €2.70 per cup. WHAT THE?! I was momentarily dazed by the 20¢ mark up that had occurred within the hour (a mark up on top of a mark up) and I carried my lemonade outside. I told Gregory and he promptly flagged down the waitress and asked what the 20¢ price hike was all about. She looked at me, looked back at him and said, "oh sorry, I thought she was a tourist." WHAT THE?! (Yes, that actually happened... I'll leave you a moment to absorb that scandalous nugget.)
...
...
...

The waitress left and returned tossing 20¢ on the table. That really wasn't the point but with lemonade costing €2.50 a cup, I pocketed it.

Let's see, what else happened...

The Cousin was there with Petit Cousin (you know, the one that's named after an X-Man character) aka the most gangsta baby ever. Honestly, I'm expecting him to come out with his own rap video any day now.


I have no idea who won the beach soccer tournament (too busy gossiping and being overcharged) but since Honey Jr was refereeing again, I'm going to go ahead and say his team. However, I can tell you that Gregory and Honey's Honey did not win the beach volleyball despite their best effort (And despite Honey Jr refereeing that too. He's quite the busy little bee on Brazil Day... do you see what I did there... Honey Jr... bee... hee hee!)

beach volleyball south of France
For lunch we got price gauged again... €10 for a plate of two sausages and chips (that's French fries to my American brethren) or in my case, €10 for a plate of chips since I don't like Chipolatas. At least the €10 was the same price for everybody (but then again, I'm not too sure... I forgot to ask the holidaying Parisians how much they were charged, but knowing Big Man, how much he likes money, and how much he dislikes Parisians, I'm going to go ahead and wager that they paid more).


And Gregory spent some quality time with his future Goddaughter, passing on sage wisdom (gossip more likely) and rubs. (HOW CUTE IS THAT T-SHIRT?!)
That is when he wasn't stealing her mother's ice cream anyway. 


Only Gregory would sit on a pregnant woman's lap and rob her ice cream cone off of her. I'm mean really, the boy has no shame. 
That's where I'm going to leave it for the day. The crazy continues with nighttime at Brazil Day, up next. 
Same crazy channel. Same crazy place. 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

expat escapades {round 4}


Bonjour tout le monde! Welcome to another round of Expat Escapades! Let me tell you, you're in for a treat... this edition takes you to Ireland, Wales, Germany, Greece, and France. Are you ready? Are you steady? Go!
. . . . . . . . . .

Take a beautiful tour of lush County Wicklow, Ireland with Alex (Alex is from Texas but lives in Germany and travels up a storm). She photographed some of my favorite spots in all of Ireland like Glendalough and Johnnie Fox's pub (of course one of my favorite spots is a pub, of course it is). Some of her shots capture perfectly why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle (hint... because it's green). 

For more beautiful, green landscapes, but this time of Wales, click on over to A Compass Rose. Bonnie and her family hiked up Cadair Idris, a mountain in Gwynedd, and met a very photogenic sheep along the way. And if you still haven't gotten enough of the heavenly Welsh views, Belinda posted magnificent photos of The Natural Wonders of Wales.

Now that you should be all Waled out, let's head East, to Germany and see a firework display over the Rhein on We Took The Road Less Traveled. While you're there, stick around and tour a German wine festival with Casey and check out the most delicious looking pretzel ever. Seriously, as if the wine wasn't enough, there are pretzels. 
Dear France... your wine festivals are missing pretzels, please remedy this oversight immediately. 

Heading even further East to Greece, island hop by ferry with The Traveling Gypsy. Tia will take you to Folegandros, Sikinos, Ios, Paros, Naxos, Syros, and Santorini. I know that I'm lucky to live surrounded by the beauty of Provence and The Luberon, but my heavens, Greece is straight up dazzling. 

Since I don't want to make France too jealous after loving up on all of these other countries, we're coming back to my home with a tour of Saint Paul de Vence. Fox in Paris did her best to blend in with the locals at this popular tourist spot in the South of France. Luckily she wasn't too shy to whip out the camera every now and then. 

Moving even closer to The LPV, my friend Heather captured the golden hues of Aix-en-Provence. Seeing one of my favorite cities through Heather's lens, is discovering it in a whole new way. 

And finally onto Le Petit Village itself... Martine attended Brazil Day this year and lived to tell the tale. Visit her blog to see what she has to say about it, and then stick around here, because next up, Brazil Day Part 1. (Oh yeah, this year Brazil Day requires two posts. Fasten your seat belts kids...

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Brazil Day {photos}

The Third Annual Brazil Day was epic in that epically crazy way that only a festival in Le Petit Village can be. But, I'm saving the stories of the utter lu-la-ness of the day for another post. What I give you  today, are some amazing shots captured by my friend George (you know George, he's my friend Martine's husband and has a photography blog that I encourage do go and check out, but I'm sure, after you look at these photos, you'll want to anyway). So without further ado, I give you this photo tour of Brazil Day.

For those of you who are new here, you're probably scratching your heads and thinking, "what in tarnation does Brazil have to do with a small village in Provence???" So first of all, bienvenue, and second, read this post to find out the history of Brazil Day.

{represent}
{Honey Jr as the referee}
{Honey Jr as a player}
{socks}
{The Cousin}
{Baby Cousin}
{heads up}
{staying cool}
{Candy}
{the two cutest spectators}
{Baby Cousin's girlfriend}
{The DJ}
{Big Man}
{I'm a lucky girl}
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Behind the Photos IV

It's feels bizarre to be looking at all of these wintry photos while it's still hot as Hades outside. I'm at that point where I'm growing tired of summer (mainly my summer wardrobe) but at the same time know I will be sad to see it go. So for now, I'm going to soak up the sunshine and take a walk down icy memory lane with these photos from January 2010. For more Behind the Photos click here.


Isn't this photo magical? My first winter in The LPV and I manage to capture something like that. Now I'm pretty sure those round orbs were simply drops of snow hitting my lens, but I like to think of them as twinkling fairies swirling about. Because let's face it... if there is one place in the world that would be inhabited by twinkling fairies, it would be Le Petit Village. 


Look at my guys! They are so cute I just want to squeeeeeeze them! These two photos always give me the warm and fuzzies (it's probably because they can't get into any trouble when they are asleep).


Fifty loves the snow! He cannot get enough of frolicking in it's freezing depths. Me, not so much. I am much more content to gaze at the snowy beauty through my window. Of course, I'm the idiot who brought a three month old puppy home in December. Nothing like attempting to housebreak a dog when it's -420394029 degrees outside. 


Here's us, on our first plane ride together. We were flying to Dublin for my mother's birthday and judging by the bags under our eyes, I'm guessing it was an early morning flight (it was that trip when Gregory tried brushing his teeth with hydrocortisone cream instead of toothpaste). You can learn a lot about a person by traveling together. For instance, I learned that The Husband likes to chat while flying, and he learned that I like to bury my nose in something to read and a bag of Haribo gummies. Consequently, The Husband also learned the joys of talking to himself and that his wife doesn't share her sweets.


I'm not sure why but I've always adored this photo. It's Niece and Little Niece on the bus into Dublin City-Centre (top deck, right up front is 'our' seat). The Husband and I were taking them for lunch at our favorite sushi place. I was so proud of them because at the time, one was seven and the other only five, and they both fearlessly gave the sushi try. (They both ended up with bowls of Ramen but at least they tried the sushi first.)


And as a reward for being brave little girls and trying the sushi, they got to use Gregory as a jungle gym after. I'm not sure who is happier in this photo, them or him.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

six things


You know Selena, right? She's my buddy from Oh, the places we will go who moved from Texas (not too far from where I'm from either) to London with her English husband and now they travel all about. Like right this second, Selena is cruising around the Baltic Sea and I'm sure she's taking loads of beautiful photos to show us when she comes back. So yeah, if you don't know her you should because she's pretty cool.

Anyway, Selena passed on the Six Things meme that has been making it's way around lately. Here's the deal... she asked me nine questions, I chose six to answer and share with y'all and then I pass on another nine questions to six bloggers. It's a getting to know you, getting to know all about you kind of thing. (Did you just get that song from the Kind & I stuck in your head? If you did, then I won, and if you didn't, well then I failed.)

. . . . . . . . . . 

What is the best advice your Mother ever gave you? 
There are two pieces that have popped into my head and since I think they are equally important, I'm going to share both with you.
1) Do not bother worrying about things that are out of your control. There's absolutely no point (this one has served me very well in France).
2) When you are feeling really down, buy yourself a bottle of Champagne (or anything sparkling), pour it into a crystal glass, and drink... instant mood lifter. (Champagne doesn't have to be only for celebrating you know.)

If you had a million dollar investor, what business would you open?
I would love to open a French style épicerie and wine bar back in the States. A place where you can buy delicious French nibbles and enjoy them there with a glass of wine or take them away. Plus, I'd have the shelves stocked with goodies like truffle oil and tapenades.

What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome? 
That would definitely be living in France and the last few years of my life. Gregory and I have weathered a lot of obstacles and stressful happenings together... moving to new countries, new languages (for both of us), moving house three times in three years, the death of my father and a bunch of other bad juju stuff that has happened that I have chosen not to blog about because I like to keep Sara in The LPV a fuzzy wuzzy happy kind of place. But the bottom line is this, we can take a licking and keep on ticking.

If you were a super hero, what would your super hero powers be? 
Without a doubt my super hero power would be the ability to teleport. I'm tired of the cost of flights and the time involved. Teleportation = every expat's dream. And of course I would be able to fight crime all over the world at the drop of a hat. All Fifty and I need are teleportation skills, some capes, and we're all set. Watch out bad guys.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? 
I'd like to go back to my roots and take on Manhattan. I love, love, love NYC... the buzz, the attitude, the non-stop vibe. A lot of fantastic childhood memories for me have sprung out of that city and I'd love to go back and make some new ones.

What is the best gift that you've ever received?
Life. Thanks Mom and Dad.
. . . . . . . . . .

Would you be so kind as to answer six of the following nine questions please?

1. What is your favorite time of the day and why? 
2. If you could invite five people for a dinner party (alive or dead) who would you choose?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
4. If you could go back in time and change one event in your life would you, and if so, what event?
5. What would your last meal be? 
6. If you were given €50,000 what would you do with it?
7. What is your dream holiday destination? 
8. If you could switch careers to anything you'd like (and be instantly qualified for it) what career would you choose?
9. If you could live in any other point in time other than this one, when would that be?


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Monday, August 19, 2013

boys will be boys

{English, English, South African, French, French}

We were due to go and visit Mr. & Mrs. London for the weekend. Somehow three weeks had passed since we had seen each other and The Husband had grown quite cranky (and according to Mrs. London, Mr. London had been wearing his grumpy pants too). Normally when we go, Mr. London barbecues, and it's a ridiculous amount of food for only the four of us. This time, Mr. London told us that he had invited a few friends to pop around to eat all of that extra food. A few? Try a whole bunch. 

It was as if the United Nations was hosting a barbecue; there were French boys, Italian, and Samoan, boys from New Zealand and Argentina, Fiji, England and South African boys. And one American... ME! 

But after observing the splashy pool time antics, one thing became clear; whether they're from the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern, East or West, boys will always be boys. 








Somebody got pushed in the pool... twice. I feel that it is important to note that before the barbecue started, I mentioned to The Husband that he should wear his swim trunks. He told me that he didn't want to because he didn't plan on going swimming. I replied that that, was entirely irrelevant. 

This is Mr. London being held under water and beaten by noodles. And below you'll see him being assaulted by a ping pong paddle wielding Gregory. I guess that the old saying is true, you always hurt the one you love.


The next day, the boys will be boys, splashy pool time continued with even more water wrestling and shenanigans. 


It didn't take long before Mrs. London and I decided that we were all testosteroned out... the perfect excuse to sneak off to the beach for some Rosé and nibbles. 


Girls will be girls.

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P.S. Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway, the winner is Katrin!
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