Monday, June 30, 2014

A German in America {guestpost}

Hello Sara's readers!

My name is Katrin and I blog over at Land of Candy Canes about my life as a German married to an American. I also like to talk a lot about animals (I love all animals and I have 4 pets: 2 cats and 2 bunnies), food (I am a vegan and love to discover new recipes), books, traveling and many more things.  I am honored that Sara lets me guest post on her fantastic blog. She's a wonderful friend and it means a lot to me.

Today I want to talk to you about some of the experiences I have had as a German in America. I did not really know what to expect when I first moved there. Of course, you know America from movies and books but living there as an expat is a completely different experience. America became my second home...but of course there are some things that are just weird for me.

The restaurant experience.

First of all, in Germany you don't wait to be seated. You just walk into the restaurant, decide where you want to sit, and then a waiter comes over to take your order. That is what I was used to. I don't really like waiting for food. I can get a bit crabby when I am hungry. When I first went to an American restaurant the waitress told us that we would have to wait 45 minutes for a table. For me, that was a reason to leave and go to another place. But I found out: it's normal. People do that all the time. So I knew that's a thing I have to get used to. I do love that you get free refills in America. I mean, how awesome is this?! In Germany I am used to paying more for my drinks than I pay for my food. I am always thirsty so this comes in handy. It would be perfect if the waitress would not come over every 5 minutes to fill up my glass which isn't even half empty, but I don't want to be pedantic. In Germany the waiter usually only comes over when I ask him to. My biggest problem in a lot of American restaurants is that they just don't have anything on the menu for me. I know that there are lots of fantastic vegan places out there but just not around my city. So I always end up annoying the poor waitress by asking her thousands of questions about the food (and ordering my drinks without ice, it's just weird) and end up ordering some sides.

What I do not like about eating in American restaurants is that I often feel rushed. In Germany I always spend hours at a restaurant and people just leave you alone. But it happened a couple of times to me that the waiter brought the check while I was still eating. I think that is just not necessary. I know that a lot of places are crowded and that they need the tables for other customers but I really prefer to eat in peace and have a coffee afterwards. Without being disturbed. But hey, as I said, I don't want to be pedantic....I mean, I had the best veggie burger of my life in an American restaurant. That makes up for a lot of inconveniences.

Shiny happy people. 

I love the fact that people are so friendly in America. One example: when I go to the post office in Germany, I am prepared to see a lot of people impatiently waiting with a crappy mood because the line is too long, the employees are to slow, the sky is too blue, or the floor too ugly. In America people actually start talking to you while you wait in line. In a friendly way! Makes me smile every time I experience it. I have to say that I only had one unfriendly experience while grocery shopping: the sales person got mad at me because I asked her too many questions about a curry paste I was looking for. But I am sure she just had a bad day. So, hey, way to go America!

It's freezing.

One thing I will never get used to: air conditioning. I might be a helpless case because I am always cold but why does it always have to be freezing cold in stores, restaurants, offices, houses and (the worst) movie theaters! It's always like a slap in the face when it's nice and sunny outside and you wear your summer clothes and then you enter a building and you immediately start freezing. I just don't get it. I always have to bring a cardigan and sometimes even a scarf and socks to the movie theater because I just can't stand sitting there for two hours in an ice cold breeze. I guess I am just not used to it. Most people do not seem to have a problem with it. But I guess I will just go on carrying my winter clothes with me. Even in mid-summer.

There are in fact lots of other things which are weird for a German living in America...things like: the love for the American flag (in Germany you rarely see the flag, only when the World Cup is going on), chips for lunch (chips are a snack which you eat while watching a Fussball match), guns everywhere, the lack of good bread, cars without a stick (still feel useless when I drive one because I basically only need one hand and one foot), the fact that there are 5 Burger Kings, 7 Mc Donald's, 6 Wendy's and 36 other fast food restaurants even in the smallest town, people use way too many plastic bags, sales tax is not included in the prices, the fact that you don't have at least 5 different trash bins to recycle (plastic, bio, paper, glass, general), the fact that the traffic lights are on the other side of the intersection, the mail usually takes a lot longer than in Germany, nobody uses house slippers....and so on.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about my German-American life. Sara, thank you again for giving me the opportunity to write on your blog. You are a wonderful friend!

Friday, June 27, 2014

saying goodbye again

The suckiest thing about being in a long distance relationship has to be saying goodbye. I've had to say goodbye to Gregory loads of times, too many times. And truth be told, once we got married, I never dreamed I'd be in the 'sucky saying goodbye' position again. I thought those days were over, but here we are.

Tomorrow Gregory has to go back to France. His three month tourist visa expires and we are still a few months out from the Green Card (but have no fear, things are really moving on that front... finally!). We could have opted to do this whole crazy thing called an Adjustment of Status that would have enabled Gregory to stay put with me here while we waited for the Green Card to be processed but after careful consideration, we decided not to confuse things (and by 'things', I mean the State Department) with the six, extra long, extra pain in the petunia forms that that would require (not to mention saving the $1100 it would cost).

So yeah, it's goodbye time again, and that blows. For the past three months, without meaning to, we've been silently counting down the days, knowing that the goodbye was out there, looming. But this sucky, sad, goodbye time, I've decided to handle a little differently... I'm prolonging it!

Instead of saying goodbye tomorrow at San Antonio airport, we'll be saying goodbye in twelve days time in Paris because I'm going back to France! How you like them pommes? À bientôt mes amis!

P.S. Of course I'm not just going to leave you high and dry with an 'à bientôt' like that! I'll be checking in on instagram, twitter, and facebook while I'm gone so if you want to see copious shots of me and a Rosé glass, be sure to follow along. Also, some lovely ladies have kindly agreed to keep this space company while I'm gone so be sure to stay tuned... 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Friend: Reintroduced Paris to Kale

I'm an Aquarius. 

I read once that Aquarians like to collect people the way others might collect eclectic art and if I take a look at my friends, it's kind of true. It's not like I do it on purpose or anything, like, I don't go around intentionally rounding up interesting people that make perfect dinner party guests, it just sort of happens, And because I have some really intriguing friends, and because I blog, naturally I thought that I should combine the two in a new blog series called, My Friend. 

Each edition of My Friend, will focus on one of these dynamic dynamos as I introduce them to you with an interview, so you can get to know them too. They're doing some pretty fascinating and inspiring things, like for instance, this, this, and this.

Today, I'm interviewing a blog friend turned in real life friend (or IRL as us bloggers like to call it), Kristen, an American in Paris. Kristen is the founder of The Kale Project, "a movement to bring the healthiest green vegetable to Paris."   

Let's start off with an easy one, how are you? 

I'm good! I just got back from a few days in Cannes. It's always nice to wake up and know there will be consistent sunshine!

First things first, do you prefer the Queen of Kale, Lady Kale, or my favorite (which I think should be your superhero name), The Green Empress?

There have been a lot of names out there and I've actually never heard Lady Kale or The Green Empress yet! I like Lady Kale though.  I will admit that when I see an article about someone doing kale chips or opening a juice bar and they are called the "Queen of Kale" I get a little jealous. Perhaps that's how Gwyneth Paltrow felt when she read that I was the "Kale Crusader" in the New York Times?

I'm sure she was green with envy (green... get it?!). Anyway, Lady Kale, what was the light bulb moment when you knew that you were going to try and bring kale to Paris?

Philip (my husband) and I were drinking martinis at this weird expat event (where we spoke to no one) about 2 months after moving to France and since I could not find a job or kale, I thought that perhaps I would make finding kale my job. Coming from an advertising background, I've approached the entire thing as a marketing campaign. But on a side note, I never thought that I would actually talk about kale all the time.

How would you attempt to describe kale to people at the markets in France and when you did, would they just point to the chou frisé? 

I would show a photo on my phone and yes, people would point to chou frisé or just say they had never seen it or would just shrug. I probably could have been a little bit more eloquent about the entire thing but this was so early on and I was so shy trying to speak French. But I also have more of a city perspective. I'm sure if I was asking around in more rural areas where people tend to garden on their own, the response might have been different.

How have the French responded to kale? Any funny horror stories you can share?

Overall the response has been good. There are always a few people that don't care but that's alright because hamburgers and cupcakes are a huge trend right now in Paris and while I respect anyone that has their own business or project around them, I don't care about them. And of course there are the people that have sent me horrible hate-mail because they think I'm trying to teach the French how to eat, which clearly isn't true.

What has been your biggest obstacle with the Kale Project? And what was your biggest surprise?

The biggest obstacle has been keeping it going and organized. The entire initiative grew much faster than I anticipated so at times I'm not able to keep up with it all. And the French language part was difficult but it forced me to speak which in the long run has been great! The biggest surprise was again how quickly it grew. I never expected Auchan or Le Grand Frais to be carrying kale during the second season.

If not kale, what other vegetable or food would you try to bring to France?

I never really know how to answer this question because the kale thing just happened and made sense. It was like I had this instinct that I had to do it (I know it sounds crazy!) While I would love to have more frequent access to more varieties of kale and other dark, leafy greens (collards, dandelion greens), I can't say that France is really missing anything. Overall, living here has taught me so much about seasonality of produce to the point where I really try to practice shopping and eating with the seasons much more than I did in NYC. So not having access to certain things has made me more thoughtful about what I buy.

What type of climate does kale grow best in? Do you think it would flourish in Le Petit Village? (I could picture Honey Jr being quite the little kale farmer)

As kale is a cabbage - it is traditionally a winter vegetable - it grows best in mild temps. But it would definitely grow in Le Petit Village too! It's so easy to grow! In France the season is turning out to be September - March.

Tell me about this cocktail you made at Silencio (an uber trendy bar in Paris)... did they let you loose behind the bar to mix it up?

I was lucky enough to work with their professional bartender who made a mean Kale Bloody Mary. I plan to share the recipe on the site sometime soon.

I thought the Huffington Post piece on you was cool and I was chuffed for you when I saw it, but when I saw the article in the NY Times, I was really blown away, were you surprised by the success and attention?

Of course! I mean I still just sit back and laugh at the entire experience. I am lucky that I was able to devote my time to something this fun and interesting. I'm even luckier that it's done so well.

Do you have a go-to kale recipe that you'd share with us?

For my favorite dish, I'm all about kale salads. But the great thing about kale is that you can add it to literally almost anything. Soup? Add some kale. Pasta dish? Add some sauteéd kale. Smoothie? Juice? Add some kale. It's so versatile which makes it so easy to get some green goodness on a daily basis.

If you could travel back in time knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself before launching the Kale Project?

Hah. I'm not sure I would have started it. I think there was this naivety in my life at that time that blinded me to what I really, truly was doing and if I'd waited any longer I probably would have chickened out and been too aware of what the French could have or would have said. But that said, I probably would tell myself to be better at updates on the website. There is so much that happened that I never actually wrote about. Oh well - it's something I can always add in retrospect!

And finally... what's next?

I'm trying to figure this out too! I'm still working with various local, French farmers in other parts of the country and will be ramping up for the 2014 season in September with a few collaborations with Big Apple Yoga, Green Hopping App to name a few. One thing the project taught me is that you really never do know what's going to happen next. Keeping an open-mind has been really important!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gregory Gerard Mathieu

That's Gregory's name, can you believe it? Gregory Gerard Mathieu... it's a mouthful. In France you get not one middle name, but two, so you have three whole names (not counting your last one of course). It's a whole lot, but I like it.

Today is Gregory Gerard Mathieu's birthday (the Gerard part is for his uncle, I'm not sure where Mathieu came from but I think it's nice) and for the first time ever, he's celebrating it outside of France. We're keeping it low key, mostly because he likes it that way, he doesn't like a fuss (unlike me, who very much likes fuss). 

And get this, not only does he not want a fuss, but he decided that this year, he didn't even want any presents (POPPYCOCK I SAY! YOU CAN'T HAVE A BIRTHDAY WITHOUT ANY PRESENTS, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!), he was going to give presents instead, specifically, himself. Right at this very second, Gregory Gerard Mathieu is down at the local YMCA, giving blood. He said he wanted to do something nice that would help other people on his birthday, and that's all he wanted. Well color me humbled.

So that's that. It's my husband's birthday and I just wanted to fuss over him a bit. Ciao ciao for now.

Update: Poor Gregory Gerard Mathieu just returned from the Y crestfallen, they wouldn't let him give blood because he's from France and the whole Mad Cow disease thing. He's so disappointed but I've told him that it's the thought that counts. Poor guy.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Celebrating San Antonio

I'm not a huge fan of crowds. I'm not phobic or anything, I just really don't like them, like really don't like them. I dislike them so much that I tend to skip lots of fun events because I don't want to deal with hundreds of people smushed together and the long lines that accompany them. I just lack the patience. So when my mother mentioned going to the San Antonio Spurs victory parade downtown on the Riverwalk, I was like, meh, no way. Being jammed shoulder to shoulder in the Texas heat waiting for a parade to roll by is basically my nightmare, even if the Spurs have been my team since '89. I'll pass, thank you very much.   

But then I thought about the Riverwalk, and more importantly, all of the awesome restaurants and bars that line it and the light bulb went off; "Hold up. What if we book a table and eat dinner while we watched it?" B effing ingo. 

We booked a table at Little Rhein Steakhouse and headed downtown extra early (my best avoid the crowds tactic) and got our celebration on. (Our celebration included a stop at Hooters, or as Gregory calls it 'Ewters', because he's been dying to go. Boys.

We took our time walking along the San Antonio river and through La Villita, which somehow I have never been to despite having been downtown approximately 239478 times. It was the perfect way to work up an appetite for dinner (and to not feel guilty about the massive slice of cheesecake I woofed down).

It's estimated that over 100,000 fans squeezed onto the Riverwalk for the parade (a testament to how dedicated Spurs fans are), which is definitely up there on my crowd, nightmare meter, but between the beautiful scenery and the whole genius restaurant idea, I didn't mind one bit. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Behind the Photos XVI

This edition of Behind the Photos could pretty much be called, Fifty: Behind the Photos. For some bizarre reason, just about every photo I took in the early months of 2011 featured Fifty. I guess that's all that was happening in Le Petit Village at the time... F I F T Y. (What can I say, winters in The LPV were notoriously boring.)

One of Fifty's favorite things is to be picked up and cuddled like a baby and luckily for him, Gregory likes to indulge him. Fifty has no concept of his size, in his mind, he's just a rough and tumble Chihuahua. 

One can start to go a bit stir crazy when living on top of a small, snow covered mountain in the middle of nowhere and that stir craziness can result in some pretty ridiculous behavior, like making your dog wear socks, you know, for giggles. This was not one of Fifty's favorites. 

Another fun way to pass the time when there is NOTHING happening... pillow fights with your dog. Fifty may be feisty but due to his lack of opposable thumbs, I usually win. This particular pillow fight was in our bedroom in the second house we lived in in The LPV. The room was basically the size of a queen bed, that's it. There was like a foot of space on the left hand side of the bed, while the other side was pushed up against the wall. When I got into bed at night, I would just throw myself on top of it and  in the mornings, wiggle out of it. It was pretty ridiculous for a room, but for things like pillow fights, it was awesome, because it was kind of like a wrestling ring since the room was all mattress. God I was happy to move out of that place. 

Aw, Vicky, a face only a mother could love... Fifty's friend, Vicky, used to come over everyday (may she rest in peace, sweet, sweet girl) for a treat or to play. She'd just show up at the front door and they'd stare at each other through the glass. If I didn't open the door fast enough, Vicky would try and open it herself. As long as it was unlocked, she could, and either she'd come in, or Fifty would run out. But if it was locked, Fifty would give me the saddest puppy dog eyes until I opened it. Like I could ever say no to that face.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sara Louise v. Pizza

Have you ever seen Man v. Food? It's like a travel-food show where this guy eats his way across the U.S. He's a little nutty, but very entertaining. He ate a 42 inch pizza once. That's right, 42 inches, and he ate it right here in San Antonio (I say 'right here' because I'm just a hop, skip and a jump away from San Antonio).

Naturally, Gregory, whose number one hobby is eating, wasn't going to live down the road from a pizza so large it was on Man v. Food without seeing it (RE: EATING IT) for himself, so when the Irish boys were with us, we took a trip to the eastside of town for dinner. Actually, we took two trips... the first time we went was on a Sunday night, and there was a two hour wait for a table. Clearly, everyone wants to eat the biggest pizza in Texas but I don't wait for two hours for anything (patience is not one of my virtues) so we arrived early the following Wednesday and got seated right away.
Not wanting to be total gluttons, we opted for the 37 inch instead of the 42, which was still plenty even though Gregory did manage to eat a whole seven slices of the jumbo pie. Me, I managed a paltry two. (Note To Self: next time skip the salad and go straight for the pie.) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Full Circle {review + giveaway}

It's summertime! Unless you're in the southern hemisphere of course, in that case, it's wintertime! Either way, it's always a good time for a good book and do I have one for you! 

Julie Tulba has written a fantastically fun book of short stories full of traveling tales entitled, Full Circle. Each story is a swift and enjoyable read with a different character, in a different, exotic location. In Full Circle, Julie takes you around the world to places like Paris, Buenos Aires, London, and Lisbon. 

Reading Full Circle is like an all around the world vacation, minus the credit card debt and I hope you're ready to take the trip because Julie is giving away a copy of her book to one of you lucky ducks! So if you're ready to cozy up on your couch for a virtual journey, then enter to win below... passport not required. Bon voyage!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


// Gregory and I saw Honey Jr and Honey's Honey's doppelgangers walking down the street in my small, Texas town; same hairstyles, same clothing style, and the same petite size... we almost asked them to join us for an apéro, but that would have been weird.

// I don't think I told y'all about Gregory and the baby fox... At the end of last summer, we were returning from dinner and a light show in Avignon. It was after midnight as we drove into the forest outside Le Petit Village, when suddenly, Gregory slammed on the breaks. There was a baby fox in the middle of the road in danger of becoming a snake's dinner. Gregory promptly hopped out of the car and shooed the fox off to the side of the road. He then got back into the car and proceeded to drive over the snake; back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until we assured him that the baby fox was safe from the flattened snake. Gregory then got back out of the car and started cooing at the fox that was still sitting on the side of the road. He would have taken that thing home with him if he could've but then he could have ended up like this guy.

// My mother and Gregory have taken to playing cards together every afternoon, sometimes it's cute, sometimes it sounds like there is going to be a domestic. She's going to miss him when he's gone.

// There's only seventeen days and counting until Gregory has to go back to France... so that blows.

// When I moved back to the States from France, jet lag got hold of me something fierce, and for a few weeks, me and sleep were BFFs. I'd go to bed by 8PM just about every night, and on one Saturday, at 6:30PM, I stretched and yawned and declared that it was time for me to call it a night. My mother told me that I couldn't possibly go to bed because it wasn't even seven o'clock yet. But then I said that it was DST later that night, so technically it was 7:30, so off to bed I went. I'm such a party animal.

// Gregory and I watched Freaks & Geeks a couple of weeks ago (his first time, my bazillionth). I will be eternally bummed that there wasn't a second season or even a tenth for that matter. But thanks to the glorious internet, I can relive the glory that is Freaks & Geeks whenever the mood strikes me... like now. Enjoy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

7 0 0

Say what now?! Seven hundred posts as of this one right here! I can hardly believe it. When I started this blog a week after moving to France, I didn't know what to expect and I had zero idea how long I would be typing away for. It turns out the answer to that is four and a half years and seven hundred posts and counting. Whew!

So in honor of the seven hundred posts that I tip-tapped away, here's a round-up of some of my favorite posts from the past for your perusing pleasure. I hope you enjoy them.

A big, huge, gargantuan thank you to all of you! 
Thank you for your kindness, your support, and your friendship. 
Without you I would be here typing away to myself, 
which is kind of like talking to yourself, but a little less crazy like.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

my miraculous moving miracle

Gather around children as I tell you the story of a miraculous thing; a miraculous thing that happened just when I needed it most...

It was the morning of Tuesday,  the fourth of March, and I was flying out of Paris and leaving my life in France behind. I was tired and stressed and sad, so very sad. I had said goodbye to Gregory the day before and it had already been four days since I had seen Fifty. While I knew I'd see them in a month's time, I didn't know when I'd see The Londons, Honey Jr, Honey's Honey, Child Bride or La Petite again.

I was feeling mighty down and the unknown was waiting for me a couple of long flights away. I was nervous, and exhausted, because come on, we all know how sucky moving is, let alone an international one. I hadn't slept properly for weeks and all I desperately wanted was to get the flights over with, and get to my mother's house in Texas (to be completely honest, all I really wanted at that point was to go back in time to decide not to move back to the U.S. and blink and be back in Le Petit Village like none of the whole moving malarky had ever even happened).

So yeah, Sara Louise was not a happy bunny, and most definitely not looking forward to being sad on a long journey. And that's when it happened; when the most wonderful thing that could happen, happened... I got upgraded.  Sure I'd still be sad, but at least I'd be comfy and sad (comfiness makes all the difference really).

This may not be the best picture, but it's leg room, sweet, glorious leg room, the most valuable commodity at 35,000 feet. I was quite comfortable and very happy... sadness forgotten! All I had to do was sit there and relax while nice ladies brought me wine and food. I watched a Downton Abby marathon and made my own sundae. There was no packing, no important decisions to make or forms to fill out, no somber goodbyes or sadness.

It was pure bliss and I didn't want it to end. I was on the verge of having my address forwarded to Sara Louise, seat 4c, somewhere over the Atlantic, because as far as I was concerned, I had found my new home. So naturally I was less than pleased when we landed in Washington D.C... time to move again.

I trudged across Dulles, pouty and sullen, dreading the four hour flight to San Antonio on the tiny express jet. Sad, Sara Louise had returned. And that's when the second miracle occurred. I didn't make my flight (this was during all of that horrible cold weather stuff that messed up the East Coast airports). That's right, I didn't make my flight and I was happy about it!

Normally getting stuck someplace while traveling is a nightmare of epic proportions but on that evening, I looked at it as a blessing, because being stuck in D.C. meant a hotel room, a shower, a bed, and room service. And of course, some more time off of the moving grid. Reality wasn't real as long as I stayed somewhere between my start and end points.. no pesky and stressful decisions to be made.

I checked into the Marriot, put on my jammies, ordered the most American food I could think of (buffalo tenders and a BLT) and watched The CW. The Originals was on and I wanted to see what that rascal Klaus had been up to. And for the first time in weeks and weeks, I slept. No to-do lists or packing worries running through my brain, just pure sleep. Hallelujah.

And the next day I arrived at the airport bright as a button, hopped on my plane, and made it to San Antonio just in time for lunch. Hello tacos. The end.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

pretend this is a vlog

I have failed you my friends, failed you, failed you, failed you.

I am having some technical problems over here with both my imovie and my iphone and I'm unable to give you the vlog I promised. In my meek attempt to make it up to you, please accept the following answers to your questions from Gregory. They're not vlogged, but they are verbatim (and if you wanted, you could watch his last vlog so you know what he would sound like if this was indeed a vlog).

Maria: Will Gregory work in Boston? Which language do you guys use to communicate?
Gregory: Yes, when I can work, I will work. We speak in English because it is the most natural for us because we met in English. 

NotesFromAbroad: How long did it take for you to think you might want to stay in the US, Or did you decide you might want to go back to France?
Gregory: One month, that's it. No, I don't want to go back to France, but I miss my friends. I think it's normal. 

Donna Baker: What is your favorite American food?
Gregory: Fried catfish or oysters, fried oysters.    

Wine and Cork: J'ai toujours été très curieuse de savoir ce que Gregory faisait dans la vie en Provence, et ce qu'il espère pouvoir faire une fois installé dans le Massachusett. 
Gregory: Je travaillais en securité sur Monaco et Cannes la plupart du temps pour differentes personnes ou des festivals.
Et pour le Massachusett je suis entrain de passer mon diplome de coach sportif.

Laoch of Chicago: What does he think of American Pizza?
Gregory: Uh, is good but I prefer the French one if you ask me to choose between the two

Holly Nelson: How are you enjoying the States? How can I get my boyfriend to return to my home country with me?!?!
Gregory: Oh, I love America, but it's weird because I miss my friends. The food is good, the music, the people the car. Tell him if he likes drinking, partying and rugby, then he'll like England, and he'll be close to France and the rest of Europe for travel. 

Shannon: What are his thoughts on le football americain?
Gregory: I don't like it. It's too slow, too many breaks. 

Miss B: I'm curious about what Gregory thinks about American food. Does he miss all those amazing French cheeses and the inexpensive wine?
Gregory: Yeah, I miss the cheeses, I'm not a big wine drinker, but cheeses definitely. American food is good actually, it's not just burgers.
Sara Louise: I miss the inexpensive wine. I miss it so much it hurts. 

Tricia: Does it worry you thinking about the amount of poisonous snakes they have in Texas & having to really watch where you walk in the countryside? Also, how are you finding the portion sizes in the restaurants.  What DID Gregory do at The Penthouse Club? Don't hold back - tell us all. 
Gregory: Yeah I'm freaked out. All the time I walk on the grass I look. And I'm really scared for the dog. The portion sizes are big but I love it because I eat a lot and for the price it's really good stuff. I worked at security before at the Penthouse Club, but before it was called the Hustler Club. 

Megan Nicole: How does he feel speaking/hearing English all the time now? Even though my husband speaks English very well also, it was a bit of sensory overload for him at first. How does Gregory feel about it?
Gregory: I think it's fine. When I hear French for me, it's weird now, because I get used to English.

Enna-Ojs: What surprises him the most about Americans? What does he like the most about living in the U.S.? What does he find the most annoying?
Gregory: How people are friendly and really helpful. Oh, the convenience of things, like customer service and how easy it is like when you go to the bank and stuff. Politics are the most annoying, like the bad political ads on TV and stuff. 

Amanda: What do you think about American sports - football, baseball and of And have you become addicted to fast food yet? If so, which one?
Gregory: Hockey, I love it, but football I don't. Baseball I don't understand the rule. Hockey I love because it's fast and the contact. I always be addicted to fast food even before in France. Last year in England with Bumder we do three different fast food for midday, Taco Bell, Burger King and KFC. My favorite in America is Burger King and Sonic.  

Kaley: As an American with a foreign husband myself, I want to know how he's adjusting to the American lifestyle and what he misses. How he deals with missing home. If he ever thought he'd be so far from home. 
Gregory: No I never think I be so far from home. I'm adjusting pretty good I think. What's a big change for me is the work ethic and I don't know, I miss my friends, but otherwise I'm OK. 

Fat Dormouse: Do you think that Gregory will make a better or worse ex-pat than you? And does Gregory think he will make a better/worse one? And why..?! And what does he think he'll miss most about his homeland?
Gregory: I'm better because I talk to everybody.

Sara Louise: It's hard to say, but I think that it might be easier for Gregory because where we live in the US is not nearly as isolated as Le Petit Village was, and he had already met some of my American friends before coming over. But we'll see... P.S Gregory talks to everybody because he doesn't believe in 'stranger danger'. 

Puppyfur: How did Gregory find leaving Fifty to board separately at the airport? Does he have a plan for work in MA? How is he adjusting to the sheer size of Texas, never mind the US, so far? Finally, what is his biggest "must-do" in the US?
Gregory: Oh, I was really stressed. I even asked the Captain of the plane to see if he was on board and stuff. 
Yes, in Massachusetts, I will be a personal trainer.
I would like to explore the US; Manhattan, Statue of Liberty, Gold State Bridge and the place with the four face of president.  

Mademoisella Coquine and Betsy: How does it feel reversing roles with Sara Louise being the native and now you the expatriate? I'd love to know!
Gregory: It make me understand lot of thing and lot of situation before. I understand more now what it was like. 
Sara Louise: Hmmm... interesting. 

Sara: What did he do in LPV besides eat and bbq? Did he have a job or did he save all his rugby money so he'd never have to work again? What are his plans for the US? Is he going to learn to cook and be a househusband?
Gregory: Drink. No, I joke. I traveled a lot for security work. I'm training to be a personal trainer.  

Fit With Flash: Will he be accompanying you on our blate at the end of June when I come to Texas?!
Gregory:  Of course! 

Den Nation: How did Gregory ever manage to tear himself away from his Bumder and move so far away? Is there a US Bumder on the horizon?
Gregory:I don't manage it actually. There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled. In a joking way, but no, I miss him. Nope, no US Bumder. Bumder is Bumder. 

Well that's that. I hope you enjoyed this not-a-vlog. If anyone needs me, I'll be flailing myself in penance.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Before moving to the States, I promised an anxious Gregory that there would be Sundays, French Sundays. French Sundays are wonderful things, especially in Provence. In Provence, French Sundays are greeted with the brightest of blue skies and a shining sun. Apéro is had before settling in for a long lunch and a lazy afternoon.

Gregory would miss French Sundays. Of course he would, I would too, anyone would. So I promised Gregory that even in America, we would still have French Sundays. Apéro might not kick off at exactly midday, and there may not always be Rosé and Ricard, but I'd do my best to make it happen. 

For the past few Sundays, I've managed to keep the homesickness at bay with a bit of French tradition in Texas. At times it's a bit haphazard, but it's been getting the job done.  

A taste of the Mediterranean in a bowl and some chips and salsa because hello... we're in Texas y'all. The Rosé was replaced by white (I'm crying on the inside) which paired perfectly with the Schnitzel à la Holstein I made (which I thought was appropriate living in a German-American town like I do).  

{chasing squirrels is exhausting}
In typical Provençal fashion, lunch was followed by a sieste, which afterwards we were awoken from in typical Fifty fashion... with kisses! And I was having such a wonderful time relaxing on my French Sunday that you're now reading this post instead of watching a vlog of Gregory that I should have recorded. Forgive me please, but a whole day spent doing this, was just too good to pass up. A thousand pardons.  

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