Wednesday, November 28, 2007

French Boogers.

As you might have noticed I haven't been in the mood to blog lately because....I can't breath good.

For the past week and a half I've been fighting off a really nasty cold (is there such a thing as a nice cold?) , and at this point it's safe to say I lost the battle. Frenchboy clearly passed his nasty-ass French germs onto me with his French-kisses at some point. Luckily I managed to stock up on cold medicines while he had the cooties last month. Unfortunately for me, he finished off all of my good American cold medicine and left me to suffer with Humex.

If you live in France (or any EU country for that matter) you already are probably good friends with Humex, or have at least had it pushed on you once at the pharmacy. I swear everytime I go in there I come out with Humex even if I went in for band-aids. So anyway, my cold sucks. Once the sore throat went away last week I was left with a dry hacking cough so violent that it shakes the entire bed and wakes up FrenchBoy 3-4 times a night. And the oddest part is, I only seem to actually feel sick from 9 in the evening until about 9 in the morning. The rest of the time I don't exactly feel like running a marathin, but I can at least breath without going into spasms. If anyone has a theory on why this is so, please do share. Also I need a Doctor in Metz, find me one while you're at it.

So there. I'll be back to my normally bloggy self when I'm feeling a bit better. Untill then I'll be taking donations for my mouchoir* fund.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Go "Vous" Yourself.

I have been in this country for 4…no wait 5 years, and at this point I’ve gained a level of verbal fluency that allows me to do as I please and to express myself in almost any situation. Just 2 weeks ago week a waiter in Pizza Hut pissed me off and I went straight Brooklyn on him—in French no less. Even my Frenchboy stated “Damn, you buuurned him!” once the waiter had ran away crying. Now, that doesn’t mean my French is perfect. In fact, I only know how to use about 4 verb tenses. I mumble my way through the passé composé and don’t even get me started on the subjunctive. (Il faut que tu kiss my ass!) That aside, I get by quite nicely with my "Franglais" and I've even been known to tell a few good jokes on my good days.

On the other hand, there is one thing that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. I am constantly using the informal “tu” in cases when I should be using “vous”. For me this formal vs. non-formal thing is absolute torture and should be outlawed. I mean is “Allez vous faire foutre” more polite than “va te faire foutre”?

(Quick and dirty summary for you non French speakers: “tu” is the informal form for “you” and you use it only with people you know. “Vous” means exactly the same damn thing, but is the formal and the plural form that is used with people you don’t know. If you use the wrong form, people throw rocks at you.)

I have on occasion been known to accidentally use the “tu” form with the wrong people. I “tu”ed the doctor who did surgery on me a few years ago. I “tu”ed the notary who finalized our mortgage, and just yesterday I “tu”ed a salesguy at IKEA. (In my own defense I reserve the right to “tu” the Dr. I think you can “tutoyer” anyone who has seen you naked.) Luckily I have enough of an accent that people realize that it’s just a mistake of a non-native speaker, and they never take it as a sign of disrespect.

Part of my problem is that I don’t know how to conjugate many verbs in the “vous” form and I’m too damn lazy to study, but the other part is, I have a hard time deciding when to make the transition to “tu” with a person I originally used “vous” with. For example, a few months ago we were at a party with people we really didn’t know. That night I was extra careful to use “vous” with absolutely everyone even after several glasses of wine, but then my FrenchBoy through off my whole game by using “tu” with absolutely everyone. In fact I think I was the only person at the party using “vous”, which yet again makes me the odd man out. I just can’t win!

If anyone has any ideas of how I can get past this little hiccup of mine, please do share in comments. And for those of you who are laughing at my little language faux-pas, you can go “vous” yourselves.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Holy Crap. I Live in France!"

Maybe its the move to a new city, or maybe its the sudden change in season that's caught me off guard, but for the past 2 weeks I've been learning to really see France all over again.

metz 046

It's really funny how the details of life can totally numb you to the amazing stuff that's in your everyday environment. When I lived in New York I hardly actually lived in New York. For almost 6 years I shopped at Century 21 without ever looking down the block to actually see the World Trade Center. I walked to my Times Square painting studio everyday without stopping to look up Broadway, and for a brief time I took the Staten Island Ferry to work every morning without giving the Statue of Liberty a passing glance. I'm trying desperately not to repeat those mistakes here in this new chapter of my life in France.

metz centerville

Last week, on yet another really chilly day in France, I took a nice walk from Metz Sablon to Centreville with Mademoiselle R (Partly by accident. We got a bit lost.) After a lovely glass of champagne at one of our favorite tea salons, I stumbled home at sunset. Maybe it was the champagne, but that evening I fell in love with France yet again.

metz mary

Metz in particular has a subtle charm that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. One minute I'm doing something as mundane as wandering around the grocery store looking for garbage bags and then the very next minute I turn the corner and end up walking down the cheese aisle (which is approximately 1.7 kilometers long) and at that very second I realize where I am.

metz doors

It's so easy to forget sometimes that your everyday life is someone's dream come true. For every gripe I have about this country, there are 10 people that would happily trade places to be right where I am now.

metz sidestreet2

So, from here on out I'm going to make a genuine effort to sleepwalk less through this whole experience of living in France. Here's to hoping that at least once every day I stop and say to myself: "Holy Crap! I Live in France!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Lovely Metz!

The last week has been rough, but we're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. The actual moving day was rather uneventful. Nothing got broken, and nobody got hurt. What more can you ask for? Of course there are a few hiccups to cure, but that's to be expected. The past 3 days have been nothing but a blur of home improvement stores and hardware shopping.



Hmmm, the IKEA in Metz is out of stock for the storage shelving for the garage you say? No problem, hop in the car and head on over to Belgium!


One of the best (or weirdest) parts of living in this part of France is that we can easily visit 3 IKEA stores in three different countries in one afternoon. But look, I love the Swedes as much as the next gal, but I am officially IKEA'd out.


Ok, I'm calm enough to talk about the staircase problem now. Long story short: The company ordered and installed the wrong staircase. We decided to keep them at a heavily discounted price rather than destroy two walls in our stairwell by having them replaced.


The stairs are actually quite beautiful. Not nearly as hideous as they look in the above photo. I look at it like this: Let's say you order yourself a Hermès Birkin handbag. You wait and dream and wait and dream. Then 2 years later your Birkin arrives, but instead of the dark brown bag you ordered its a black bag. Now if Hermès offered to not only give you the bag for half price, but also throw in a Baccara clutch to sweeten the pot, would you not accept? Exactly. My clutch will arrive in the spring.

But honestly, who can bitch and moan about staircases, when you get to live in a city that's this beautiful?




Je l'adore!