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It Fit!

Wednesday, 28. October 2009 19:45

Just barely!

The Truck is FULL!

The movers showed up yesterday morning. They knew that we were tight on space and I walked them through the house and showed them all that we wanted to take and then also showed them an area that was reserved for things that we would like to take if there was space available. They assured me that they would try to conserve space while they were packing up the house and went to work.

When they were done for the day, Joe came up to me and said, “I just did a really quick calculation of the boxes they’ve got done and we’re already over. I didn’t even count the garden furniture.”

So I spent today pacing the house and pointing out furniture that could stay behind if it had to. I also pointed out to the team leader that while he had been packing things in order to conserve space, one of his workers had been emptying all of the drawers in order to make furniture lighter. I was preparing to throw down — in French — if I had to leave more behind than I had already planned. I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff and felt that if we didn’t fit then the problem was either with their estimating or their packing.

I didn’t have to pitch a fit in the end because it all fit — even all of the items that I had said could stay if necessary. Phew!

I will be curious to see how this all looks when it gets to the US. I already know that the buffet will need to be repaired as they dropped it on the way to the truck. We’ll see if the china that was inside it is in a few more pieces than it should be…..

Category:France, Moving | Comments (5) | Autor: Erica

Going Away Party

Wednesday, 21. October 2009 21:23

Kavi and Don hosted a Going Away party for us on Sunday afternoon. We had a lovely time and will miss them all.

Vincent was our photographer for the day so I will share a few photos that he took for us:

Going Away Party - Julien

Going Away Party - Joe & Julien

Going Away Party - The Adults

Going Away Party - The Kids

I’m sure you can imagine how long it took to get a photo with all of those kids in it!

Category:France | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

Vide Grenier

Monday, 19. October 2009 10:01

Vide Grenier. Flea market. Literal translation is “empty attic.”

The vide grenier took place last Saturday. I had packed up the car the night before and was quite proud of myself that I had fit everything in it. Then as I was brushing my teeth to go to bed, I remembered that there was a small pile of items in the garage still that I had completely forgotten about. Drat!

Joe was able to fit a bit of that in the next morning and I was off before the sun came up to set up. I shared a table with my friend, Kavi, and Renu and Joelle had the table next to us which was perfect because we could cover each others tables so that someone could go get lunch, do some shopping, etc. Oh, and as they sold through their stuff, I was able to expand into their space!

Here’s a photo of Renu and I at the vide grenier:
Vide Grenier

I will admit that I am not really a flea market person. I have romantic notions of going to flea markets, finding that perfect, neglected item that I can fix up to be fabulous, and telling everyone my tale of how I had rescued it. In reality, flea markets start far too early for me and I’m not a good shopper anyways. I tend to pick things out and then talk myself out of them before I even get to the point of purchase.

So how the heck do I have so much stuff in my home?!?

But I digress….I didn’t sell everything, but I did get rid of more than half of what I had brought with me and I made 186 euro — not too shabby.

Category:France, French Language, Moving | Comments (4) | Autor: Erica

Things I Will Miss: The Cheese!

Friday, 9. October 2009 14:49

One of my favorite quotes from our visitors here in France was my friend Irene who, on describing a quick trip through the supermarket said, “…and then I saw the wall of cheese!”

The Cheese!

This photo doesn’t begin to show you how big the cheese aisle is. This shows about half of one side of the aisle, so multiply what you see here by about 4 and then you have an idea of what is displayed in the packaged cheese aisle. There is another whole section for freshly cut cheeses.

I have done a bit of exploring in this aisle and have discovered the cheeses from the Basque region — Etorki being a recent favorite. Since I do sometimes just pick a cheese at random that I haven’t tried before, I have had guests ask me what kind of cheese I am serving and is it any good. My usual response is that it is a French cheese and that I haven’t tasted any bad ones! That usually has them quickly digging in for a taste.

The reason that this photo doesn’t show more of the cheese aisle is that you’re not supposed to take photos in the stores so I was trying to be stealthy. I’m not sure of the reason for this rule, but I certainly won’t miss those types of random rules that a non-French person wouldn’t normally know about.

Category:France | Comments (3) | Autor: Erica

Courir Pour Une Fleur

Monday, 5. October 2009 13:25

I did it! I ran a 10k race yesterday around the Cap d’Antibes. They hold Courir Pour Une Fleur (run for a flower) every year and Joe has done it a couple times. My goal going in was to not be last and I had no trouble there. I came in 174th out of 270 in my category. I have decided that’s not bad for a first timer.

Here is a photo of us with some of Joe’s friends from work after the race.

Courir Pour une Fleur

Joe ran it this year, too, but he did the 20k race so I was able to snap a picture of him as he was coming into the finish line.

Courir Pour une Fleur

Category:France, French Language | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Things I Will Miss: European Travel

Tuesday, 29. September 2009 21:41

I will definitely miss that we can’t just hop in the car to go to Corsica or Lyon or Barcelona for the weekend.

This weekend we’ll be taking the ferry to Corsica. It’s one of the places that we wanted to visit before we left, so off we go.

Bon weekend!

**OK, I meant to post this last Friday before we got on the ferry but didn’t in the rush to get out of the house. We had a lovely time and I’ll post pictures of our trip tomorrow.**

Category:France, Travel, Travel: Europe, Travel: France | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

Things I Will Miss: Les Oliviers

Thursday, 24. September 2009 13:57

Les oliviers. Olive trees.

I thought I’d start a little project of blogging some of the things that I will miss when we move back to the US. They won’t be in any particular order, just what I happen to be able to photograph for the day.

Les Oliviers

We live near the Mediterranean and have enjoyed the climate and food enormously these past four years. Neither one was a huge change for us, but the olive trees that cover this area are definitely not seen in the same numbers in California.

Our property alone has about 20 olive trees. I love that they are craggy and covered with ivy and moss and that they look like they have been here through the ages. I have no idea how old these trees actually are, but many have split into multiple trees and now provide secret places for the kids to play in.

Category:France, Travel: France | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Annulé

Monday, 21. September 2009 12:35

Annulé. Canceled.

I spent all last week sorting items to sell in the vide grenier (literal translation is empty the attic, in this case it’s more like a flea market). I had 8-10 boxes of stuff to sell. I had bought stickers and paper to mark prices. I had found a purse that would work to handle all of the money. I had spent the whole week breaking down large bills so that I would have change to give to people.

So I was pretty bummed when they announced on Friday that the vide grenier scheduled for Saturday was canceled due to rain. Actually, it’s been postponed until October 17.

I had really been looking forward to having all of this stuff out of my house! But, on further reflection, it will probably be better to have it in October. Truth be told, I had hardly touched the kids room, and there were many things around the house that I’ll want to sell before we move but that I just couldn’t get rid of right now. When you rent a place in France, you often have to provide the light fixtures and curtains. The idea is that you can furnish the place as you like. I didn’t really want to look at bare bulbs for the next six weeks so I hadn’t taken any of the light fixtures down. If the vide grenier takes place on October 17th (no rain, please!), then I’ll try and sell all of that then.

Category:France, French Language, Moving | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

4 Years

Monday, 14. September 2009 17:32

Saturday marked the fourth anniversary of our arrival in France so we celebrated by having a party at our place.

Joe and I used to entertain quite a bit, but really haven’t since moving here. I think its more because of the kids than anything else, but we just haven’t done it.

That’s not quite true. We entertain all the time, but its more in the form of people coming and staying for a week or more, not just coming for a party.

So we took on our first party in France with a bit of trepidation. We haven’t entertained a large group of our French friends before. Would it be different from our American friends? What were we going to forget that everyone would be expecting?

We needn’t have worried too much, of course. The tarts from the local bakery were a hit. We had far more wine than we needed (seriously, with the gifts that people brought I think we ended up with more wine than we started with). And we forgot the saucisson (sausage/cured meats).

There were a tremendous number of children running around. Even the people who brought children were amazed at the number of kids!

And in a touching surprise, Joe’s coworkers had gotten together and purchased wine and berets for us to remember our time in France. Joe gave a speech, in French, to thank everyone for coming and for sharing this special time with us. And one of Joe’s coworkers sent a photo similar to the one below with the caption “Typical French couple in traditional attire.”

4 years in France

Category:France, Moving | Comments (2) | Autor: Erica

Protest!

Friday, 11. September 2009 13:55

Back in June, Joe’s employer announced that they were going to close their office in Sophia-Antipolis, thereby eliminating around 60 jobs.

(Ahem, you can’t do that in France.)

Back in June, Joe’s employer then quickly changed their announcement to be that they were opening an inquiry into exiting the IP business globally and thereby closing the office in Sophia-Antipolis.

Six weeks later, they finally agreed on a timeline for this inquiry with the employees union (CE) representatives. The timeline includes the required economic analysis by the government, negotiations with the CE and a cooling off period before the final decision is announced October 8.

In the meantime, no one can officially say that they will be shutting down the facility, but they are negotiating settlement packages in case that is what happens. Except that the company representative for these negotiations apparently thinks that just saying “No” is an acceptable form of negotiating. The employees are not happy.

Since the negotiations aren’t moving forward, the employees have banded together in order to publicize their plight. They have arranged several formal protests that have been covered in the local newspapers and on television. Their latest was yesterday during lunchtime. All the employees dressed in white with black armbands and carried crosses in order to hold a “funeral” for their jobs. They marched from their office to a busy roundabout in Sophia-Antipolis where they stood in a circle holding hands while the crosses were placed in the grass. The gendarmerie were there in force to protect the protest and direct traffic. Media representatives were there as well as the vice-conseil general for the region.

Protest

Protest

I can honestly say that this is an aspect of French life that I never thought we would be a part of. Joe has been impressed with the solidarity shown by his co-workers. They have come together, with the CE, in order to protect their rights and interests in a way that is very foreign to us Americans.

Protest

What does this mean for us? Well, it was time to go back to the US anyway. It has put us in a bit of a limbo because we don’t know how long this process will take. After a couple of months of taking a wait-and-see approach, we are finally planning our move, setting dates for our return. It is with a mix of excitement and sadness that we plan this move, bien sûr, but it has been quite an adventure.

Category:France, General, Moving | Comments (2) | Autor: Erica