Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shouldn't there be balloons or something?

So I thought long and hard about what sort of post I should make, as this is my 100th post, and for the longest time I wasn't really sure what to do, or even if I should make a big deal out of it.  I mean, after all, given the amount of time I have had my blog, it's not all that many posts.  Of course, with a post like that, it should maybe be something more than just what I normally do.  I mean, this is kind of a momentous occasion for me.  I think this is the longest I have ever kept up with writing something, outside of a livejournal, which was mainly whining about boys.  Then it got even more momentous, when I found that I had hit over 10, 000 pageviews.  Now it wasn't just one, but two milestones.  Yay for pressure. 

I've been thinking a good week about this, but I still didn't know exactly.  I didn't want to just make it a random day in the life post.   This is something kind of important now.  I thought maybe I should do a post about language and be academic.  The problem is I really don't have enough stuff to really make a coherent article.  I could bung a whole bunch of little points together, but is that really what I want to do; throw an article together just to fill it up?  So I just let it go, and thought that inspiration will hit me.  

Mother in Law is visiting for the week here and Tuesday Partner had classes.   So I thought I'd have lunch with him, while Mother in Law went to eat with a friend.  I went with her to République by métro where she went up with her friend, and then headed to campus.  It was a really nice day.  I had my iPod and it was just so nice.  I waited a little bit, but he didn't take long.  I had music, so I was nicely distracted until he got there.  We had a nice calm lunch, and then he went to his next class.  I called mother in law and let her know I was on my way back to meet up with them.  We ended up doing a full tour of the stores in the center of town, and took the métro back, stopping off to pick up something small for dinner before we came back.  

It was around 8:20 when we talked about meeting Partner on campus, but we weren't sure when his classes were over or what he needed to do, so we decided that we would start dinner.  As we're getting things around, I realize that we'll never have enough dressing since Partner only likes a little salad with his dressing.  We had a few options:  we could eat the salad without dressing, which was not a problem for me or Mother in Law really, but a real problem for Partner.  We could maybe run down to the Netto and get some more, and that would work...if it were an hour earlier since it closed at 7:30.  So the only real option was to go down to Alma and pick up some more at the Carrefour.  We had walked a lot so I decided to go it alone, since I was pretty sure it would be closing pretty soon anyway.  

I put in the iPod and listened to music until the bus came, and luckily it didn't take long.  I walked down to the entrance, because there was only the one closest to Carrefour that was opened.  I ran in the entrance and straight back to find the salad dressing.  As soon as I had picked up the bottle a worker wearing in line skates basically told me to go immediately to the registers.  The security guard came behind me and brought the guard rope down directly behind me.  

I didn't need anything else so I went in where there were two guys who had no sacks checking out.  Of course, they weren't buying much, but it was pretty funny watching the one guy trying to jam a bottle of whiskey into his coat pocket.  There was a couple ahead of me who had a few things, but the husband ran off for something, jumping the guard wire.  She said that I could go in front of her, I said thanks, and moved ahead.  Naturally, the roll needs to be changed on the receipt printer right before I check out, but it's over quickly  I pay, and I'm out. 

Now right as I walk out, I realize that I have two options.  I can wait for the bus until lord knows when, or I can just start walking.  There's no rain and it's not a cold night.  It's a clear night so all the stars are out, and I'm just walking and listening to the music.  I wasn't really paying attention what song was on until then.  I knew the song but couldn't remember what it was from.  I look down at my iPod, and the title:  Farm Boy. 

I smile a bit and think about how this night is quite a bit like my life, and how different this is from what I expected I'd be doing in 10 years.  It was just all so wonderfully random, and spur of the moment.  I'm walking home on a street in France at 9 pm with a bottle of salad dressing to get home to my mother in law and partner where we will have dinner while speaking French, watch TV which will all be in French, and then go to bed.  I'll repeat this whole process tomorrow.  It was in that moment that I realized not only how lucky I was, but also and maybe more importantly, how happy I was. 

I remember writing in the special edition that they put out for the senior class where I saw myself in 10 years.  Seriously, verbatim, it was "living in an apartment in Europe, maybe with a couple of kids, but who knows."  In reality, I figured I'd be in some desk job, which I'd leave at the end of the day to return alone to my sad little apartment...only to start the whole thing over tomorrow. 

I smiled to myself and this farm boy from Ohio returned to his partner and mother in law in his apartment to have a nice French dinner and watch our French TV programs until we go to bed.  I don't think I had slept that well in a while.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Le weekend de mon anniversaire!

Last weekend we celebrated my birthday.  I know, shock of shocks, I'm behind!  Last Friday I turned 29, or as I have been saying here, " la precipice du trente."  I've never been too big on birthdays for no other reason than I've never had a very good time when I was younger.  It was always the same meal with the same cake and the same gift.  It's not that I didn't appreciate what my parents and family did for me, but that, I just never really saw what the big deal was though.

So I went to college and I started having more fun.  In other words, I started finding out how much more festive alcohol makes a birthday.   (Save my 21st, as I was on antibiotics at the time for strep throat at the time.  So that sucked.)  It was nice doing something with friends, and having a great time.  We had some great parties, and a lot of fun, but I always felt still a little ambivalent about how my birthday was celebrated.

Even after I started dating Partner, I never really was a huge fan of birthdays anyway.  It was a bit of a hassle with our schedules, but I always got a gift and usually dinner out of the situation.  Partner and I did take to the idea of celebrating on the weekend after birthdays at that point.  That way we could celebrate together, and have a nice time.  So birthdays came, and birthdays went.

It's a different situation in France with birthdays.  It's not as if it's some sort of sweeping change or anything.  We still wait for the weekend here, because it's just easier for Partner and I, and we still go out to a restaurant and celebrate.  However; I think the main difference lies with family here.  My mother would always call and I might talk to my father if he weren't at work.  They'd put money into my account back in the US, and that would be the end of it.  Brothers and sisters may wish some sort of birthday, but nothing was expected.  Those who did, did, and those who didn't, didn't.

Here in France, I got a call from everyone.  All three of my nieces, my mother in law, my sister and brother in law, and even Partner's 90 year old grandmother and aunt wished me a happy birthday.  It was unexpected and a really nice feeling.  I don't know how much of it was simply what was expected of family, but it was a great feeling.

Now as luck would have it, the youngest of my nieces was in Bretagne visiting family for her week of break from school.  That meant that my sister in law would be coming up to take her back.  Since we live right in Rennes, you can't get to Ploërmel without going through Rennes.  So we decided we'd spend Saturday all together.  Originally, it was just supposed to be My niece, mother in law, and sister in law and I going out together, because partner had to study.  Happily, we were able to talk Partner into coming with!

Well, we had a wonderful day out.  We went to a few different stores in town.  My mother in law got me a really nice pair of sunglasses and a shirt, that I'm actually wearing right now, and my sister got me a shirt as well.

After that we went to a crêperie for dinner.  I had a really good galette, and they had a crêpe that was called "la confiture de la sorcière" or in English, "Witches' Jam."  It was like eating pumpkin pie, and oh yes, I could have eaten about three of them.  I was quite satisfied.

Sunday was a quieter day as sister in law and niece needed to head back to Centre, but of course my niece had left her sweater here, so they'd stop by to pick it up and we'd have tea or something.  Unfortunately, sister in law took the wrong exit, and ended up in Chantepie, so instead she swung by, we hung out for about 10 minutes, and they had to get going.  It was good to get to see them before they left, but it would have been wonderful to spend more time with them.

I have to say that this was a great birthday, and may even be enough to make me rethink my general disinterest in birthdays.