Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au Revoir 2009

Photo by Tim Walker

Dear 2009,

Wow. What a year it has been! You have brought me many lessons, smiles, complications, thrills, joy, loneliness, and lots of new and matured love. You of all years, are a year that will be unforgettable. But the time has come to say goodbye. We must go our separate ways- when the clock strikes twelve like Cinderella you will flee and forever be a memory.

I remember when we met at the end of 2008 at Henessy’s, when I was surrounded with many of my great friends. It was an unforgettable night- our first moments together, you were lots of fun yet, I wasn’t sure what you would bring to me in the days and months ahead. I thought that I was losing everything when you arrived. Yet- you only enhanced everything that I did have. You only improved who I was.

There were days where loneliness loomed so heavy as a dark cloud I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face. But you stayed steady and constant passing time, to a moment where light and sunshine would appear. You would take days of gloom and turn them into the most unbelievable moments of my life. You have made the joy of my life, enhanced by the reality of looking beyond your current circumstance, and having joy in all circumstances.

With you I have conquered so many fears, seen the results of consistent hard work, and experienced lifetime daydreams, turn into a bigger than life, reality. Together we have made new great friends, seen parts of the world I never dreamed of, depended on the love of Christ more than ever, and grown deeper in the confidence of who I am and made to be. I don’t know what I am going to do without you. You strengthened me and I will be sad to see you go.

I laugh looking back at the moments of being utterly lost, stumbling around trying to make it through, and the crazy idea’s I have come up with as experiencing this time. Through rollerblading in the city, flooding my apartment, and speaking really bad French- you helped me find the beauty and humor in it all.

You brought friends to visit me whom I never expected would appear. Each of them bringing new special memories and blessings. I was honored that they could see and experience the small part of my life that was being created far away from my previous life in San Diego. It was special for me to see each of them partiake in this place that has so greatly changed me, and watch their faces glow as they too saw all the beauty 2009 and this city have to behold.

The new people you 2009 introduced to me, are quite incredible and without them this year would not have been the same. From those who helped me learn how to live in a foreign place, gave me a family when mine was so far away, helped me when I was helpless, and befriended me when I couldn’t speak a common word- each person will continue to live with me into the next year. And will always be a reason of insurmountable thankfulness in my heart.

I am not sure yet how we will part tonight. Part of me wants to be with those I was with when we met last year. Part of me wants to go into the city I have spent so much time with you in, another wants to stay home and reminisce of all the time that has gone by so quickly. Today I am overcome with a feeling of sentimentality because I have so many endearing feelings for this year. I am stuck in not wanting it all to come to an end, and desiring to hold on for forever. But, because of the growth and greatness you have given to me this year, makes me look brightly to the future of 2010.

So tonight, when the clock strikes 12:00 no matter where I am, I will be thinking of you 2009. And all the beauty you have possessed. You give me the confidence to walk boldly into the face of 2010 and all the future beauty, trials, love, and dreams that lie ahead there.

Thanks for such an amazing year!

Grosse Bissos

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ultimate French Test

I have been fortunate to travel a ton this year with my job. I have seen many new places, interacted with several different cultures, and experienced something new in each place. While I have traveled to different countries, I have yet to see much of France. Sad I know!

Well my lovies, have no fear. I am stepping out of my Ile-de-France bubble and traveling to a new region today. I am going to Brittany on the west side of France, where I will be spending the remainder of the week.

For those of you who have been following me all year, you may remember this. Where I was ubberly excited to meet another 25 yr old girl at my dance class. Well, we actually have become great friends! Whoo hoo! And... she invited me to go to her home for Christmas. I can’t believe it, an invitation to a real French Christmas! I am so there.

I am excited to spend a week inside a French home, where my French speaking Faux Pas count is sure to sky rocket. But my ability to speak French, is also guaranteed to increase. I am excited to watch and learn how a French family interacts, and be a part of this family’s Christmas traditions. I am really honored that they would welcome me into their home for this special day.

I have packed- and determined I have way too much stuff. I have my laptop, a bag of gifts, my suitcase, and a bag just for coats. I look like I am going on an everlasting holiday. The thing is, I couldn’t cut anything out. I really tried. But this cold weather makes everything so bulky. Taking more than I can carry, became necessary. And when packing for the unexpected, you need to bring a little of everything just to be prepared.

So other than having too much stuff to carry, and terrified to speak all French all week. I am ecstatic about my adventure that starts today. I can’t wait to get back and share it all with you. This will be my ultimate French test. Eek!

Have a very Merry Christmas!Celebrating the birth of our savior with family and loved ones all around!

On the Champs Elysees...

The weather is brisk. The pedestrians are cloaked in black from head to toe (except me- I didn’t get the memo). Quaint accents of buttons and scarf’s, is what sets each person apart within the sea of black. The long rows of trees where leaves once hung, are now marked by strands of bright twinkeling lights. There is a smell of cinnamon and cloves hovering in the air, and each booth you pass you are greeted with a friendly, “Bonjour!”

What is this fabulous place?

The Champs Elysees Christmas Markets.

The Champs Elysees is no stranger to people in the city of Pairs. It’s up there in the must sees and do’s for tourists, as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. While the streets are continually bustling with cars, tourists, and shoppers- this time of year, the streets standard feeling of busyness, has been replaced with one of a congenial merriment.

The beginning of the markets on the Champs Elysees is marked by a Ferris wheel that illuminates the open air market. The wheel is massive in size and can easily be spotted from any place along the boulevard.

In the evenings, the market is busy, but not over crowded. It is cool and damp as Paris should be at Christmas time. It is not pouring and freezing, which would turn any outdoor event into miserable experience. With all the delights you are filled around, you forget it is cold outside, but it’s befitting to be bundled up as you linger up and down the Christmas stalls.

As you walk along the streets, passing vendors selling chocolates, teas, and other Christmas treats; you are continually aware of your senses and how they change from booth to booth. Depending on which booth you are passing, you are enveloped in the smells of chocolate, Cinnamon from the Vin Chaud, or scents from the candles burning. Each smell enticing you to stop, look, and even better to buy, whatever is creating the irresistible fragrance.

I generally tire quickly and promptly become overwhelmed with shopping and markets. But this market was something different. There was a calm and peaceful affect to this market. As soon as I exited the metro and saw the lights, giving a glow to the streets, I could only stand and taken in the beauty of the streets. I then vowed that one day, I will spend a Christmas with my family in Paris. It is so beautiful, and an experience that I wish for everyone to be able to have in their memories.

I love Paris at Christmas time!

(Nicole- this pic is just for you)

Oh Christmas Tree!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Inside Galerie Layfayette, hovering above the loveliest makeup department- is the most beautiful of all Christmas Tree's. Floating high above, turning the entire 5 floor department store into a magical Christmassy feel.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being Intentional

You know that person, the one you don't really know, but you do...

You know their face, their smile, and know about them because your friends know them. You know conversations that others thought were funny, you know projects they have been a part of, and you know that they are a really cool person, one that when you are around, you like to take the opportunity to get to know. But until then you are content in knowing you “know” them.

You can pass them and do the quick greet hello and when you see them interacting with people, you can see that everyone genuinely enjoys being around them. But life is busy- and so you personally don’t ever get to know them the way you like. You may think of them occasionally but they are more of a reference point to when someone else speaks of them. But they are always spoken of in a positive way.

My heart broke today when I found out that one of these people that I don’t know, but do know, died this week. It’s impossible to imagine someone who I always watched from afar, who was always so filled with life, is no longer alive. I have spent the last few hours reading sweet memories attributed to him, and my heart breaks for those I do know, who fully knew him. For those whose stories I have heard, for those who I watched laugh and love and live in his presence, and for those who were close to someone so passionate and amazing.

After going through, reading stories, and browsing pictures posted in his memory- I know that many people are both mourning and rejoicing. Mourning for their personal loss but rejoice knowing He is in heaven with his Father. All people attested of the faith Justin had in his life, but weep knowing someone so authentic is no longer in their life.

One of the things I have thought has been severely over-reacted to this year, was the swine flu. Every time I travel it becomes an issue and I think, “It’s the flu, what damage could it possibly do?” My friend had a play and everyone who attended had to wear a face mask. I laughed and thought it was ridiculous. We were joking about that just last night.

I have known 5 people to catch the swine flu- all perfectly fine. But all it takes is one. And number 6, was not fine. One of his friends wrote this, “Justin Key died on Monday, early in the morning, in one of the most boring ways possible - he got the flu. This may not seem remarkable if you have never met the guy, but for those of us who know him, this too seems nearly impossible to believe... Justin did everything with a twist.”

I honestly am not sure if my mind can comprehend that he died of the swine flu. Almost like it’s not really true. Simply from what I knew of Justin to be true, I could know that the flu- is just the most improbable way for him to finish his race. He ran passionately, strongly, intelligently, and joyfully.

Justin was my age. We graduated from the same University and the same year. We shared friends. For four year I saw him on campus, in the dorms, library, the café. And after graduation, I never saw him again.

I have spent these last few weeks with friends, thinking of what was ahead in life, where I was now, and where I wanted to go from here. I am sure these are the same conversations Justin has been having with his friends. As it seems to be conversations many people in this stage in life are pondering. Yet with Justin, it seems prematurely aborted. How does someone go from being at the top of their platform of potential, and ready to soar, to being finished with this end of life. I am not sure I get it. And I am not sure if I am supposed to.

What I do know, is Justin must have been amazing. Because even as someone who wasn’t super close, But who knew his stories, his face, smile, and shared memories. I too am heartbroken.

May I live a life as purposeful, bountiful, faithful, joyful and meaningful as the one I saw lived through Justin.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Joy and Wonderment of Snow

The snow is falling softly on the roofs and avenues throughout the French towns. Smoke is quietly escaping the tops of chimneys, and inside the homes, there life is filled with love, warmth, and joy.

Something about the falling of snow makes you stop and watch in wonderment. It brings out the giddy child in us all. You reach out to have the soft cold flakes land upon your hand, to quickly melt and magically turn into a drop of water, smaller than a tear of cheer.

Plush white snow everywhere, frosts the homes with refreshing color, ushering in the breathtaking natural winter adornment. As the snow lands it is perfectly layered and formed together like a beautiful freshly frosted cupcake. The snow falls silently, calling all to a moment of silence, as it is a holy initiation of the season.

You can stay inside and watch the snow gently linger in the air until it makes a soft landing. Or abandon the safe comforts of warmth, and embrace the fresh crisp air, and frolic outdoors in a refreshingly youthful manner. It is the time when snowmen to come to life, fights with snowballs brings shouts of laughter and delight, or lying in a plush pile of snow while spreading your limbs, creates an everlasting snow angel. At least one, that will abide forever, as a tangible reminiscence of winters first snow.

Eventually, the cold will chill your bones, delivering the invitation and reminder of heat and comfort that fills your home. Running back quickly you dust off the flakes that have detailed your coat, hat, and mittens. Upon blinking your realize that chilled sparkles remain on your eyelashes and wipe them off, without disrupting their flawless form. You’re hands that remained toasted from the protection of gloves, feel alive at the touch of your brisk rosy cheeks. You smile at the remembrance of the day and the expectancy of the warmth that welcomes you in.

This is the joy and wonderment, of Snow!

Good Morning!


I bet Kujo is cooooold! HA!

"It's so Pretty!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tell me about it all

My mind spins around in a million different directions, each and every day. I can barely keep up. Since this is one area I have been neglecting, I will give little tid bits, that could each be their own blog, that I hope to come back to soon, but don’t want to forget that they have happened. So here we go!

I love and adore my friends in French. And I love and adore even more that I can say, believe, and know it’s true, that I have friend here in France. My Frenchie and Lux pals, are the greatest things, and I love learning from them. We are each unique and different from one another, and I love love love spending time with them. It makes each experience here all the more memorable and comforting knowing I have someone to share the memory with.

Going with my first thought, I love that there are two of them. All of my close friends since childhood have always come in pairs of two, and I love that in the groups of three we balance one another out. There was Katie and Megan, Lena and Jimmy, Kacey and Christine, Kendal and Len, Megs and Nicole, Ashly and Andrea, Brigitte and Cynthia, and now Clarisse and Annie. I am such a blessed girl to have these lovelies as my friends. I loooooooove my friends!

It’s freezing. And not just my mom constantly telling me to “take a Jacket,” type of cold. It’s literally freezing. Not wearing a jacket, is not an option. You will be frozen into place, and left to chill until someone brings out a massive heater or blow drier to defrost you. My computer tells me it’s currently is zero degree’s Celsius. Which means that it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit and that means it’s FREEZING literally! And thus- I. AM. FROZEN.

No one makes being frozen look better than the French. The city has turned into a sea of black boots and trendy black coats. Scarves linger around every woman’s neck, and hats to match to keep their heads sheltered and genial. They are chic, while making the bundled up look flawless with great poise and ease.

While the French woman walk down the streets in their Haut Couture, I am bundled under a pile of blankets, socks, beanies, and sweaters while huddled next to my wall heater. The wall heater is my new best friend. I had resolved not to use it. But once Zero arrived, I no longer could resist.

Christmas is 9 days away! This is exciting!!! I loooooove Christmas time. And Christmas looks good on France. The lights on the streets at night, bring in warmth and joy to the frosty wintry days.

I just mailed my mini Christmas gifts home. I really hope they make it to my parents house on time. Sadly, I am pretty sure the shipping of the box cost more than the contents themselves… but I couldn’t bare not sending some Christmas cheer to my family this year.

My town rocks! I love my little town. For so many reasons. The main reason it get's the shout out today of all days is because you can ice skate on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. You can Ice Skate in front of Hotel De Ville in Paris. Or... You can Ice Skate in front of the Hotel De Ville in Corbeil Essonnes. I have a beautiful city hall in my town, that looks picture perfect French, and now with twinkeling lights, a giant christmas tree, and an Ice Skating rink!!! What more could a girl enjoy!?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

Looking for something quick and easy and a great crowd pleaser for a Christmas par-tay this year? Then look no further than the oh so delicious French Chocolate Mousse. This reciepe is amazing easy and incredibly delectable for any of your regal events! And lucky for you, I’ve already made all the mistakes one could possibly make on my first go around. So I have all the tips for what you “should not do,” and then all of your makings will be like my second batch- absolute mousse perfection!
What you need!

- 5 eggs separate the whites and the yolks
- 6 0z of your favorite chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract. (or for Christmas I think peppermint would be nice.)

The Steps!
1. Take your egg whites and whip them into a fluff. Not stiff but to the point where they peak.
2. Mix the egg yolks to the color of lemon
3. Melt the chocolate and add in the egg yolks and extract flavor of choice.
4. Mix in 1/3 of the egg yolk peaks with the chocolate mixture.
5. Fold in the remaining egg whites to the chocolate mixture.
6. Pour into your serving dishes and place in the refrigerator.

What to and NOT TO DO!
- When mixing the egg whites to get your peaks. Use a Metal Bowl. DO NOT USE a plastic bowl.

- Use an electric mixer or the awesome kitchen aid DO NOT USE a hand wire whisk. While you may start seeing biceps forming on your arm, you will not find peaks in your eggs, especially if you are using a wire whisk with the plastic bowl.

- Do make them the day you need them. These are great for one to three days. But after that… they lose their mousseyness and aren’t as lovely for the guests. But for your own guilty pleasure. Enjoy as long as you wish.

- If you did not listen to the two tips above- be sure to then NOT take the pathetic egg whites and place them in a food processor hoping that it will work like a kitchen aid and save the day. It won’t. And then you will have a smells batch of over chopped egg whites.

- Moral of the story- Stick with a metal bowl, hand mixer, and a double boiler to melt the chocolate and your chocolate mousse will be perfection in ten minutes or less.

- And don’t forget to enjoy ever enjoyable experience!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pierre's Roses

When I was home shortly in April, my besties and I were driving up to Los Angeles to get my official Visa to stay in France. Along our four hour travel journey, there was a program on the Radio called, “Ryan’s Roses.”

The basic set up of “Ryan’s Roses,” is to show was a skieze bucket boys can be. We had a few good laughs, but mostly at how dramatic each couple reacted.

Yesterday afternoon, I was driving home from work and actually fully understood the conversation on the radio and it went something like this.

Pierre (aka. The radio DJ): Hi Clarisse how are you today?

Clarisse (the suspicious girlfriend): sniff sniff. Not good. I think my boyfriend Matthieu (pronounced like Ha-chew (when you sneeze) But with the name Matt) is cheating on me.

Pierre: Oh nooooo.

Clarisse- Yah. Sniff sniff

Pierre: Are you sure you want to find out the truth?

Clarisse- Yes. Sniff sniff.

Pierre: Okay well then here we go (dial tone)

Now, Pierre will call Matthieu offer him a free dozen roses to any girl of his choice, completely free. Or so Matthiew thinks….

Ring Ring.

Matthieu (The Skieze Bucket): Bonjour!

Pierre: Hi, I am so and so from such and such and you have been “randomly” selected to win a free dozen roses to be sent to any one you wish.

Matthieu: Free? You sure?

Pierre: Yes free! All you have to do is give us a name, and a message. And we will send the roses completely free.

Matthieu: Great. Can you send them to Sophie.

Pierre: And the message?

Matthieu: I miss you, and can’t wait to see you again.

Pierre: Oh can you hold on a Second?

Matthieu: sure

Pierre: Clarisse, do you know who Sophie is?

Clarisse: No. Sniff Sniff. Matthieu- you are cheating on me?! Sniff sniff

Matthieu: I don’t know what you are talking about? Are you crazy? Trying to catch me cheating on you? You are crazy!

Clarisse: Sniff Sniff. We are over.

This is essentially the exact same dialog I listened to on “Ryan’s Roses” just a few months ago. Proff that, whether in Cali or Paris, boys are retarded.

Now, I am not around to listen to the program in the U.S, and Just now understood the dialogs taking place here. So my question is, How have the boys around the world not yet caught on to the program? Even I know if you are offered roses… you better say your girlfriend or you are going to be busted in T-minus 5 seconds. Or you shouldn’t be a cheating!!! Lame.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I could handle

Enough already!

I could handle the retarded drama.

I could handle scratching the car and needing to get it fixed.

I could handle getting a speeding ticket.

I could handle getting a parking ticket. (maybe I just shouldn’t drive any more.)

I could handle not being home for Christmas.

I could handle the one facebooker I wish would just go away.

I could handle shivering in my apartment at night because I can’t find the source of the breeze that blows through. And it’s freezing here. (but seriously... where is this breeze coming from?!)

I could handle waking up late for French class.

I could handle the stress of work.

I could handle scrapping by to pay rent.

I could handle the daily dropping of the dollar to the Euro. (today 1.5 dollar to the Euro)

I could handle missing my friends from home, and all of our Christmas traditions, and exciting things going on there.

I could handle everything else- better to not keep focusing on the downs cause there are goods. but...


Yes- an entire serving of Beef and broccoli all over a jacket I have only worn twice.


The straw has broken this camel’s back today.

Hurry please a new and refreshing day- I could use some more good- I am much more pleasant this way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I got the finger

The waving one that is...

I should have known, that posting about legal driving signs in France, would jinx me. But I did it anyways and today, or rather in three days, I will be paying the price. Literally.

To get to my French class I take the A6 (a well known French highway) out to Fontainebleau. Along the portion of the A6 I drive, the speed limit is 130 Kilometers per hour. However, there are portions that are 110KmPH and even 90KmPH.

This morning while driving to class, I was driving happily BELOW the 130 speed limit and watching for the three radar warning boards I see along my way to class each week. As I am driving along, I see a blue Germanderie van pull into the lane beside the lane I am in, and I continued to follow behind four other cars. Just as in the United States, the French driver’s reaction was to break with the sudden appearance of La Policia. Each car passed the van cautiously and as it was my turn to pass the van that seemed to be going quite slowly, I look to my left and see the officer not turning on his lights to pull me over, but rather, WAVING HIS FINGER AT ME!!!! Telling me, “No. No. No. No. Noooo..” Seriously, Are you waving your finger at me???!!! The van then pulled in front of me, turned on his lights and had me follow him for equivalent of 3 miles.

When the officer “pulled me over,” he began speaking, too quickly and I couldn’t understand. He then held up his radar gun informing me I was driving, 117 KmPH when I had just entered unbe-knowingly from a 130KmPH zone to a 110KmPH zone. In my defense I could not have been going much faster than any other car on this road because I was following FOUR other cars! Whatever the case- I won’t make this mistake again.

However, I tried my best and explained that I was thought the speed limit was 130KmPH. It didn’t matter, I broke the law. I was going to be given a ticket. This ticket would be Quatre-vingt dix Euro (HUH?!- Repetez S’il vous plait!) 90 Euros or… 135 US DOLLARS!!! Yikes! Not only was the ticket 90 Euros, but I would need to pay Maintainant (now). What? Don’t I get a ticket in the mail? No, no, no, no. (waving finger) You must pay with a check. Well, my dear French police officers, I am an American and I have no French Checks, what do we do now?

A new dilemma for them, but a small one compared to others that I am skipping for your benefit. How could I pay, if I did not have a check for them now? They then asked if I had my address on a piece of paper. I started digging through my purse for a blank sheet of paper and a pen. I find a pen, and ask if I can get out of the car, to go to the trunk, to get the paper. I am permitted. I go to the trunk, open my back pack, and pull out a notebook of paper. They immediately stop me, wave their fingers again and say, “no, no, no, no, no.” They wanted a piece of paper that PROVED I lived here! Oh Duh!!! I am sure I looked ridiculous to them.

By the slimmest of chances in the world, I had actually grabbed all of my documents today before leaving my apartment to take care of some other tedious detail- and just happen to have my proof of my Apartment lease in my car. I never, repeat NEVER have this with me…. And I should have never have grabbed it this morning, it could have saved me the 90 Euros- cause then how else could they have trusted or found me, to send me my fine. Especially if they weren’t going to trust me writing it on a scrap piece of paper for them. I mean who wouldn’t trust a foreigner, giving them an address to send the ticket, when they are in a car belonging to someone else, and caught speeding, saying they didn’t realize the speedlimit was slower than the rate they were driving? I mean, I think I sounded perfectly legitimate, especially stumbling over all of my broken French. For Sure! Regardless, I handed them my apartment lease and they were pleased.

The two officers then disappeared into their van and wrote up my ticket.

When they returned, they told me I would receive my ticket in three days, and wished me a pleasant day. They were actually quite nice. And I attest they are excellent finger wavers. I just found the whole situation humorous and keep thinking of how ridiculous I must have looked to them. But probably just as ridiculous as, I find being charged 135 dollars for going the equivalent of 4MPH over the speed limit. Yes 4!

In other better news for you my readers. One of my lovely followers Angie sent me the real meanings of the signs I joked about yesterday. So, for the real meanings of the signs you can look back and see the true meanings posted in Blue.

Happy Safe and Slow Driving! And remember, next time an officer waves his finger at you, it means you are being pulled over.

No, no, no, no, nooooooooooo!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a Sign!

Driving in France you get to see, learn and abide by new road signs. Over time I have come to find many of the signals the French give to their drivers quite interesting and thought that today I would share some with you, in case you too ever find yourself driving around France.
*** I do not know the real meanings of this signs (other than #1 and #3, these are my interpretations***

1. The first and most important sign is an "efficient" (or speedy) drivers best friend:

This sign is your best friend if you are like me and feel the need for speed. The sign is a warning of the speed limit and letting you know that one of these is up ahead.

If you did not listen to your Best Friend above then this guy will be your worst enemy. He's like the paparazzi of speeding cars. Always there to flash his bright lights at you. However, you won't see your picture posted in next weeks addition of US weekly's "Their just like us," but rather, will receive a 100 euro speed ticket with in a week or two. So, my personal advice, watch for the first sign, and keep your hundred euro to buy yourself something pretty.

2. Do Not Drive on the Water. I didn't know it was an option for cars to drive on water, but apparently there are appropriate and inappropriate places to do so. Real meaning: Road closed to vehicles carrying water polutable chemicals

3. When entering a highway, naturally the cars entering on the right need to merge with the cars on the left. However, as you come to a merge point on a highway on your Left you will see this sign: Do Not Turn Right

While simultaneously on your right you will see this sign: Do not Turn Left.

What is great about these signs on every merge ramp is that you actually do not even have the option to turn left or right. If you turned left or right in these straight lanes you would smash into a wall or be in direct traffic. My mom particularly loved this, when she was visiting and every time we were in a merging area and these signs were posted she would point and say, "Don't turn left here. Don't turn right here," and then begin to chuckle at her joke. Now whenever I drive past these signs I laugh and think of her.

4. Cars with loose screws will become unhinged, and turn into a stick of butter. Real meaning: Road closed to trailers transporting harmful materials.

Last but certainly not least is my favorite of all favorite signs and like a child giggle every time I see it.

5. Exploding Vehicles Ahead. Apparently there are planted mines on certain highways and you must be careful not to hit one or your car just might explode, and that would be a disaster. Real meaning: suggesting that there may be vehicles carrying explosive material.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Look

After looking through my friend's engagement pictures I found this old poem and thought they would go well together. You should also check out Jasmine Star's photography. I am a bit obsessed with wedding engagement shots, but that's just cause I love LOVE! Enjoy!

How did all this time go by- and I not realize how special you were?

Now that I know, how do I live and love without you?

There are so many questions that rage on and on in my mind and the one it comes back to is, will I ever be able to call you mine? So many reasons I want to shout, ‘Yes!’ And so many more than make me cower away…

It’s true that life is funny in the way that it twists and turns. I am here, you are there. I am there, and then you are away. Yet- our paths cross and meet and then it’s like the two of us never miss a beat.

When you hug me I get lost in your strength, when I look in your eyes I get lost in the depth, and when you speak I get lost in your words.

For someone who all people see as so carefree, with my heart I stand fully guarded. It’s a blessing and a curse – but if I risk losing you forever- I risk losing a part that helps make me stay so lighthearted and filled with glee.

I hate the complications other than myself that hold me back. Some call it loyalty- I call it faithfulness. No matter the reason, It’s a difficult decision to logically standby, but deep down I do know that it’s right. To make you my sacrifice of love for something I am not sure ever was or is still there. But with the hope that it’s true, I chose to lose you.

There will be great love out there for us both. When I see you with the girl you currently adore and hear the way you speak of her, I smile and think, ‘she is so lucky.’ One day you will see me and the way I look at my future him, and realize it is the same way…

I used to look at you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Snipits of Thanks

We each have something to be thankful about. Some more than others. Today I have been overwhelemed with joy, love and thankfulness looking back and reflecting on this last year. I think this year I have had the most in my face experience of things to be thankful for. This list is only the smallest glimpse into the things I am thankful for this day. I love my life. I am thankful for the good time and the trials I go through that make my life worth fighting for, and for those who love me. May you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for:

Unexpected cards and words of encouragement

Laughs that make my side ache

Tight hugs from loved ones

Bisous from the French

The lady at my local Boulangerie

Getting to the Boulangerie when fresh baguettes are being distributed

Long phone conversations with my Best friends

The dance class that brought me my first, second, and third French friend.

“The Seine”

My daily email of joy

The prayers of each supporter from home

The adventures that each new day has the potential to bring

My parents visit


Even better- being quoted.

Each visitor that has come and been part of my experience here- and the individual
memories we have created. They each have had an imprint on my time here.

Internet in my apartment

That each crazy nuts-o event that’s happened in this last year… worked itself out in
time, and I am alive to tell about it, and laugh in the foolishness my learning curve.

My ten minute phone conversation with my brother today.

My French tutor

All of the flower shops that line the streets in Paris

My blog, to capture this year and all my lovely followers

The joy and ability to have lived in a place to watch the changing of the four seasons- and each one be dynamically different and beautiful from one another.


The fact that I can use Christmas colors in this blog- cause the Holiday season has officially begun.

God’s love and grace in my life

Having the funnest Aunt's in the whole world

Warm drinks on a cold day

Ice. Lots and lots of ice. Oh and ketchup too.

Surviving the jump

The ability to look back and smile at this last year- and see all the growth

Cute boys. Now if I can find one to keep!

The joy of looking expectantly and joyfully towards the future

Pretty scarves and warm warm warm coats

That the season of joy and love is here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When to start the holiday season?

I am sure it is no secret in the United States that this week kicks off the “holiday season.” With our first traditional holiday of Thanksgiving. For logical reasons Thanksgiving is a holiday that belongs to the United States and is not celebrated in France. So my ever so serious question I have to pose is: As an American living in France, how in the heck am I supposed to know when I can officially start off my holiday season?

While Thanksgiving is a sweet cozy holiday to me, it also marks many important, “It’s okay now to’s” for me. I never realize how much a a cutting the ribbon ceremony of the holiday season played, until this holiday was taken away.
I mean seriously how am I to know when it is suddenly okay for me to listen to Mariah Carey’s, Nsync’s, and Jessica Simpson’s holiday CD’s all the time. And I mean ALL the time. And no one say a thing about it? Other than the obvious friendly sing alongs.

How will I know while living in an area of dominantly apartments, that it’s now okay to start hanging up my Christmas lights? And… where will all those massive blow up Snowmans that are normally in the front yard go? I am sure it is much, much too big for my flower pot hanger outside of my window.

One fall back I could usually depend on, to know the season of joy and love is coming, if nothing else is the internal bliss of Starbucks winter drinks! Mmmmm so delicious- but with the fact that the two corners of my town are not landmarked by a Starbucks, this indicator is missing as well.

Coming from California we are generally graced with one day of rain and an afternoon of cozy sweaters to remind us of the lovely winter, Christmas “chill.” But being bundled up and always having an umbrella in tow, What will mark these winter days different from the rest?

When I wake up on Thursday, how will I really know if it is Thanksgiving , if when I turn on the TV the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, isn’t what’s on my tellie? Can it really be thanksgiving without high school bands, cheesy banter, and a giant Mr. Potato head balloon? I don’t think so!

Have no fear- I do have a place to eat the traditional thanksgiving feast. I was invited by a South African family to show them the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Today when discussing what time she will be putting in the turkey, I was given the following response, “A turkey? Oh… Did I need a Turkey? I don’t know how to cook one of those, I just thought we would do two chickens? Will that work?” I laughed. Of course it will work- but the question comes in- is it a traditional thanksgiving meal without the TURKEY?!?!?! Isn’t the turkey what makes this meal a bit different from the rest? How can I eat my leftover turkey and cranberry roll sandwiches’ for the next three days without a gobble gobble Turkey?

What will I do in the morning when I go outside and there is not a MASSIVE 20 pound newspaper sitting on my parents driveway jam packed with all the sales for the next day? What will keep me entertained and give me a plethora of paper cuts from all the pages I have to flip through? And how will my parents know what I want if I am unable to circle and tab all the best ads for them?

Without the forest equivalent of tree waste to flip through, I could always fall back on the great american tradition of Football!!! Go Chargers! Oh wait… that’s not going to work either. (But- I am very thankful the Chargers dominated the Broncos this last week. Sorry for the side note- I had to be thankful for something in this post.)

When Friday rolls around, how will my body know it’s OKAY to sleep in? That I don’t have to worry about being awake a 3:00 a.m. to stand in line for the latest and greatest electronic gadgets for my closest loved one. Stores in France NEVER open before 10:00. I will just be a silly ol’ girl standing outside of Fnac (Their version of ‘Best Buy’) or Galerie Lafayette (Their version of an even better ‘Macy’s’), saying “Open. Open. Open.”

And as I stand out in the cold waiting for the doors to rush open to signify the mass consumerism that takes over our holiday season and the day known as “Black Friday,” Eventually a Frenchie who knows how this “New American in France,” withdrawal routine goes, will walk by and say to a friend, “Silly Americaine, she must be new. We don’t have Turkeys in stock in November, and we most certainly don’t wake up and stand outside of a department store for a sale that will not exist.”

So to all those American traditions that mark the start of the holiday season. Enjoy Thursday to the fullest with loads of turkey, Christmas music, a Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha, looking at all the ads, and most importantly all of your family on this lovely day! Or, as N’sync would say, “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” Cause you know come Friday, I will be rocking this CD!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Small Double Life

Living here or I should say working here I have two lives. The first I call my normal persons life. I live in France, I wake up in France, go to work in France, come home still in France. Then Repeat.

Then there are my out of the country work days which equals, leaving in a hotel for on average two weeks. During this life I am working from the moment I wake up (and requires me to wake up earlier than normal by a minimum of two hours) till the moment I make it to my room to passout. Then repeat for a hectic 14 days.

When I am not in my office and in another land for work- I am generally working a conference. Working conferences there are so many details that require attention and immediate to dos, that you never get to just sit back and be done. Granted there are secessions that do not require your attendance per say- but really… you do have to be present, just in case something comes up and you must run to get another thing done.

In all honesty, I love the conference itself much more than the preplanning of the conference work. It’s much more interactive, on your feet, and interesting to be a part of. But at the end of it- I.Am. Exhausted. This is not me complaining. Trust me. I am simply stating the fact. But, I love the fast pace, looking back realizing it’s all a blur, and the “ I can’t believe we just pulled that off” feeling.

I am saying this for those whom I have received the, “Are you okay? Why are you M.I.A?” messages from in the absence of me posting a blog. I have not posted, not because I have deserted this page of mine. But because my fingers have not had the time to the type words, that my brain has not even had the time to think about writing in the first place. I will not desert the blog, that I promise. It is one of the small pieces of sanity I keep with me here- far far away from that place in Sunny San Diego, I call home.

Oh and for those who asked- thanks for missing me. I love and miss you too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Watchers

A few months ago I wrote about being at a hotel in Turkey working out and having this German lady stop her work out and then come stand by my machine for the duration of my 30 minute run. I thought it was very odd.

Well this week I am back at that very same hotel. Two days ago I walked into the workout room where an elderly couple were sitting riding bikes. I hopped on the elliptical, plugged into my iPod and started my workout. Two minutes later the German couple got up from their bikes and stood also to my left shoulder and began saying words I could not understand. I had complete Déjà vu!

The last two days I have gone to the gym the couple has not been there, but they HAVE been walking past the workout room, turned around, and STOOD in the doorway and watched me work out again, saying gibberish I cannot comprehend. Maybe they don’t realize I can see them through the mirror reaction. But they stand their nonetheless chatting to one another and at me.

WHAT IS IT!?!?! Seriously- why can I not work out here with out these people standing behind me speaking in words I don’t understand? It not something fun to watch I can assure you that- it’s not that exciting to do in the first place. I cannot comprehend what they are thinking. I am sure they are trying to be encouraging, but really… It’s just kinda odd and creepy.

Sour Lemons

“When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!”

But what if you are the one that added the lemons to your life in the first place?

Last week, I was in love with life and everything around me. Probably the high I had after surviving the skydiving extravaganza. But this week, has been a tough one. I have been challenged in many areas of my life, and with many friendships I do hold dear.

I am teetering on finding the balance between doing the thing that was right for me to do, being open to correction, and making right the pain it all caused. I am having conversations with friends that need to be had. And listening to words they need to speak. Honesty during an open wound hurts, but it’s best to get it all extracted rather than having to open it all back up later. I sure hate being stitched back up to health.

I have cried many tears. Cried for the loss of trust, cried for the false comments, and cried for the shame of holding back for so long. I don’t look for sympathy, I accept the responsibility.

All I can do at this point is trust that God is in control. That His knowledge surpasses mine, and that I faithfully walk in His path. It’s all hard, but it’s a good hard.

Life was sweet last week. And this week it is a bit more sour, but in the end when the sweetness returns it will make the sweetness remembered that much better.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This time last week

This exact time last week we were jumping out of a plane together!

We headed off to Interlaken and Stayed at Balmer's Hostel

Saturday Morning we woke up and went on a nice hike in the local area- having fun and enjoying all the beautiful colors of fall.

Stopping along the way to play and climb natures playground.

We then loaded up in the van and headed for our Drop zone.

We were trained in how to fall properly

And I was given a pep talk by a lil 4 year old girl yelling at me "TO BE BRAVE!"

We all enjoyed the spectacular views while going up

Though I was actually just really scared and held tight to Bob's arm and Annie's hand. Hoping that my gripping them I wouldn't die.

Falling out and going DOWN I was even more petrifed! But, now looking back safely on the ground the time of my life.

We landed and tackled one another because we SURVIVED!

Our first photo being back safe and sound on the ground.

The next day- was a calm and relaxing one. Strolls through the town and a cute little village watching all the para-sailers in the sky.

I deviously threw grapes

We watched adorable lil lambies

We played on playgrounds made for children, so we decided to act and play like kids once again.

Bob was taught to not taunt or push girls.

While Annie learned that Bob taunts girls.

We chowed down on some delicious schnitzle but left once the spider appeared.

And then headed home back to our world of reality.
This time last week was the best weekend of my life- we all had so much fun together that I have to relive it all again right now!