Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Keeping the ratio

So today- my computer needed to be worked on while at work for a while. I decided I would use my time wisely and go pick up a few things I still needed from Ikea. So I quickly ran through (I have this place memorized!) and then got stuck behind one person who took 30 minutes to check out. 30 minutes! crazy.
Anyways... I then proceded to drive back to work where I got stuck in the heaviest traffic ever. Picture large Semis, small french roads and then merging. Not fun. So 40 mintues to go the equivilant of 2 miles. As I see my exit I get excited and throw my car into first gear to get a move on it.
Expect there was no movement. I can feel the car wanting to move but we aren't making any progress. Ut-oh... I think my Unleaded to Diesel ratio is getting lower... Thankfully I was able to pull over to the right lane.
I then got out of my car- walked 2 miles to my office where this amazing lady Gwyn took me to go buy more Diesel and resat through the traffic to get to my car. Once I arrived and filled in the fuel I just prayed it was start... and IT DID!
Looks like this is going to be a process that needs to be montiored.
Good news of it all was today was the most beautiful day since I have arrived so I was more than happy to walk along outside for 30 minutes enjoying the day- who cares that I was walking along a road with no sidewalks. haha!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gazole vs. Sans Plomb

I would now like to give you all a lesson in pumping gas.
In France, Unleaded would be called Sans Plomb. While alternatively Diesel would be called Gazole.

When I was handed the keys to the car I am "using" (note I do not own this car) I was told the car takes Diesel- and that Gas here is called Sans Plomb. The car was a quarter of a tank full at the time. When I went to pump gas for the first time my dear friend Tiffany did so for me because my credit card would not work in their machines and the store to pay with cash was already closed. Thus I did not pay attention to what fuel she put into the vehicle. Though I remembered her saying something about Gazole.

Yesterday, I noticed it once again was time to fill up the car. I pulled up to the gas station and there staring at me were two options... Gazole vs Sans Plomb. (Place Scarry killer music here: Reeek Reeek Reeek) Hmmm I thought... Which one do I put in... "Oh! Tiffany told me to use Gazole for Diesel." So I pick the Gazole. Two Liters later I realize I am mixing fuels because the owner of the car said, "Sans Plomb." I immediately stop pumping and being to fuel up on Sans Plomb, Praying I will not blow up.

Feeling a bit more assured that I have made the right decision in what I am putting in my car to make it run, I begin to confidently fill up my car with the Sans Plomb. While looking around the gas station I see that on the stall across from me on the Gazole pump someone had written the word- DIESEL!
UT-OH! I promptly let go of the lever flowing the poison of Sans Plomb into my car and wonder what to do next.

I now have have in my gas tank: half unleaded half Diesel. I think to my self... "Only Katie Hickey would do something like this." And then think- I can't be the first person to make this mistake and that I really really hope I don't blow up!

Turns out, I didn't blow up. Though, this mistake is not recommended. Should you ever make this mistake here are the steps you should take to correct it. You should have the incorrect gasoline drained from your car and then re-fill your tank with the correct energy source. However- because I now had a mix of half and half was told to finish filling my tank with GAZOLE (not Sans Plomb) to make the Gazole more dominant and the car should run fine.

I know this is one mistake I will be sure not to make twice. I will now ALWAYS remember that Gazole is Diesel and Sans Plomb is Unleaded. And if this helps you avoid making the same mistake, then I feel okay about my idiotness!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Not so sketchy

So my mom will know that I am not living in a cardboard box- I have decided to give you pictures of my place. (that and I was sick all yesterday so I had time to upload my pictures) Now granted this is my place "undecorated" but you will be able to have a small visual of the place I am slowly but surely gathering items for...

This is my empty bedroom.

This is where my living/dining room is

This is all my kitchen came with.

This is the rest of the kitchen.

This is my favorite- it is what I am currently using as a fridge/freezer. And yes that is my window sill.

Now... This is not my view of the river- but it is right down the hill from me- some how I have forgotten to take a picture of the views from my apt. But I do go down to this river and go for runs. It's lovely and there are swans, which are beautiful to see. Then on the weekends people go out in Kayaks. Fun!

So this is home. Know that I am not completely barren. I do have a bed and have installed cupboards and a couch... it's just not yet to the point I would like to reveal. So within the next few weeks I will post the Extreme Makeover Paris Apartment addition for your enjoyment.

Love you all!
Au revoir!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tic... tic... tock...

Do you ever have those moments where time is standing as still as possible and you are wishing it would just fly by so you can get to what you want!
I am in one of those moments right now and I am dying!!!! Early this morning I received an email that a dearest of dear friend of mine is ENGAGED! I couldn't be any more excited for this moment and just want to jump up and down with her! Hear every single detail and celebrate with her! These are the moments that I was most afraid to miss when deciding to moving to Paris. Though one aspect I didn't expect was the time delay in at least HEARING the details. Thus I have been forced to wait out 10 anxious hours to call her. I am absolutly restless in this final hour of waiting. So if you see or talk to my lovely friend please be sure to give her a GREAT BIG HUG, cheer and smile from me in congratulations! I miss her a ton and wish I could be there to do it myself.

But! Please please please I don't tell the details. Those I want to hear from the Bride to be.

Congratulations Brigitte! Love you!

The French 25

So... On Facebook right now there is a thread going around about posting 25 random facts about yourself. I thought here on my French life blog I would provide you with random facts about France. I hope you enjoy!

1. All Cars are stick shifts- and only 8 U.S. states have drivers license that qualify you to drive in France longer than one year. (please note California is not one of these states)
2. It's freezing- bring warm clothes.
3. Want a Shopping carts- that will cost you one Euro please.
4. If you return the shopping cart, you get one Euro back.
5. Sprite tastes different- they put less sugar in their sodas.
6. Stop signs and traffic lights where possible are substituted for roundabouts.
7. French people are nice.
8. Rather than taking a license plate shot when you run a red light- they take a snapshot of your license plate when speeding on the highways.
9. The French work week is only 35 hours- and comes with 5 weeks of vacation. (I think America should adopt this work lifestyle!)
10. When invited over for dinner- bring wine, it's polite.
11. Do not turn right on a red light.
12. The person turning right has the right away to someone driving straight.
13. Most people hang dry their clothes. And when using a dryer there is an area where it collects the water and must be emptied out when your load is complete.
14. Do not expect a kitchen to be included in your apartment. There is an empty space for it but the counters, cupboards and appliances are up to you.
15. When entering a store greet people with Bonjour. And be prepared to wait for customer service lines.
16. Being a chashier checker at Carrefour (their version of a Wal-Mart/Albertsons) would be the best job- you can just sit there- it is your job (the buyer) to price your produce, and to bag your own items- and those bags will cost you- so bring your own or pay 10 to 60 cents depending on the bag.
17. Black is a common color worn. And scarfs is the most common worn accessory.
18. There is Chinese food. And then menus are in French, may seem obvious but it wasn't to me :)
19. If you come- order French Onion Soup! It's my favorite here by far.
20. Ordering a coffee is more like ordering a shot of Espresso you would want a Cafe au Lait if you wanted Coffee with milk.
21. Sidewalks also known as a great place to park.
22. When a car is not taking up the entire side walk, watch your step. They do not clean up after their dogs do their thing.
23. They will get confused when you want to slide your credit card. Their cards don't work that way and never require a signature.
24. Unless it's Ikea, as a rule the store will be closed on Sunday.
25. America's national sport is Baseball, France's national sport is protesting.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Come and go

I love meeting new people- which essential makes this new opportunity ideal for me. However- I also hate saying goodbye to new people I meet and have only had a small glimpse into their fascinating lives. What may seem routine and mundane day to day life for them – to me becomes a glimpse into a life well lived, explored, and quite extraordinary. Over the last two weeks here in Turkey I have had the opportunity to meet many fascinating people. Some I would connect with and others I would just past by. However- each time I would stand in the conference room I could look around and know that each person in this room was living a life that was beyond the ordinary and took into the extremes of risk taking and faith living.

I find it an honor to not just know their individuals stories but know their circumstances and hearts behind each day lived-- Each day with a purpose, each day with a risk, each day with conviction and truth, and each day with the passion to carry them through. Gathered in this conference, some come strong some come weary- some leave encouraged and some leave the same- but they will all depart and go back to their lives in the corners of the world my eyes will never see. I can only hope that they did get something from this conference- something that may or may not be life altering to them but something to hold onto- something to take back with them, and something to treasure for the work they have ahead.

I can hope this for them because I know they are what I will take away with me.

My Own Personal Jillian

One thing that I find necessary to my survival is movement. I have to move- I cannot sit still for long periods of time- in fact if I am sedentary for too long of a period of time I become stressed out, anxious and weary. I love working out. My favorite form is dancing but most commonly will be found at the gym, running out side or some activity of this kind. Well here in Turkey the fitness center is made up of one treadmill, One elliptical with a crooked foot on the left side and a bit rusty, a reclined bike that doesn’t actually work and a few weight machines. Not your everyday American 24 hour fitness but it gets the job done. One problem though – the hours of the fitness center are from 9:00 am to 7:00 p.m. Conveniently the hours that I am working while at this conference. Quite lovely.
Well yesterday I made it to the gym! While alone in the center running blissfully in my world I was interrupted with the sound of someone speaking loudly. Not yelling but with a loud enough voice to be heard over my running playlist, and the monstrous sounds this treadmill made. I turned to find an old German lady in an all while Adidas track suit speaking to me in German. Shaking her head up and down with excitement written all over her face. I still do not know what she was saying to me- though she seemed very pleased and astonished. At what… that I am not sure. After a minute, I decided to ignore her and continue on my run. Well then my 80 year old Jillian Michael’s walks up to my machine and looking at the stat board on the treadmill again begins shaking her head and speaking to me. I thought she was going to reach over and increase my pace or incline she was looking at the board with such interest. She then remained my special German trainer standing with me, next to me, and over me for the next twenty minutes as I finish my run. Telling me to focus on breathing (by replicating breathing sounds) telling her friend who walked into the room about me, and monitoring my progress.
When I had finished my workout I turned to the lady and said, “Danka.” Old German Jillian then got on the machine-though I thought she was Miss Fitness Germany- however once one the machine she was unable to figure out how to work the treadmill and her max speed was 2.6 mph. I hope she enjoyed her workout because from what I could tell she might have gotten her workout from watching mine. \
Today I went running once again and through my time kept checking over my shoulder waiting for Jillian to return.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just Breathe

One thing I did not expect to change when moving to Paris, was the footwear. While at work I would wear closed shoes, once I clocked out- I would slip into my comfy sandals. I did not realize how much I missed this freedom, until coming to Turkey. The weather here, is warmer than in France, and I would be able to blissfully wear my Southern California sandal of choice and not longer be confined to suffocating my feet daily enclosed into a shoe.
I regret not packing my rainbows- if I did... I think it just might have defaulted as the automatic highlight of the trip. But I'll still enjoy the warmer weather and the lack of needing to wear a coat everyday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Turkey, Snow, and Hazelnuts

It's been a year and I am back in Turkey. This time instead of observing I am a full participant in all the crazy details that pull of the Leadership development Conference. I am loving it. It's fun meeting all the people who come in to participate in the conference. It starts on Thursday but I thought I would share my crazy day traveling to Turkey this year.
The day started out as any other- woke up and got ready to be picked up at 7:00 am- where it should take 30 minutes to get to the air port. I walked into my living room and gasp! SNOW! I was so excited! I live in a place that snows! How Fun! Only to quickly remember snow = travel delays. Utoh... :/ After being picked up, my quick drive to the airport turned into a 3 hour traffic jam. (note- it takes 3 hours to fly from Paris to Istanbul.) So within the start of my trip I have already double the time expected to travel.
Once arriving at the airport, it's busy, I get through the lines and my original flight is delayed. And this is where all the fun people watching begins.
While waiting at Charles De Gaule I got to see the French Professional World Championship Handle Ball Team arrive and get off the plane, (people were very excited), Watch an Asian model photo shoot- and have a unclaimed baggage scare. (turns out if there is an unclaimed bag, once removed they will blow it up.)
The on flight movie as a Jessica Simpson movie I have never heard of and won't give you the name- because I would never want to promote this film. Sorry Jess...
While waiting in Istanbul at the luggage carousel I watched a fight get broken up and then headed to my next flight.
On this plane there was no movie but there were two very cute soccer teams. Thus there was plenty of entertainment for me on this hour flight. :)
Apparently Turkey is known for their Hazelnuts, they are proud and put a ton of money into their marketing. I found their slogan so profound I just had to share: "A handful of Hazelnuts a day... Is Good." Just let that depth and enlightenment sink in for a bit to appreciate the thought behind that ingenious marketing.
Last but not least on this flight the man sitting a few rows ahead of me was starting to bald. Most, when this happens, buy a tupay or embrace the bald look. This man's solution, Tattoos. On the Right and left side of the head were two large tarantellas and in the center I couldn't see clearly but it looked as thought it was a picture of Kermit the Frog. Though I would think it was more likely a skeleton.
So this was my day of fun and traveling to Turkey. If the traveling was that exciting- I can only imagine what lyes ahead in the next 10 days. Fun!