Sunday, 25 May 2008


This week in the adventures of the overstressed and underslept:
  • Went to the embassy to check in - got told to use the internet.
  • Bought some wool at the Bon Marche. My credit card flinched. No more treats for a while.
  • Went to the Australian shop (it was open, but there was no beer. Renamed it the un-Australian shop).
  • Went to the Australian picnic - met some cool people, but was a bit overwhelmed by the huge crowd.
  • Went for a run, and utilised the wifi in the park (not simultaneously).
  • Went to the Musee d'Orsay - saw the Degas bassoon painting (it's smaller than my print).

This is all not very interesting, so (to continue the theme): here is my new favourite dinner. It looks like the world's most depressing, boring meal...and ok it is a bit depressing that I'm sharing this and not getting excited about some grand weekend-sucking cooking scheme like I used to, but look, it's actually really delicious, it has all of the food groups (except chocolate), it's reasonably cheap, and it fulfills my (other) current cooking goal, viz: it's fast to prepare (10 mins), so I'm out of the 2m sq kitchen (and out of the way of my housemates) as quickly as possible. Thus:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 small head of brocolli
  • handful of pasta (I use brown, because that's how I roll kidlets, but in this case I actually think a more strongly flavoured pasta is a good idea anyway)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tomato
  • cheese (I am using emmental, because that's the cheap supermarket cheese here, but cheap cheddar would also do the trick. This is not the place for your fancy pants fromagerie cheese).
  • 1/2 lemon (you can use balsamic vinegar instead)
  • good olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Boil the kettle. While that's happening, start chopping up your carrot into thin rounds, and your broccoli into little florettes. When the water has boiled, put it in a saucepan and begin cooking your pasta. Put a saucepan with holes (what are those called?), or in my case a metal sieve on top, and steam your veggies at the same time. Meanwhile, fry an egg and roughly slice your tomato into the pan as well. Take the veggies off the steamer when they are fluorescent and only just cooked. Undercook the egg a little so the yolk is still runny. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, and mix everything together (breaking up the egg to help make a bit of a sauce) with a dash of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, salt and copious amounts of freshly ground pepper, and some grated cheese.

You can add other random things that you have if you like - maybe some avocado, or perhaps some nuts.

Eat. Yum. Finished? Good.

Now is the time for your fancy pants fromagerie cheese: dessert. Of course, you could instead have some lovely fresh fruit from the street market nearby, or some chocolate. Or if you're like me, you can have difficulty deciding and have all three. Vive la France.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

a little concerned she might be about to lose a toenail.

Picking up where I left off - I did manage to open a bank account after all of that, AND I did it in French. Yay me!

I spent the weekend with Ellie and her sister Margot. We went for a big walk from the Bastille, past the Hotel de Ville, via Notre Dame, up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomph. We also climbed (so to a lift) the Eiffel Tower (pretty cool, but a lot of waiting around for a foggy cold day) and went up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. It was nice to hang out with someone from home, and see a few of the tourist sites that I hadn't yet made it to.

Yesterday I used this time to go out to the Vallee, which is like the Paris equivalent of Harbour Town. It cost about 6 coffees to get out there on the train but I went becuase they have a Camper outlet shop. It turned out to be quite the letdown, but it was still nice to wander around and look at pretty things that are still way out of my price ranger (discount Chanel is still many many espressos). On the way back I went to H&M again. I am getting so predictable.

In the evening I had a spontaneous picnic with my Adelaide friend Phil, and then we went to an organ concert in a beautiful old church (maybe even a little cathedral). I don't know the name of the piece, but it was a work by Messiaen written specifically for that particular instrument. It was pretty incredible, and the acoustics were amazing.

Today I went for a run, had lunch with a friend of a friend (protein, yum), and then went to check out the Bon Marche, which was a bit of a letdown. I thought it was like a massive posh supermarket (interesting) but it turns out it's just a massive post department store (not so interesting - seen it before - can't afford it). But they do have a nice wool section - not that I could find what I was looking for becuase it turns out that conversations about pattern substitution are beyond my capability at the moment. I also stubbed my little toe worse than I have ever before in my life and my whole toe has gone black.

I think that is all for this week so far.

Oh no it's not. I discovered that there is a Marriage Freres near me which is a super famous fancy pants French tea house. Right after I had decided that I would try to rein in the spending. That was a resultion which thus lasted for not a very long time. I bought the minimum quantity of a fragranced green tea ('Provence') that the nice man recommended and I haven't even tried it yet (becuase I need to buy a teapot or a teaball...probably the latter - as much as I miss my teapot they're not the most practical of travelling items) and it's making my bedroom smell delicious. Next time I'm feeling like a treat, I think I will buy one of their little tea spoons - they're so cute.

My most happiest thing (can't put it better I'm afraid) this week was that I went to a local brocante (street antique market) and bought some old woden movable type 'E's. Becuase they are French lots of them have accents, and they're all different fonts and I love love love them. I'm thinking I'd like to collect more, but it's such a nice compact, elegant little bunch at the moment that I'm hesitant to tinker with it.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


I realise I haven't written about life in general for a little while now. I probably shouldn't be writing about it now, becuase i'm awfully tired, and i really should go to sleep, but Elli is coming this weekend, so hopefully we will have an excellent fun filled weekend, and then there will be lots to write about on monday, and i will have forgotten all about this week. So i'd better do it now.

Last weekend was a long long weekend. The French do this thing where they randomly put public holidays on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then they 'make the bridge': ie. they take the day in between off too, giving themselves a massive weekend. I unfortunately still had to work.

Actually, i pretty effectively wasted the weekend. But i made it to H&M and bought 3 new tops, and i went to the 'big' park for a run. The 'big' park is 'big' by parisien standards, but it takes about 5 minutes to run around the perimeter, and there were so many people there it felt like merging into traffic. Still they have wifi which is cool. And bathers-clad old peope trying to get a tan. Which is not.

I went to the Galleries Lafayette and the Printemps by accident (i was looking for magic shoes - found them but not in the colour that i wanted). Those are crazy places. Talk about mindless consumerism. Giant posh department stores, with the chanel section next to hello kitty. bizarre. i had a coffee in one of them because the guy looked like he knew what he was doing and it smelled so good. Unfortunately, liek the rest of french coffee, it was not.

I bought my 2nd piece of french cheese to sample - a proper camembert from normandy. Its really good - much stinkier than we're used to, but not nasty. Kind of like that dusty taste red wine gets (tannins?) with a bit of parmy tossed in.

I also bought some more flowers, and made friends with the flower seller. He was one of those flirty market salesman type people who'll charm the socks of anyone to get them to buy their stuff and come back. Well, i'm in need of friends and french conversation, so it worked on me. I'm quite happy to choose him as my local florist if i get french practice thrown in for free.

The teaching is going...ok. I think i could be quite good at it, and i really like a lot of my students, but the transport and all the preparation required is really stressing me out. As is having to find my way around paris on deadlines.

my french classes are going well. It's made me feel a lot better about being here - like i'm actually achieving something rather than just treading water. It's also made me realise though tht 4 hours a week is nowhere near enough. I made a friend in my class - an American and on tuesday we went for a walk in the Marais and had a lovely 3 course dinner (when in Paris...). It really was excellently good...

I made a couple of pilgrimigaes out to yarn shops. they were quite disappoitning - small and cute but with ridiculously lame ranges. I guess french women don't bake and don't knit.Why would you bother when you can buy amazing pastries and clothes i guess.

On the way home from one of my classes i found an amazing park. with a big becuatiful building and avenues of trees and crazy maroon irises. i didn't know they cam ein htat colour.

Today i tried ot go back to H&M to buy a dress that i saw that i liked, but there are 3 shops in spitting distance of each other, and i popped out the wrong metro and went to the wrong two, and then proceded to walk in the opposite direction by accident for a km or two. But which point i couldn't be bothered anymore. I think the lesson to be learnt is to buy stuff from h&m and return it, rather than to sleep on it, becase they're huge and busy and you might not find them again. Maybe i should stop shopping at h&m because i'm sure there are more interesting unique shops around. But the close are cheap and cool.

Tomorrwo i have to open a bank account. To do this i had to make an appointment two weeks ago. So it'd better work or i'll be very cross.

Also, for any knitters out there, i'm on ravelry now.

Sorry this is a terrible post. I am terribly tired.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

focussing on the little things.

Does anyone else remember that scene in Reality Bites where Ethan Hawke is talking about how when the big things aren't working out as planned, you take pleasure in the details, like a quarter-pounder with cheese?
Well, I'm not such a fan of the burgers, and you can look down your nose at me all you like for frequenting such a soulless, awful excuse for a restaurant (and you'd be right), but I went today and got a McFlurry with sprinkles of Daim. Yeah those are good.

Friday, 9 May 2008

wanting things she can't have.

Want #1:

Want #2:

Does someone want to tell me where all the cool shopping is in Paris? It's eluding me so far.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

experiencing a migraine, and still procrastinating.

Things from recently:

I accidentally left my footer in an email to work, meaning that there's every chance that they will find this blog. Duh. Hi work people! Don't worry, there's nothing incriminating here, no reasons to dooce's just a story about a life about nothing...

Today I went for a run in the local park. It's a big park by Parisien standards. But it turns out that big by Parisien standards is not big by Australian standards. At all. And because there are not so many 'big' parks in Paris, going there for a run felt like merging onto a freeway.

There is a shop at the end of my street that sells nothing but chandeliers. That should tell you everything you need to know about my neighbourhood.

There is apparently a shop here that sells Coopers.

Update: after a massive trek, the shop that sells Coopers is 'exceptionally closed'. Except that 'exceptional' seems to = 'frequent' here. It's rather annoying.

Sunday, 4 May 2008


Madrid in 0.5 + 3 + 0.5 days. Dirty, cramped Charles de Gaulle airport. Frisked after setting off the metal detector. I've learnt to pack light. Beautiful, clean spacous Madrid airport. A friendly face; smoking while waiting to meet me at the gate. A clean(er), cheaper metro than Paris. An apartment with a room and a bed just for me. Dirty dishes (bliss). Spain is poor(er), often ugly and run down: graffiti everywhere and the bright warm sunshine illuminates it. A small English bookshop/bar. Tapas for dinner - blood sausage and for dessert: cheese with raspberry sauce. Back to the apartment - supermarket red wine & a film: Death at a Funeral. Talk of religion results in the gift of a hardback.

Up early, the best shower I've had in years - real water pressure and even standing up straight. Hours walking the city: a protest, a speech, a march; plazas, statues, churches, a crypt; red buildings, yellow buildings, pink buildings, painted buildings. Spanish time is all off kilter: lunch at 3pm. A whole chicken, a chorizo, beer & blue cheese to put hair on your chest. A park, a siesta, a calipo. More walking, more beer, more tapas. Spanish time is all off kilter: dinner at 10pm. A giant mound of seafood: prawns, more prawns, crabs, 'turtle toes', flaming firewater, a yellow digestif. Back to the bookshop-bar, a quiz. We won! I can finally forget who played 'Walk the Dinosaur' - it has served its purpose.

Spanish time: up late, churros & chocolate for breakfast, fresh squeezed orange juice, the best coffee for years. A shopping expedition - Spain shows off it's colourful fashions and bargain prices but no luck. A pocket picked and the afternoon is abandoned. I siesta and eat chips/crisps for lunch at 5 - 'peasant' flavour, ham flavour. A barbecue on a balcony: Australians, Americans, Spaniards and a lone Liverpudlian; sausages, steak, salad, sauce.

Normal time: up early. More perfect coffee - homemade tomato sauce on toast, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper all on the table. Giant flea markets, millions of people. A new handbag for 2 euros and a lot of stripes. More perfect coffee, and some grape juice. A picture in front of the bear. Back to the airport, a 'vegetal' sandwich of eggs and cheese. Frisked again. Duty free perfume, a late plane, a bus right to my door cheaper than the train. Postcards on the way.