Monday, January 31, 2011

Cabin Fever, Real Fever, etc.

France thought they were done with the plague after the Dark Ages. Apparently they were wrong. EVERYONE has been sick this week. I've had it, my roommates have had it, my students have had it. Fever, congestion, coughing, the works. Though I had been feeling better on Monday, I ended up spending all of Tuesday and Wednesday in bed. So the beginning of the week was kind of poopy, but the rest of the week was great, and I'm feeling much better now, so hooray!

First of all, I'M AN AUNTIE!!!!!!! Don't worry, it's not Allison. I said auntie, not aunt. My cousin Zeina delivered a beautiful, nine and a half pound baby boy on the 28th. We're not allowed to know his name until his naming ceremony, and I'm still waiting for Kate to get her act together and send me pictures (HINT HINT KATHRYN), but Mom and Baby are doing well and I am so happy for them! Not to mention excited to spoil this kid rotten. I'm thinking I'll load him up on candy and give him a whistle or some other toy that makes noise just before I drop him back off with his parents :-).

In other news, I got a haircut! It's been a long time coming, but I have been afraid to try to communicate things like "layers" and "swoopy bangs" in French. But when I accidentally zipped my hair into my hoodie for the third or fourth time, I decided it was time. So I asked some native speakers for help, drew a quick pencil sketch of what I wanted, just in case, and found a salon. Personally, I think it turned out quite well. But I'll let you decide for yourself:
I'm loving it. And you know you've got a good haircut when you can style it yourself and still make it look good without the stylist's help. I've been singing "Pretty Girl Rock" to myself allll weekend, haha.

So that was my first French haircut. Then Thursday night I had another French first: my first French Chinese buffet. Now, allow me to explain about France and Chinese food. They are not friends. France has plenty of Chinese/Asian restaurants, but so far I have yet to enjoy a dining experience at any of them. I mean, American Chinese food is not known for being super high quality, but compared to France it's like dining in Shanghai, ok? French Chinese restaurants (at least here in Valenciennes) tend to be overpriced, lacking a buffet, and just generally bland and not tasty. BUT we have finally found a place that not only has a buffet, but it also passes muster on the quality end. It's not fabulous, but it's by far the best we've found here so far. So that's exciting.

Friday night was another fun culinary experience. I went to my friend Shelby's for dinner and a movie, and she made us a curry. And it was SPICY!!!! If you will recall, France is seriously lacking in the spicy foods department, and though I am not a huge fan of spice, all the cream and cheese and butter around here leaves me craving a little more flavor sometimes. And Shelby acquired this curry paste from a French colleague for whom it was "too spicy." So you know it was perfect for us fire-eating Americans, haha. So the curry was delicious, and after dinner all of us (Shelby, Joey, Allison, and me) cuddled up on Shelby's tiny little clic-clac and watched Despicable Me. SUCH a cute movie. I know I am a little behind the times, but if you haven't seen it yet, you should rent it. Adorable and hilarious!

Saturday night was definitely the climax of the weekend, though. Most of my roomies were out and about for the weekend, so I took the opportunity to host a little gathering of my own. Seven of us (5 American assistants and 2 from New Zealand) got together at my place for pizza and karaoke. Of course we didn't have a karaoke machine or anything, but we did have really good speakers, so we just cranked up our favorite tracks and sang into an empty Coke bottle. Needless to say, this got more entertaining the more alcohol we consumed, haha. It was really great though, because although in New Zealand they get a formal British education, all their pop culture comes from the US, so Nikki and Sarah (the NZ assistants) knew all the songs that we (the Americans) knew, plus a few fun ones that we didn't. The playlist ran heavily through the 90's and early 2000's, and made for a fun and quite amusing trip down music memory lane for all of us. The songs that got everyone singing along: TLC's "No Scrubs," Destiny's Child's "Say My Name," Hoobastank's "The Reason," and Aqua's "Barbie Girl," along with Jewel, Britney, Green Day, GaGa, Alanis, Whitney, and all sorts of others. Joan Osborne's "One of Us," anyone?

Allison breaks it down to Lady Gaga

I sing some Kelly Clarkson while Joey gets down with his bad self in the background, and Nikki watches.

And that's about it. Yesterday was a lazy day, spent in PJ's, lolling about the house. Made some killer red beans and rice for dinner, and went to bed early for once. Now I'm off to have lunch with Joey before finishing out my teaching day with a lesson on the Civil War. This weekend: Paris!!


  1. First of all, I didn't send the photo to your mom. Zeina did. i can't find the cord to transfer the photos from my camera to my computer. When I dig it out, I'll let you know. I have a really good blackmail photo of Zeina that I will send too.

    Second of all, I have a fantastic Indian kidney bean dish that's so hot, that I'm assured of transforming into an fire-breathing ass-dragon tomorrow morning. It has some yummy curried naan, too, to eat on the side. My friend, Sunita, (from India) made a whole giant bowl of it for me because she had some at lunch at work the other day and I whined about it smelling so good.

    Finally, Hobie has the lamest new email address. Check your email. Then give him some grief about it.

  2. Another thing:

    We're calling the baby Winnie the Poop until we have the real name.