Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pardon My French

What to do when you cannot afford a French Tutor quite yet or follow those French In A Day CD's? Go to the children's section. Oui! I might be a thirty something, but my French is that of an minor. I enjoy the French For Children book, because it's fun! I can color, fill in the blanks, sing a song. And it has my own children engaged in my Parisian Mania.

Here is my version of Lesson 1. For all the French natives out there or Francophiles.........Pardon my French.

Bonjour. "Hello"
Salut "Hi."

Ca va? "Are you OK?"
Oui, ca va! "Yes, fine."

Je m'appelle Corine. "My name is Corine."
Comment t'appelles-tu? "What is your name?"

Excusez-moi. "Excuse me."
Pardon. "Excuse me."

Bon soir. "Good evening."
Bonne nuit. "Good night."

I want to be in Paris and show that I respect the culture and the language. I do not want to go on my vacation assuming, that everyone will accomodate my English.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My French "Stuff"

Meet my Paris Princess!

She is the key to my future...the one that holds all the coins to my adventures. I have a goal of raising $20,000.00 to go on my dream trip to Paris and other parts of France. Don't forget that includes plane tickets for my three children and husband too. I need to make sure I feed my Paris Princess daily. She is much more sophisticated than me and has a shiny disposition.

Thus far, she has ingested $60, which is a long way from the ultimate goal. But she will take what she can get for now, as long as she isn't forgotten.

I also have upgraded my grocery bags.....well, not friend rather. She purchased this marvelous montage of Parisian scenery (The Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and its pyramid) for me. Isn't it magnificent? The cashiers also enjoy the view as they fill it up with legumes. It's so much more grand than the Supermarket Logo bags. The fuchsia outline adds a touch of elegance too. Tres chic!

And lastly, we must not forget the most important reason to go to Paris, the food. Wether it's to experience the nouvelle cuisine inspired by liberated French chefs or a rustic French dish in Burgundy cooked by a more traditional chef. I enjoy both. The closest I have come to the perfect meal is at the French Laundry in California. I obsessed over reserving a table to experience the genius of Thomas Keller.

French Feasts by Stephane Reynaud is unique, practical, comforting, humorous, educational, simply sensational. My husband and I drooled on every page.....except for the one below.

I am open to a lot of daring foods, except for snails. I have tried, really I have, but as with darling bunny rabbits, I cannot ingest something I was so fond of as a little girl. I will leave that up to the frog (which I have eaten).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Homeless In Paris

On Valentine's Day, I had the honor of spending a few moments with Homeless Teenagers. Teens who are on the streets because of abuse, mental disorders, disowned by their families, etc. We all have our opinions about why someone ends up on the street. You don't really understand the reality of it until you ask!

Teens are stuck in the middle. They are not adults and therefore the help they get is so extremely limited. They cannot enter an adult shelter because they need parental consent. Well, what if that parent is developing Meth in the house or sexually abused the child? Is that the consent we are seeking? Would they even have the correct judgement to make when it comes to their child's well being? What these kids need is people who will step up and aid them in becoming functioning adults with jobs and a stable mindset.

The only thing that they all requested were sleeping bags. A softer and warmer place to sleep than the city concrete.

It had me questioning what the Homeless situation is in Paris? Do they have a better set up for the homeless population? Does this problem even exist in my city of dreams? The answer is a resounding "yes".

I came across various articles (click here to read one) from 4 years ago when the Medecins du Monde handed out 300 tents for the homeless to set up along the Canal Saint-Martin, Paris to draw attention. It worked! The effort shamed officials into spending more of their budget on creating hostel beds for the homeless. The tents diminished the breathtaking Parisian views and they wanted to resolve the problem swiftly. What has happened since? I am uncertain.

I would love to hear from my Parisian friends on the current status. Is it quite evident? Did the government step forward? Did it all fall through the cracks? What was the end result?

As for me, today really opened my eyes to a real travesty in my country, the USA. I cannot comprehend the lack of assistance for these Teens that already have enough to deal with just being their age. They need us to put our judgements aside and educate them about sound choices in life.VKU5F8D3G63E

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10 Year Anniversary

My husband and I are celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary tomorrow. We plan on spending the next decade in Europe, beginning with France.

Isn't this the perfect card? The inside reads, "I am still hog wild over you." If only we were those oinkers at this very moment.

I was however shocked to read in a book called When in France, Do As The French Do, that France has the lowest per capita marriage rate in Europe. How is that possible? Isn't France where love blossoms in public? Where you are lost in time making out at the outdoor cafes? Is that where it all ends? No one ever makes it to the altar?

Well Paris........I still adore your art, your food, your fashion, but it seems like I will have some lessons for you when it comes to tying the knot.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

French Dinner Trois

The favorite part of my week is when I get to cook French food. I opted for a fresh and luxurious Salad Nicoise this time around. Inspired by Tyler Florence's recipe on The Food Network website. I will never use canned tuna or jarred capers for this salad again. The seared tuna ($22/lb.) and caper berries made this an absolutely delectable dish. We had so much fun picking at it for an hour, while sipping wine and having a conversation about Paris!
For dessert, I baked a Tarte Fine Aux Pommes inspired by the French Food & Cook site. Excellent crust recipe. It's easy to make in your Cuisinart and spread inside the pie dish. It comes out crisp on the outside and cake like on the inside. The pie is tart, which is so complimentary with a scoop of sweet vanilla ice cream. Magnificent!
It was a lovely time with our lovely friend. We discussed our plans to visit Europe in extensive detail, which lead us to the conclusion that maybe, we should just move there for a couple of years.

Au revoir....'Til Next Time!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

French Doodle

Today, I was daydreaming! Daydreaming about the day I arrive in Paris and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Wearing a cute dress, with a cute purse, and cute pumps, and my new French do. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I sat around doodling all day. Not productive, I know. It was a great escape from the whaling children in the background. I just realized that my family is not in my doodles. Ooooops! too are there, I promise, just not today. Today it's just me.

Can you tell where I got the inspiration for my Eiffel Tower photo? I was so thrilled to get the chance to read this to my 16 month old daughter. She ran off after the first sentence, but as for me, I was right there with Madeline, in Paris.

Poor Madeline, she had to have her appendix removed. So sad! Don't worry Madeline, you live in France, everything will be just fine. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh......

After Madeline recovered, of course, I moved on to my next project....more French doodle. I drew a map of France (my apologies), and fantasized where else we could drive our Peugeot rental once we were satisfied with all that Paris had to offer.

Normandy, Strasbourg, the entire Alsace region, and move our way through Switzerland, Italy, ...............I think I need a personal sponsor. Any offers? I promise to use your money wisely and come back with none.

I scored this book at the library for 50 cents. Can you believe it? This book is going with me to Paris. It has everything you need to know about traveling wisely. How to reserve a room in French, taxi cab numbers, the monthly weather, maps, hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, spas, bike tours, the list goes on and on. It's written by Sandra Gustafson. A must for Americans like us.

I am continuing my education, with a new book called French: Learn In 4 Simple Steps (about 420 pgs. of simple steps). It covers the basics, words, phrases, sentences, and conversations. I am up to the Introduction: The Alphabet. One step at a time. I have two years to practice.

Lastly, I also checked this book out by Deidre Kelly, who writes about her eight visits to Paris. I will post more on this book once I actually begin reading it. As for now, I need to get back to my artistic ways.

Au revoir......'Til next time!