100 Funny Things.

This is officially my 100th post – Cue the fireworks and free bottles of champagne! Yaaaahoooooooweeeee!

(I’m totally ignoring the fact that this being only my 100th post in about a year means I really need to try harder to post more often. But who wants to rain on their own champagne infused parade? Let’s just consider it New Year’s Resolved.)

Looking back through all my anecdotes and diatribes has made me realize just how much we’ve all learned over the past year. You readers are so totally prepared for life in France now! You’ve got Paris covered, no sweat. Why? Because I’ve shared all there is to know about dog poo covered sidewalks and how to call someone a “nice beetch.” You know all about hoo-ha molds, danger bees, and of course, baby jesus in velvet pants. You have been well versed in the many merits of champagne and pain au raisins for breakfast. And the looming danger of butter brain.

And let’s not forget the informative pieces on pictogram ovens, boob vocabulary and most importantly, sharts.

There have been bike trips and toenail clippings, giant vats of chocolate mousse and master bites. There were lessons on pre-pubescent pickpockets and avoiding Sephora at all costs. I’ve given you the lowdown on castle dwelling in the Loire, excessive wine sipping in Bordeaux, and tan seeking on the Cote d’Azur. I’ve shared the critical details of proper Oktoberfest attire. And just for your sake, I’ve repeatedly tasted and reported on eating oysters, rabbit, rare steaks, pigs feet, kilos of pizza, duck fat fried anything, beignets, baguettes, croissants, pâté, fois gras, pork belly, and cheese. Lots and lots of runny, dead-body-smelling cheese.

After all that, I’d be shocked – SHOCKED! – if you felt you needed a real travel guide to France. Fodors and Lonely Planet? Pshaw. They’ll just recommend a bunch of touristy restaurants and point you straight toward hell on earth, otherwise known as the Louvre. Me? I’ll show you how to get nice and tipsy at the perfect picnic, then make an ass out of yourself trying to speak french to the locals.

So yes. You’re welcome.

*     *     *

Update: I’m back, I’m no longer jet-lagged, and I’m ready to write. So we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming starting next week!

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A year of learning.

It’s probably a gross understatement to say that I’ve learned a few things since starting a life abroad just a year ago. It’s actually more like I’ve had to rewire my brain to understand a foreign language, automatically dodge dog poo and maneuver a granny cart full of spaghetti sauce up 4 flights of stairs.

It’s been a humbling experience to say the least. But I can confidently say that I now have a vast and varied repertoire of expat knowledge, far beyond anything you’ll ever find in a guide book. Such as:

1. Baguettes are better when they’re pas trop bien cuit.

2. Champagne should be consumed cold and quite regularly.

3. The Louvre is hell on earth.

4. So is EuroDisney.

5. 95% of Parisian women will be skinnier, more beautiful and better smelling than you.

6. Pain au raisins with a Diet Coke is in fact a breakfast of champions.

7. If you desperately need something from the market or a specific store, you can count on it being closed.

8. Wearing heels here is next to impossible.

9. You will probably never be able to pronounce or conjugate s’asseoir.

10. But you’ll get good at conard, merde, and putain.

11. No one will care if your internet connection goes out for weeks at a time.

12. Talking on the phone will make you break into a sweat.

13. A chèvre is a goat. A cheval is a horse. Police ride chevals, not chèvres.

14. Actually, the plural of horse is cheveaux. Not to be confused with cheveux – the hair on your head.

15. A big glass of wine will make most embarrassment over your language skills disappear.

16. French ovens are crap. So is the metric system.

17. It is possible to eat a three course meal at lunch AND dinner.

18. But you may have the sharts afterward.

19. You’ll hate Paris sometimes.

20. But love it even more.

Bon Anniversaire.

Exactly one year ago today I said a (very) tearful goodbye to family and friends and then hopped on a plane to France, ready to live out a 2 year adventure in the City of Light.

Actually, before the plane part we drove around like maniacal Amazing Race contestants in a borrowed minivan, desperately seeking our travel visas. Then while Husband checked out at the office, I had my last radio sing along with Lady Gaga. Papa-papa-RA-ZZI! And then the car battery died.

So that’s the story of how we almost didn’t make it to France, and how Husband almost killed me right there on the corner of 22nd street. They should put up a plaque!

But thanks to $50 and the Exxon gas station just around the corner, I survived and we did in fact fly to Paris. I remember how disorienting it was: all of my worldly possessions either packed in a shipping crate, sold off or stored in Big Daddy’s basement. No cellphone. No serviceable French language skills.

We arrived jet lagged and emotionally exhausted, but somehow still bursting with excitement. We were in Paris! City of smelly cheese and fresh baguettes! Land of bubbly champagne! So much of it felt like wonderland, except of course for the hideous temporary Ikea couch.

Then Husband went to work and I…did not. With no internet connection, no job, and not one single friend to go drinking with, I was just a wee bit out of sorts those first couple weeks. And just in case you weren’t one of the lucky few getting morose phone calls from France last fall, you can watch me grappling with early-retired/housewife/loser status here:

After watching this, I am shocked. Shocked! Who is that girl!? (I blame it all on France: the mood, the hair, the wonky nose). All I can say one year later is, thank you little baby jesus in velvet pants for helping me come so far.