Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Life Gives You Oranges...

I just wanted to mention my Uncle Bob. He died this week after a battle with cancer. He was definitely a great guy and a joy to be around, always making everyone around him laugh. I loved tubing down the river with him and the rest of the Brugger family. He will be missed, but is a great example of someone who made the best out of everything. I guess you could say he made lemonade when life gave him lemons, or orange juice when he was handed a basket of oranges. We'll miss you, Uncle Bob.


We just happen to have a lot of citrus fruits in the apartment, especially oranges. This is all in great thanks to Olivier's parents and all of their wonderful citrus trees. Without all of the preservatives, etc. contained in the oranges from the store, these oranges become bad quickly. So, what better way to use 'em up than to make a lot of orange juice. Hence, I have been getting my fair share of completely natural, hand-squeezed, full of Vitamin-C, delicious orange juice. Here is this morning's squeeze (The plastic table cover just happens to fit today's theme).

So here I am in Nice, still jobless, making orange juice. But hey, at least I have plenty of oranges. I've been small-job-hunting online, looking for any random job around here...babysitting being probably my best bet. It seems there are a lot of babysitters and tutors out there, so I just have to be patient and keep up the search. It will be much easier once I actually have the right to have a real job over here, like teaching. Until then, babysitting must suffice. If I have to be jobless, I guess it is a good time. I am getting lots of paperwork together for our civil union (I have an appointment tomorrow with someone at a US consulate office), I am sleeping in, talking over coffee with my mom via skype, discovering the neighborhood, like where to buy the best baguette, and enjoying the sun.

Nice is setting up for Carnaval, which is like France's Mardi Gras celebration. I guess it is pretty nuts, but I will definitely have to check it out at least once. I guess there are lots of families, kids all dressed up, and I'll fill you in on the rest once I know. It doesn't start for a few weeks, but it is so close to where we live, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of photo opportunities.

On a completely different note, I have been remembering my dreams a lot. Usually, I just sleep so hard and can't remember a thing. Lately, I seem to be remembering a lot of them, mostly bizarre, as dreams tend to be. I wonder what that's about. Perhaps it's a sign that our bed is hard and short and we need a new one. I think that's Thursday's task since Olivier doesn't have to work (Monaco has a holiday I guess). Anyway, that is about all that is new here. Just job-hunting, paperwork, and making orange juice.

I'll leave you with a few pictures. The first is the only one of us I've taken since being back...unfortunately, Olivier thought it would be funny to stick his tongue out, so here ya go...
The other is of the Russian church just up the road from us. One of theses days we'll check out the inside.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adjusting to the Nice life

I guess you could say that this begins Part II of my life in France. I arrived in Nice, France exactly one week ago and am so glad to be here, finally able to get back to life with Olivier. I felt like life was on hold for those five months apart...like I was just waiting to really get our life together started. So far, I cannot complain. I guess I'll just start from the beginning (sorry I didn't post sooner...I just got internet access today...finally!).

The flight/getting here:

I must say that the journey over was not perfect, but I tried to make the best of it. I flew Detroit to Montreal to Paris to Nice. Not exactly direct, but it got me here. The long flight was rather uncomfortable as I was pretty much crammed in my seat the entire time. I sat next to a very kind French lady, but I felt bad asking to use the bathroom, etc. because she was rather large and it was a process (this is my counterexample to disprove the myth that "French women don't get fat." Not true.). Thank goodness for in-flight movies. AirFrance had some good selections. When I was in Paris, I saw previews for a French film that looked so good. I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to watch it because it wasn't in theaters until after I left for the states. It is called "L'age de Raison", which means "The Age of Reason." I was thrilled that it was one of my choices! I also watched something else I wanted to see, "Life as We Know It." Needless to say I did not sleep at all and was uncomfortable, but I did get to catch up on my movie-watching.

I arrived in Paris right on time, at 6 am. This meant over 9 hours of waiting for my flight to Nice. However, things were not so bad as a very nice Delta Airlines lady was able to get my bags to go all the way to Nice without me having to stay with them all day in Paris (this was supposed to be the case because my ticket to Nice was bought separately). Free of luggage, I made my way into Paris to do what I really needed (no, not see Paris)...take a nap. Thank goodness for great friends. I went to Crystal's, caught up with her and her mother briefly, took a shower, and spent the rest of the morning/early-afternoon catching up on some much-needed sleep. I got my booty back to the airport and finished up the journey, arriving in Nice just as the sun was setting. Not too shabby. Unfortunately Olivier had to be in Marseille until the next day for work, but his mother met me right as I left baggage claim. We drove to his parents' house, as we had yet to get our own apartment, ate dinner with his parents and sister, and basically fell into a deep sleep until around noon the next day. I was a little nervous to be staying at Olivier's parents' house without him, but they were very welcoming and it went well. I was finally able to see Oliv on Friday night...the wait was over.

On Saturday, Oliv and I made our way into Nice to sign on an apartment. His mother had thankfully been apartment hunting for us. We moved all of our stuff in on Sunday and decided to get to know the area a little before he left for another two days in Marseille. I had no idea how close we were to everything!

Our apartment, 14 rue Rossini:

We live on the 2nd floor (3rd floor by American counting...they have "0" floor in France as opposed to the first floor being ground level). There is a little park right across the street, called Place Mozart. We are in the Musicians Quarter and are about a 4 minute walk from the main shopping street in Nice, and just a few minutes from the promenade along the Mediterranean. It couldn't be a better location. And Olivier is happy that there tends to be several parking spaces available each night. One side of the apartment is basically windows/doors, which faces West and allows for a lot of sunlight. We have a great little terrace with a table. The apartment is smaller than what we were looking for, but it will work well for us for now. We are only planning on being in this apartment for a year. Our bedroom isn't even separate, but is actually an alcove with curtains. Haha. There are a lot of old folks living in this area, so we figure that we can work our way up as time goes on, since we really like this building. The consulate of the Netherlands is on the ground floor, as well as a few other offices. We also have a storage room in the basement, which is handy since we need a new bed and a place to store the antique we are currently using. Our apartment is already furnished, which is nice, but not really our style...it's all Louis XV, as I've been told. This means that the bed is particularly short and in my opinion, hard (If you know anything about Olivier, you know that he is very tall. He sleeps diagonally and curled up...poor boy). Anyway, the apartment is great. Here are a few photos of the apartment and the view from the terrace.

And here are some photos I took this afternoon during my walk...

Hanging out:

For now, I've been doing a lot of random things such as cleaning and organizing the apartment, buying things for the apartment, walking around, etc. Since I just got the internet up and running, I can now look for babysitting and tutoring jobs and look for activities for anglophones such as myself, in order to meet some new people. Now that I am here, I intend on keeping this updated, but if you followed last year, you know that sometimes I'm not so good at that. Bye for now.