28 March 2010

So Why OT?

I really enjoy when you readers leave me questions (just type what you'd like to know in the box there on the left that says "ASK ME ANYTHING" and hit SEND . . . and you really can ask me anything).  I got this one today and I think it's one of my favorites:

What led you to occupational therapy? What was the studying like?
Oh, wow, what a question! I will do my best to go against the core of my nature and not write a novel-lengthed response, but no guarantees!

27 March 2010


Last night was another cinéma night . . . the little ciné here in our dot on the map Massy, had a special showing of the French film Liberté that was released last month.  Following the film, there was a question and answer time with the film's réalisateur (or director), Tony Gatlif.

The film, set in the midst of the Second World War, tells the story of a family of Tsiganes, or Gypsies, and some folks they meet along their way.  The film weaves a tale that is vibrantly colored with insights into a rich culture and unique way of life that is still found throughout Europe (in fact, we recently had a whole neighborhood of Tsiganes living in our public park!).  And the soundtrack alone would make this film a must-see!

26 March 2010

Your Questions, Answered or A Semi-Private Conversation With My Favorite Fran

So, once again I've caught up on the questions people have been asking.  But honestly, most of you aren't asking . . . except my favorite Fran.  Okay, she's my only Fran, but default or not, she's a favorite.  So, Franny, here are your (patiently awaited) answers (with one or two thrown in by someone else) followed by a screen shot of you and me checking out the blog at the same time from across the ocean:

Questions Answered

I read Desert Flower... great book.. sad.. but great. Do they practice FGM in Niger? I love you and I'm thinking about you! Franny

As far as I've found, Niger isn't typically on the FGM maps . . . but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. But at this point, I still don't know one way or another, so I cannot say yes or no. If I ever find out a more definitive answer I will let you know.

Tour Paris Without Getting On The Plane

Want to come see my world but are taking a moral stand against airline food?  Well, there's good news!  I've just come across a new website that offers a great (nearly 360) view of Pairs with the ability to zoom in and out and turn up and down, right and left.  It also has most of the main landmarks labeled, with the opportunity to click for more information . . . I guess this trumps my little homemade video from the top of Notre Dame with the pitiful audio commentary of  "Uh, that big thing over there is the Eiffel Tower . . . and that's some church . . . and there's something else famous, but I don't know what it is . . . and I think that's the Arc du Triomphe--yeah, it's flat on top, so it must be . . . and that little white speck on top of that hill over there is the Sacre Coeur--here, let me zoom in so it's out of focus and you can't see it any more . . . oh and here's a gargoyle, but it's a bit dark and unimpressive from this angle and you're probably seasick from my inability to hold the camera still, but thanks for suffering through my home video." http://www.paris-26-gigapixels.com/index-en.html

24 March 2010

Starting from Scratch

A good friend sent me an email today.  She was on a transatlantic flight yesterday, and saw an ad in the inflight magazine that made her think of me.  She took two photos of the ad, and sent them in consecutive emails.  For those of you who have never been immersed in language learning, the painful reality of this will not sting . . . but it may give you some indication of what life is like for those of us sitting in the classroom day in and day out (but if you're up for the challenge . . . I highly encourage the adventure!).

19 March 2010

Rule Number One: Keep Mouth CLOSED

I think I'm going to swear off speaking.  Never again in public . . . never again to strangers . . . never again in French . . . or at least never again in French to strangers in public.  With all of the stupid ways I've put my foot in my mouth over the past six months, one would think I'd learn.  But oh no!  Je suis très têtue!

So today is the birthday of a good friend here at Les Cedres and I wanted to get her a little gift.  She introduced me to this fabulous store called Zôdio.  It's a cross between Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store and Michael's.  Gift cards (Cartes Cadeaux) are still a pretty new concept here in France, but thankfully Zôdio offers them.  My friend S-P and I wandered over that way at our lunch break.  I bought some card-making paper so I could make her a birthday card.  We had been speaking en Français the whole time until we were in line.  For some reason we switched to English, but back to French as we approached the till.

18 March 2010

Je Peux Lire!

So I've been trying to read books in French . . . I have been reading Viens, Sois Ma Lumière (Come, Be My Light) by Mother Theresa and picked up a copy of Eldorado by Laurent Gaudé off the freebie table.  It's about two brothers that leave their home in Sudan and try to make it to Europe via Sicily.   I won't tell you what happens . . . you'll have to see if you can find a translation somewhere.

16 March 2010

I Knew Her When . . .

One of my most favorite SouthAfricans has just posted some of her music to share with the world . . . so Mish, until you make me delete this post, I'm sharing your voice with my world.  I love your new songs!  Thanks for sharing!!  http://www.myspace.com/mishwillis Love you friend!

15 March 2010

La Rafle

I went to the ciné again tonight (don't worry, mom, I did all of my homework), with three friends.  We went to see the French film La Rafle (and since it's in French, it was two good hours of oral comprehension!).  La Rafle means The Raid and is in reference to la rafle du Vel' d'Hiv. Vel' d'Hiv took place on July 16 & 17 1942, when over 13,000 Jews living in Paris and her suburbs were rounded up and locked into the Vélodrome d'Hiver (an indoor cycling arena that was designed by the same man who created the Tour du France) and then later brought to a temporary camp within France, but eventually to Auschwitz.

The film follows a Jewish Parisian family and their neighbors as we watch what French officials did and didn't do on their behalf.  I'm glad I had done my homework and walked in with an understanding of the historical context of the film.  I had known very little about life in France during WWII, but found it very interesting that for the most part, the Jews in Paris carried on with life as usual, with increasing restrictions as 16 & 17 July 1942 grew closer.  I was also surprised to find that there was an effort made by gentile neighbors to hide and look after the children of their Jewish friends and by the higher-ups to maintain Jewish French nationals . . . unsuccessful as that was, it was an attempt.

The Trouble With Numbers

I hate math.  I always have.  Numbers are a language I have never been successful at learning.

I have mentioned before that in French, it is necessary to complete simple math equations just to count to 100.  Par example, the number 61 in French is soixante-et-un --literally sixty and one . . . but 72 is soixante-douze--literally sixty-twelve.  One might think that 80 would be literally eighty, but no, it's quatre-vingt--literally four-twenty (4 times 20 is 80, if you multiply that high), so 90 is quatre-vingt-dix--literally four-twenty-ten (because 4 times 20 plus 10 is 90 . . . you can understand my frustration!)

14 March 2010

Fleur du Désert

I've just come back from the cinéma.  My friend and I went to see the new film Desert Flower.  On the surface, the film tells the story of Waris Dirie, former supermodel from Somolia, who ran away from a nomadic family at the age of 14 to avoid a forced marriage.  She ended up in the West and was discovered by a fashion photographer.  As her story unfolds, the issue of female circumcision and genital mutilation comes to the surface.

12 March 2010

God's Beautiful Network

A few weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, I received a request from a nurse I've never met who used to work at the hospital where I will go learn to build prosthetics from PVC piping in Nigeria.  The request was for health professionals to go and help at a make-shift hospital in Haiti.  Feeling that the timing was not right for me, I forwarded the request to many old friends and colleagues via facebook . . . not really sure that anything would ever come of it.  But one old friend . . . from high school . . . felt a burden and left her four kids (two are twins not quite six months, I think) with her husband, her mom, and her mother-in-law, and went for 10 days to Haiti to help bring new babies into the world.  

Her husband is a professional wedding photographer and posted some of her pics on his blog today.  I'm taking the liberty to forward this link to you.  What struck me the most was that most of the pics E. took she left in Haiti, as many of the patients had never had photos of themselves before!  What a priceless gift to be able to capture a moment of joy during such a painful time!  I think it's the little things that are the most beautiful.  

Thank you, E. for going . . . for all of us that (heartbrokenly) cannot.  http://toddpelloweblog.com/louisville-wedding-photographer/index.cfm?postID=180&Emilys-Trip-to-Haiti

11 March 2010

It's Been a Week

It's been a little while since I've written a new post, so there's a bit to fill you in on.  Life has been life, so there's not really been many funny happenings . . . but I'm sure before too long I will put my foot in my mouth and say something worth typing on the blog.

Class has been full of my typical blunders and mispronunciations . . . such as when we had an oral exercise on expressing anger or disappointment, and I said that the hotel's belts were dirty instead of their pillow cases (taille vs taie), which led to a classic game of Guess What the Anglophone Is Trying to Say.

06 March 2010

Joyeux Anniversaire, Mamman!

Yesterday was my mom's birthday . . . I should have posted this then, but I'm sure it's still March 5 somewhere in the world.

Mom, I love you!  Thank you for all you do.  Thank you for being you.

02 March 2010

Sometime the NYTimes Gets It Right

A friend just sent me this article from Sunday's New York Times.  I couldn't help but comment and thank the author for his recognition of the compassion of the Church.  I am not typically one to leave comments on news articles, in fact, I think this is my first one, but as I read through the other comments, I found very few from evangelicals, and felt it was important to speak up. 

Read the article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28kristof.html) , read my response (below), and feel free to let me know what you think (it is possible to comment anonymously without needing a blogger.com account).

01 March 2010

Back in the Saddle . . . or Something Like That

Well, I'm back in France.

It's only been a week off . . . nothing really . . . call it an extended long-weekend, with two transatlantic flights four days apart.

You know that feeling you get when you go on a trip, and you make a packing list, and you check it a few times, but there's still that nagging feeling that you've forgotten something.  And that feeling stays with you until all of a sudden, at the moment you need whatever it is the most, you remember what it is that you left behind and you can picture it sitting right where you last put it.