Finalement, My Dreams Came True

Novembre 2015:

The morning sun offre a burning heat, which made the frigid, Mistral wind bearable. While my body was happily warmed by this bright orange ball of gaz, sadly, my toes were kept in the shadows. “Why didn’t I wear my boots?” I thought.

In Aix, the Mistral is especially fierce during the winter months (yes, the end of Novembre counts as Winter) as it whimsically brings down the “gift” of cold air des montagnes. The sun always has been (and always will be) a close friend to Aix; however, the sun can’t be everywhere at once. So, as you stroll down Rue de la Verrerie in late Novembre, be sure to bundle up (it’s a shadow-y filled rue).

The Mistral likes to hide in the shadows and with the boom of moderne buildings…

…in conjunction with the anciennes églises 

1

Église de Saint Jean de Malte

et cathédrale Sainte-Sauveur,

the Mistral is ready to surprise even the most bundled up southerner.

It’s touriste saison

But, this morning, I was on a mission and I was close to achieving it. So, I opened the centuries-old wooden door and escaped the Mistral (*the Sous Préfecture de Bouches du Rhône recently changed locations: It is now located on 455 Avenue Pierre Brossolette*).

I took a number and then found a spot to sit. There were 8 people ahead of me but the queue passed with the vitesse of a jet plane.

When my numéro was called, I nervously approché the counter. I was worried that I’d be directed to Marseille! I was greeted with an enthousiasme contagieux. I explained my situation and handed over my récépissé.

The Préfecture took my récépissé; however, I made black & white copies of it when I first received it (you just never know). So, here’s a look at mine.

I never did snap a pic of my récépissé (before the Préfecture took it), so, here’s an exemple of what one (in couleur) really looks like.

Aujourd’hui was my lucky day! I left the counter with the excitement of a 4-year-old who just met Santa. Closing the wooden door behind me, I thought, “I. CAN’T. BELIEVE. IT.”

I decided to embrace my luck and take the Cours back home. It was warm and sunny the ENTIRE time! As I took in the sights of the marché de Noël and the scents of mulled wine and fried churros, I smiled to myself.

Finalement: I have my TITRE DE SÉJOUR (aka: my residency card).

Afficher l'image d'origine

This is a helpful copy of a Titre de Séjour that I found here. The cartes also have a chip.

Janvier 2017:

Who would’ve thought that with the coming of 2017, I would still be in France…on a second Titre de Séjour?! ♦

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The Tale of a Teething Baby

“She awoke; it was after 4:00 am. It was my fault…kind of.

It wasn’t really my fault, I swear!

I was in the middle of drinking warm milk with Peppa and Goldie and Papa Pig, when all of a sudden, a thousand knives began to pierce my gums (my parents use this word All of the time these days)! Don’t say you wouldn’t have shot up in bed with thousands of warm tears trickling down your face. I needed a hug, another baba and Something to dull the ache! Thankfully, mama was there. After all, I’m just a bébé, I can’t reach anything. What’s happening to me?!?”

The worst word a new parent will hear is Teething.

But, we all know this is inevitable, so, what can we do about it? After all, we hate seeing our petit(e) prince(sse) suffer.

Here are 3 popular products that can help ease bébé‘s gum pain (in France, of course):

  • Camilia – a sirop homéopathique* that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums.Afficher l'image d'origine Camilia comes in little sachets and it can be found at most pharmacies. You can put it on your finger and massage it on bébé‘s gums, put it on a teether, or you can pour it directly onto your bebe‘s gums (massaging at the same time).
  • Sirop delabarre – a sirop homéopathique* that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums. Afficher l'image d'origineNormalement, Sirop Delabarre comes in a small jar – just be careful when putting it on your finger or on a teether as it tends to come out fast! This is considered more natural than Camilia. It can also be found at most pharmacies. There is also a gel version.http://www.avisdemamans.com/image.php?310x310/produit/delabarre.png
  • Dolodent – a gel in pump form that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums. http://www.avisdemamans.com/image.php?310x310/produit/778thickbox.jpgDolodent is usually recommended for use when Camilia and Sirop Delabarre are not strong enough.

These products may help ease bébé‘s pain (especially when bébé wants nothing to do with the teether), but they don’t always work. Sometimes, bébé won’t even let you touch her gums long enough for the sirop or gel to work; however, when they work, it gives parents some added minutes of sleep. When they don’t work, parents are left feeling helpless, exhausted, stressed, and sad (after all, no one wants to see their bébé suffer).

Here are 3 tips to help relax parents living with a teething bébé:

  • Get a massage…Better yet, get a shiatsu massage. The benefits of massages are endless. Whether it’s a couple’s massage (thank you, baby-sitter!) or a massage from your partner, you’re bound to be relaxed for at least the duration of the massage.
  • Join a Baby Yoga classe. This will not only relax you, but may help relax bébé – even a teething bébé! Plus it’s a great way to bond with bébé. Here are some yoga opportunités in the PACA (Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur) région.
  • Join a parent/bébé groupe – Or in my case, a parent/bébé English classe. Hanging out with other parents a few times a week relieves that “I’m all alone” stress as you see that you are, in fact, not alone.

img_2888

It’s important to take some time out of your day-week-month for just you, just your partner, and for you and your partner. This alone time away from bébé will help keep the two of you sain during moments of crisis (teething isn’t the only fear). Don’t let your teething bébé bring you down: It’s just a phase that does not last forever, thankfully! ♦

*Homéopathie in the USA is really frowned upon (a story for a separate blog post); however, many “homéopathie” products on the marché in the USA are forbidden in France due to régulations set in place on medicine (even homeopathy). These régulations are différent in both countries. Hylands Baby Teething Tablets, which have been speculated to have caused the death of 10 babies in the USA, is not sold in France as it does not meet France’s régulations (it contains a “toxic” (depending on the dilution) plant, belladone, which is not diluted enough to pass French laws).


This is part of a series on raising a bilingual child in France. You can follow my parenting adventure and gain helpful insight on what raising a bilingual child is like in France by reading these blogs:


For more insight on pregnancy in France, check out the following posts:

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

There’s no better way to spend a scorching summer day…

than wandering the streets at La Fête Les Médiévales in Brignoles.

This fête offers a mélange of médiévale inspired musiciens…

and street vendeurs selling anything from cornes

to fromage, or cheese…

to herbs and spices…

to quill pens…

and wooden pencils…

to jewelry (that has absolutely nothing to do with the Middle Ages, but is pretty anyway)…

and médiévale inspired dress…

 

to elfe feathers…

to pictures made of bois, or wood…

to beverages such as L’Elixir de la Sorcière, or Witch’s Brew (wine).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Hydromel (aka Mead), which is available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle…

This fête also offers spectacles on médiévale weaponry…

and présentations on médiévale archery

Games…

and patrons dressed in Medieval inspired costumes can also be seen.

Even the food has a médiévale touch!

This fete isn’t just for adults; even kids can participate!

The best part about this fête is the flood of médiévale musique that consumes you as you turn down every street.

Even 8 months pregnant, I happily wandered down every street to see what each vendeur had to offer!

If you missed the fête this past Août, don’t worry because it’s held annually! ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

It was 2013, mon chéri was talking to me and mon neveu. It was a conversation innocente about Minecraft – one of the games the two really enjoyed. I don’t remember how this word came into the conversation, (they were probably in the middle of a fight with the Creepers and his personnage was killed) but it did: damn. Mon neveu didn’t flinch or show any sign that he heard this word (thankfully), but it sparked a later conversation between mon chéri and I about what’s considered too vulgaire to say in front of kids and certain adultes (my famille is not one in which swearing is a thing).

Vulgarité has been a touchy sujet since the Puritans arrived in North America. In fact, Américains are taught from a very young age that certain things are just off limits in some situations. What things? Vulgarité. Which situations? All of them except when you’re with your friends who use profanity. This éducation has created an uncomfortable sensation any time we encounter someone who steps out of the norm and uses a vulgaire word when he/she should not. Even today, in my 30s, I get uncomfortable when my French friends throw English swear words around (my réaction is often: “Wow slow down there – save some for when you’ll really need them!”); however, I’ve no problème using the French équivalent. Why is that?

Well, in France, vulgaire words are not seen in the same light as in the US. For exemple, when someone uses a vulgaire word during a conversation among adultes or even older kids (high school age) with a 10 year old in earshot, Américains tend to cringe. This réaction causes the child to either say, “That’s a bad word! I’m telling mommy!” or to be a rebel and répète the word. In France, there is no “cringe” effect. In fact, no one really cares. I’ve also never heard a French child use profanity (and I’ve encountered quite a few kids being a teacher and all).

Let’s get something straight: In général, the French don’t use profanity when directly facing kids (and, bien-sûr, children are taught proper French in schools); but, they will use profanity while talking with other adultes when there are kids within earshot. Another différence culturelle: In France, swear words are generally not used to call people names. They are mostly used as gap fillers or part of an expression (positive ou négative)

For exemple, you’re explaining a story to your père about how someone in your appartement complexe stole one of the tires off of your car. His réaction: “Putain!” If you look up this word as an expression (a word as a word and a word as an expression are not always the same) in WordReference, you will find that it means “Shit!” or “Fuck!” However, they aren’t viewed as bad as those words in English.

However, this norm no longer applies when you’re driving. Driving really brings out the connards

Of course, there are some people who use words like “pute” to describe someone (usually a female), but this is rare and mostly used by a spécifique personality type. For exemple, someone who’s trying pickup/harasse women…Spécialement if he has just been jaded/blocked.

The use of profanity can be a bit difficile for Américains expats and travelers to get used to. The way that profanity is used in France is a vast and voluptuous différence culturelle than that in the USA. If you’re not préparé(e) in avance, you will be in for quite the révélation. Just keep an open mind and understand that profanity is not put on a pedestal apart from everything else, which is one raison why no one really cares. Éventuellement, expats often find themselves using vulgaire words in French when they would not use them in the same sentence translated into English. Sometimes, expats even end up supplementing vulgaire words in French while speaking in English (yes, this has happened to me)! It’s funny to think about, but it’s réalité.

While profanity is still more accepted (and thus not really seen as “bad”) in France, the use of profanity is increasing in the US.

Perhaps this is due to shows like South Park or perhaps we are just swaying further away from our Puritan ancestors…Whatever be the case, vulgarité is on the rise, though US société is still far from being anywhere near France’s. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

We are all subjected to influence – good and bad; positif and négatif.

But, how we handle these influences is what turns us into a “good” personne or a “bad” personne or even a personne somewhere in-between good and bad. After all, la vie is not always black and white.

I will also go as far as to say: Sometimes, the bad influences can shape us into a good personne. However, once the hole has been dug – even if it’s not so deep – it becomes quite the challenge to climb out. After all, there aren’t any ladders, stairs, steps…elevators…in a hole.

Non, it’s up to your own individual strength to get you out. Though, there are some influences positifs that offrent to help you out. Sometimes, this works and their help is much appreciated; other times, it doesn’t work out and you find yourself even further in the hole.

But, what about those influences positifs?

There are several people in ma vie who have, for one raison or other, ignored or disregarded those influences positifs.

They found more confort in the bad influences; therefore, they stayed glued to them. It’s important to show your support and offre positifs, but, sometimes, no matter how much help you offre, there comes a time when you have to stop.

It’s difficile – you feel like you’re letting someone you love down. But, in the end, you’ve done everything humanly possible. Now, it’s up to his/her own strength. Thus, giving new meaning to the term: Rock bottom.

Now, what about those influences négatifs that causes people to reach rock bottom?

I could go on for days about these influences négatifs: drogues, the jihad, gangs, peer pressure, etc… But, instead, I’d rather discuss bullying. Bullying is the epitome of influences négatifs and can even lead to the aforementioned négatifs.

Bullying is the négatif path of the bully, but it can also open up a négatif path for the victim: Victims can turn to drogues, body mutilation, dépression, and even suicide. The réalité can be shocking at first, but it’s really not at all surprenant. However, with influences positifs, these négatifs can be avoided.

Bullying has appeared quite a bit in the media within the last few years, but it’s been around since before our great grandparents were bébés. We all know the idée générale that encompasses bullying – power, exception, learned behavior – and the harmful affects it leaves on its victims. So, why is bullying still a problème? According to Richard Gray for the UK Telegraph, one raison that bullying still existe is that people are afraid to stop it when they see it happening because they don’t “want to risk being attacked violently themselves.” On the one hand, this makes sense. But, on the other hand, there are other ways to intervene on the spot than jumping into a physical attack (think: call the police or the directeur or the personne in charge). It becomes much more difficile when the personne in charge is doing the bullying or being bullied. This is why there are protestations and the choix to change/transfer jobs/schools.

Yousef Erakat for fouseyTUBE created a social expérimentation on bullying:

This vidéo was meant to highlight the amount of people who simply walk away or ignore the bullying that’s happening right beneath their eyes; however, I discovered the good in this world from this expérimentation. I expected no one to help the victim at all, but, to my surprise, there were several people who jumped in. I think this vidéo is a parfait tool to motivate others to jump in, too. If you’re afraid to intervene physiquement, then all it takes is to press record on your phone: You tell the bully to stop bullying and then explique that you are recording his actions to use as evidence.

As the victim of bullying, what can you do to put an end to bullying? This is a tough question to answer. Especially if the bully is yourself – self bullying is so much more common than société lets on.

There are tons of speeches given by the victims of bullies – we identifions or feel sympathy/empathy for them, yet bullying is still a problème. However, these motivational speakers offrent a bit of hope for victims as well as motivation for bystanders to speak up.

Lizzie Velasquez fell victim to internet bullying, yet she was able to channel this énergie négative into becoming a successful motivational speaker and auteur.

It’s difficile to climb out of the hole that a bully has dug and then thrown you in, but it is possible. The climb is tough, but as Lizzie Velasquez experienced, it’s important to see the “blessing [instead of the] curse.” Rising above the bully makes you much stronger and more successful than the bully. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

Hans Christian Andersen is right: “To travel is to live.” I préfère to take Andersen’s quotation as it is:  You aren’t really living unless you’re traveling the world.

Why is this the cas? Well, Batutta couldn’t have answered it better:

When I took a trip to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in 2008, I witnessed exactly what Battuda expressed: “Traveling [. . .] leaves you speechless“…

…”then turns you into a storyteller.”

You see, I’m from Chicago. The plains. The flatlands. The Midwest. Visiting a city on the Pacific coast…on an island…with mountains was, well, breathtaking.

Diamond Head.

I had stories to go with every photo I took!

I couldn’t agree more (see my series on the chapitres I’ve read).

From Jacksonville Beach to Savannah to Memphis to San Diego to National City (CA) to Anaheim to Hollywood to Las Vegas to Honolulu to New Orleans to Panama City Beach to Knoxville to Tybee Island to Savannah (during St. Patrick’s Day!) to Memphis (to see ma chère amie graduate from Pharmacy School) to Aix-en-Provence (to study abroad) to Nice to Monte-Carlo to Eze to Saint-Tropez to Marseille to Les Gorges du Verdon to Paris to Venice to Rome to Florence to Barcelone to Tours to Briançon and back again…I continue to read this earth and I don’t plan on stopping any time  soon.

5 Raisons How Traveling is Living:

  • It opens up the mind to other cultures.
  • It expands géographique knowledge.
  • It teaches you about yourself.
  • It forces you out of your comfort zone.
  • It enables you to meet and even make friends with a variété of faces.

This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

Where’s the…Renard?

Some pretty awful graffiti can be found in Aix; however, there’s one style that m’intrigue: Le renard, or fox. 

Rue des Tanneurs**

He’s (ou she’s) everywhere!

Rue Marechal Foch

Rue Marechal Foch*

He (ou she) comes in noir

Rue Entrecasteaux*

…and in blanc.

Rue Fabrot

Rue Fabrot*

With a crow (see: Les Fables de la Fontaine: Le Corbeau et le Renard (in both English and Français))…

La place de l’avenue Georges Pompidou (This photo was taken in Février 2016.)

or without a crow.

Le Cours Sextius*

Some streets even have multiple renards!

Rue Thiers*

Rue Thiers*

He’s (ou she’s) usually on the same side of the street…

Rue Fernand DOL*

…however, every now-and-then, he (ou she) appears on the opposite side!

Rue d’Italie*

He (ou she) not only appears on the sides of streets and allées,

Allée Jean de la Fontaine**

but also inside condo complexes!

Les Terrasses du Roy (the side on Rue Irma Moreau)**

I don’t know if it’s a student initiation prank…

Rue Victor Leydet**

…or a gang…

Rue Mejanes**

…or the ville itself…

Rue de Montigny**

but whatever the cas,

Place des Chapeliers**

I’m on the “Where’s Waldo the renard?” fad. ♦

*These photos were taken in Mars 2016

**These photos were taken in Avril 2016.