10 mars 2006

the march birthday countdown begins...

So my birthday is officially in 14 days!
To celebrate, I'm going to the Netherlands with Christen (plus a couple of her friends are tagging along). We decided that was the best place since it will cost about the same for both of us to go and neither of us have been before! I'm really excited about the trip! I've been making a lot of "big trips" and saving my money on the weekends in between instead taking random little trips.

Anyway, the past few weeks I've been trying to focus on my classwork (semi-successfully) and doing fun things with friends (snow and sleet not holding us back ever!).

In religious news, last week I went to a church group at a local Catholic church (the one next to where they are building the department store. Classy, France, classy.) with a couple of my friends. The group is all in French, but it is not all that different from the ones I've gone to at UVA - songs, a priest, prayer. I actually understood most of the religious vocabulary - I didn't realize I knew that many religion-related words in French. I'll probably go again next week.

In political news, In French people are obsessed with demonstrations news, there has been a LOT of fuss of over the CPE that the government is passing. There are two sides to this...the bad part is that the young people here think that they will get fired after two years without any good explanation, the good part is that it is aimed to reduce unemployment and the amount of time that people spend doing internships after college; if you don't get fired, you have job security for a long time. But people are scared that they will be fired for things like getting pregnant. At Lyon 2, a lot of students have been on strike, busting into classes and stopping them (not any of mine though) , marching down the street along with other civil groups. My question is, would this law make employers more or less selective in hiring? The French students don't seem to ask that question, they are just focused on protesting, concerned that they will be fired without reason. Funny thing is that the employers don't seem to have anything to say about the CPE...

In athetic news, I've never been a runner - In the past I never understood the appeal of it...I always preferred to rollerblade, walk, ride my bike, or go to the gym. But since I have neither wheels nor an expensive gym membership here, combined with lots of free time, running has suddenly sounded a lot better these days :P So my goal is accomplish THIS within 9 weeks' time. Getting started was actually pretty easy...I've finished week 1 without getting discouraged one bit. Very few women run in France...and if they do it is on Sunday afternoons. So if I can run in France, I can get myself to run anywhere. That's why difficulties are there, right? Yes. It's perfect here too, the amount of time to walk down to the river is 5 minutes to warm up, and to make it around a few of the bridges and back takes exactly 20 minutues. Plus it's quiet and scenic there :)

Anyway, so I mention this to Louise... turns out she was doing the same plan last year! I couldn't believe it.
Louise: "so one day I was looking up couches on google, because we needed a new couch for our apartment, and I found the Couch Potato workout...so then I thought, forget the couch, I'll go running!"

Definitely much more interesting than how I started running. But on that note, we're going to run this together in the following weeks ...and THEN....the Lyon 5k. We're going to do it and we're going to get t-shirts and show them off at home along with our mad running skills. That's right.

In musical news, I did see a PHENOMENAL Mozart concert (Mozart's Requiem) at the Opera de Lyon. I was absolutely blown away - I had chills. The orchestra was impeccable, their interpretation was moving, and the chorus had an incredible blend. If I had had a seat, which I didn't since I had standing room tickets, I would have been on the edge of it :P

On that note, I've been listening to a lot more French music - *mostly* hip-hop and r&b - K-maro, MC Solaar, Tryo, NTM, Corneille, Amine, among others. Along with re-organizing my music collection :P

In news of coincidences, Caro and I discovered that we were actually at the same festival/concert at UVA two years ago (when she was visiting her cousin in the states!). That's so crazy, imagine, my future France roommate at Springfest and I didn't even know it!

In cheese news (YES THERE IS CHEESE NEWS. Just when you thought news could NOT possibly get any better), my new favorite is Saint Felicien - a soft cheese, a little bit softer than Brie, that's made in the Rhone-Alpes region - the kind I tried was probably made from cow's milk but it's also made from goat milk. Aged for at least 2 weeks.

In other gourmet news, I discovered that fennel and curry are best friends and taste excellent roasted in the oven with other spices and bouillon. Also great are crepes with caramelized clementines. Not to mention powdered soupe forestiere.

Alright, time to get some more of this work done...and maybe a random birthday party upstairs? On verra!

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