mardi 26 septembre 2006

but my husband is charming.
(Translation of ad I found in an old magazine). Not quite sure what this had to do with coffee, but I thought it was cute.
Today is our four month wedding anniversary. Yay! So far, everything is going well. We survived the hot hot summer, went on our trip to Italy, and are looking forward to buying an apartment in the near future.
Sometimes I look at Alain and think "he is so cute and so smart and I am so lucky." I can't even believe that we are married sometimes. Not that it is because I have post-wedding blues or anything, it is just that it seems like the wedding was a dream.
Happy Anniversary Cherie!
mercredi 20 septembre 2006
One of my favorite things to do with the French language is make stuff up. Alain thinks I should just learn how the french say it, but I like playing with words. In fact, I think I should be paid to sit at home and think of new words. Languages are living, changing things right?

Don't know how to say that in French? Me neither! Make it up!

As far as making stuff up, it is complicated but I will share some tidbits with you.
1) First of all, sound confident like you know that this is a real word. If you are lucky, they will think that they just don't know it. Say it quickly, don't stutter and stammer and pause to think.
2) As a starting point, take a noun, verb, adjective or adverb, and change it slightly to make another form. That way, people recognize the base at least.
3) Use it a lot. Try to get it to catch on.

First lesson: making a verb
For example:
To sneeze:
In English- short, sweet, to the point, sounds like the action.
In French- éternuer (verb)
J'éternue. What the heck? That doesn't sound like a sneeze at all. Plus, it makes me think of being naked. (être- to be, nu/nue- masculine and feminine forms of naked)
I much prefer "atchoum", the french version of Achoo.
Sidenote: do body noises sound different in different languages? Can a French dog communicate with an American dog?

To make a verb just add -er.
There. Perfect. Easy to conjugate and sounds like the action.

J'atchoume. Bless you. No no, I didn't sneeze, I was making a statement.
You can even make up past and future tenses.
While it is unlikely that you would ever need to say "At five tomorrow we will sneeze" it is there available for you, in case of an emergency.
"Demain, à 17h, nous atchoumerons."

Next example:
Socks and shoes
sock: chaussette
shoe: chaussure

French has a lot of pronominal verbs
brosser- to brush (say, the dog)
se brosser- to brush yourself (teeth, nosehair, earhair, etc.)

So why not make a pronominal verb out of putting something on your feet?
Take the root: chauss
add a SE before and an ER at the end and you get
se chausser- to put something on your feet, socks or shoes
Statement - What are you doing? Je me chausse.
Question- Tu te chausses?
Command- Chausses-toi!
Future- Il se chaussera.
Past- Nous nous sommes chaussés.

UPDATE: hold the phone! It actually IS a verb, though apparently not a pronominal one. Gosh, they really SHOULD pay me to make up words.

Next lesson: making an adjective
Alain and I were driving to Italy and drove past Nice, a very hilly area.
In English, this is of course very easy to say. It is very hilly here.
I tried to express this sentiment in French.
Colline- hill (coh- lean)
C'est très colliné ici. (pronounced coh-lee-nay)
Nope, there is no adjective for hilly. You have to say "There are a lot of hills here."

So my goal is to get five words (nouns, adjectives, or adverbs) integrated into the French language every year, or else one verb because they are more complicated.
French people reading this: you are now obligated to start using the word of the year, atchoumer. Learn it. Use it. Live it. Pass it on. Love it.

It would help if I was famous and on TV a lot. Alas and alack, my only recourse is to become President because then I could just make a law. For now, I will have to content myself with trying to slip one past Alain. As he knows me tendancy to make up words, it will be a challenge. I think I got this trait from my father, with his Kleene-X, Kleene-Y, and Kleene-Z, taking a showhim in the mornings instead of a showher, and his girelephants who eat banapples. Even my siblings for goodness sake argued about how to spell a made-up word- Stackle, for anyone wondering, is the cardboard tube in toilet paper and paper towels. We aren't all nuts. Mom is pretty normal.

But I think that if I can get a proven track record (and French nationality) in a few years I can present myself for election with the following slogan.

French- no longer just for people who know how to speak it.
mardi 19 septembre 2006

One thing I really enjoyed while in the US was getting magazines. I loved opening my mailbox and finding the latest Brides magazine (yeah, had to hide those when A. and I first met), Glamour, Organic Style, Newsweek, Shape, Runner's World, etc. I would read them through, page at a time, not skipping around, and rip out articles that I wanted to keep. I would then put these into separate binders- wedding planning, exercise, recipes, or general life (beauty, articles, etc). These magazines were usually from one of those sites where you get 5 for the set price of 30$ or so.
I don't get any here in France. Sometimes I go out and buy Femme Actuelle, (yes, I am an Actual Woman thank you very much) a weekly magazine with your regular assortment of the newest anti-cellulite creams, recipe of the week, how to copy a designer look for less, and the pseudo- serious articles that Women's Magazines put in to prove that they are about more than just Clothes, Makeup, Hair, Thin Thighs and Great.....
I have recently looked into ordering some of my favorite magazines from the US. There are four options
1) Have them sent to a certain place (hello mom and dad!) and then either pick them up when I return for a visit or else have them packaged up and sent here. As I don't want to waste precious candy and make-up space (see American Candy post) and they are rather heavy to send, this option is out.
2) Have them sent to a mail-forwarding service. Rather expensive for the small amount of mail I want forwarded. So no. I guess this is mainly for businesses.
3) Try to find them here. The only one I have found, is Glamour for 4.90 euros, at current exchange rates 6.22$. Oh, and they have Newsweek and Times in the library downtown.
4) Pay for the overseas subscription,
Oprah 40$
Cosmo 42$
Marie Claire 32$
Newsweek 79$
National Geographic 33$
Shape 30$
Running Times 53$
Runner's World 50$

Hmm. So I guess the best option is just to decide which magazines I would really like sent to me, and pay the international subscription rate.
I would like to get more Bridal magazines but Alain will really think I'm nuts. I just like to see the latest dresses!
So I am waiting until we get our new address, then I will order a few, probably Glamour, Shape, and National Geographic. The others I might pick up the latest when home to flip through.
jeudi 14 septembre 2006
A couple of weeks ago I was having some mouth/jaw/throat pain. My mom suggested perhaps it was Temporomandibular Disorder TMD, from grinding my teeth at night, which I know I have a problem with. It hurt really bad and I could barely talk. I had to put a hot pad on my mouth each night, which was great in the hot weather. I made a dentist appointment, which was long overdue since the last time I went to the dentist I was in the US.
Of course, by the time the dentist appointment actually arrived, the pain had passed. So she examined my mouth, didn't really see anything. It was quite interesting trying to explain to her that I had a mouthpiece, like the 1$ ones you buy for boxing class. She looked at me oddly. "You do boxing?" No. Well yes, but that's another story. Thanks VMI! I had to come back next week to have the cast taken of my lower teeth/jaw, and then the week after that I would receive the custom mouthpiece.
Her office is two buildings over, which is one great thing about living in a city. My general doctor, eye doctor, and dentist are all within a few blocks. Along with the metro, several butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers.
I got the cast made last week, the typical squishy mold that they put in your mouth and you try not to panic as it almost chokes you and swallow it.
She also did an exam. Maybe I just got a nicer dentist, but it wasn't the toes-curling-in-pain experience it usually is.
I went back this morning and got my mouthpiece. It fits well, but it still feels thick to me. After a few moments a feeling of panic comes over me "I have to get this out now!" and I spit it out while gagging. Ugh. This is going to be interesting. Maybe I should try those muscle relaxers she suggested before bed.
She also gave me the mold. Maybe I will scare Alain with it, leaving it under his pillow or something. I feel strange having it, like a pair of dentures or something. Or like I am an anthropologist looking at the jawbone of some previously unknown species.
So finally, one scary parting image before I go. I don't suppose anyone's teeth are pretty but dang....
mercredi 13 septembre 2006

Ahh the joys of Cubicle Land. Strangely enough, I kind of miss it. Maybe just the fact of getting out of the house and seeing real live PEOPLE. Wandering around, waiting to use the internet, watering plants, talking with people, putting up pictures, reading magazines (during lunch hour bien sûr). Sigh.
Alain was shocked when he visited a microelectronic company in the area and saw all the cubicles. He has never had the joy of working in one, he has always had or shared an office. He said it was strange to go meet the leader of a team that they are coordinating with on a project and to have to sit in their cubicle and discuss things with the person in the next cubicle over telling jokes and stuff.


My job is stupid my day’s a bore,
Inside this office from eight to four
Nothin’ ever happens my life is pretty bland,
Pretending that I’m working, pray I don’t get canned.

My Cubicle, My cubicle
It’s One of Sixty two
It’s my small space in a crowded place
Just a six-by-six foot booth
And I hate it that’s the truth

When I give a sigh as the boss walks by,
no one ever talks to me or looks me in the eye.
And I really should work but instead I just sit here and surf the Internet.

In My Cubicle, My cubicle
It doesn’t have a view.
It’s my small space in a crowded place
I sit in solitude.
And sometimes I sit here nude.

Cubicle Liberation Army!
mardi 12 septembre 2006
So, against my better judgement, I have gotten back into running. Quite reluctantly I must say.
But I am trying to go three times a week, at least 20 minutes. Alain goes with me if I go on the weekend.
There are three options: take the public transportation down to the seaside or a big park or something, run, take the public transportation back. Costly and time consuming.
Option 2: go to the nearby park that is supposedly "open". This requires scaling over the fence to access the soccer field, basketball courts, or track. It is never open. We have gone at 9 when it is supposed to open at 8:30 and nothing. So we scale over the fence. Fortunately we found an area where we don't risk being impaled on a spike.
Option 3: run on the streets around here. If you do this, you must complete your run by 8 a.m. It gets bright enough to run around 7, so you have an hour before the streets are invaded by anklebitters. And no, I don't mean dogs.
Between 8 and 8:30: Seriously irritate mothers who are afraid that you are about to steamroll their spawn. Well then don't take up the entire sidewalk! Leave half for people passing or going in the opposite direction. This also requires frequent death-defying zigzags into the street to avoid the old lady with her basket going to market or fashionable yet annoyed women walking their dog before work. Other things to watch for: cars parking on sidewalk (hereby reducing sidewalk pedestrian space to zilch), dog droppings, random trash, uneven sidewalks and steps sticking too far out, and grocer stands. It is really quite a challenge.
When the sun comes up even later, I think I will have to wait until all children are safely tucked into their schools to venture out.
Plus, running doesn't seem so common here. People look at you with a look like "What the heck is she DOING? Why waste energy like that and get SWEATY?"
To work off all your damn cheese!
lundi 11 septembre 2006
The Day Nobody (in France) Cared.

To celebrate/commemorate September 11th I have watched the two documentaries on Sept. 11 that I got back when I was in Charlottesville.
I really wish I knew some Americans in Marseille.
dimanche 10 septembre 2006

Hahaha. How funny, you can be searching for a job for months, get an offer, and then have to say "whoops! sorry, I would work for you but I don't have my carte de resident. Yeah, the Prefecture is really slow and annoying. In fact, even if I get it they might decide that even though I am married to a Frenchman, that they would prefer that I not work in their country. And in that case, we might as well move to another country where we can do both live AND work. So sorry. But it was nice interviewing with you and I thank you for the opportunity."
On Wednesday I had an interview with a school that teaches English, mainly to companies that have dealings with English speaking customers. There were five of us interviewing for the jobs, three Americans, one Canadian, and one Hungarian. I would say at least 80% of us were married to Frenchman and desperate for a job, any job.
I hate group interviews. Everyone tries to outdo each other. The interviewer explained how the school works, then asked a question and each of us had to answer. Pretty simple questions like "Why do you want to teach" (and no, Because I need money and I don't want to die from boredom sitting at home, is not an acceptable answer) and "What do you think students can learn from you?" The rest of them gave diddly answers like "my love of life, learning, sharing of the American culture". Me, I basically said "Look, these are business people. They don't give a bull honkey about the humanist literary movement or American versus English interpretations of Shakespeare. They need to do presentations, talk on the phone with clients, write technical papers. I can do that."
I got the job, but I think it was partly due to elimination. They needed someone to start next Thurs. and I was the only one available. I tried to get an attestation from the Prefecture saying that my papers were in the works, but nope they don't do that. Why? Because you might finally get your carte but be denied the ability to work. Oh terrific. So I had to call the company and explain the situation. If this was say IBM they could prehaps put some pressure on to speed it up, but nope. So they will have to wait until I get my carte or find someone else. Dang.
The other job, teaching technical English at an Engineer University right next to where Alain works was interested in me as well, but I needed to have a second part-time job. Argh!!!!!! I guess they don't want to have to pay the medical insurance and the severance pay if you are let go.
samedi 9 septembre 2006

September 9th is the day of Alain.
Not his birthday mind you, but his Saint's Day.
Thankfully, it is not required to name your kid the name of the Saint of the day they were born. Ugh, Agatha and Sebald.
Every day of the year has a Saint associated with it. Alas, there is no Saint Megan. I guess I have to be content with Saint Margaret., Nov 16th. Close enough surprisingly.

From Catholic Online
about Blessed Alain of the Rocks

Meganing of Alain
Handsome, calm.
9 septembre
Characteristics- authority, decision, ambition, innovation, energy.

There is also a very exciting song
Bonne Fete A Toi
Bonne Fete A Toi
Bonne Fete A .......(insert name here)
Bonne Fete A Toi
(sung to the tune of Happy Birthday I am guessing)

Taken from Wikipedia about French naming customs.

French people have one, two or more given names. Only one of them, almost always the first, is used in daily life; the others are solely for official documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates. Thus, one always speaks of Jacques Chirac and never of Jacques René Chirac; and Henri Philippe Pétain is always referred to as Philippe Pétain (or Marshal Pétain), because Philippe was the given name that he used in daily life. Middle initials are not used. For example, while English-speaking scientific publications may cite Claude Allègre as Claude J. Allègre, this is never done in France. Typically, second and further given names may be somewhat old-fashioned, given in honour of the child's grandparents etc., though such practice has now become less common.
Traditionally, most people were given names from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Common such given names are Jean, Jacques, Michel or even Jean-Baptiste(John-the-Baptist) for males, Marie, Jeanne, or Chantal for females. In certain regions such as Brittany or Corsica, more local names (usually of local saints) are often, but not always used (in Brittany, for instance, male Corentin or female Corentine; in Corsica, Dominique (suitable both for males and females). However, people from immigrant communities often choose names from their own culture. Furthermore, in recent decades it has become commonplace to use certain foreign first names, such as Kevin, Enzo or Anthony for males; for females, Jessica, Jennifer, Karine or Sonia.
The prevalence of given names follows trends, with some names being popular in some years, and some considered definitely out-of-fashion. As an example, few children born since 1970 would bear the name Germaine, which is generally associated with the idea of an elderly lady — however, as noted above, such old-fashioned names are frequently used as second or third given names (middle names).
Almost all traditional given names are gender-specific. However, a few given names, such as Dominique (see above, Corsica) and Claude, are given to both males and females. Compound given names, such as Jean-Luc, Jean-Paul, or Anne-Sophie are not uncommon. These are not considered to be two separate given names.
It is possible that the second part of a compound name is one normally used by the opposite sex. However, the gender of the compound is determined by the first component. Thus, Marie-George Buffet has a female given name. In particular, there exist male given names ending in Marie, as in Jean-Marie or Bernard-Marie.
First names are chosen by the child's parents. There are no legal a priori constraints on the choice of names. However, if the birth registrar thinks that the chosen names (alone or in association with the last name) may be detrimental to the child's interests, or to the right of other families to protect their own family name, the registrar may refer the matter to the local prosecutor, who may choose to refer the matter to the local court. The court may then refuse the chosen names. Such refusals are rare and mostly concern given names that may expose the child to mockery.
To change a given name, a request can be made before a court (juge des affaires familiales).

Oh where were you Courts when Apple, Moses, and Moon Unit were brought into the world?
It is quite true that the French do not understand American middle names or the use of initials. They could not understand that Kathleen is my middle name, not just a part of my first name, nor the of S. in my signature.
Alain told me a story once of a family whose last name was Bon. They wanted to name their Jean. Jean Bon (sounds like ham, jambon) I guess the courts said no.
I guess it is also very expensive to change your name, and that sometimes people just change a few letters to change the sound/spelling.

Anyway, while some people send cards or flowers on Saint Days, Alain doesn't put much stock in it. I had to remind him that today was his Saint Day.
vendredi 8 septembre 2006

(before picture)

My wonderful mom spent many hours making a special quilt for my wedding. It was with Provençal fabrics that we bought when they were here for Christmas. She had our monogram embroidered onto a large center square. (I removed our last name in the photo, just for safety) Originally we were going to display it at the wedding reception and have guests write on it, either on the squares on the front side or on the back.

Finally we decided not to, afraid that the ink would bleed through to the other side, etc.

We displayed it at the wedding along with the two pillow cases she had made for us. I finished up the quilting by tying a piece of yarn through each corner. For the final step, cutting off the extra material and sewing on the border, I decided to take it to a tailor as I have no sewing machine.

So I took it to a tailor that works a few blocks away. I should have known better, this is the guy who suggested that we use velcro to bustle my wedding gown. Anyway, I brought it down with the fabric for the edge on Tuesday and explained what I wanted. I was quite clear- I want this cut off and this strip of fabric sewed onto the edge, all the way around. The one thing that I never thought to mention is the one thing that he did.

I returned today and picked it up, 15 euros. I was tired and in a hurry so I didn't take it out of the bag to look it at closely, it looked okay so I returned home. After eating lunch and relaxing a bit, I decided to take it out and admire it. I was examining the edge and noticed something was terribly wrong.
He had sewed the blanket halves together, turning a large square blanket for a bed into a rectangle for a couch blanket! Ahh! Even worse, he had sewed the purple border fabric DIRECTLY ACROSS the middle of the monogrammed square. What was he thinking!? Why on earth would he think that I would want half of our names covered up with this purple strip? Here is my illustration of what it looked like, after. (I was too distraught to take a picture at the time, but seriously it was laughable.) (Imagine puple photoshopped border actually matches)

(after picture)

Oh my god my mom is going to kill me after she spent all this time and money on the fabrics and some two bit tailor who smokes in his shop ruins the quilt.

I quickly headed back to his shop with the quilt rehearsing French phrases in my head. What were you thinking? Who would actually want it to look like this? Where is the back fabric? I am not paying for this! You completely ruined my wedding quilt!

I got there and almost calmly explained that it was not what I wanted. He said don't worry, stop trembling, I didn't cut off the extra material, or throw it away, it is still there, just all sewed together. Fantabulous. So he ripped off the border and showed me. Whew. He said that he did it that way because there was a pin stuck through the middle and he thought that as strange as it seemed, that was how I wanted it. Now, it seems odd to me that a stray pin would make a professional tailor do something like this, but oh well. So he will redo it, and I can pick up Tuesday. Not sure if this going to cost me more. He didn't say anything and I hope not. I guess I forgot to cover the "Don't fold the quilt in half and sew it all together" part in the instructions. Note for next time: cover everything you can think of and give them your phone number with the instructions of "If a fit of madness overcomes you and you decide to just wing it, please call me first."

mardi 5 septembre 2006
Ah yes, it is open season again. The time for all desperate people to sharpen their knives, put on their best gear and go out in search of the ever elusive
Very rare animal indeed. More so when you have no practical skills beyond speaking English.
Can you speak French? No.
Do you have a work visa? No.
Do you have experience in the Microelectronic Manufacturing industry? Uh, No.
What can you offer us? Umm, my stunning ability to translate from English to English?

I have realized that job hunting is much more trying when you are looking for a job in a specific geographical area (say, 45 minute radius) versus look for a job in the entire United States, able to move anywhere after graduation.
I started out with very specific ideas- microelectronics. This quickly expanded to anything within the microelectronics industry- contracts, business, training, etc. Ok now heck it doesn't even have to be microelectronics.
I have hallucinations of opening a crosstitch store or selling wedding gowns or something but am quickly brought back to the reality that I know nothing about accounting, advertising, running a store, inventory, getting the permits and dealing with customs, etc.
The all of two microelectronics companies nearby say that they are hiring, but it is a bluff I think.
If I want to work for the Consulate I believe I will need to subtract every degree from my resume.
I received the wonderful news today that I need my carte de resident (see I love the Prefecture post) in order to work. Okay, that is normal. Oh, and it might take 3 months or more. Which is fantastic because I sent in the paperwork in August.
I got a call from a company that was involved with shipping (Marseille is a major port). She asked me if I had experience with a particular program. I didn't, so no. Now at this point I would usually throw in some bull honkey about being adaptable, quick learner etc etc but it is difficult to express in French. So just no. Period. No, I have no other skills. Thank you, goodbye.
The thing is that they are more interested in whether you have the exact qualifications that they are looking for (ex/ want someone with 3 years of experience, don't bother applying if you have two and a half) than someone who is adaptable and can learn that.
Taking a year to tour France and write a book about Cheese is starting to look really tempting about now.
dimanche 3 septembre 2006

Alain and I finally decided to go and visit the Chateau d'If and the Ile de Ratonneau. The boat trip from the Vieux Port to the Chateau d'If is 10 euros each (roundtrip) and for 5 more euros you can visit the Ile de Ratonneau, one of the several rocky islands. Ratonneau is inhabited while If is just the castle and a few outbuildings.
We took the ferry at noon and sat next to some American girls. Oh my god! Look at the like dead fish!
(it was fish market day)
We got to If and then paid another 5 euros each to visit the chateau. We had an hour until the ferry to Ratonneau. We toured the inside and listened to the commentary.
The Chateau was begun in 1529, as a fortress to guard against the rebellious Marseillais. Marseille had become a part of France in only 1481. It quickly began to house prisoners. The guide said that the first prisoners were two fisherman who had wandered too close to the military island and were held for fifteen days, I guess as a warning. Now if you wander too close to the Pentagon they just shoot you.
3500 Protestants were held over a period of 200 years. Here is a plaque commemorating it. last line "They preferred the chains of prison or death to giving in."
Other notable signs- the prisoner who was burned alive, and the room where the Man In the Iron Mask supposedly stayed. (à la bad Leonardo diCaprio movie). This is where the novel The Count of Monte Christo was set. Another prisoner was held here because he supposedly brought the plague to Marseille in 1720. They also guarded carefully, and quite successfully I might add, a dead man, General Kleber, for 18 years.
Ah yes, and in 1513 the first rhinoceros to be seen in Europe was brought as a gift. The poor thing was then sent to Rome and was shipwrecked on the way.

At 1:30 we caught the ferry to Ratonneau. We found a nice place to eat a picnic lunch, then walked up to what I believe were Nazi bunkers during WW2. I wouldn't bet my life on it, but I think that is what it is. Then we walked to the Hospital Caroline, constructed in 1828 and used as a quarantine place. From Wikipedia
On 29 August (1944) a landing party drawn from the Marine detachments
from Augusta and Philadelphia went ashore on the islands of Ratonneau and
Chateau d'If in the harbor of Marseilles and accepted the surrender of
German forces on those islands, taking 730 prisoners.

We had a juice at the port, then at 4 took the ferry back to Marseille. The return trip was extremely foggy. Here is a video I took of the return into the Vieux Port. As far as groundbreaking, exciting cinematography is concerned, it's not, but just to give an idea.

Alain and I took the Metro back to our Quartier. There were wedding guests waiting for the newlyweds to come out of the church, so I wanted to stop and watch. And then, as a final wonderful end to our day, with a flutter of pigeon wings and a ploop! I got christened. Ugh. I shrieked but I guess people were more interested in the wedding. Alain took out a napkin and wiped me off. Ahh, what a good husband. In sickness, health, and pigeon poop.

samedi 2 septembre 2006

Last Sunday Alain and I went to visit the Abbaye de Silvacane, between Salon and Aix, about 45 minutes from here.
It was a nice afternoon. We got there and spent 2 euros to park, then 6.50 each to visit the Abbey. It was quite lovely but there was no guide. They were having a string concerto that night. When I saw the ad I said "oh! We should stay for that." Then saw the price, another 20 euros each, and said, Oh, never mind.
It is one of three Cistercian abbeys in the area, the other two being Abbaye de Sénanque and
Abbaye du Thoronet. (not a monk ---->)

It was founded in 1144 on the site of a Benedictine monastary. The name comes from "forest of reeds" (silva canorum). It was very austere, and had about 16 monks back in the day. After the revolution it became state property and was used as a farm, and now transformed back into a tourist attraction. Whoops, I mean abbey.
There was a strange light table/stained glass exhibition of light tables. The theme seemed to be science and the universe, so the designs were supposedly scientific/artistic representations of concepts like neutrons. For my two cents, it was a lot of piffle. We stayed about an hour and then left. I imagine in winter it was pretty cold as the only fireplace was in the room where they worked on the manuscripts.

vendredi 1 septembre 2006
I got my hair cut on Thursday. This was the third or fourth time that I have gotten it cut here in France. I had cut out a page from a magazine with a style that I liked, as I find that is more helpful in explaining what I want.
I decided to try a new place this time, as the last place was really expensive (27 euros). There is at least one beauty salon on each block. And by block I mean one side of the street between two side streets. I don't see how they all keep in business. I guess either a) French women go a lot more often to the beauty parlor, or b) the salons charge a lot more to make up for it. I am guessing a mixture of the two.
I saw the list of prices on the sign outside. transformation- 12.50. Okay, good I just want that. I don't need my hair shampooed and styled for another 20 euros, I just need it cut.
I go in and say I want my hair cut. They then proceed to lead me over and wash my hair. I guess I need to be more forceful about these things. No, just CUT!!!!
While I am covered in suds, the teenager washing my hair and smacking her gum asks if I want the cream. I don't know, do I want the cream? Do you want me to want the cream? (Of course she wants me to want the cream- it is five euros a glob as I find out later when paying my bill. Thanks for that!) I figure it is some sort of conditioner and say yes. I guess it was some sort of color enhancer.
I get toweled off and lead over to the chair. And search frantically in my purse for my magazine clipping, which is not there. Panic and consider bolting wet-headed out the door. Um, quelques centimeters? She starts to cut and I start to worry. Whoa that is short!
She finishes cutting and starts to style it (another ten euros).
It is of course, very important to pay attention during this part so that you can try and try and try and drive yourself crazy trying to recreate the same look every morning at home for the next two months until you get it cut again. It is no use- you can buy the same brushes, creams, and hairdryers, and you will never acheive it.
The secret? I am about to reveal to you why.
Are you ready?
The reason is, gentle readers, is that you, unlike hair stylists, do not have a third arm.
Yes, it is true. It is hidden back there behind the chair so that you cannot see it in the mirror, but it is there. That is how they manage the curling iron, hair dryer and flat brush at the same time. So, you might as well just give up. Or get your hair professionally styled every day. Or grow a third arm. It is up to you.
The lady did flatter me by saying that I have a very nice hair color and that it is a color that all the Frenchwomen envy.
So I paid, 30 euros. Way to save money by switching salons Megan. The hair color compliment only marginally lessened the blow.
My hair looked Super Cute Thursday afternoon until I took a shower to wash off all the hair pieces, and that was the end of it.
So sad.

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