It seems to have tea parties, potlucks, American holiday get-togethers, book club, etc. We haven't done anything yet, but I am hoping to be able to participate after the nationwide holiday season is over.
I have been missing contact with other Americans lately, and mainly feel it on the holidays such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.
It is a 100 question, multiple choice test with 10 questions that don't count because they are test questions for future exams (but you don't know which are the ten dummy questions).
In order to be able to take the test, you need to have a scientific or engineering degree, or some other technical qualifications, and be accepted by the USPTO before you can register to take the exam. It can be taken at Prometric testing areas.
I have decided to try and pass this exam. Why? I don't know. Just for fun I guess?
Hoping that it will help with my European Patent career.
As an American, I can file US patents directly with the US office (once I have passed the exam of course) for European clients instead of going through a US company.
I am going to try and take the exam the next time we go to the US, which will hopefully be for Christmas 2008. That leaves me 4.5 months to work my way through the 2000? page Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.
At least there is no written/oral exam like there is for the European Qualifying Examination.
Wish me a joyful 4.5 months!
So, here are all the pizzas that they offer.
(sept. 28th- 41 more to go!)
1. Anchois (anchovies)
2. Fromage (cheese- emmental)
4. Napolitain (anchois, fromage)- not exactly clear how this is different than #3, but it is 0.50€ more.
5. Jambon (ham)
6. Champignons (mushrooms)
7. Brousse (a type of cheese)
8. Chèvre (goat cheese)
9. Oignons (onions)
10. Poivrons (peppers)
11. Thon (tuna)
12. Roquefort (blue cheese)
13. Chorizo (a spicy sausage)
tried: ? Verdict: pretty good.
14. Figatellia (another sausage)
16. Merguez (sausage)
17. Strasbourgeoise (no clue)
18. 3 Fromages (roquefort, brousse, fromage)
tried: August 7th. Verdict: Okay. Like the 4 fromages but less good. Obviously.
19. 4 Fromages (roquefort, brousse, fromage, chèvre)- our favorite. We have ordered this so many times, that when I call up and say I would like to order a pizza, the woman would recognize my voice and ask "4 fromage?" Oui. I think we don't need to test this one.
21. Mozza, jambon
22. Mozza, champignons
23. Royale (jambon, champignons, fromage, mozza) very popular in France
tried: many times. Verdict: good.
24. Calamars (octopus)
25. Fruits de mer (calamars, supions (no idea what that is either), crevettes (shrimp), moules (mussels), fromage)
Nos Crèmes Fraiches
28. Carbonara (oignons, lardons, fromage)
tried: ? Verdict: So so. A bit too creamy.
tried: October 4th. Verdict: just too rich
30. Fromagère (roquefort, fromage, chèvre)
tried: September 27th. Verdict: Very good but slightly burnt crust.
31. Lorraine (champignons, fromage, lardons (small bits of ham))
tried: ? Verdict: Okay.
32. Fermière (roquefort, brousse, fromage)
tried: September 20th. Verdict: Very good.
33. Novégienne (saumon (salmon), fromage)
34. Dijonnaise (moutarde (mustard), saucisse Strasbourg, fromage)
35. Indienne (poulet (chicken), curry, fromage)
36. Paysanne (poulet, oignons, fromage)
37. Tartiflette (pommes de terre (potatos), oignons, lardons, fromage, reblochon (another cheese))
tried: ? Verdict: Good.
38. Orientale (merguez, poivrons, fromage)
39. Arménienne (oignons, poivrons, viande hachée fraiche (ground meat))
40. Marseillaise (thon, fromage, anchoise, câpres)
41. Corse (figatelli, brousse, fromage)
tried: September 12th. Verdict: surprisingly good. I usually don't like chorizo.
42. Forestière (champignons, roquefort, fromage, lardons)
tried: July 4th. Verdict: okay, not a big fan of lardons though
43. Provençale (mozza, tomates fraîches, parmesan, ail (garlic), persil (parsley))
tried: July 11th. Verdict: very good, has a pesto sauce on it.
44. Mexicaine (chorizo, poivrons, oignons, fromage)
45. Basquaise (poulet, poivrons, fromage)
46. Pizza du chef (mozza, tomates fraîches, oignons)
tried: August 1st. Verdict: too many limp onions. Would be better just the mozza. and tomatos.
47. Parmesane (aubergine (eggplant), fromage, parmesan)
48. Campagnarde (sauce tomate, crème fraîche, champignons, roquefort, fromage, mozza, oeuf (egg))
tried: August 22nd. Verdict: Meh. Think it is the egg that I don't like.
49. L'Italienne (sauce tomate, crème fraîche, champignons, jambon, fromage, chèvre, oeuf)
tried: September 5th. Verdict: so-so.
50. Montagnarde (jambon, fromage, tomates fraîches, chèvre, lardons)
tried: July 18th. Verdict: good, but still don't like lardons.
51. Ola (poulet, curry, fromage, tomates fraîches, parmesan)
52. Romaine (poulet, champignons, jambon, curry, fromage, parmesan)
tried: ? Verdict: Okay if you like curry and chicken on pizza. Otherwise, no.
As you can see, we have our eating cut out for us.
Some will obviously have to be choked down. Curry on a pizza anyone?
I could have gone alone to pick it up, but we needed to get the file for next year together (the french spouse needs to present themselves once a year with the foreigner to "prove" they are still together). Also, we needed to change our address on the carte grise- it was still listed as his parent's house.
On Friday morning I went and bought the OMI stamps, which I guess stands for Office des Migrations Internationales. This is the way that you pay for your carte de sejour- they don't take checks or cash, you have buy these postage-like stamps. Finding a place that sells them can be tricky though. The second Tabac that I went to sold them, so I bought the 70€ stamps.
I then arrived at the Prefecture a little after 8:40, and went upstairs to the waiting room in hell. There was only one guichet open that gives out the finished carte de sejour, #10. There were already about 30 people in line, and it wrapped around the room. I took out my book and began to read. Alain went to the vehicle registration place, and took a ticket #60, and they were on #20, so it would be awhile for him too. About an hour later, I was about halfway to the front of the line. There were old people, pregnant women, women with babies, the whole spectrum of people who really shouldn't be standing 2+ hours in line.
Finally, another hour later, I was 6 people away from the front. Alain came back and told me that he had gotten the carte grise, so now he was going to go stand in line #3 on the main level, the one where we get the file for next year.
Ten minutes later, I was three people from the front when one man told the employe handing out the cards (who was working incredibly slowly) "Hey, can't you hurry up, there are elderly people and women with babies out here". Well, this apparently was unsupportable for the employe that he should be told to Work Faster, so he pulled down the curtain and left for 30 minutes to teach us a lesson. Lesson: you people are c*** and I am going to treat you like c*** and you will like it because you will beg me to come back and to continue slowly handing out the cards which are yours by right anyway because you have already been waiting in line two hours.
He finally came back and I finally got my card, which I will have for a whole 3 months before it expires and I have to come back for another récipisée de carte de sejour. Oh yeah, and 70€ for this privledge, 5 days of work taken off, and about 20 hours total of waiting.
So I went downstairs to join Alain in the next line. And we waited for another 2 hours. Finally, it was our turn. We got to the front, started filling out the papers (that no, we aren't living in polygamy, and that yes, we are still together) when there was a commotion behind us. A man told Alain "Tell the woman to call the firemen, there is a woman giving birth here!" Now, I don't know about you, but to me, "giving birth" means "On the floor with the head about to come out". The woman helping us (who, by the way, was the one who yelled at me last time for not having the "correct" photos when in fact I did), ran off to call the firemen. Actually, the woman was not quite as far gone as that, she had just started having contractions. They told her to go sit down, but she said no, she wanted what she came for, to change her address on her carte de sejour. Heck, I think I would feel the exact same way- "I came here 8.5 months pregnant because you damn people won't let me do it by mail, I waited in line 3 hours in the heat, and I sure as heck am not going to go give birth before I get my address changed."
They quick gave her her forms, and she left.
Note to self: If I am ever visibly pregnant and need to go to the Prefecture, just start saying "Ah Ah! I am having contractions! Give me my damn card or I will bite your head off!" and go straight to the front of the line.
Though, in all fairness, I don't think she was lying. She had been waiting quite a long time and was only a person or two away from the front. The funniest part was when she said "Oh, I have had several already. It's not a big deal."
We finally got our precious papers and left at around 1:30.
Now I just need to get yet another official copy of my birth certificate expressed over here from the US (really, how many copies of my birth certificate does the French government need? It hasn't changed from the last two times), and fill out all the forms again.
Someone told Alain that if we have a kid, I can get the French nationality sooner. Now if that isn't a reason to have a baby, I don't know what is.
What is this!! Oh no!! Don't tell me you bought this!
No way. Uh uh. We are not having that in our apartment.
Well, I finally convinced him that we could keep it, as long as I hide her away when people come over. I especially love the little flower that she is holding. What a treasure. :)
I have decided to go ahead and do this.
As you will see, it is mixture of travel, financial planning, personal growth, and just plain ol' life.
Here is my list.
1. learn shorthand
2. take a ride in a hot-air balloon
3. go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower
4. have a baby
5. save X€ per year
6. run a half marathon
7. be able to write with my left hand
8. read my daily devotional book (daily)
9. eat frog's legs
10. visit Thailand
11. read 10 classic French books
13. graduate from the CEIPI
14. try to make two new recipes per month
15. plant some berry bushes
16. visit Corsica
17. visit Grasse
18. make lavender sticks
19. finish at least two of my crosstitch projects
20. hike up Mount Ste. Victoire
21. not buy any new beauty products (such as body wash or lotion) until I run out of the ones I currently am hoarding
22. take better care of my fingernails- file, buff, polish
24. take better care of my clothes- wash, fold, iron, etc.
25. write to my elderly relatives/friends once a month, as they don't have email
26. visit one museum per month- done July, August, September
27. buy/have made some nice stationary
28. take a picture of every one of Aix's fountains and post on my blog
29. go through closet every six months and get rid of clothes I don't wear anymore
30. drink one scoop of protein powder per day
31. go rollerblading at least three times each summer
32. Finish collecting the US State quarters- working on it
33. Do yoga once per week
34. make the donation I promised
35. sign up for UU worldwide
36. write my cheese blog posts, at least 25 per year
37. get life insurance
38. write my christmas cards in November so that they are ready to send on time
39. finish renovating our apartment
40. eat real escargot
41. write my New Year's cards (for France) by Dec. 15th
42. Get my digital photos developed every 6 months
43. weigh myself once a week
44. open PEL account
45. increase our mortgage payments
46. back up our computer once a year
47. balance checkbook once per month- done
48. buy an original piece of artwork
49. join the American group of Provence- done
50. watch a French movie, in French, once per month
51. go to Farmer's markets as often as possible, try to buy vegetables I don't recognize
52. complete my Soduku expert level book
54. buy Lily of the Valley room sprays and candles
55. buy and plant wheat grass seeds every December
56. eat at the Richebois once per year
57. Treat my in-laws to a Bouillabaise meal
59. start another crosstitch quilt
60. go for twice yearly picnic/hikes
61. read Les Miserables in French
62. try every pizza from Chez Cyril- working on it, one week at a time
63. complete my Gaultier Summer perfume bottle collection
65. wear sunscreen every day from June-August- yes
66. buy the ring I have been wanting at the end of the 1001 days if I have completed everything
67. visit Bretagne
68. get some herbal plants and not kill them
69. get my French citizenship
70. go back to US at least twice- Christmas 2008
72. don't buy any new perfumes
73. find a store that sells atomizer parts
74. frame Manon's crosstitch and give it to her
75. buy a teapot from Cie Anglaise de Thé
76. go to the beach at sunset and have a pizza, at least 3 times
77. buy 5 new items of clothing thas i wouldnt normally buy and wear them
78. keep a journal of my 101 things- yes
79. see 5 plays, operas, or live performances- seen "The Lying Kind" Dec 08
80. make chocolate chip cookies twice a year
81. make an american apple pie once per year
82. write a list of 101 things that make me happy- list begun
83. learn about wine tasting
84. stop at five wine places and buy wine bottles
85. buy an olive tree
86. visit Meme and Pepe at least once a month
87. write in journal once a week at least
88. visit Bordeaux region
89. complete my "List yourself" book
90. get back into contact with 5 old friends
91. complete a book in NanoWriMo
92. save 1€ a day for 1001 days, and then do something fun with it
93. Read a book on each of the major religons
94. subscribe to one magazine for a year and read it!
95. make two new friends
96. send 2 postcards to PostSecret France- sent one
97. read a book about the history of France
98. clean our bathroom once a week
99. receive 99 postcards
100. send 100 postcards
101. write a new list of 101 things
So starting today, I will end on April 1st, 2011. That sounds like a good date to end, doesn't it?
I will be updating my list, with any and all progress.
Wish me luck!
Each time the Soldes arrive, I tell myself that we will buy stuff for the apartment (like furniture, fixtures, etc.) Except that while it is still en travaux there is really no point of buying stuff because a) there is no place to put it (we already have two bedrooms out of comission) b) it might just get damaged or paint dropped on it or something and c) we might change our minds about what colors we want in each room in the meantime.
So I usually end up picking up a few shirts and pants and that's about it.
Some women have been scouting out their favorite stores, trying to figure out what will be on sale. I guess so that they can just grab and go on the Big Day. Also, some stores were closed today, I guess so that the workers can finish the last-minute arrangements without people coming in and asking "Will that be on sale?" "How much will this be off?"
I think the sales last for about six weeks. But by the end, all that is left are the fuscia and Army-green shirts with three buttons missing for 80% off.
I don't remember Sales being national news items in the US. Was I just not a big shopper or was it more of a "get over it already" type of thing? Sure there were the after-Christmas sales, etc. but it wasn't like Ohmygodthereisasale! I don't even know what the laws are in the US concerning sales, whether stores are forbidden from having them at certain times, etc.
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