samedi 28 mars 2009
Last week I was the unwitting recipient of a French Medical First. No, I'm not talking about a face transplant or first artificial brain.
I am talking about....
A French doctor being on time for the appointment.
I know all of you foreigners in France are thinking...
I have been going to this doctor's office since I arrived in 2005. The name on the door is Dr. (first name) X-Y.
It took me three years to figure out that it was Dr. X and Dr. Y, not Dr. X-Y.
Anyway, every time I had gone to see Dr. X, I always waited 30 minutes to 1 hour after my scheduled appointment time.
However, recently Dr. X has been sick, so I have been seeing Dr. Y.
My appointment last week was for 6 pm. I left work at 5, missed the first bus to the parc-relais, so didn't get to the car until about 5:25. Didn't get back to Marseille until 6. By the time I parked and got to the doctor's office, it was about 6:15. No problem! It will be at least 20 minutes before I am called.
Except that Dr. Y was leaving as I entered- apparently she had a conference to go to, and couldn't wait any longer. Wow- a doctor waited for me?!

I had to reschedule for this week, and a bit later too.
This time, Dr. Y was on time as well.
Could the old regime be changing? Who knows.

Though judging by the other doctors, such as my eye doctor, I am thinking no.
I quickly realized that if you do not want to wait hours after your scheduled time in France, you should either schedule your appointment for the first thing in the morning, or right at the end of the day. First thing in the morning there haven't been too many people before you dragging their feet, and at the end of the day the doctor wants to go home so he hustles them out the door faster.
The problem is that in France, there are no nurse assistants that do the preliminaries- taking temperature and blood pressure, asking the basics about how you are feeling, etc. The doctor does it all. Which I guess is better for the patient, but means a longer wait for everyone.
lundi 23 mars 2009
Isn't she a beauty?
I finally took the plunge and bought her.

(Picture actual size, but taken from many many years away).

Whoops, wrong picture.
It is hard to see the screen with all the drool on it sometimes.

Here is the actual Porsche I bought this weekend.

(Picture actual size, taken with the funds from right now).
Hey, sometimes a person needs more motivation than the love of patents for working.

Growing up, my siblings and I had this constantly beat into our heads
"Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche Porsche.." (you get the idea?)

Here is the famous line from Gone With the Wind redux:

"Do you mean to tell me, Megan Kathleen, that Porsches - that a Porsche 911 doesn't mean anything to you? Why, Porsche's are only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because they are the only thing that lasts."

So I am determined to buy one, and hopefully before I am in a nursing home with my driver's license revoked.

Let's try some simple math- if a Porsche is approximately 65000 euros, and I save a 100 euros a month, that is how many trillions of years before I have enough money to buy one?
dimanche 22 mars 2009
Alain has a sweatshirt that he wears around the house quite often. It is dark blue with "Virginia" written across it in orange, UVA's colors. He bought it when he was living in Charlottesville (where we met).
He did his usual Sunday morning routine this morning, and went to the bakery to buy two croissants while I made the cappuccinos.
When he got back, he told me this little anecdote.

When he got out on the sidewalk, there was an elderly man walking his dog (whom Alain has seen around before).

The elderly man said:
"C'est pas possible!"
Alain: Quoi?
Elderly man: Vous n'êtes pas vierge quand même?!

Alain then explained that it was from the state of Virginia.

I can't really imagine any man proudly wearing a sweatshirt that says 'Vierge', can you?
dimanche 15 mars 2009
In a desperate attempt to blog about something other than our apartment, I am writing today about French Fashion vs. USA Fashion.
In the USA, women have many different styles- goth, hippie, preppy, classic, beach, etc.
In France, it can pretty much be summed up by the following three words:
"French Woman Style".

I can't really explain it, but it seems like all French women pretty much dress the same way- in varying price ranges, but still, pretty homogenous.
I bet that if you took five women from five different European countries (a frenchwoman, a brit, a Spaniard, a German, and an Italian say) and blacked out their features, I could tell you which one was the frenchwoman.
French Woman Style, unfortunately, isn't really My Style.
Not that I really have a defined style, but a good portion of what I see in stores is just Not It.
I guess I am slowly drifting towards FWS, out of lack of choice.
Back in the US, I wore a lot more colors and patterns. I was much more daring than I am here.
So readers, how would you describe FWS and how does it compare with what you normally like to wear?
lundi 2 mars 2009
Some of you may know this song from the musical "Camelot".
Well no, not this song exactly. The song "What do the simple folk do?"

Guenevere and Arthur are sitting around wondering what the "simple folk" do to escape their cares.
What do the simple folk do
To help them escape when they're blue?
The shepard who is ailing, the milkmaid who is glum
The cobbler who is wailing from nailing his thumb
When they're beset and besieged
The folk not noblessly obliged
However do they manage to shed their weary lot?
Oh, what do simple folk do we do not?

This weekend, while working on the apartment, this song suddenly came to me, but with the lyrics:
What do the non-renovating folk do?

Seriously, what DO you non-renovating folk do with your weekends and holidays?
Do you sit around and wonder what renovating folk do?

I am just wondering what we will do when we are no longer renovating our apartment, with the oodles and oodles of time stretching out before us.
Read books! Go visit a museum! Visit people who have given up on us after three years!

Between the life-essentials (buy groceries, do laundry), not-getting-condemmed-for-health-violation-essentials (taking out the trash, doing bare-minimum cleaning), still-trying-to-keep-friends-essentials (going out to the occasional movie/dinner), renovating-essentials (God, back to Castorama AGAIN?!) and not-going-bonkers-essentials (pizza and movie night), there just hasn't been time for anything else, like actually mopping the floor (windex and a paper towel does wonders), getting hair cuts, seeing the Van Gogh exhibition in Marseille, and all the rest of it.

All I can say is Thank Goodness We Don't Have A Baby Yet. Well, I guess a baby would be okay, once we figured out where to put it (on the sack of cement or on the pile of bricks?) because babies pretty much seem to stay where they are put/tied. However, this place would be a death trap for a toddler. No! Put the saw down Gigi!

So non-renovating folk. Tell me what you do with your free time. Even if you don't have any, LIE. Lie through your teeth. It is the only thing getting me through.
Thank you.

PS Anyone who says something like "We start over re-renovating our apartment" will be shot. Just a friendly warning.
Thank you.

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