Feb 21, 2011

Cake Tasting

My work building on on the 800 West block of Baltimore Street in Baltimore MD.  On the 800 East block of Baltimore Street, there is Patisserie Poupon, a French Bakery.  Given our similar addresses (replacing of a W with an E) we could have been at the same location.  Last week for my favorite Frenchie's birthday, I went to Poupon for some yummy pastries.  I got Millefeuille, Cassis Royal, Sainte Honore, Frasier and Opera.  Instead of getting one big cake, those 5 little cakes, for a sort of cake tasting.  It was really good, however, it was about 2X the price as those same little cakes in France.  Why is that?  Quality or Quantity?  Is making cakes more expensive in the US?  No.  Are pastry chefs more expensive in the US?  Pastry Shop real estate more expensive in France than in Baltimore?  Does the French government subsidize pastries?  But this price increase doesn't just apply to pastries, it also applies to baguettes, pain au chocolate, or croissants.    Perhaps it is more expensive in the US, because of the lack of competition -- there is only one patisserie in Baltimore  -- in the 10,000 inhabitant village, I live in France there was 5 or 6 Patisseries.  Well I guess it is good they aren't cheaper b/c if it was, I would become obese. 

Feb 12, 2011

April in Paris

That could be a song title, but that will also describe my life, well atleast in 2011.  I will be in Paris for almost 2 weeks this April with no family and not many other obligations.  I will have to attend 2 concourses.

What is a concourse, you ask?  Well this is the "Audition" for the coveted CNRS positions, that I have applied to.  Everyone who is eligible gets an interview, no matter how lame their project is, so I am getting 2 auditions, which will probably be about a week apart.

How long is a concourse?  15 minutes.  That is 10 minutes to present my 5-year project and 5 minutes to get killed by the firing squad of ~ 20 researchers.  Bring it on.

So what am I going to do the rest of the time?  Stay in Paris? go to Marseille?  Explore another region of France?  Go to Venice?  I don't know, but I would love to hear your suggestions.  I'm on a budget.

Feb 10, 2011

Embarassing Nightmares

You know those dreams you have that turn our to be scary, but not really you might die scary, more like you might die from embarrassment.  In the movies, the character finds himself naked on a bus or something.  Here are some of my top nightmares:
1) Finding out that I am in a public place without shoes.  I really hate wearing shoe, so I'm not sure why this one is so scary.  But there I am at work or at the store and I look down and guess what no shoes.
2) Public restroom without walls.  Just a big room with 50 toilets. 
3) Losing a tooth.

And the weirdest and scariest ---

Not understanding when people talk to me because they are speaking French.  Not sure how my brain seems to know perfect French, but it doesn't seem to understand a word.  But there you have it.  I am at a dinner party or something and everyone is speaking French and looking at me like I am from Mars...

Feb 1, 2011

So it begins...

When every one decided to begin a paper trail with the French Government, there is always a back and forth.  You give them the papers that they ask for.  They ask you for papers that aren't on their official list.  You try to find these new papers and send them what they need, they decided that something was wrong with the first set of papers and need corrections.  You send them corrected paperwork.  Then there is a problem with the second set of papers...  And so on and so forth.

Here is their response to my paperwork:

Dear French-WantToBe:
We have received your paperwork.  Unfortunately we can't process your paperwork without the birth certificates of both of your parents and their marriage certificate.  Also your husbands birth certificate was older than 3 months old, and even though we didn't say that we needed his new birth certificate in our paper work, you should have known that you needed like everyone needs to carry a new electric bill around to prove that they live in France.  Also we will need 2 copies of your passport, information about your previous marriages and whether you have children, because while your sons names are in the copy of the 'livre de famillie' that you provided, I will need a separate paper with all of their information and probably blood so I can confirm, that they are in fact sons of France.
Cordially yours,
M. French Functionaire.