Friday, September 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes! In my attempt to become a real blogger (har har), I'm going to try to keep this up each week. Oh wait, have I said that before? Go check out Jen's Takes at, as well as a list of real bloggers who really do this. For real.

- 1 - 

In an effort to improve my French comprehension and just get used to the (snooty-tooty) accent here, I'm been playing talk radio as background noise when I'm just puttering around my room and the interwebs. People who know me generally know about my complete inability to function with any background noise whatsoever, most especially when it involves stuff that involves my brain. Jazz music, classical music, TV, and talk radio are at the top of that list. (This is why, incidentally, I listen to country music or late 90's/early 2000's pop/rock when I'm driving - I would crash the car otherwise.) So, have French nattering going on constantly in the background grinds my nerves down like you wouldn't believe. However, I have noticed that it's been helping my comprehension - if I actually decide to listen to it, I can usually follow the conversation; and when I go out and have to deal with sales people or whatever who talk fast and/or mumble I'm having a much easier time understanding immediately and being able to respond. So, the radio will stay on. 

- 2 -

Jet lag update: nothing to report! Hurrah! I'm still not sleeping completely through the night, but last night I was not awake enough to bother getting up to read or do anything useful in the wee hours. I feel pretty normal and fully-functioning. I still have the urge to nap in the late morning but that's nothing unusual, and it certainly doesn't make me a zombie if I don't (and I usually don't). I think getting up at 4:30am to milk on and off during the summer helped a lot in terms of my body being able to adjust to a 5 hour time difference.

- 3 - 

One thing I miss already about general North American culture: breakfast. Like real, honest-to-goodness food in the morning. Here, breakfast consists of a demi-baguette with jam, and coffee (here at the res, where breakfast is included, we can also get tea instead of coffee, and a choice of butter or spreadable cheese to go with our bread and jam). Things I want right now: 2 eggs over easy, baked beans, bacon, hot buttered toast, orange juice and tea, coffee that's not espresso, fruit, and yogurt. Please, can someone give me that as a late Christmas present?

- 4 -

I have a bidet in my room. This was originally supposed to be its own post, but I thought that speaking about my porcelain facilities for an entire post might offend those with more delicate sensibilities. If this includes you, please go to #5 now. For those of you still interested but unfamiliar with a bidet, it looks like either a toilet with no tank or seat, and/or a too-short sink with no faucet. Basically, I'm American (which could, again, be an entire post on its own). I have no idea how to use the thing on a practical level, other than a general idea of what it's supposed to do. And judging from the peeks into open doors of the other rooms on this floor, no one else does either. Many girls seem to be using it for extra storage space - one girl had deposited her purse in it. Ha! I think that's enough on this subject. Be warned: bidet-related toilet humor may start to appear on this blog, if I ever become creative enough to think of "something funny + bidet".

- 5 - 

Okay, everyone's back with me? Good. On a semi-related note, you'll notice that I have not posted any pictures yet. This is for the very good reason that I am extremely lazy. I took some cool pics from the airplane as we flew over Lake Geneva before landing, and I took a couple of pictures of the lake up close. But other than that, I've been too busy doing other things/getting lost/discovering the cool stuff to take pictures of/forgetting to bring my camera. So, fear not! I will, one day, post some Geneva pictures. Once I have them.

- 6 - 

It's really humid here. Like, as bad as Montreal. It doesn't feel sticky like Montreal does, but I can tell how humid it is because (a) my bangs are trying to curl and (b) when I walk anywhere, even when it's 15 degrees, I get wicked sweaty. It doesn't help that the temperature change from night to day is about 15 degrees difference, so for instance, it was 11 degrees when I got dressed this morning but it's supposed to go up to 25-27 this afternoon. Basically, once the sun comes over the mountain it gets hot. It's beautiful and pleasant, but the mountains have been obscured by haze for a couple of days now so I kind of hope it rains soon so I can go get some nice clear pictures of the local scenery. For some reason I didn't expect it to be humid here and/or I forgot what it's like, so it's been kind of an adjustment, one that involves changing my clothes multiple times a day.

- 7 - 

I made my first real dish yesterday evening; hide-the-peas. In fact, it was the first dish that I made successfully in res when I first moved away seven years ago. It really is the perfect dorm-kitchen dish: it can be made with very little equipment, it keeps well, and has important food items such as meat, peas, and potatoes that an unambitious dorm-cook might not otherwise get. It's actually just my family's variation on shepherd's pie/pâté chinois: we use peas instead of corn, and I like to put onions in the meat when I brown it. I even found little aluminum cake pans that come with a lid, so I could just bake it and pop it right in my fridge for later. Hurrah! I'm going to go eat some right now!

Don't forget to hop over to Jen's for some more Quick Takes. See you next week!

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