Tomorrow marks one month of leaving Toronto, Canada, North America. 1/36 of my program is over. I always like putting things in fractions; it seems to give me a whole new perspective on the life I’m living. I’d think, if one month passed by so quickly, another 35 of these would probably fly by before I know it.
Here’s a little anecdote of the week. I went to a colleague’s house Thursday night for a little gathering, since three people in the lab had birthdays this week. As we were chatting, someone arrived and entered the door. Thinking I was blocking the way, I tried to move to let him pass. What I didn’t notice for a good 10 seconds was that instead of sitting down, he was trying to lean over. I was then told that I was supposed to give a “bisou”, which was the French greeting involving a kiss (or simple brushing) on both cheeks. OH, I FEEL DUMB, I thought. I always assumed that only people who know each other very well did it, but apparently not! So I leaned over and did a rather awkward bisou where I gently brushed my cheeks against his (his face was VERY soft). I hope that my ignorance in the beginning didn’t offend the guy and that he didn’t think I was trying to run away from him or anything.
This week I thought I’d post some pictures that don’t comprise a theme. Previously I’ve shown specific places I’ve gone for my Saturday explorations, but the following pictures are taken randomly – on my way to work, on my way back from work, groceries, places nearby, etc. Just little tidbits of life.
It seems as if here’s an abundance of these little guys in hiding. I often hear shuffling of leaves near as I walk down the sidewalk, and at first I thought it could be mice. I finally caught a glimpse of one of these lizards around the corner one day. They’re everywhere.
This elusive guy appeared near my residence once or twice. I think it emerged from the woods nearby labelled “Dangerous Woods”. Hmm. Not sure I want to venture in there though.
Probably the white cat’s buddy. Or mortal enemy.
Checkpoint: I pass by this place every morning when I go to work. For some reason I find these two little shrubs extremely cute. It almost seems as if they’re leaning against each other like a cozy couple shielded under the sturdy roof of a home.
Public bathroom near my bus stop at work. The one at the airport cost 50 cents to use. This one has a big GRATUIT (free) sign on it. I wonder if it’s awkward to use one of these since it’s right in the middle of the pedestrian area…
Supermarket near the residence, Simply! What I find amusing is that French people don’t have a word for “inexpensive”. Instead they say “pas cher” which is literally “not expensive”, and it’s that way in all the ads and displays. Imagine if your grocery store advertises by saying “fresh and not expensive!” instead of “fresh and cheap!” I think it sounds much more awkward in English.
So far Eurasie is the only Asian supermarket I’ve visited. Apparently there are other ones around the downtown area, but Eurasie is the largest one in Bordeaux with the most variety…which isn’t a lot, coming from the perspective of someone used to Asian stores in Toronto. There’s an aisle for Japanese stuff and one for Indian, but none for Chinese 😦 While they do have a good supply of bak choy and Asian drinks, I don’t think I will come back here often because it is also in the middle of nowhere.
So I bought a few Asian drinks just for nostalgia’s sake. Surprisingly they weren’t as expensive as I was expecting and worked out to be similar to what they’d cost at T&T. Yay for jasmine tea and coconut drink! I got the Swiss roll just for fun. Length can be deduced by comparison with the cans, and it has a diameter similar to that of the toonie. Mini version, cute and irresistible.
Now for your weekly wine and cheese. The good news is I got a new corkscrew this week and the cork came out much easier this time around! I am fully convinced that it was the corkscrew’s problem last week that caused the battle with the cork, not my incompetence.
There is no bad news, by the way, in case you thought that bad news must come with good news. Here I present red wine from the Côtes du Rhône AOC and *drumrolls*…Tomme noire des Pyrénées!
I really need to go on wine tasting trips or something before actually being able to comment on wine semi-intelligently. However I do want to talk about the cheese. One word to describe the Tomme noire – WOW. First of all, the reason I decided to get it was the black rind. I mean, just look at it! It looks so damn badass. It was literally screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” at the supermarket. How could I resist???
And it really does taste excellent, better than the Port-Salut, I’d say. The rind, although appealing, is made of wax and inedible. The cheese itself is semi-soft and had a slight sour flavour to it, but my goodness, it was delicious.
Next week is Brie. I’ve already tried a little bit and I don’t think I’ll like Brie as much as Port-Salut and Tomme noire, but we’ll see if I change my mind by next week.
(Also please let me know if you find typos. Sometimes I see stupid mistakes like here/hear but I don’t catch them all.)