Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: gambetta

Plunging back into work

Back in Bordeaux, we’re in our third work week of 2011. According to 680 News, yesterday (Monday) was the most depressing day of the year. I wasn’t all that depressed, but I certainly felt unusually tired for most of the day, to a point where I was almost sure that I’d fall asleep in the lab.

Work as a PhD student was starting to pick up slowly and surely before the winter holidays, but as soon as I returned to work from the break, stress and workload escalated exponentially. Before Christmas, I already felt the sense of impending doom as I planned the big experiments to perform in the new year. Then came two weeks of indulgence in festivities and now, that foreshadowed impending doom is manifesting. All of a sudden, I am not bored anymore. Tasks and responsibilities began to pour upon me like Niagara Falls, and for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I’m being productive, if that is even possible in France.

Since being busy means that I haven’t had much time to go around and take new photos (and in turn, update on time), I will be putting up some previously acquired photos for the next few weeks. Today’s set of photos were taken throughout the winter holidays, and incidentally, these were all taken by my cell phone. You’ll notice that a few of them are related to a Christmas gathering that was held at the Bordeaux Church on December 24th, 2010, of which I was one of the organizers along with my Christian fellowship. Click here for photos of the actual event.

Here’s a guy cutting up cheese at Auchan, the local mega-supermarket. THOSE WERE GIGANTIC HUNKS OF CHEESE! Greatly amusing. This reminds me that maybe I should resume the wine and cheese tasting, the regularity of which has declined since December.

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A fortnight before Christmas

It’s funny when I tell people here that I’m from Canada. They automatically assume two things.

ONE: You must know how to speak French! Why, yes I do. Or more precisely I tell them, “I can speak French, but I’m not fluent.” Then they all think I’m from Quebec, because how else would I know how to speak French and why else would I come to France? Then again, some folks here think all Canadians must be able to speak both English and French because our country is bilingual. I tell them that I am from the English speaking part of Canada and that a lot of people actually don’t speak French. In fact, Toronto is predominantly English and it is only because of our education system that some people are able to speak a little bit of French. Sorry for shattering your dreams, mes chers amis de France.

TWO: You must not be afraid of the cold! Well, there’s something I always believed – you could get used to something, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to it. The coldness of winter is an example. It was a good 15⁰C in Bordeaux last week (yes, above zero) but the temperature rapidly dropped to approximately 0⁰C since Thursday. Is it cold? Yes it is, though not nearly as cold as the -15⁰C in Toronto during the same time of the year…but it’s still COLD. I’m not gonna run outside with shorts and a T-shirt, but I do admit that the cold is a refreshing cold, not a piercing cold that penetrates your skin and burns your bones.

Then people ask how we live in such harsh winter conditions in Canada. I say, “I dunno, you just kind of get used to it.” Which is true. We still complain about the cold in Canada, but it’s a natural cycle of seasons that we’re unable to change, so all we can do is prepare for it. I’d been living comfortably in Toronto for 15 years and am still alive and happy, so thanks for worrying about my well-being, but we’re fine.

I promised more night photos, and the theme this week is…Christmas is coming! Actually, the only time I CAN go out to take pictures nowadays is during the night, since it is already dark by the time I get off work. So expect night scenes for the next couple of posts.

Place Gambetta prepares for Christmas with colourful lights. This place is connected to the Grand Théâtre and St. Catherine’s, and is also filled with people and full of life.

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