christmas in franche-comté

Later in this post: A visit to the Christmas markets in Mulhouse and Montbéliard!

For the Christmas holidays, we made our way down to J’s parents’ in Bourguignon, Franche-Comté. As predicted, the week and a half was filled with lots of food, wine, and of course, family. Just to give you an idea, we had a raclette three times in a week’s time. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our fill for this season.

almostbilingue christmas raclette

Raclette

For Christmas Eve, to go along with the massive amounts of food for dinner (though I sit out on a few courses – foie gras and escargots – giving my poor stomach a break. I don’t have the dexterity of the French yet), we picked up two bûches de Noël from our favorite place there Julien Patisserie. He’s the one who made our wedding cake. Continue reading

english in bourguignon

alostbilingue elliot

When I posted about our unplanned trip to Franche-Comté, I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I completely forgot to tell you about one of the best things that happened during our trip!

J’s mom works at the primary (elementary for Americans) school in Bourguignon (where J is from). We were chatting about the school and English lessons, and J’s mom brought up how disinterested some of the kids are in English despite the fact that their teacher loves English.

I joked that I should go in and talk to the kids.  Continue reading

a visit to ypres

alostbilingue ypres

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday so what better to do during the holiday season than to visit a Christmas market? We decided to take a little drive over the border to visit the market in Ypres (Ieper in Dutch), Belgium.

This was our very first visit to the town, and besides looking up information on the Christmas market, we didn’t really know what to expect.

With a population of about 35,000, Ypres is a very cute little city and well known for its strategic position during WWI. The town center is small and pedestrian friendly like many European cities. We parked about a kilometer (less than a mile) away and quickly walked the rest of the way.

Expecting to only spend time at the market, we took Elliot along with us. Though as it’s the holiday season, everything was open and the town was packed. Elliot was going crazy with all the other dogs around us as people had the same idea to bring along their four legged family members. Continue reading

no longer “sans papiers”!

After waiting almost 5 months for my appointment at the Prefecture to change my status from student to spouse (and two months after my student residency card expired), I finally have something that shows I’m legally allowed to be here (and leave France and come back).

From speaking with people we know and hearing their recent horror stories, we took every single document we could think of that we had in our possession.

The woman we met with was super nice and welcoming. She also seemed to be very efficient. We ended up leaving with more papers on us than what we gave to her, but I prefer to be better safe than sorry. Some of the things on the list of required documents she didn’t even need as I was already in their system. Continue reading

french fail

There’s a reason this blog is called “Amost Bilingue”. I mean, I am bilingual. I can get by in any situation in French. I successfully completed a Masters in French. But as most bilingual folks will attest, there are some moments where you just don’t have the vocabulary, or you completely misunderstand something. I definitely had one of those moments recently.

I received a phone call from the secretary of the Masters from hell. To be fair, it was the morning, so I was not really at full speed anyway. You see, I skipped the graduation ceremony, because it just wasn’t worth the effort or the cost. (Case in point, they tried imitating an American ceremony but missed the mark by a long shot.) That is why the secretary was calling me.

She stated “Vous êtes major de promo MCI” and that she needed my address. I had never heard the phrase “major de promo”, so like any foreign language speaker, I made an educated guess from the context. I figured that as it was in relation to the ceremony, “major de promo” must simply mean that I had successfully finished the program. So I just said “Okay…” and gave her my address. And that was that.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Continue reading

thanksgiving made easier in france… finally!

Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all my American (and Canadian) friends!

This marks my 9th year of being in France for the big day.

Yep, you heard it right. I haven’t been in the US for Thanksgiving since 2005. I have been in France every Thanksgiving since then. Sometimes I celebrated the day (like last year), sometimes I have not. It depends on my level of motivation, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I’m usually more motivated than not.

And it’s hard not to be motivated to get cooking when it’s getting easier and easier to find the needed ingredients in France. And I’m not talking about ordering off special websites, or going to speciality shops. I’m talking about just popping into the supermarket. Continue reading