a stroll around our new neighborhood

We’ve now been in our new place for over two months. We definitely don’t regret our impulsive decision to move at all. We love our new place and our new neighborhood.

Back when we first moved here, I promised you all pictures of the neighborhood. I took said pictures on a sunny day in December and then promptly forgot about them.

We live in Vieux Lille which usually gets the response of “Oh? Really!”, and then we follow up by saying “No, not where you’re thinking.”

See Vieux Lille is a very touristy (and sometimes ritzy) neighborhood of Lille. It’s where you can find the cathedral and luxury stores like Louis Vuitton. Apartments cost a fortune to rent or buy. That is not where we live. Continue reading

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la rentrée (me included)

My teaching days are not over, and I’m not just referring to the English lesson I gave in Bourguignon.

Now, that I am no longer “sans papiers“, I have the right to look for work and to work. I’ve been looking at job ads for months even when I didn’t have the right to work, and I’m currently in actual job searching mode.

Even before my appointment at the Prefecture, one of the potential plans I had was to apply at a language school where a few friends work/worked. In fact, one of my friends was quitting, so I knew they’d have hours available, so why not apply?

almost bilingue la rentree

Continue reading

new year’s eve / salsa posada

almostbilingue nye2014 cremant du Jura

It’s been awhile since my last post. For obvious reasons, I didn’t feel right posting anything last week with everything that was happening in Paris.

So now, it’s finally about time that I tell you about our New Year’s Eve.

We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do, but I knew what I did not want to do. Eat a ridiculously big meal where the main course isn’t until after midnight. I also kind of wanted to go out somewhere.

Even though everyone we knew was off somewhere, we decided to come back to Lille rather than stay in Franche-Comté where we spent Christmas.

I happened to see the New Year’s Eve menu for a Mexican restaurant in Vieux Lille, Salsa Posada, we’ve been wanting to try. It was super reasonably priced (we could both eat for less than the price of one for NYE in a French restaurant), and we liked the options available, so we made reservations. Continue reading

elliot dans la neige

Elliot snow

During our time in Franche-Comté for Christmas, it snowed a bit, leaving a nice white blanket of soft snow.

Since adopting Elliot and learning his weird quirks, we’ve been curious as to how he’d react to snow. In the rain, he plops himself down in the doorway and refuses to go outside. Luckily, he’s small so we can force him outside to do his business. Would snow be the same way?

It didn’t snow at all last winter, so we didn’t get a chance to find out. When we awoke to snow a few days after Christmas, we finally had the opportunity to find out. Continue reading

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