braderie de lille time. again.

There comes a time every year that strikes fear into the hearts of many Lillois. That time is the Braderie de Lille.

It happens every first weekend of September (or in rare cases, the last weekend of August). Parts of the city turn into an open air flea market/party/what have you. It attracts millions of visitors and is considered the biggest braderie in Europe.

It’s definitely something to visit once as it’s quite impressive. I’ve gone every year since 2011. And every year, I like it less and less. We weren’t planning on going last year, but J’s parents came up, so we did go. Their thoughts? It’s nice, and they’re happy to have done it, but never again.

This year, we were planning on leaving Lille completely, but with finances being tight, we decided to hang out with our friend who lives just outside of Lille. Continue reading

i’m still here!

I know, I know. It’s been awhile. For someone who wants to work in copywriting/content creation, I sure do have issues with keeping my own blog updated.

I think a lot of it comes from feeling that my life is really mundane at the moment.

I’m working a dead end part-time job that is severely underpaid for what is expected of me. That really doesn’t do much to boost the morale.

(Though it’s not all bad. Some of the kids are pretty sweet like the one who gave me a flower on her last day of class with me.)

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Continue reading

officially have my first titre de séjour as a conjointe

It’s here! My titre de séjour vie privée et familiale (spousal residency card) is in my possession.

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It took less than two months including holidays since my appointment for it to be ready! Imagine my surprise! I didn’t know the Prefecture could be so efficient!

Last week, I was filling out a form (more on that later) that required my titre de séjour information. I was stressing over that fact. After a call to verify, I learned that I could submit said form with just my récépissé and then send in a copy of my titre de séjour once it arrived to complete my file. The afternoon after submitting the file, I received notice that my actual card was ready. Because of course.

The only thing that bugs me is that my card is valid October 2014 to October 2015. They gave me the right to work retroactively after refusing to give me anything from the time my old card expired until my appointment. Yeah… thanks for that.

I know why they probably did that (because what if we had CAF payments or the like hinging on that fact?), but still, it bugs me. It means basically 4 months of my year card are already over. And I sat around unable to do nothing for months. Last year, they gave me a card valid from when I handed in my paperwork (October) and not when my old card expired (August).

Le sigh.

Next up in the world of French admin, attempting to exchange my driver license.

new year’s eve / salsa posada

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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

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.

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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

recipe: mont d’or chaud

As promised last time, I’m going to share with you a simple recipe for Mont d’Or chaud (baked Mont d’Or).

Mont d’Or is a cheese made from cow’s milk that can be found in both Switzerland and France in the Jura mountain area. The French version is unpasteurized and produced in the Haut-Doubs department. It’s only sold between the beginning of September and the beginning of May. We prefer to wait until at least end of October or later to buy Mont d’Or as it has a much stronger flavor, because the cows have been in the stable longer so their milk tastes different due to their change in diet.

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Mont d’Or cheese

 

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As we were in a neighboring department – the Doubs, we picked up a medium sized Mont d’Or, because we simply love the cheese. You can eat it as is or you can bake it which is what we decided to do. However, you can find the cheese in most supermarkets or at the local markets in France. I’m not sure if you can find it elsewhere. Continue reading

things I love about France

I was pretty negative about France in my last post, so to turn things around, I wanted to do a post about things I love about (my part of) France. I say (my part of) France, because some things are going to depend on where you’re at in France.

1. Cheese

I love French cheese! All of it! The stinkier, the better. I will probably try just about any cheese you put in front of me (well, unless there are insects in it). From Comte to Maroilles to Camembert to Roquefort, I love it. I would be so so sad if I ever had to stop eating it. Or moved back to the US.

2. Public Transportation

Okay, this can also be an annoyance when there’s a strike, or a problem technic, or when I miss the last metro of the night, but in general, I love not being dependent on a car… especially since I don’t have access to a car I can drive. Yes, I only know how to drive an automatic. Continue reading