voyage de noces in Budapest

As I’m sure many of you are aware, we went to Budapest for our vacation (with a few days in France-Comté). We had a great time, and we had a nice time discovering the city together. Any other places we’ve spent significant time in, one or the other already knew it, but neither of us had been to Budapest before.

I won’t give you a play-by-play of the entire trip, but I will tell you about some of the highlights.

almostbilingue_budapest view of pest

Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River – Buda and Pest. We spent the majority of our time on the Pest side as that was where we were staying and where many of the attractions we were interested in are located. 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


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 visitor dans le ch’nord

This weekend, we had a visitor, an American who is currently an English assistant in Chauny. As some of you may remember from the old days, I spent three years in Chauny as an assistant. The town, people, and former colleagues hold a very special place in my heart. Anyway, since I know how small the town can feel at times, I invited the new assistant to come spend a few days in Lille. It also proved to be a fun way to spend a few days of my otherwise uneventful vacation.

We spent the weekend exploring the city, eating good food (complete with stinky cheese), playing with Elliot and taking him for walks, drinking far too much beer, and exchanging Chauny stories.

We also took advantage of some of the events happening around town. We went to see the “Mapping de Notre Dame de la Treille“, which we had seen last year during Fantastic. We also checked out the exhibit at Gare St Sauveur and “Dada is Not Dead” at La Maison de la Folie. I think I preferred the Dada exhibit. It was interesting and very original. If you’re in Lille between now and the beginning of December, I highly recommend it. Plus, it’s free.


Mapping of Notre Dame de la Treille / Fantastic 2012

Continue reading

la rentrée et puis… vacation?

Last Friday, we had our pré-rentrée meeting where we learned about what would be happening this year, signed up for classes, etc. The meeting was pretty boring in general and possibly more informative for the newbies. Yes, there were quite a few new faces. Of course, I can’t help but wonder “What were they thinking?!”.

We learned about the schedule for the entire year… 16 weeks of classes total, lots of vacations, no set exam period, 4 to 6 month internship (which we may or may not be able to start April 1st), “soutenance” in November, etc.

We got part of schedule which is pretty incomplete (but still, better than I expected). Many of our classes didn’t start the first week and some don’t even start until January! Unfortunately, there are some 8am classes (hello, 6:30am train), days with like only one hour of class (for now), and even some Saturday classes (one in November, another starts in January). This is not going to be pleasant. At all. Continue reading