Saturday, October 25, 2008

What I'm reading...

Ah the luxury of working only part-time and having a steady supply of books. Actually as someone said to me, I should be able to milk the whole 're-adjusting to life in NZ' phase for at least a month. Which gives me another ten days or so for rampant reading without the guilt of feeling I should go and get another job.
So here are a couple of books that I have enjoyed and am enjoying and why.

Animal, Vegetable and Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver came highly recommended to me by a friend who obviously know my tastes well as I am just lapping up the book. I'm about halfway through and find myself fascinated, despairing and encouraged on every page. The book is a sort of memoir which takes us through a year in the life of the author, as she and her family pledge to feed themselves only on homegrown or locally raise food. It's about seasons, gardening, organics, eating well, the state of America's food industry and more. It's very informative and well written and will make you think twice about what you're eating and where it comes from! I'm not even finished yet and I give it a 9/10.

Les Belles Images par Simone de Beauvoir
I am trying to keep at least one french book going at all times and this is the current pick. I have always wanted to read Simone de Beauvoir but perhaps this was not the best one to start with (the Dunedin Public Library left me with little choice however). Paris has not changed much but the hi-fi systems, clothing and conversation topics of the characters have dated and I just can't say that I'm riveted. 4/10
Anyone who does want a good french read, look for Amelie Nothcomb, she is fantastically funny.

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda by René de Costa
I really enjoy Neruda's poetry but knew nothing of the man's life, loves, inspirations etc. This book presents Neruda's poetry in chronological order, interspersing them with a running commentary and biographical details. The commentary can be a little academic in parts but it really does add to the reading of the poems. Bonus - the poems are printed first in their original Spanish and then in English, very motivating for a beginning Spanish speaker. 7/10.

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
While in Paris I heard Jeanette Winterson speak at a festival. She quoted, by heart, the first five minutes of her novel 'Oranges are not the only fruit' and I was hooked. Found Oranges great and thoroughly enjoyed this one too, though it is a rather different style. Unsure of where to start with summing it up, I'll just quote the back of the book for this one: "Winterson breaks the mould of history and fiction alike in this intricately enjoyable book." Apparently the genre is 'Gothic farce'. It is certainly a unique novel and her writing is fantastic. 9/10

Monday, October 20, 2008

And now...

What's on the cards now for this Kiwi? Well for starters I think this blog needs a makeover; the heading is a blatant lie -and is anyone else having problems with Blogger? I have a lot of trouble getting my posts to look like I want them to; everything ends up sneakily jumping to weird places and it's tricky to upload photos. Hmmm, if I knew what I was doing I would get in their and edit that Html but I think that it might be more satisfying to start from scratch. I'll do a shop around.
As I can no longer really talk about daily life in Paris I am going to switch the content to topics that I want to rant and rave about.
I'm just in the process of applying to do a graduate diploma of journalism in 2009. I am applying far and wide but really hope that Christchurch will say yes! In the meantime I will continue to sharpen up my non-fiction writing with some blogging.
Step one is to commission my tech-savvy brother to replace my ibook's hardrive.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The kiwi has landed...

..right in a pile of these.
No longer am I to munch on patisseries in Paris. Now it will be fatty chips in Roslyn.
But really, so long as the cravings for goats cheese and pastis don't get too overwhelming, it's pretty great to be home. I mean what is there not to like about this:

So in view of the fact that I am blatantly no longer in Paris but think I would like to keep blogging, there are gonna be some changes round here. On the blog that is, maybe personally too, we'll see about that in future posts.
Some last snaps of France? Try and stop me.

The Monastery of Mont St Michel

Traditional Breton costumes

From the Tuileries gardens at sunset

The ruins of the Royaumont Abbey

Yellow boat in Concarneau

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Oh the lazy blogger that I am, coming back from the dead-but only ever so briefly-after many months dormant. My parents are here visiting in Neuilly and I have the luxury of mum's laptop for a few weeks.
This weekend Alex and I did a weekend trip to Belgium - Brussels and Gent - and were presently surprised by the quirkiness of the place and the excellent food. I will perhaps even post some photos tomorrow! Before that the family braved French roads and tripped around Brittany for 10 days. Ironically of course it is only once back in the big city that the weather gets really warm and we all wish there was a bit of beach here. Today at Paris Plage ( tonnes of sand dumped along banks of Seine) we dunked out feet in the fountain and felt our noses burn. They actuall float a pool in the Seine so that will be the destination tomorrow if this heat keeps up.
This evening sis and I are off to an open-air cinema screening of an Audrey Hepburn film, actually we had better make tracks!

Monday, March 24, 2008

still here..

oops, 1 month since my last post...
Well I am stil here, just not getting to the internet much and I am sad that I have not been updating more regularly!
Here goes a rapid-fire bullet point entry to get things up to date.

-Infected wisdom tooth saw me spending first 3 days of holidays with a half-inflated face and a much moaning.

-On the 28th flew to Vienna and made the very scenic train trip to Schladming, my little slice of Austrian paradise.

-Ate a lot of cake and watched in wonder as the valley and surrounding mountains were blanketed with snow, and it kept on snowing until the sun came out on the day I left.

-had two lovely days of skiing, on with my own personal ski instructor (thank-you Herbert!) which did wonders for my technique, which I'll be honest I was completely lacking in before.

-Thought once again about the possibilty of spending a lot longer in this place.

-6th of March, long train trip to Venice, but incredibly beautiful and relaxing. Missed one connection which added about 3 hours to the day and thus arrived late and went straight to hotel.

-bad hotel. tried not to look around me too much when in the shower, and checked out first thing in the morn. A friend arrived that evening and we stayed in a much nicer place with kitchen and space and light and security!

- really loved Venice, spent hours and hours just walking and photographing and eating gelato and sighing.

-Back to Paris on the 10th where I have been back at work ever since. I only have 11 more weeks of work and its all over!

-Had the kids sole-charge for one exhausting weekend and just kept my sights on the arrival of my sister.

-She arrived on Friday and despite freezing temperatures the initiation to Paris has begun. She's sitting beside me right now checking to see which of her favourite bands will be playing here in the next few months.

-We have a heck of a lot of eating and sightseeing and shopping to fit in so it's jsut as well that's she's planning on staying for a while!

Happy Easter everyone,

Friday, February 22, 2008

The bell.

I am not going to arrive at the hundred post mark before tomorrow. The 23rd of February is going to mark my one year anniversary in Paris! I should write some kind of resumé about how this period has changed and moulded me. All the lessons I have learned and the genelral life-enrichingness of it all...but I'm not going to.
Let me just say that it has absolutely flown by; that I feel I have matured a lot and learnt a lot about who I am and how I operate. I have also developed my French side and have comfortably integreted into French culture.
But enough of that. Today is the start of the school holidays!!!! Yaya! 2 weeks of free time and travel. Today wil be the 'profond' tidy-up of the playroom, a task I detest and will thankfully only have to do 3 more times EVER. Then I will have the kids tomorrow while their parents do the once a semester gallery crawl and then I am freeeeeeee. My first 3 days I will be vegetating in my studio with some dark chocolate and 20th century French poetry. I have a stack of books and can't wait to just blob and read and read. And the weather might even be nice enough to spend a little time outdoors....if I am walking briskly.
Then I fly to Vienna and take a train to Schladming, my home away from home in the Austrian alps. I am so excited to see my family again and do some skiing! From Austria I take a 4 hour train ride down to Venice where I will stay for 3 nights. And the month of March I will be staying firmly in Neuilly and eating rice.
Oh yes, I called this post the bell, quick explanation: I have picked up a tutoring job, just one lunchtime a week speaking english with a 9 year old boy. He is an only child who lives in the 16th (chic) with his parents and the Spanish nanny. I have only met with him once but it was both hilarious and a little disconcerting. He speaks practically no english, but understands me quite well, replying either in french or spanish. We sat face to face at the enormous dining table where our grated carrot and vinaigrette was waiting for us; nanny was in the kitchen preparing the lamb cutlets. I couldn't help but noticing the paper napkin beside my plate and the linen one beside his (in a silver napkin ring), and then the little silver bell. Surely, I thought, this is some little trinket that just happens to be lying around. Mais non, 'tring tring' and nanny apprears with an orange juice, 'tring tring', the entrée is finished and we would like our main. Unbeleivable.
I hold an interesting position of being very much part of the working class here but also somewhat reverred as an educated foreigner who has chosen to learn french and will presently retire to my exotic homeland to start a 'real job'. I have been allowed into two very different worlds, which is another thing I appreciate about this experience.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Well I don't think that I am going to be able to fit all those posts in! I am trying though. Had a French test this morning, easy and completely quickly so that I would have time for a quick blog before running off to work - you see I really do have my priorities sorted!

Saw my first blossom this week, waaay to early for spring but the weather is definitely warming and it the days beginning to lenthen a little. Life is good. And it's the weekend! I have a list as long as my arm of things to shopping, a flea market, the CHinese New Year celebrations, church, salsa, a visit to the Paris Mosque...And if the weather is as fine as predected some parkful wanderings.

This is so short but I have to run! Here is a picture from New Year that someone just emailed me, this was the preparation for our feasting. I'm not actually helping but I did make a lot of pizzas that day...