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Student Now Living in France .. observations

Student Now Living in France .. observations

Old Dec 13th, 2002, 02:55 PM
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Recipe for "Pain Perdu"

Okay, here is a french recipe that is kinda like French Toast. The bread that you use should be a few days old, so it is hard as a rock. Here are the ingrediants :

Semi-thick slices of HARD baguettes (1/2 to 3/4ths of an inch)
Vanilla Extract (to taste)
Eggs (used as a batter)
Oil (to deep fry bread)
White Sugar
Plate with paper towels

Heat the milk and vanilla in one pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and set aside. Take another deep pan and heat enough oil to deep fry the bread.

Take bread and place in the hot milk/vanilla mix. Once the bread is completely soft and mushy, place it in the bowl with the eggs, and make sure the eggs cover the bread. Then place the bread in the oil, and allow to deep fry until the bread becomes cooked and slightly brown. Remove the bread, and place it on the paper towels to absorb excess oil. Lastly, place the bread in the sugar ; make sure both sides of the bread are lightly covered in sugar. Then eat the bread with your fingers while it is still hot !
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 04:53 AM
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Susan, this is a reply to your question about the "smoking situation."

I haven't seen any anti-smoking publicity yet ... I hear it is around, but ..

Smoking is still very apparent everywhere ... as I wrote once before, there are no smoking signs in the university, but no one pays attention.

People smoke in the restaurants, but I've never been overwhelmed with the fumes .. it's something I've had to get used to. I'm not allergic to the smoke like I used to. But I can't go out to a bar or discotheque without coming back with my clothes smelling like smoke for a few days ...

One student was surprised when I told him I don't have any friends in Cali that smoke .. he was absolutely shocked. Then he told me he doesn't have any friends that DON'T smoke.

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 06:02 AM
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How is the obesity situation in the States? We were last in the US 2 years ago and found the prevalence of really really BIG people in restaurants, planes and in the streets in general a really negative aspect. A local told us there are anti-junk food ads on TV, but no one pays any attention.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 08:50 AM
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You're so refreshing, Genesea.

I don't think you have an agenda in what you say - just recounting your observations.

Keep 'em coming!
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for taking the time and posting your thoughts and experiences.

As so many others have written, you can't please all of the people...so don't worry about it. What a great chance to expand your horizons and to learn about other cultures.

In America there are families that won't touch vegetables, and some that love them. Maybe that's the same situation there, and your host familiy is not big veggie eaters. In Paris I was amazed at all the beautiful fresh vegetables. And southern French recipes usually have lots of veggies too. But I'm no expert. ha.

Sorry, Vincent, but I find it hard to believe anyone would find an overabundance of bo to be sexually attractive. I do have a cultural prejudice, being from the U.S., admittedly. But from what I've heard, most woman and many men in Paris wear perfumes, so that must say something as well--that a good smell is important for attraction.

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 09:22 AM
Joe G.
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Your points are well taken - per usual.

To Genesea,
Just curious, what kind of Holiday decorations and preparations are customary in Pau?

Joe G.

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 06:24 PM
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Joe G. --

Holiday decorations include LOTS of white lights everywhere. The city strung up decorative lights in between almost every single building downtown -- before Halloween. I was a little surprised. But you'll see the trees with white lights, cookie-cutter outlines of trees, sleighs, ribbons, stars -- of white lights. And then there are those lights attached to lamp posts that look like palm trees (I haven't figured that one out yet). In the big supermarkets there are fake Christmas trees, garlands, etc. And in one of the downtown parks there is a huge decorated tree (with other colors besides white).

I hear that the town to visit is Toulouse because they go crazy over holiday decorations and Christmas lights (according to my French brother).

The supermarkets sell a bazillion different types of Foie Gras ..

And the traditional dessert is a log cake (if you're interested in the specifics I can try to get them) with chocolate icing and a fruit filling.

Chocolate super-giant Lindt is selling all kinds of chocolate called "Les Pyrenees," "Le Tour Eiffel," etc .. well, there are just every kind of chocolate you could want. Today I even saw "Basque Chocolates" for sale.

Talking about decorations: I was looking for an ornament that was specifically French (Le Tour Eiffel, or something like that), but I couldn't find anything. I haven't looked in any boutiques yet, but I thought that I would see something relatively French (at least in the USA you can find the American Flag, or something like that). It was interesting that I haven't seen anything like that.

I also don't see Christmas trees being sold ... my family doesn't have a Christmas tree because we live in an apartment .. it doesn't exactly feel like Christmas.

I also haven't heard a lot of Christmas music .. but when I have, it has been classic American songs by Bing Crosby, etc.

This is completely off-topic, but I need some advice for those who have spent a considerable amount of time adjusting to another language and culture. I just can't sleep at all. When I first arrived I couldn't sleep, and then I got adjusted, but now I can't sleep again .. and it's worse than before. As soon as I try to sleep my brain goes into overload and won't stop thinking, working, searching. I believe the problem is that during the day I think and live in French, and the night is the only time I have for my brain to sort everything out. But it's really becoming bothersome. So here I am at nearly 4:30am typing because I can't sleep. Any advice would be super. Thanks.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 03:34 AM
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This is just the cutest thing I've ever read! Genesea will be so happy to have all this documentation a few years from now. I think I sense a new generation's "Year in Provence" or at least "...Tuscan Sun..." It's very thoughtful yet full of impulsive exhuberance. I hope my daughter can have a similar experience some day!
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 03:48 AM
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Pig blood for dinner:

Well, I didn't know the French eat this, but my host mother wanted me to try it .. which I did. The pig blood looked like soft sausages, and it was baked on top of sliced apples. I guess my family regularly eats pig blood (and for those that are wondering if they are related to vampires, I can assure you they are not. =).

They were surprised that I was hesitant in trying it, but, frankly, we don't eat blood in California.

Old Dec 18th, 2002, 04:24 AM
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Blood sausage is commonly eaten in other parts of Europe too - in the UK it's called black pudding and served sliced and pan fried, often for breakfast! In Spain it's called morcilla and it's often served in tapas bars. It's not so disgusting when you think what goes into many other meat dishes... (Chicken McNuggets, anyone?)
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 05:34 AM
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I'm always interested in posts where I can glean information: websites, airline/car information, etc.

However, of the sites that are more conversational, I must say that your post if the most refreshing and spontaneous of them all.

Please keep it up!


P.S. Sorry you can't sleep. Wish I had something to offer, but don't.
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 06:59 AM
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Author: Nancy Beach ([email protected])
Date: 12/18/2002, 10:56 am
Message: Thank you for your interesting posts on your year in Pau.

While an undergraduate at USC, I spent a year in Pau in 1970 and enjoyed it! I lived in the Cite des Etudiants tower, and rode a bicycle with pink tires all over town.

Have you visited the Chateau d'Henri IV yet? The Place Clemenceau was the action center as I recall. And the beautiful cafe near the casino with a spectacular view of the Pyrenees was wonderful.

Does your family ski? There are some great spots within a bus ride to ski in the Pyrenees.

While I don't remember having trouble sleeping, I do remember finally starting to dream in French, and maybe your brain is working toward that transition. Have fun -- it's great the first time it happens. Relax and enjoy!!!

Nancy Beach

Old Dec 18th, 2002, 09:05 AM
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Old Dec 18th, 2002, 09:39 AM
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I have had a blast reading about your adventures. My husband is French and I visited his family last September for the first time, they were wonderful.At first, I felt rather loud and bisterous around them, the French seem to be a bit more subdued and less approachable upon first meeting them.

Just a quick story I wanted to relate. My husbands nieces both work in Paris and had arranged for Gilles and I to prepare dinner with a group of their friends and stay the night at their friends apt.(the girls were commuting to Paris at the time and living in Nangis sp?)

When I first met their one friend, he seemed a bit put out and was calling us the Americans. Well, we had a blast at dinner etc and I admired a bottle of water they had on the table and said the shape was lovely for a vase. Upon leaving the next day and lugging my backpack to the Metro I thought it seemed rather heavy. When I looked in later, the gruff guy had put in 2 bottles of the water and not said a word.

That's what I obeserved about the French people that I met, they do little things that mean a lot without making a big deal. I hope one day to experinece France like you are now. All the best to you, Lorin Goussard
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 10:35 AM
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Keep this coming!
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 12:50 PM
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Old Dec 18th, 2002, 01:55 PM
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Just came across this post and find it very lively.

Hope to hear more from Genesea. Her observations are refreshing.

Old Dec 18th, 2002, 08:44 PM
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Genesa, regarding sleep problems: been there/done that...everyone is so unique, but my suggestions are
1)establish a late-night routine and follow it every night
2)avoid coffee and other stimulants, for some that means wine too
3)avoid intellectual stimulation later in the evening (which I realize is really tough since that is when all the good movies are on tv, homework etc)
4)try a bath or shower-some it wakes up, some it relaxes
5) the french are famous for the bed-time tilleuls (herbal teas like chamomile, but avoid if you have hayfever allergies)
6)try playing some favorite, but relaxing, music after the lights are out
7) go see an herbalist/pharmacist who can advise you on homeopathic aids. They usually are very knowledgeabl and helpful.
Faites de beaux reves! Bonne chance.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 06:02 AM
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Hi, Genesea,

Some Swiss folks told us they drink valerian tea at night. It's supposed to not be very tasty, but affective in relaxing someone who needs to get to sleep.

I don't know this from personal experience, but you might want to do an internet check on this herb.

Old Dec 19th, 2002, 07:08 AM
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Instead of the Valerian, I'd vote for Chamomile tea. It's milder, tastier, and has the same effect.

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