It's the silly things I find myself missing about not being in an English speaking community. Things like begin able to eavesdrop on conversations, reading lost notes/shopping lists you may find lying around, picking up and reading the free newspapers on the corner. I told Patrick to read everything he saw for me right down to the adverts on the sides of buses! I am getting better at deciphering things here, but the "not even having to think about it" reading/listening I sure do miss.
I have been thinking recently, "will there be things I miss when we leave here?". Well #1 on that list is the GREAT education my kids are getting at the British School a la Schneider Electric. Thanks Schneider. It's about the only thing in the expat package that you guys have done well!
I will also miss Picard. This place is like no other I have ever seen. Think if The Fresh Market and Trader Joe's had a delicious baby. It is a store dedicated to frozen food. Now, I know what you're thinking, "frozen food - big whoop" but this is not Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. This stuff is so good. Everything we have tried as been delicious. I stopped yesterday on my way to get the kids and for 40 Euros ($53.00 U.S.) I got 2 bags of chicken nuggets (each bag has enough for about 4 meals), and bag of french fries, two boxes of super yummy egg rolls, Citron (lemon) pre marinated chicken breasts (again, yummy), a box of breaded fish fillets (think British fish and chips), a box of 10 Bio steak hache (preformed hamburger patties - the good ones with only 5% fat) and 3 micro-steam bags of green veggies (snow peas/broccoli/spinach/garden pea variety). There was so much more I wanted to get, but alas, French freezers are small. And because of the small refrigerator/freezer size it seems there is a fresh market set up somewhere close everyday and small grocery stores on every block with people trekking in and out all day. Maybe the grocers and farmers have a deal with refrigerator makers......
|A typical inside of a Picard|
Row and row after chest freezer filled with some of
the most tasty stuff around
|Much like fresh markets and grocers|
you can find a Picard in every neighborhood
While I don't go daily (or even weekly), the fact that I could go to a fresh market is a nice benefit of being here. There is a fantastic, huge market twice a week (Thursday/Sunday) about 3 miles from our apartment. It is like a combination of a flea market and fresh market so you can find anything from fresh veggies and fruit to "fell off the back of the truck" electronics and mattresses! The bulk of the food market is in a permanent building and walking down the isles is an adventure. There are, of course, plenty of booths selling veggies and fruit but others are hawking chickens with their heads still attached (eew!), artisan cheeses and homemade honey and a huge selection of hard salami and cured meat. The French love their charcuterie (branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors derived from the preservation processes).
|Maybe they're just sleeping.....|
The other nice thing that I don't partake in as often as I could are the patisseries and boulangeries. But maybe that's a good thing. Even though I'm walking the dogs twice as much, you could gain wait just walking into one.
It has been raining here for about 2 weeks straight. Not constant rain, but enough to make you think twice about going out and about. This week we saw some sun for a couple hours each day, but other than those times it has been quite gray. I have never been a fan of hot weather, but a little sun would be nice. I guess that will be another thing I miss (depending on where we "land" next), the cooler weather that lasts longer.
I hope Patrick is enjoying the U.S.A. The kids gave him their list of things to bring back, like the all important Reese's Cups and Lucky Charms but I just hope he's reading and maybe, eavesdropping on the elevator!