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  • Last Books Read

    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
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    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

Lost in Translation

Here in France, my name is actually pronounced “show.”  So Nath and her brother Hubert (whom we stayed with in Paris) kinda love to make jokes about it.  “Kelly, you are a show!,” “Kelly’s show,” etc.  I guess at least it’s more fabulous than “Sale,” which literally means “dirty” in French.  That would make Tim a “DIRTY Tim.”  HAHAHA.  But then again…that would make me a “DIRTY SHOW”?

On Being a (Minor) Celeb

Well, not really, but I’m proud to report that we have become minor celebrities in this tiny village and the small towns around it.

On Friday morning, Nath’s aunt–let’s call her Marrie-Pierre, to match her husband’s given name (by me) of Pierre–screamed out of her porch (as she always does) to Nath’s mom that “les Americains sont sur le journal.”  Yes, the Americans–meaning Laura, Tim and I–were indeed on the local newspaper, La Provence.  

Laura, Me and Tim at the Foire

Laura, Me and Tim at the Foire

(*Click for bigger image)

(Dont’ you love the fact that our pic appears right next to an ad for pet breeding and grooming services?) Continue reading

A Typical Day in Provence

When we were planning our year-long trip, one thing that I really wanted to do was rent a house or apartment in a small town somewhere in France or Spain. Maybe I enjoyed “Me Talk Pretty One Day” too much or maybe I just thought that if I couldn’t spend a season snowboarding from a cabin, at least I could integrate myself into some lazy culture of spending lots of time on eating, reading and relaxing and very little time doing anything else. I had never had this sort of time off before and the idea seemed great.

Well, with the Euro the way it is (expensive) and our time here not as long as we thought it might be, that plan didn’t work out. But maybe that is a good thing. As it turns out, we got to join a friend and come stay in Provence for two weeks in a town that you’ve not doubt already read, is very small.

Continue reading

On Tecktonik

So Nath took the time to show me what Tecktonic was all about.  Apparently this dance was really big last year and was supposed to take over Japan, Canada and the U.S.  Well, the last dance craze I’ve heard of was DDR, so my guess is that Tecktonik flopped on its way across the Atlantic.  Still, one year after those crazy moves exploded in France, Nath and I spent quite a bit of time watching how-to videos on YouTube such as this oneContinue reading

The Village Festival

Laura, Naths Mom and Nath at the Fête

Laura, Nath's Mom and Nath at the Fête

On our first night in Le Brusquet, Nath’s mom said she had a surprise for us.  That night, we would go to the Fête de Le Brusquet, a summer festival with food and music that is considered the village’s biggest event of the year.

We arrived and sat at the senior table, sharing with them our bread, wine and  soupe au pistou, a quintessential Provençal soup made with tomatoes and basil.  There was merry singing, locking of arms and table dancing, and we got to talk to one of the village residents, who proudly told us she had a Learn English CD that she listened to every single day. Continue reading

Two Weeks in Provence, or The Simple Life

Typical Provençal Home

Typical Provençal Home

If you’ve ever read A Year in Provence, you get but a slight idea of what life is in southern France, famous for its sunshine, natural beauty and slow pace of life.  Furthermore Provence feeds the rest of the country,  as most of the fruits and vegetables consumed here  are grown in this region.

Last Friday, Nath, Tim and I threw all our 8 bags in a car with no a/c and left for our 5-hour ride to Provence in 80 degree weather. After a long drive, we arrived in Le Brusquet.  A few facts about Nath’s mom’s village (after all, it’s not even big enough to be called a town):

Population – 500

Number of (known) foreigners –  3: Laura (my friend from NY who met up with us here), Tim and me

Number of (known) Asians – 2: me and another girl I spotted at the summer festival, though I am not sure she’s actually from Le Brusquet

Nearest major town – Digne les Baignes, 20,000 people, 10 km away Continue reading

An Island of Europe in the Sea of Africa

If you`ve ever been to 3rd world, then you know how much you can miss the 1st world. JoBerg did not seem like the nicest town, so we decided not to spend any time there. Instead, we headed strigth to Cape Town, recently awarded second place honors in Travel Mag in ranking top cities in the world.

No. I do not know what that means but Cape Town IS a beautiful city where the living is easy (esp when you are unemployed), and the food is good and cheap. Also, everyone speaks English. :)

We did not move for 5 days, staying in the nicest hostel of our trip, which felt like living back at Charlie and Emy’s in Seattle. During the first day, we tried to climb Table Mountain and failed (though I contribute this to trying to add a 2 hour walk to the beginning).  We were exhausted, so we decided to try hitchhiking (we had done that only once in Mexico) and less than 1 minute later, we were sitting in the back of a pick up truck.

The View of Cape Town from Table MountainThe View of Cape Town from Table Mountain Continue reading