Saturday, 22 January 2011

Hoping for some smoother sailing in February

This year certainly didn't start well but I can report I am feeling better. Not 100% yet, I suspect the lung infection is still lurking inside but the antibiotics helped and maybe my immune system can sort out the rest, eventually.

While I was recuperating last weekend I decided to use the time to teach myself to make some classic but simple french dishes. Quiche Lorraine was on the menu. It's simple but I discovered the cooking limitations in my studio created obstacles to my efforts. For starters, the itsy oven proved a bit too small for the quiche pan so the oven wouldn't close well. This also resulted in the pan not being flat inside. Consequently the liquid ingredients collected in the lower half and left the other stuff like bacon behind. The pot of creme fraiche didn't have an indication of volume of quantity so I had no idea how much to put in. I will need to get some sort of liquid measure because measurements here are different to NZ.

Despite all that it was edible for two meals and I took the rest to work for my lunch but I was a tad disappointed it didn't turn out better. So, I have just bought a smaller pan for this weekend's experiment- Tarte a l'Oignon. I have made this before in NZ after Jerome taught me during his stay with me in 2008. This time I must cope with the limits of my kitchen so fingers crossed. Each time I try something new I learn a few words of vocabulary and I must research how to find the right ingredients in a french supermarket.

After visits again to the social security and the hospital I now have a temporary number and attestation and have until the end of February to pay 711 euros. Merde! I am now investigating yet more insurance in case the unthinkable happens (again) but it is very expensive. To do or not to do, that is the question. I suppose I must. Imagine if I was in hospital more than 4 days-horrors. I don't know how to get settled financially in France. Everything seems to be enormous outgoings and extremely modest incomings. Nothing stays the same-request to the universe-please change something for the better for me very soon.

On that note, I am still trying to get out there and meet people, searching for companionship, friends and hopefully expose myself to the love of my life. Well, so far I have met a few guys who are not interested in me even thought they enjoyed meeting me. Not sure what the issues were. Most of the time it's not my diet or my level of french. In fact, dear readers, I get by with my smattering of french fairly well, meeting them. I don't understand a lot of what they say but enough all the same to hold my own. It's a very good exercise for my language acquisition and confidence even if it is really hard.

I have now met Damien, a very pleasant and interesting man who treats me very well. He is gentlemanly enough to drive me all the way home to Cafeolait after a meeting- that's a long way from his home. Yesterday he picked me up from work and took me to a restaurant where we had a lovely chateaubriand steak (well-cooked for me) at a restaurant frequented by those of an artistic and political persuasion, celebs etc. We enjoyed ourselves scribbling all over the paper tablecloth. These tablecloths are often to be found in restaurants used by writers and artists. It was fun discussing lovely parts of France to visit, interesting vocabulary,and getting to know each other via a large piece of paper. We then drove to Paris, along the Champs Elysee, past the Tour Eiffel just as it was finishing its spectacular sparkle effect (must go back and see it again), around the back of the Arc de Triomphe, past the giant Christmas ferris wheel called La Grande Roue by the Place de la Concorde.

From there we eventually found a park and stopped into the bar at the 4-star luxury hotel Le Lotti for a hot drink and tiny sweet munchies. The Lotti is located near the Tuilleries Gardens in central Paris and was established by Mr Lotti and the Duke of Westminster in 1910. Paris has a completely different character at night. Night or day it is magical and I felt blessed to have someone nice (not an ex gangster) to show me around places I would never know about or get to on my own.

Next week I am likely to pop into Paris and help out with a group of folks wanting to improve their English- a good opportunity (volontary) to meet people and later in the week Damien is thinking of showing me Montmartre by night. How cool. Could things be turning a corner? I'll let you know after I get past a disagreeable experience scheduled for Tuesday. Having your private life tied to someone in authority at work is no way to feel settled but details will have to be limited.

If you'd like to visit the Lotti vicariously visit this site address and enjoy the groovy music at the same time.

7, rue de Castiglione. 75001 Paris (France)

Photos include my attempt at Quiche Lorraine (note the tidal effect),the ferris wheel and hotel Lotti.

1 comments: said...

Yay! That tablecloth thing sounds so cool. I hope things improve for you mum. Love you heaps xxx

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