Sunday, October 31, 2004


In downtown Kehl they have these crazy chicken statues. All of them are painted differently, and they say each local store gets a chicken to paint!

I'm going to Kehl you

We went to Kehl, Germany yesterday. Most items are significantly less expensive in Germany than in France. And since Amy got paid we decided to go shopping. The bus only got as far as the France side of the Rhine and then stopped telling us it couldn't go any farther due to some demonstration. So we walked. As we were walking across the river we noticed several International and German police milling about. Just over the river at what must have been an old border check point there were all kinds of police standing around and blocking traffic. There were also several demonstrators of some kind holding colorful signs and a few men with gigantic cameras who must have been the press. We never did find out what the heck it was all about.

In Kehl we took a wrong turn and wound up following one of the main highways instead of turning down a side street and into the shopping areas of downtown. We got hungry so we stopped at a McDonalds for lunch. It was about as awful as the American version. Humorously though, an outside window of McDonalds advertised that it had a bar and had the silhouette of naked ladies usually seen on trucker mud flaps! Fascinating!

Last night we went to the pub with Laura, her parents, and Damien. Damien and Laura are fellow teachers of English with Amy. They were talking about the lessons they did using the letters written by the Brittish to undecided Ohio voters, and the subsequent flack from those letters. If you haven't heard about it click here. Anyway, Laura and Damien both had their students write similar letters as writing practice. To their horror some of the students actually mailed the letters! If the Ohioians got that mad over Brits writing them can you imagine what they'll do when they get similar letters from the French!?! And these are English students so their vocabulary is limited and their grammar even worse!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

No Vote

We were unable to get the absentee ballot for the US elections. I talked to someone at our local registration board and she didn't have a clue as to how absentee ballots work. She transferred us to the specialist but all we ever got was voicemail. We could have downloaded the application online, but we would have to go to an internet cafe to print it, and then find somewhere to print it. Timewise we would have had to overnight the application and ultimately the ballot. In the end we just got busy/lazy and didn't get things done.

This morning Amy was supposed to be at her class by 8 am. She set the alarm for around 7. It went off and I remember hitting the snooze button and rolling back over. Either it went off again and I simply turned it off instead of snoozing or when I snoozed I accidently hit the button to turn it off. Either way, it did not go off again and I awoke at about 7:40 to realize Amy was still in bed. Poor girl had to rush around and fly out the door to make it. Luckily we live about 5 minutes away from school so she wasn't too bad off.

It is another rainy, dreary day out there today. All in all the fall has not been as bad as I suspected. We've had several spouts of sunshine and warm weather. This is always followed by several days of drizzling rain, but hey at least we've had some sun. The winter, I am afraid, will be miserable.

We are tentatiely planning a ski trip in the Alps. Prices are quite expensive but if I can get the AIMers to come then individually the price won't be too bad. We cannot actually go to the Swiss part of the Alps because our Croatian friend does not have a proper Visa. Croatia is not part of the Euopean Union and to get a Visa for a country that is part of the Union is quite difficult. Now that he is in France (part of the Union) as a visitor it is not wise for him to leave the Union (Switzerland) and try to come back in. So we are looking at maybe hitting the mountans in Germany. Amy has never gone skiing before, and I am psyched about her learning in the Alps, even if she is not.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Absence

A lot has happened in the last few days and I have been too busy, or too lazy to blog them. So, I will try to remember it all.

A couple of days ago Amy and I rode the tram to get her work permit. On the way, just before our stop we saw this old lady start to cross the tram tracks. The tram driver blew his whistle to let her know that crossing was not a good idea. All we could see was the ladies face, which was full of fright and then she disappeared from view. At the same time the tram slammed on it's breaks. A couple of people close to the door frantically beat on it to get it open while the driver hurried out of his seat. We thought this lady was surely ran over! When we got out of the tram the lady was laying a few feet from the tracks on the sidewalk obviously dazed. As it turned out she was not hit by the tram, but had been so frightened she slipped, fell and banged her head into a lamp post. Oddy enough, just before that awful sight I had been was standing in the front of the tram watching the driver and noticing how often people jump out in front of the tram to cross. Sometimes they fake a jump across only to stop, realizing it is too risky. I had just thought was a stressful job that must be to never know when someone is going to get hit. Then bam, someone almost does get nailed!

We went to the modern art museum a couple of days ago. In Strasbourg, museums are not free to attend. So we bought a pass that will get us into every museum in the city (there are several) for a year. It makes me feel high class to have a museum card. It is a very nice museum, and very "modern" arty. There were several exhibits that were absolutely hilarious. A table with rope and tools on it! Ooh, here's a trash can with authentic trash! Now that is art! Some of it was very cool and beautiful, some of it was just bizarre.

My friend Jamison has solicited me to take pictures for the French class in the high school where he works. It has been quite fun wandering around the city looking for cultural things that would be interesting for a high school class. One thing specifically asked for were scenes involving high school age children in daily life. That proved quite difficult since I do not actually know any people that age and they tend to not like foreign males, carrying digital cameras peeping into the public schools!

Last night we went to see some zombie movies at the local art house. We were supposed to see Return of the Living Dead and the original Romero version of Dawn of the Dead. The first film also had a short zombie film from Portugal. Then we found out that the print they had of Return of the Living Dead was Return of the Living Dead Part II. The man putting the zombie fest on, started to get the DVD version Part I, but decided he didn't have the rights to show it so we just watched part II. Now the original Return of the Living Dead is a very gorey, cheesy 80's zombie flick, and the sequel is about two steps below that! It was dubbed in French with no subtitles so I couldn't understand a word, but I really didn't need to! That one was shown in the basement of the theatre on a rather small screen, but Dawn of the Dead was shown in their main theatre which is a gorgeous old theatre with big red curtains and a balcony like the old theatres! It was quite cool, even if three zombie movies in one night is way too much.

Today we went to church in Germany. So the entire service was in German and then translated into French. Two languages and I still couldn't understand it! The Germans were very nice and most of them actually spoke English so we were able to visit a good while.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bad Wednesday

Today was a bad day. Amy and I bickered all day. It started when she wanted me to go with her to the outdoor market at Place Broglie. She was very excited about it. It is a very ecclectic market with lots of fresh vegetables, meat, fruit and an odd assortment of clothes, knick knacks and toy guns. Frankly I found it a bit dull and must have showed my boredom because Amy got upset that I wasn't as excited as she was about it. My reaction, "it's just vegetables, what am I going to get excited about?" Then we spend the rest of the day snapping at each other.

We later went to the bank to set up our internet usage so we can pay our bills. For some reasons the French don't really use checks to pay their bills. Everything is set up on automatic payments from one bank account to the other. Our land lady, for example, gave us her bank information so that we could pay rent. I mean she GAVE us a piece of paper with her routing and account number on it. Who in their right mind would do that in America? But that's the way things are done here. So anyway we want to go online each month and be able to pay rent and other bills. Daniel had told us to do it that way because the other option is that the bank sets it up for you and takes the money out on a specific day. The problem with this option is that they charge more to do this and that if you don't have the money on that specific moment you are gonna get nailed. And the French system of being payed is a little slower and more sporadic than the states. So after a long trip to "our" branch of the bank Amy had to sit and argue with the teller about being able to set it up like we wanted. The teller called two other people and the end result was that we couldn't do it via the internet when we want, but had to have them set it up for a monthly withdrawl.

The kicker for today was that we received the customs form for some books that Amy's folks sent us. The books were in two boxes in a bag and were very important. They contained books and study notes that Amy needs to take her PhD exams, which she has to take in January. They are, in affect, her academic life. Now what we received in the mail is the customs form which should have been attached to the bag containing the books. It is a form containing the address of the sender and the receiver and declares what is in the package and its estimated worth. It was not connected to the books, nor was there a letter from the post office declaring they had our books. So we asked the concierge if she had the boxes. She did not. We went to the post office who looked at us like we were crazy handing just a customs form over. They searched the back frantically and found no such boxes. They did copy the form and said they would research it. The form does not contain any tracking number that we might use to locate our books. Amy's folks are on vacation at the moment so they could not tell us if they had any type of receipt that might help.

My hope is that the bag, or the boxes also had our address, her folks address, anybody's address on them and this might bring them to someone who can at least contact us. I assume they made it to France and that the customs form got dislodged somewhere in this country. That assumption is based on a French postal worker not being able to read the English to understand what the heck it was. He/she would just see our address and send it on its marry way. If so then surely the boxes will eventually make its way here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

You Get What You Need

Making a mix tape for our pumpkin carving party in a couple of weeks. Listening to some Rolling Stones at the moment which is where the subject comes from.

We went to my French tutor (Anne) and her husband's (Mohammad) apartment tonight to watch some of the Presidential and Vice Presedential debates. It was quite funny because she was very explicit in saying that we would only have chips and cokes and not an actual meal. So Amy and I rushed back from the store to fix us some supper before we left. After about 30 minutes Anne retreated to the kitchen to make us some sandwiches and then about 30 minutes after that Mohammed made us some ice cream floats. We are so stuffed now! The debates were, um, interesting. I had read most of the Presidential debate transcripts online so I knew most of the rhetoric, but it was a much different thing to see them say it. My favorite non political moment was in the opening of the Vice Presidential debate when John Edwards was introduced and he flashed that million dollar smile of his. We rewound and played it over several times busting out laughing each time.

Unfortunately I believe Amy and I have missed the deadline to vote this election. We talked to a lady in our Indiana countee about the Absentee Ballot, but she was pretty clueless and gave me the number to the specialist in that area. I have only been able to get voicemail for her. It is a short time span between now and the elections and they have to mail us the ballot and it has to be back by noon election day. We have been trying to find a way to get the ballots through the mail in the time span alloted, but I think we are not going to be able to. We can fax the applications, but cannot locate a place to print the request from the internet and fax the request in France.

My blogs are getting a little less frequent these days. I guess that just shows that we have really settled in and I have gotten a routine going. There is a lot less things to do now that we have settled besides the regular things that have already been discussed. I did add some more pictures of the folks from church. So anyone interested in putting some faces to the names I have wrote about may now check do so at my webshots site.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Amy making a face overlooking Petite France. And a reminder to visit my Webshotsphotos. I just added over thirty pictures

Petite France

Amy and I went to Petite France today. It is one of the older and more beautiful districts in Strasbourg. It used to be the tanner district, but now it is basically a tourist trap. There are tons of shops and restraunts there, all of which are way over priced. However it is also very beautiful. It runs right along one of the canals and the buildings look like old Europe. They all have German and French trim and those crazy high oblong roofs. And every window has flowers in them. It was funny because it is called Petite France and yet nearly everyone there was German as were many of the shops.

The French language is killing me. The other two boys in my class pick things up really quickly and have sharp memories. Where as the old man that I am take forever to grasp the simplest concepts and can't remember them after 5 minutes. Amy says she will help me practice, but we have yet to work out a schedule. Oh well, I suppose I will learn a little here and there.

Did I mention there is dog crap everywhere? The French love their dogs, and even though the law is they have to scoop the poop, they seem to refuse to. They try to be relatively kind and have the dogs go near trees or at least the edge of a curb, but sometimes its right smack in the middle of the sidewalk. yuck!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Boring Days

A couple of long, boring days I've had. Which is really great! I thought I would get bored of having nothing to do, but so far I love it. Maybe I'm just lazy at heart.

We're going to Germany this weekend. A lot of products are cheaper there and I am jonesing to have some blank cds.

We finally have a shower curtain and rod! A friend of ours and my French teacher had told us she was going to get one for us, and just never did until yesterday. you have no idea what it is like to take a bath everyday. I would just sit and think about all the germs floating in the water.

Amy has actually been teaching this week. It's not too bad of a load, but she's been pretty busy getting everything prepared.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Dominique Pinon. Amy and I went to see the director and stars (Jean Pierre Jeunet, pinon, and Audrey Tautou) talk about their new movie (a long engagement) and their old movies together (Amelie w/all of them, Alien 4, City of Lost Children without Audrey). The lighting was terrible for my pictures but I liked this one mainly because I really like the actor and he was just as funny in person.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Me

Scruffy

I've decided to be bohemian and grow my hair out and a beard. It's day two of the beard and about a week since my last hair cut, so we'll see how long it lasts.

A stranger knocked on my door yesterday. He was well dressed in a suit and tie and he had a name tag on from some place of business. He spoke only French and Amy wasn't here so I did my best to figure out what he wanted. I could really only get out that I didn't speak French and that I was American. He said something about the telephone and I'm not sure if he thought it needed repair or was saying I had phoned him about something or if he just wanted to use the phone. He went away after I said no to whatever he wanted with the phone. Very strange though.

Amy and I bought groceries today. It took us two trips because we needed a lot and there is only so much we can carry without a car. We felt weird going to the same shop so we went to two seperate stores. Actually technically it was the same store, ATAC, but two different locations.

Yesterday, I was really early to my French lesson so I stopped on a bridge over a canal and watched the water flow for several minutes. While I was waiting a lady passed by pushing another lady in a wheel chair. A couple of minutes later I started heading to my lesson. Just over the bridge and down a little path I suddenly saw the handicapped ladies bum in all its glory! She was being held up by the lady who was pushing her, having just finnished what must have been a potty break! There they were strugling to get the ladies pants back up. Ahhhh! I've seen little boys and drunks relieving themselves in the city but never this. A naked bum is not exaclty what I had imagined myself viewing as I walked through the city that day.
Some Tuesday Flowers for You

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Star Wars, Gonna See Star Wars

Went shopping today for basic odds and ends. I pretty much have to go shopping with Amy anymore because we don't have a car so I have to help carry the goods. This totally stinks because 1.) I hate shopping as a general rule 2.) I hate shopping with Amy especially. I hate shopping with Amy because 1.) We argue like cats and dogs and 2.) she loves to shop. Even though we make out a list of things to buy, Amy still goes down every aisle and looks at everything declaring its something she really wants to have. When I tell her she really doesn't need it she gets made at me and if I concede to letting her have it she will stare at every conceivable type for hours trying to decide on which one to get. She went to get envelopes and sat their for several minutes trying to decide on which ones to get. There was one box of a hundred for 1 Euro, while the rest of the boxes were at least 1.5 Euros and above. I figured this out in about 20 seconds while she still sat and pondered which box was best. Now these envelopes weren't for real mailing we just wanted some to put various papers and budgeted cash into around the house, so style and size mattered not. When I asked why she didn't just grab that one she was pondering whether she would actually need 100 of them. That's the stuff that drives me crazy. I'm like its the cheapest, who cares if we don't need them all. She's the type of girl who has to read the back label of everything. Which can definitely be good in ways, and then times like the envelopes it drives me nuts.

This evening we went to Jill and Pamela's house. They cooked meatless spaghetti and then the girls made these fake stain glass window hangings while I watched Empire Strikes Back on VHS. I so have to get it on DVD. I just drool every time we go to Auschaun and I see the box.

On the way back from Jill and Pams while waiting for the tram we ran into the most interesting people. Two teenage boys were sitting on the bench drinking Jack Daniels. But the interesting ones were a group of three goth looking chicks. They had the long black clothes, the dyed hair, the pale skin the whole goth thing going for them. Two of them were sitting on each others laps kissing each other. Not to the point of making out, but frequent enought to get a good stare from me. To which Amy said let's move to the other side of the station. The really interesting part is when they got on the tram. One of the goth lesbians decided to sit upon these little poles that standing tram riders use to hold onto. It has this curved handle part that apparently is wide enough to make a seat. Then she sat in a real seat only to whip out not one, but two hamsters and place them on the handles. Practically the entire tram is watching these girls and their hamsters including a tram inspector. The inspector came over and told the girls to move to the back of the tram, not because of the hamsters but because they had a bike and bikes go to the last car of the tram. Guess where me and Amy were? So we got lesbian goth chicks with hamsters up close and personal. They did have the decency to ask Amy if she minded, and I got to wonder where these girls came from and where the heck they were going.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Useless

Yesterday I went with Amy to the Ostwald Marie and then to our branch of the bank.

The Strasbourg officials sent Amy to the Ostwald officials when we first tried to get her Residence permit because she was living in ostwald at the time. Now that we have moved to Strasbourg we went back to Ostwald to tell them and to find out what we needed to do. It was funny because the secretary called the clerk in charge of approving the permit and he was like "oh I'm just looking at the application this very second." Which of course he wasn't but it was somewhere on his desk along with a big stack of others. So Amy has made an appointment for next week to talk to the clerk and figure out what she needs to do.

Then we went to our bank. Like I mentioned in an earlier post we recently asked a local branch when our bank cards/checks had been mailed and found out that they hadn't been ordered. Well the reason for that is our accounts have not been finalized. Banks here are not like American banks where if you have some cash you can open any account you want. Here we started the process a few weeks ago. We have been able to deposit and withdraw any money we wanted but we hadn't been officially approved yet. Some officer actually looks at the account checks references with other banks in town (who are more than willing to spill the beans on any bad accounts) and then make a decision whether they will keep your money or not. So yesterday we signed the final papers and ordered our checks. Oh, and it still costs us 7 Euros a month to keep our money there. Oh, and you have to have a bank account because employers will only pay you by direct deposit here, they don't give out checks.

Anyway the subject for today is how I felt through all of that. I am taking private French lessons and though I can say a few things and have learned a lot of verbs, nounts, adjectives and the like it is still a far cry from understanding normal conversation. So when we go to these places I sit and smile and have not a clue as to what anyone is saying. I am basically useless through the whole thing until I have to sign my name somewhere.

I met Jean Claude on the street yesterday. I was coming back from taking some pictures of flowers in Place Kleber and nearly ran into him. He is a member of the church here and speaks about as much English as I do French. It was quite an experience having a conversation. He said the few words he knows in English and I said the few French words I know and we used a whole lot of hand gestures. It was relly kind of fun. One of my goals here is to be able to have a real conversation with the French speakers here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bathrooms

In most places the French seperate their toilettes from their bathrooms. Our apartment is an exception but that is only because its so small. Normally they will have a very small room with just a toilet, and then another room with a bathtub and sink. Which I suppose is very helpful when someone is taking a bath and you have really got to go. It would also be nice to not have a toothbrush right next to where you potty. However, I always get grossed out walking from the toilet to the sink with dirty hands. I try not to think about the door knobs.

Walking in the Rain

Today at about 12:30 Amy called Daniel to ask something and we found out he was heading to the bank to finanlize several of the AIMers accounts and wanted to know if we would like to do the same. Once again slow French systems, we've had an account for more tha two weeks, have deposited and withdrawn several times, but its not a finalized account yet. Doing this will also get out bank card as well. Anyway that means I have to go to that particular branch because thats where I starting opening the account. This is about a 45 minute trek via tram and bus so I have to quickly throw shirt, socks and shoes on and run out the door. Amy gives me quick instructions which is two bus stops past the stop we take to Daniels. So I take the tram to the bus to two stops past Daniels. Guess what? There isn't a bank anywhere. On the bus I noticed a branch of our bank one stop before Daniels. So I walked a half mile or so to their. It was closed and Daniel was definitely not there. Then I decide that maybe it was farther on the other side of the first place I stopped. So walk another mile or so down the road to no avail. Did I mention it was cold and raining? And I didn't bring my umbrella. So by this point I am soaked to the bone, have no idea where the bank is and am terribly late. I get out my map and a letter from the bank with their address and realize that branch is in Illkirch while i am in Otswald. I find the right street but it is long and I am in no mood to walk up and down it so I walk to Daniels. Tammy treats me to some hot tea and gives me a towel and dry shirt. Eventually she drives me to the bank where I am told the lady I need to see is all booked up for the day so I make an appointment for tomorrow.

Four hours and all I get out of it is an appointment to come back. But now I get to make Amy feel guilty since she told me the wrong stop and guilt her into being nice to me for the evening!

Another weird French thing I thought of is that they don't do AM and PM everything is on military time. So after noon I have to do the math in my head when I look at any clock but my watch.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Pictures

http://community.webshots.com/user/brewinfrance

I have uploaded some of my pictures there. Keep coming back because I plan to post more as I take them.

Some more thoughts

I thought of some other differences. Banks are more security prone. You can usually walk into an entry way, and then you have to press a button to open another door, here you walk into a small space before you get to another door. That door will not open until the door you just walked into is completely shut. So for a moment you are stuck in a little phone booth sized space. Once the one door is shut the other door will either automatically open or in some place the teller has to press a button to let you in.

The roads are definitely different. I think I have mentioned before that they are very small and twist and turn everywhere. A good example is right out my apartment window. The road below is actually about three lanes wide. However one lane is designated as a parking are and it is always full. That should leave two lanes for traffic except that the lane on the other side of the road is very often filled with parked cars as well. I mean really its a lane of traffic, yet people have no problem pulling over and parking their. So this leaves one lane to drive on. Well my particular section of road curves a bit into a slight "U" shape. Which makes visibility a little difficult. So traffic will often nearly run into itself before one car has to back up a bit and pull over between two illegally parked cars to let the other car pass.

People park like that all the time though. Just today at the grocery store there was a line of cars parked parallel and then when the spots ran out people just parked beside that line of cars so that the first group would not be able to get out. Then on my way home a lady stopped her car in the middle of another street so she could run into a store and buy something.

The road signs confuse the heck out of me. They are all little minus signs and triangles and diagnal lines. Sometimes the main road has the right of way sometimes the road intersecting with the main road has the right of way. sometimes the right of way just arbitrarily changes.

A couple of other things I have done of late. I had lunch in Place Kleber which is this gian town square kind of thing right next to Homme de Fare (Literally man of iron) which is where all the trams intersect with each other. Anyway I'm having my sandwich and watching all of the people walk by when this gypsy beggar walk up to the group of women sitting across from me. The gypsy puts her cup out for handouts and gets nothing so she walks to the group next to me and again gets nothing. She then walk to me and I just shake my head no. The gypsy goes away quietly. About five minutes later, however, she comes back to the first group this time more agressively. I don't know what the heck she said but is was pretty forceful and lasted awhile. Finally she gave up and moved to the next group. They tried to ignore her, but she went up to one girl and tapped her on the shoulder and again talked very forcefully and demanded money. They repeatedly said no and she came over to me. She said something and pointed to a sign of which all I could understand was Merci (thank you) but it must have said some other begging things. I again gave her a firm head shake no and ignored her.

Last night we went to an American friendly pub. The English department where Amy works was meeting with a bunch of English students so they could practice their English. It was very funny because I got in a heated discussion with two frenchmen, and a very Brittish collegue of Amys over US politics. None of it was anti american or hateful, but it was very lively and quite fun.

Bread and Cheese

Like the man in Pulp Fiction says, we've got all the same stuff here as you do in the US but its the little differences that make it unique. Also like Pulp Fiction I have seen the french drown their french fries in mayonaise.

The french love their bread. You can find regular loaves of break in the grocery store, but no one buys them except for children. If you want a sandwich you buy a baguette. If you look hard enough you can buy a baguette in the states, but you have to look. For the uneducated in breads, a baguette is a very long thin piece of french bread. It looks like the bread you get a Subway sandwich on, but usually longer. The funny thing about it is that it pretty much dries out in one day, so you have to buy them every day. Luckily you can find a boulangerie on just about every corner. Those are little bread shops that sell all types of baguettes and lots of breaded pastries and things like doughnuts. Its such an odd thing for an American to see. Literally there are these little bread shops everywhere. But that's the French, they want their baguette and maybe a little dessert all the time. Then there are the patisseries which are just dessert shops. They have some of the same things as the boulangerie but their desserts are much more intricate.

To complete my subject the french are mad about cheese as well. In a typical American grocery store you will find a small section of cheese. Usually about 4 different types in bricks, sliced and shredded. Here the cheese takes us an entire aisle in most places. They have all kinds of cheeses I have never heard of but am bound to try.

Some other little differences...In the city you don't speak to anyone on the street or acknowledge them in any way. In the states I would often make eye contact with someone walking down the road and say hello or nod my head or smile. Here that doesn't happen. Yet when you go to a store you have to start the conversation with "bonjour" or "bonsoir" (good day, good night) and when you leave you say "avoir" or "bonjournee" or "bonsoiree" (basically goodbye) It is considered highly rude if you do not.

Cashiers at grocery stores or big wal-mart kind of stores all have comfortable chairs. No standing all day on your feet like in the states.

Their aren't bills smaller than a 5. Anything smaller is a coin. So you build a lot of change quickly and its not just like nickels and dimes it could be a 2 Euro or 1 Euro piece.

Alright I tire for now...

I'm back

We finally got an internet connection. We actually signed up 2 weeks ago and even got the modem and software about a week ago, but we've had to wait on the phone company to push the button to get us the DSL connection. so every day Amy and I have tried to sign on with complete dissapointment until today.

Unfortunately I did not keep a manual journal of my adventures so I will have to go from memory, which is routinely bad.

The apartment is pretty nice. It is quite small. There is one main room which is slightly bigger than an average apartments living room. We bought a click clack which is like a nice futon, so it doubles as a couch and bed. We have a coffee table, a nightstand and a desk in it. All of which is not cramped at all. Then there is a very small kitchen. It holds a sink, 2 cabinets, a little pantry, a dorm fridge and a giant toaster oven. We also have a full bath. It has taken a little getting used to since we were used to a nice two bedroom house. It is inexpensive for its location in france. We are in the heart of downtown Strasbourg, and only a 5 minute walk from Amy's school.

I have taken some pictures which I will post in the next day or two.

I am still thoroughly enjoying France. We live in North France in a part known as Alsace. From what I hear it is a very different part of France than like Paris and South France. There is a lot of German influence since its so close to the border. Plus Strasbourg is "the capital of Europe" and holds the Parliment for the European Union. So there are lots of different cultures here. So it is nothing to here French, German, English and other languages while walking around. There are quite a few Jews and Asians living here as well, and a rather large Muslim population.

I am a little sheltered. The majority of the church speaks English and there are several Americans as well. Also Amys department is English so all of them speak my language as well. So it is very much not an immersion into French culture. I think that has made my time here a much better experience.

Yesterday was a good day. I had to go to French class in Ilkirch (a suburb of Strasbourg) and Amy had other things to do. So I navigated my way by myself there and back. I even stopped by Auschaun (sp?) which is like a wal-mart on my way back. Its such a simple thing, and a trip I have made many times with Amy, but it felt empowering to do it on my own! It's like I am a child in many ways because of the cultural and language differences, so all the little steps are a big deal. Even buying a loaf of bread was huge for me today.

I think I will stop here and write another blog in a minute to break them up a little.