I look French? I am French! (so I would say if I were French)

Who has to know I am Canadian?

I have been Frenching up my style lately, not that I actually know what French style is. I guess I won’t get the clear picture until I’m there. I am Frenching it up in my perceived vision of what that means. You know, very, feminine, modest, unique clothing pieces, a great item of jewelry to put the outfit together, high heels and a sprits of the amazing French perfume my BF’s mom brought me from France. A neat, rather than frizzy hairstyle, and a touch of light make-up. This really differs from my usual, quite casual style consisting of a pair of jeans and a top, a cute pair of flats, frizzy hair, and no make-up. I like to consider myself a naturalist in beauty which to me seems tres Canadian, but as I moving to France, why not go all out?

And when they ask me if I am French I develop a slight smirk on my face. I am way to honest to say I’m French. My usual response is, “No, I’m a full blown Canadian, but I am moving there shortly.” One day (hopefully) my answer will be “mais oui!”

Do I dislike being Canadian? Absolutely not. Nor does it mean anything to me to pretend to want to be French. I have absolutely no attachment to nationality whatsoever. I consider myself a global citizen and I like to try on the flavours of other cultures.

The benefit of trying on this French flavour is getting very excited for what France will actually present to me and I feel so confident and womanly in this new look! What is there not to love about it!

And note, the picture above is not me but an actual anonymous French girl I found on the world wide web.

My love is in Europe

I have not been writing much lately because there have been so many things running through my mind over the past 3 weeks. The main thing is that I am here, in Canada, and my FBF is in London, England.

I miss him so much. I was “getting comfortable” in a routine and a lifestyle over the past few months and I am surprised to find myself so sad.

I am, by nature, an extremely energetic person. I love doing things and trying things and learning things but the distance gave me a side-effect of no energy.

All that is changing my friends. It is changing along with my perspective and my attitude. My perspective and attitude changing does seem to be an ongoing theme with this blog, so far.

I had to take a step back and ask what I am doing. Am I really going to spend the entire rest of the summer in a semi-lethargic state waiting to see my love again? And will that, and only that, bring me the peace I want? NO. That is ridiculous!

The change in perspective really shifted yesterday when two important things happened:

  1. I bought some cute pajamas for France and I bought my “getting off the airplane” outfit. What is interesting is when I was shopping for the outfit, I saw a friend/acquaintance who works nearby me who also went through a long-distance relationship. She gave me neat tips about what to bring for after the flight, so I can look and feel awesome for my big reunion! My excitement went from a 5 to a brilliant 10 in a day!!! I AM SO EXCITED TO GO!!! YAAAAY! I CANNOT WAIT!!!!. Another helpful thing is not giving myself permission to wear the clothes until France. The best part of buying new clothes is wearing them, but since I decided not to wear them every time I look at them I picture myself in France!
  2. I got soooo angry at my FBF for absolutely stupidest thing ever! I really realized afterward that this attitude has got to change! NOW! I do not want to negatively affect those I love with my negativity any longer.

So once again, after a 3-week slip, I am miss positive, energetic, happy Laura!

When I bought those things yesterday, I realized that this is my first step in getting ready to physically move. I have the visa and that was a huge step in itself but now I have to get practical. I am going to be busy, busy, busy the next couple of months. And still, this busy-ness is going to be nothing compared to having to find a job and an apartment in France when I arrive!

The angry situation was almost like the “wake-up” to all the negativity I have been producing lately. If I am moving to a different country there are a few essential qualities I need to develop, NOW! These would be strength and confidence. I cannot just wallow around and expect it all to be handed to me in life. My life is my own, individually and I need to take every opportunity to develop myself. This is my opportunity!

I am sure with this new-found busy-ness (I really realized I have so much to do) I hope that the stress of not being together with the love of my life will kindly take a back seat. I am hoping that before I know it I will be with him again thinking “that wasn’t too long!”

I am surprised to find myself reacting so intensely to such minor things in my relationship and not showing that compassion that I felt I once showed. I am glad that I saw this early enough as 3 weeks and I am hoping that being busy will give me an understanding as to how busy (or more busy) my boyfriend is. I am hoping I think before I react and really appreciate the efforts we are both putting in rather than asking for more (a little selfish when there is nothing we can do about the distance right now).

So all in all a big change! I have a new, exciting perspective on the summer ahead of me and a new attitude and appreciation towards my boyfriend and our current long-distance relationship!

Au Revoir Stuff!

Happy Canada Day! Today I have a much-needed break from work so I decided to clean my apartment. The cleaning began with my room and then I realized the overwhelming task ahead of me and the cleaning ended with my room.

When I was cleaning my bedroom I decided to go through my stuff and pick out the things that I definitely want to get rid of before I go. I am sure I will have to do this a few times throughout the next couple of months. Everything that I will end up keeping will go into my parent’s basement until my return, or until forever. I did not pick out everything, just a few key things that I am sure I no longer want in my life. These things include old cameras (3) a huge stack of books that no longer interest me, some cheap jewelery that I could give to others, un-opened bottles of bath and beauty product, DVDs, and CDs.

Now that I have pulled out what I don’t, there is a new unwanted heap on my bedroom floor, exposed. After I completed the task, I look at the pile of unwanteds and thought “Shoot, now it is in the middle of my floor being unwanted rather than tucked away in some cosy space.” Oh well! I decided not to put it back in a closet or hidden space as that may cause me to never, ever get rid of the stuff. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.

Unless I have a super, itsy-bitsy yard sale (consisting of one table or so?) I won’t make any money off of this stuff so I am hoping that people (family and friends) will take what I do not want. The rest will have to go to charity.

With that said, there are definitely a few pieces in my unwanted heap (not physically in the heap but in the heap in my mind) that I can make money from. These include a perfectly good, working colour printer, an Toshiba LCD TV (DVDs included), an awesome, perfect condition acoustic guitar and a drum set. I have a few plans in mind for them. Kijiji and craigslist have been tried and tried again but I never have any takers. But I will try again, along with checking out how ebay works. My only wish is to sell these things to people who will really appreciate them. I have not yet told you the story about my new camera and how I ended up getting the best one possible for almost no money! (Tomorrow’s post, I promise). The man who sold me the camera only wanted to give it to someone who was so appreciative of it and I ended up buying it, as grateful as a person could possibly be! I do believe I have strong attachment to the guitar (16th birthday present) and the drumset (my first “big” purchase that I saved up for two years to buy off of babysitting money). But if I sell these items to someone who really will benefit, than their will be no attachment attached.

My goal for all this stuff: Gone by July 31st, and make money on the drums, guitar, TV and printer.

I am moving to France: The reality is setting in.

When I was in “obtaining visa” mode obtaining the visa is all I though about. I needed to obtain the visa, so as a result my thoughts were not as much on moving to France but on  collecting documents, saving money and learning French. Although I am still focusing on saving money and especially learning French, now that I have this work visa my thoughts have been changing.

Slowly, very slowly actually, the reality is setting in. The initial excitement came when I made the decision, but back then it was still a dream. Now it is not a dream and it is the reality and I am feeling a more dulled version of that excitement. Holy Moly! I really want to go do not get me wrong, it is just that sometimes I am a nervous freakazoid and the reality of the fear that I need to overcome in the next few months is what is causing that dulling effect.

These fears include:

  • The fear of flying
  • The fear of not having enough money
  • The fear of failing while I am there
  • The fear of not being accepted

Basically, when I review this list, these are basic fears a lot of human beings have to deal with.

What makes this situation a little perverse is that I am excited at the same time. And not just excited to go to France, but excited to overcome these fears before I go! I am excited because I am afraid. If you ever watch “How I Met Your Mother” you will know that the infamous character Barney likes to use the phrase “Challenge Accepted!” whenever someone makes a mere mention of a possibly impossible feat. When I look at that list above, I take on that same attitude: Challenge Accepted!

The only action plan so far is to chant and to avoid or brush off any comments suggesting I will fail, or any TV shoes (les emissions) that deal with crashing airplanes (When discover channel’s “Mayday” is on sometimes it seduces me in, but I will stay strong).

I am moving to France! Exciting!!!

Reading Up On France

In continuation with my previous post about reading books about France, I will give you my final review on the ones I read.

I already wrote about “France, A Love Story“. What a brilliant book! You really get the first hand accounts from everyday people (women in particular) and their personal experiences with the country. You have a lot of positive perspectives about the country and a couple negative reviews. It may not give you specifics about tourist locations, where to dine, how to get around, etc., but it does ignite these feelings and sparks in the pit of your belly and make you itch alllll over to get on a plane and get to France NOW! These woman describe the love, the food, the culture, the scenery, the emotions, and make you feel like you are in France.

Then there is Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast“. Criticize me if you must but I really did not enjoy this book. Although he is a nobel prize winner and one of the best writer’s of all time, I found this true account slow. I kept getting distracted, I believe what he was saying (as it’s a true account) but I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t feel the passion of France that I was expecting. Maybe, just maybe, my expectations were too high. This is also slightly a historical account because it takes place in the 1920s. I was never a history buff and therefore some things were slightly meaningless to me. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t finish.

The book I was most excited about was “France for Dummies“. I was just getting into it when the due date came up from the library. The library system has this amazing online feature where you can log on to your account and renew the hold for an extra 3 weeks. That is, if no one else has already placed a hold on the book, which in my case someone did! Oh well, the early bird catched the worm, so they say. From what I did read, it was informative. As in all the Dummies series books, it was all information and it was all useful. It compares to the other tourist books about France. It is also geared to tourists spending just a few weeks in the country, which I am not.

And for all the books I checked out of the library my favourite has to be “Les Petite Folies Du Jeudi“. This is a French children’s book. Kids’s books are very useful in learning basic grammar and vocabulary, and the story is so cute and entertaining. It has nothing to do with France, but as it is simple and I can understand it, it is getting me excited to start speaking l’amour full-time.

I really have to get on more books. My readers have suggested a few so I am sure I will have another book review shortly!

FL 6: Asking Questions

Here is some quick vocab before we begin:

Une Question = A question
Demander = To ask

There is no question about it, you will be asking questions in French if you intend to speak it or travel to a French place (like France). You will probably have to answer some questions as well. So here is a lesson on French questions.

Today I had another French lesson. I am learning French with a private tutor and now that my FBF is overseas I thought I would fill some of my spare time with some extra French lessons. I will not have 2 private lessons per week. In the first bunch of lessons I learned how to ask basic questions using “est-ce que” inserted into sentences (examples to follow). Now, as I am getting into more challenging topics, I am learning the art of inverted question asking (again, I will explain in a moment). These are two ways to ask questions but there is not only two ways to ask questions in French. There are three! The third way to to add a question mark at the end of a statement and raise your tone at the end of the sentence to imply a question. Following me so far?

Basic question asking words

Just as English had who, what, where, when, how and why questions, French does too.

Où = Where
Quoi = What
Qui = Who
Quand = When
Comment = How
Why = Pourquoi

Just structure the question with one of these words. It is easy!

  • Où est mon stylo?      Where is my pen?

“Est-ce que” Questions

One way to ask a question in French (probably the easiest way if you are just learning) is to insert “est-ce que” into a statement. Est-ce-que implies that you are asking a question and can be used whenever you ask a question.

  • Qu’est-ce que c’est?       What is this?
  • Est-ce que tu veux  à danser avec moi?        Do you want to dance with me?

Inverted Questions

The verb and the subject are inverted to form a question.

Example. Est-ce que tu as veux  à danser avec moi? ….”Est-ce que” is ommitted entirely and you are left with tu veux  à danser avec moi (You want to dance with me). To make this a sentence invert the subject (tu) and the verb (veux)…Veux-tu à danser avec moi?…Do you want to dance with me?

Adding a question mark at the end of the sentence…?

Just take a statement and add a question mark at the end of it. Use this with discretion.

  • C’est vrai?                It is true?
  • Nous mangerons à 8h?          We will eat at 8 o’clock?

This was just a quick lesson, gor a more in depth look at forming French question, here is a link!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to demandez!

 

 

I Got The Visa!!!!

I am following that title with, OF COURSE I DID!

Yes I had my doubts. Due to a many number of reasons I believed I would receive my visa on the same day as my appointment with the consulate in Toronto, which was Wednesday by the way. In my personal situation, this did not happen.

I arrived 10 minutes early as requested by the email sent out after I had booked the appointment on-line, confirming the appointment. I had to bring that piece of paper with me to show the security guard at the door. When I entered, I realized I was the only person there, along with the one consulate staff behind a counter (with a glass screen between us). I guess it makes sense to up the security at a consulate office.

Anyway, I didn’t wait a second, I was told just to go straight up to the counter. This was to be my appointment. Not in some big office sitting in front of a desk, as I had imagined, but in a much more procedural manner as if I was buying my ticket at the GO station.

She quickly scanned through the file folder with eons of documents and information within it, after I slipped it in a drawer that send it over to her side of the glass. This woman was nice. She was very, very professional but nice. I couldn’t get a smile out of her but that was ok because I myself was extremely nervous and the smiling wasn’t happening on my end too much either.

She looked at all the documentation then asked me, “When are you planning this trip for?” The tone she used sounded like something was wrong. Oh no! Did I do something wrong? Yes, I did! I had planned the trip to be two weeks shy of a year (50 weeks) instead of the whole 52 weeks or 365 days (side note that for some reason the insurance told me that a year had 366 days, maybe a leap year coming up?) What? I had not realized that I had to make the trip for exactly one year. She asked me if I wanted to change this and request the visa for the full year. Of course I said yes. She than took my picture, my fingerprints, and sent me home with a piece of paper. This paper told me to change the travel health insurance and the OHIP coverage. I did these two things the same day. It was so convenient that I was able to email these documents to them the same night. The paper also said it would take 10 days to process the visa and find out whether or not I was approved.

If there was anything I wanted, it was to obtain this visa before my boyfriend went back to Europe (he arrived there today) but I kept my hopes up anyway and new that waiting ten days was a treat compared to how long he was left waiting for his work permit that never ended up coming.

The next day they told me to come pick up my passport (which I left with them) or send someone else to pick it up with a letter of authorization from moi. I sent my boyfriend with $20 for transportation because I was working.

In the morning the consulate called to remind me to pick up the passport. I thanked the lady two or three times and as my usual enthusiastic self, I told her I would send someone.My boyfriend left to go to the consulate in the morning and later in the afternoon my boyfriend arrived at my work and said to me, -I have three good news for you. One is that I saved you money by walking instead of taking the subway, the second is that I have your passport, and the third is that I have your visa!

I was really expecting to have to wait ten days so when he told me this my heart almost stopped I was so excited! I proceeded to jump and yell all over the place. And now, I officially have my visa. And I got it before my awesome FBF went home! (I miss him)

So after this situation the most important thing I would like to bring up, stress and reiterate is that it is one person choosing whether or not your visa is approved or not. It is also your choice as to how you behave with that one person. Even when I went for the first time, and didn`t get a smile out of the lady and was told news that I didn`t want to hear, I was still friendly, polite and professional. I continued with that attitude on the phone and by email and by the end of it all I could hear the woman`s smile on our last phone call and now I will be going to live and work in France!

And I Continue This Blog

As you may or may not have noticed, I have not been posting. Mainly because of my recent lack of ability to concentrate and partly because of some extremely busy periods doing “life”.

Tomorrow is my appointment with the consulate. I didn’t realize how quickly this date would come upon me but it is here in less than 24 hours!! I am so nervous that I do not want to write too much about it until after the fact. All I can say is that I really hope I am approved.

On to another subject, I almost quit the blog. I had to ask my boyfriend yesterday his opinion on me leaving this blog. He told me not to give up to fast, and he is right. I need to at least give this a chance first. It is definitely not that I have writer’s block. I have plenty of very interesting topics to write about. I really just think the nerves that have been lingering within me lately have been feeding me a slow whisper of “You cannot do it, only bad things will happen, don’t even try, take a break, forget about it.” But writing today is bringing back the love I have.

And speaking of my boyfriend (Was I speaking of him?), he will be heading home to France this coming Saturday. I am sad. The work permit papers never ended up coming through and the wait was simply too long, he needs to obtain a job, and I understand. And more than understanding I support him and I am happy for him. The relief in his body I feel when I am with him is relieving for me too and finally he can see all his friends and family. The three months we will be apart will not be too bad. Of course I am going to miss him like crazy. I absolutely love being with him and spending time with him and not being with him for these few months will be an interesting change. And really awesome couples I know in my own life and in history have also had to take large, large amounts of time away from their other half and it is so encouraging. I cannot wait to see him in September, fresh, relaxed, renewed and ready to see Mon Homme with the attitude of “I did it! We did it! What a great reward being here in France with you!”

Ok, this is the post for today. Thanks for reading and next time I post, it will be with the grandest news ever!

Slacking on French Lessons

I am so excited to get my butt moving to France! I actually have trouble expressing my excitement in words. You know how when you attempt to explain to your partner how much you love them, and nothing you say really measures up to your feelings? Well, this is a similar kind of excitement.

I am going to France and I will obtain a job and hopefully meet a bunch of people. Speaking French is going to be a must, a total necessity. My problem would be that I am simply a beginner at French. Even worse, a French lesson slacker!

I know I must practice in order to reach the goals I have set out for myself. I must, I must, I must practice. I started my run well (run being the study of French). I practiced and studied every single day, I was consistent with the date and times of my lessons, I reviewed over and over again, read and looked up vocab like a mad woman. And now, the one hour lesson a week is all I put into this (although I do practice conversation an awful lot with FB).

If I had taken this slacker attitude with the financial aspect of getting this visa, I would have never been able to achieve that goal, but throughout that time period, I remained determined, knowing that all my efforts would pay off. And now that the plane ticket had been purchased and all is in place for the attainment of this visa, I need to take on that same attitude with the learning of this beautiful language.

Discipline it is! And not for any blind reasons such as thinking that I need to be disciplined because discipline in itself is a good quality. I do not necessarily agree with that. I do not believe discipline is necessary all the time. But I do believe that all dreams and goals are attainable, no matter how impossible they seem. And attaining these dreams and goals doesn’t simply come with expecting it to happen without any effort. Action is key. And the action I choose to take is the dedicated effort and discipline to set firmer, more concrete goals (like the monetary value of the money goal) and really make this a reality.

So here they are, my new French language goals. Necessary, if I want to be successful in France:

  • Become completely functional within 2 months of being in France (November 15). Becoming functional means speaking all the time and understanding others.
  • Dedicate at least one hour per day to some French activity. This can be reading, studying verbs, the lesson, watching TV, practicing conversational skills. It doesn’t matter what, it just has to be French.
  • DOING MY FRENCH HOMEWORK. I have never been good at doing homework. Throughout my life I have been more of the kind of student who slaps together a magnificent project in the last minutes. Would that style cut it for learning French? Not sure, but I am going to do the homework this time.
  • Post at least one French Language post per week. Yes I will!
  • Remember these goals!

You cannot become a runner by talking about running!

Until next time…