Though Christmas and New Years seems like ages ago, it took me by surprise how much I settled into vacation mode by sleeping in some mornings until 10:00am which is really unheard of for me. Maxime took almost 3 weeks off so it was really nice to have company during the day. We had a lovely tree which I efficiently took down at 1:00pm on Christmas Day. I am sure people who saw it on the street thought: What a scrooge! But it was quite big for my tastes and it was starting to droop. The French have these crazy trees that don’t require water. They come in a wood block but no tree stand required! It did start to droop by Christmas which is another reason for my hurried removal. Paris has also had its first snow of the year. It was really lovely for the first day but then got dirty and slushy. But we hunkered down for the weekend and enjoyed the quiet of the city and snow.
I have also been cooking up a storm here in France. I have been obsessed with the EAT NAKED cookbook. Now that I have many of the spices, I have been creating curried lentils, Moroccan chicken, beef stir fry with coconut milk, tempeh chili, noodle-less lasagna, homemade stock (vegetable, chicken and beef). It’s been fun navigating the spice section at the grocery store and learning new names:
Also with the New Year comes my new French school bureaucracy. Last year I was going to the Alliance Française but the OFII (L’Office Français de L’Immigration de L’Integration who pays for my classes) ended their contract with them. So, I went to the new school, Coallia, for a written and oral test in January. During my time at the Alliance, I took the DELF test for level A1 which I passed to show for my VISA renewal. But when I got to Coallia, they said my test results were not valid to show that I could move to level A2 (even though I’m not quite ready). They actually said it should go in the poubelle (trash) and that I have to pay 85€ and take the test through them. I immediately called the Alliance and they said that my test results were valid and that I should come down and talk to them between the hours of 10:30-12:00 or 1:30-3:30. Now I’m in the gray zone and not sure what will happen next except I will receive a registration from Coallis before February 5th (when their next classes start) with the French class they deem appropriate for my level. I had no choice in time, day or number of classes per week. This confirms the age-old adage: you get what you pay for.