Saturday, June 22, 2013

French food or Chinese food - Vacation in France - IX

Holy cow, I am 10 days behind!  There is no way I can really keep my diary as a daily activities record!  So, here is the glance for the last week day activities.

June 10, 2013.  Monday

We all had only about 5 hours sleep.  A cup of coffee later, Rousset took us to train station and we hopped in without breakfast.  The kids were amazingly resilient, they didn't make any fuss and went to school happily after lunch.  A mini vacation cost them missing half day school in the morning, although we got in town at 8:15 am.

June 11, 2013.  Tuesday

Another school day for the kids.  I sent to le Marche in the morning with the grandma and got myself a pair of shoes, a zipper for Niuniu's sideman jacket and few other items for lunch.  Then I spent the rest of the day to sew the zipper BY HAND - that's the biggest accomplishment today and while sewing, which seemed to be a perfect thing to do while other people sitting around chatting in a language that I cannot grasp.  After lunch, the Grandma prepared 3 big bouquets of flowers for Zhuzhu, Niuniu, and Leone to bring to their school teachers for no reason.  The flowers are home-grown and beautiful.  I was a bit of a surprised but apparently it's normal that little kids bring flowers to teachers randomly without any specific reasons.  Ha, this never happened to me when I was teaching!

June 12, 2013.  Wednesday

School is off, Fabrice and I had our morning run and then we took the kids to have a lunch that lasted until dinner time at Emma's house.  The menu is shown in the following photos.  Our brother-in-law chef who has become a manager in a great restaurant a while ago does not take his job lightly - the items in the following photo are served in a single meal.  Starting from 12 pm, we had our aperitif drinks, which was accompanied by salmon and tuna based snacks, and a pink wine for adults and grenadine or organ juice for kids.  At about 1 pm, salad was presented, it is the regular amount of food that I would eat at work for lunch - look at the thickness of the dried pork and the size of the foie gras, you will have to eat 3 oz of baguette with them, right?  And that appetizer plate goes well with the white wine shown in the tiny photo insert.  So, should we stop here now?  I had no room for any additional food.  But no, the main entree was not even served yet.  After a short break, a new set of plates were presented.  We tomato pork wrapped with turkey breast as a main dish, which was served with 2 pieces baked cheese-potato and baked creamy vegetable.  The main entree goes along with 3 kinds of red wine.  The 2006 one was our gift to the chef/manager.  I surprised myself by finishing all the meat on the plate and then I announced that I won't touch anything else, regardless.  Well, I did not touch the cheese yet could not resist the dessert plater?  No, I guessed it.  Not only had one cup of each, freshly cut fruit mix, home-made cream brûlée with a cherry on the top, and samoule au lait with a raspberry on the top.  Thank god the cups are not gigantic.  After that, I fell in asleep in a big sofa in the living room.  But guess what I saw when I woke up from my nap about 1 hour later?  The kids were happily digging in the large container which was full of freshly fried beignes!

My god, this meal alone requires me to run 10 laps of the lake in town!!! - I have only done only 6 so far for the whole duration of our vacationing!

We concluded a day of food fest with a swimming pool fun in the olympic sized pool.

June 13, 2013.  Thursday

A school day.

June 14, 2013.  Friday.

I went for a run of 50 min in the morning and 1000 meter swimming in the afternoon.  Yay to me!

After the school, the Grandma took the kids to do some shopping without the parents.  Zhuzhu insists that she needs a bikini as her new swimming suit just as what cousin Leone has.  I explained to her that a bikini is not for swimming.  But Grandma could not say no to her precious granddaughter.  The Daddy explains to his tiger wife that the Grandma sees Zhuzhu only once a year at the best, so it would be wise for her to keep the mouth shut.  Guess what happened when a tiger listened to a rat?  Zhuzhu came back home with a white dress and 2 tight-pants, and 8 little colorful bracelets in addition to a set of hello kitty bikini.  And Niuniu who meant to go shopping only for accompanying his sister to enjoy the fun got a pair of spiderman swimming shorts that were tighter than a pair of underwear and a set of sporty clothes!  The daddy did not have any objections.  I am totally shocked by how wasteful the French can be, the boy has 3 sets of swimming trunks and the 3 new sets of soccer uniforms that he received when he arrived France!  On the top of everything, all the clothes they got are either for age of 3 or 5, which is one size smaller than their ages.  In France, all the clothes are already made smaller than what the Americans do in the U.S..  These new ones would only be useful for exactly one time use!

"Here in France,"  the Daddy said, "we swim with real swimming gears and we wear clothes that fit."
Well, we are in France, we do what the French do.

June 15, 2013.  Saturday

In the morning, we went to the Marche in Town for a handbag.  I don't use handbags in my regular researcher life, therefore, there is no point to spend big bucks for a known brand named ones.  Somehow it always seems much more practical to have a handbag when I am in France so that I can carry camera, wallet, cell phone, folded shopping bags, and my glasses, of course.  I have been using my mother-in-law's handbag since I got here this time and fell in love with it.  Her bag has 3 major compartments with 3 top zippers and 2 smaller compartments with smaller zippers and finally 2 additional divided compartments for cell phone and wallet.  It was perfect for my "organizational need" and easy to reach.  So I decided to "chercher" myself one just like hers, because I have never seen people carry such well-designed hand bags in the U.S..  For only 30 euros, I got a fashionable and well-designed handbag.  Great deal!
Speaking of Le Marche, you know about the Farmers' Markets in the U.S., well, in France, they call it Marche, where you buy things from real people.  We love to go Marche in France mainly for local food, but sometimes we can get good stuff, such as the handbag, shoes, and cloths.  Our town has Marche on Tuesday and Saturday mornings only.  But in China, we have it everyday and we go Marche at least twice a day for super fresh vegetable and meats.  

On the top of sharing their love for shopping at le Marche,
the French even live a life as we Chinese do.  They go to local bakers in the early morning to "checher" fresh baguettes or/and croissants for breakfast, then go supermarket or the local Marche to "chercher" fresh vegetables and even more fresh baguettes for lunch and dinner.  Often later in the day, they again go get fresh baguettes, processed meats as appetizers.  Similarly, we Chinese eat our breakfast on the streets for freshly made Baozi, Mantou, Doujian, and Youtiao.  Chinese of my generation don't care too much about lunch, so we often eat quick and simply, either the leftover from the night before or a bowl of rice noodle soup on street restaurants.  Dinner is the most important meal and a regular family of 4 usually will prepare little banquet of 4 dishes and 1 soup (四菜一汤/Sìcàiyītāng).  Look at what I have to give up in all these years in order to living in "the land of free"!

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