Wednesday, 26 November 2014

White twin claw footed bath tub

The room was bathed in light, almost blinding in its whiteness. Sisters M and M were lying down, each in white dresses, each in her own claw footed bath tub, side by side, facing each other. Waiting, keeping each other company.

Then M gave a small shriek as her water broke...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Groggy soft leaden stuffed doll

My head feels heavy and I have trouble opening my eyes. My head's silent command rings somewhere just above my eyes but they cannot execute the order properly. 

I feel downright groggy. 

Someone calls me from outside the door. All I can mange is a rough grunt. I feel like a stuffed doll, a soft toy slouched high on the bed. Not quite sitting, not quite lying. I struggle to pull up the duvet over my soft leaden body. They come up black. 

That's weird. My duvets are always white. 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Coffee place: Verde Nero

This is my new favourite café in Bordeaux. I am in love with their special espresso.

In whichever city I live in, I like to have that one place I frequent more than the others, while still constantly discovering new food places. In Paris, I used to love taking all of my friends to Café Watt, whose nutella espresso was such a delight, every time. During my last visit to Paris I returned there with another friend. It was weird to be back. Especially since nothing had changed! 

This weekend I think I have found my Bordeaux place. It's here, Verde Nero. Verde Nero is a tea place, a coffee place, a sweet cakes and tarts place... It's everything, but without being too much. It's more spacious than you would think from the street, you keep going in and finding seats and couches and tables. There are so many different drinks on offer on the menu. 

So far, it's not that different from another Bordeaux tea and coffee place I like very much, in the St Pierre area. 

But Verde Nero stands out further in that they offer classes so you can learn a bit more about what you are drinking, or what they are serving. There aren't many cafés in Bordeaux at all, yet, where you can order special pour overs or latte arts. Then, near the tables there are many power points, so it is an ideal place to bring your laptop without worrying about its battery power. Plus, it's open seven days a week.

Most of all, Verde Nero has Nougatine espresso. As soon as I saw it, I knew I must try it. Nougatine espresso is very sweet, and comes accompanied by - what else? - a small piece of nougat, which I love. I ended staying at my table long after my coffee was finished, and had two pieces of homemade pear chocolate tarts home to share with my housemate.

Definitely will be coming back soon.

24 rue des Ayres
33000 Bordeaux

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Travel Tip: Business trips


You may be one of those lucky people whose work sends them on paid trips, sometimes even overseas.

While glamorous sounding, work trips are for work, so more often than not you don't actually get to see much. 

Here is a tip from a frequent flying businessman I know: 
Ask for leave a few days after the business trip period
This way, with your assignment over, you get to visit the place at your own leisure, take time to enjoy the local food and culture.

My last business trip had been to Sydney, Australia. Where has your work taken you?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Wet weather, indoor exercises


..It has been pouring in Bordeaux, torrential as ever. This (the photo above) seems like a distant dream. Will I ever get to try my new bike?

Due to an aching back - which seems to worsen with the wet weather - I've been to see a physio this week. The massage seemed to have helped, but then not so much because I've been dancing a lot this weekend. African dance followed by salsa dancing. 

Foolish, perhaps?

I really need some exercise back in my life, though. Having promised to run around Paris with a friend soon, who is preparing for a semi marathon next year, even more so!

What exercises do you at home, indoors? I'm loving the squats right now.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Orphans' Christmas

I am often an orphan during Christmas season. 

I can't remember the last time I spent Christmas with my own, biological, family. It's not because I am an ungrateful daughter who would prefer to spend the holiday with others, on the contrary. It's not because Christmas isn't celebrated in our little family with Asian roots. In fact, as practising Christians (which most French people here find unusual, I must say), we always attend mass on Christmas eve. 

No, it's just because I, or my family, often find ourselves on opposite sides of the world. 

Last year, while I lived in Melbourne, Australia, I visited my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, to spend time with my parents. Alas, literally one day before my arrival, we received sad news from our extended family back in Korea. Mum and Dad hurried over to be with her siblings, but I unfortunately couldn't join them. My younger sister was working on the ski slopes of Canada at the time, so I got to spend Christmas with childhood friends and their families. It was still wonderful of course, stuffing ourselves with festive foods and games and laughter. 

The year before, I was working in Seoul, Korea. I lived with my grandmother, but she decided she wanted to spend Christmas in LA, USA, with Uncle E's family. It's warmer, and we have more family there than in Korea, so fair enough. I spent the white winter Christmas with friends who came to visit from New Zealand, luckily for me. 

This year? I am in France, and my parents in New Zealand. 

I wasn't sure where I'd be, or with whom. A Kiwi friend was planning to visit me, but the plan got cancelled. Boohoo. Perhaps I'll spend it around the fireplace of a good friend's, just outside of Bordeaux? Perhaps I'll join a French friend in Paris? Or my housemate's family? Hmm, should I go on a solo trip overseas, instead? Then, I got invited to join my French family to go to Turkey with them.

Turkey!!

Such an usual place for Christmas, but I am very excited. The only Turkish word I know is Merhaba, from my favourite bartender in Auckland. He has already sent me a list of things to do and see and eat and drink.

Hopefully I will be with my real family, celebrating Christmas with them, next year. Perhaps we will welcome an orphan of our own, then. But being an orphan isn't so bad, as long as you aren't alone, that's the main thing.

Already counting down until Christmas ;)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Let's learn French: Bénévole ou Volontaire

There are two words for a 'volunteer' in French: un bénévole ou volontaire.

What is the difference between the two?

A bénévole is a volunteer who offers his time outside of his normal job, often part time. He could be anyone, a student or a professional. He is normally unpaid, and receive minimum legal protections for his services.

volontaire is a volunteer who offers her specific professional expertise for a certain period of time, often for an organisation and often paid for her work.
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