Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bien joué: Raclette

Cheese. Oh hells yeah.

Ode à Raclette (that's right, enter REALLY BAD POEM at your own risk):

Lactose intolerance, beware-
To defeat you I dare
Armed with naught but some wine and a smile

Bubble, boil, but pas de trouble
Melt au pot, and then, on the double
Add your creamy kick to my ham and 'shroom pile

Friends and songs abound 'round la table
And the digestif of sorbet topped with vodka
Cuts the fat with most welcome French style

That's right. Gimme my raclette, and nobody gets hurt.

La Reine Soleil was in Paris for a visit, and invited me to a cheesy fondue party with her hilarious group of friends. Thank the goddess, because it was one of the funnest nights of my life! And most delicious. And most Frenchy - my last all-in-French dinner party! I'm not sure I'll ever stop being shy about speaking French, but looking back on my first weeks in Paris and how tongue-tied I was, I'm slightly amazed I can stumble my way through slang-filled conversations about religion, politics and wine. It's too bad the trains stop running so early, because that party could have lasted a good 12 more hours. As it happened, a few of the guys at the party lived only a few minutes from me, so we were able to rush together to catch the last metro.

On the train ride home the lovely mecs commented that they had to get up really early the next day for work, and asked if I had to as well. It was then that I taught the Frenchies a very important word en anglais: bum.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Waiter, I'll take the apple strudel with mushrooms, please

kK's Random Thoughts: Things I Meant To Write About At The Time And Never Did ... Until Now

On a fine (also read: FUCKING COLD) Paris night quite a while back, Squash, Buckeye and AAAH (not only an acronym for African American Art History, but also an attestation of 'aaahhhh she's so hot') and I mange-ed at a lovely salon de thé, where the veggie soup was warm, the vanilla tea was pure soul balm, and we very nearly missed the English-menu offering of an apple strudel. With mushrooms.

Oh yes, you heard me right: Apple strudel with mushrooms. And it was not a joke! I teased the waiter that it was a prank they played on Americans, since this dessert entry was missing from the French version of the menu. He assured us that it was no laughing matter (even though he could barely get a word in edgewise between my maniacal cackles) and brought us a slice on the house.

Delicious? Well, I guess it was interesting. Born Again Mikey decided it wasn't quite an *EPIC FAIL*, just kinda *WTF...woulda been better with raisins*... and moved on to more palatable mouthfuls of sugary espresso.

A few weeks later, just as a random side note, I rode my first Velib', and realized that there was a good reason I hadn't been on a bike since my last one burned up in an explosion (long story) about 8 years ago.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my biiiiiiiike

Miraculously, my bike riding skillz held up even through the Parisian roundabouts. Thank the goddess there's no action photos of my white knuckles and bug-covered teeth.

That night Madame made tea and we sat down for my first viewing of Bridges of Madison County. Clint Eastwood doesn't sound quite the same as a breathy, trying-to-make-my-voice-low-and-manly-like-the-real-Clint-Eastwood Frenchy, but hey, I understood an entire movie en français! woohoo!

And then, in the wee sma's* of another surreal Parisian day, I returned to my formerly-known-as-nutella-glass full of cognac and ruminated on the foregone conclusion that tonight the wine wins out over the shower. Again.


*Before you scream out PANDA SAYS NO, think on this: It should read "wee small hours" and thus the apostrophe replaces the "ll hour." Plus it just looks better with an apostrophe, and you might not even know what the hell I'm talking about if I just said "wee smas."  Gotta keep it real for my plebes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spanish 101

So I have discovered how much fun it is to relive childhood moments with real life youngsters. Like an out-of-body experience, I have watched myself actually enjoy reruns of Sesame Street (who knew Feist could teach fuzzy monsters to COUNT TO FOUR so melodically!), get upset when the Hercules disc was too scratched to play on the dvd player, and gulp Nesquik chocolate milk while singing The Climb with Hannah Montana and admiring Billy Ray's new haircut. (I still vomit in my mouth a little when I hear the words "Jonas" and "Brothers" anywhere near the same sentence, however. Actually, a lot. All over the desert island to which I banish them.)

After posting an ad for private tutoring at the American Church, I got a call from a Spanish family for Wednesday night 2-hour sessions with their 8- and 10-year old children. I was a little hesitant at first because, well, me and kiddies...erm, not so much. But hey, I'll try anything (almost) once, and if they turned out to be little terrors, I consoled myself that I just wouldn't go back.

But to my surprise, they were actually really well-behaved and smart! I helped them with their homework and, when there wasn't enough work to fill the hour, we'd dance around in plastic Asterix helmets and sing songs from High School Musical. (I know, I KNOW! Number 3 IS the best one, I totally agree!)

The first time I babysat and ate dinner with the kiddies I was interrupted from my stuffing-my-face reverie with a little 8-year-old-boy squeak: "Pleeze to 'elp wis fud?" as he made cutting motions in the air with his knife and fork. OMG! After picking my jaw up off the floor and looking around to see if he might not be talking to someone else, I, feeling exceptionally awkward, cut up SOMEONE ELSE'S chicken cutlet into bite-sized pieces. And didn't eat them myself.

And one night around Christmastime we settled in to watch Rudolph the the Red-Nosed Reindeer, yes, that Christmas special from the '60s hosted by Burl Ives the Snowman. I hadn't seen it in a reeeeeeally long time, so I was really excited when I stumbled upon a European dvd player-friendly disc at the library a few hours before I was due at their house to babysit. A few minutes into it, though, I began to fear it was too old-looking and weird for this new generation, but as soon as the first song started, Jaime started bopping his little feet and Blanca even tried to sing along with the lyrics as the subtitles popped up in time with the music.

Yay, old fuzzy Rudolph animé wins over another batch of kiddies!

Anyway, they found my camera one night and took a lot of really incomprehensible, fuzzy photos of I-don't-even-know-what objects, but here's one where we actually all came out looking like human beings, which is kinda sad because that means my photography skills are only slightly better than a 10-year-old kid:

Movie night!

And thus endeth kK's adventures in babysitting. Maybe they'll come visit me in America. The parents are really anxious for them to learn English and they all think I'm super sweet and mature. Haha yar, if those kids come over here I'll take them to all my usual shady hangouts, you know, the library, the local cemetery, dangerous places like that.