Monday, July 30, 2012

Samedi a Columbus

Lionel and I spent Saturday up in Columbus visiting friends and family and enjoying the nice weather.  We grabbed lunch with my aunt and uncle at North Market which is an indoor market that sells specialty foods, meats, cheeses and has food stalls selling Vietnamese,  Thai, Indian, Mediterranean and other international dishes. Afterwards we walked around downtown Columbus and checked out some of the improvements they've made in the city center over the past few years.

Downtown Columbus

giant chess in the Commons, a new park where the City Center Mall used to stand

My aunt, uncle and Lionel in the Commons

Lionel at the little outdoor market they had Saturday in front of North Market

a fountain in the Commons

Downtown Columbus and the "Scioto Mile," a new walkway along the river, as seen from a bridge

Next we went to visit our friends Lindsay and Tom who just had a beautiful baby girl two weeks ago. We had a nice visit and got to meet their adorable daughter and spend the afternoon catching up and relaxing with them.

Finally we headed off to meet our friends Lauren and Jeremy at this little whole in the wall authentic Mexican restaurant and taqueria (called Cuco's Taqueria) where we had amazing tacos, delicious margaritas and great conversation.  Lauren was my roommate in college and I don't get to see her as often as I would like because they have an adorable 4 year old daughter who keeps them quite busy so it was nice to have a chance to catch up!

pepper shaped salsa bowl at the taqueria

When dinner was over we hopped back in the car for the 2 hour ride home after a long but wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quatorze Juillet

In celebration of le 14 juillet (or as us Americans like to call it, Bastille Day) we invited a few friends over and I made a kinda Frenchie feast along with plenty of good (though expensive) French wine.  I really wanted to do something for Lionel because he's having a very hard time adjusting to the US and he's really missing France.  In fact we both are.!

So what delicious French foods graced our table and acted as a bit of an introduction to la gastronomie francaise for our friends?

the poulet basquaise

Well to start we had some little aperitifs/entrees, fig and olive tapenade and savory palmiers.  Then came the main course, poulet basquaise and finally I made an Americanized dessert of bleu, blanc,  rouge cake which would normally be red, white and blue cake for the 4th but hey, the colors worked, it was pretty easy and I am certainly no pastry chef!

some photos of the bleu, blanc, rouge gateau, not very pretty but as I said, I'm not a pastry chef!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Le boulot

Once again I'm back from a long hiatus and I'm really going to try to post more regularly now.  It has just been so busy that I've been having a really hard time finding the time to post much.  But things seem to be calming down now so I'm hoping to have a bit more time to dedicate to this blog and to catching up on all the blogs I like to read!

I figured it was about time I posted some details about the job I started in April.  I can't believe it's already been three months!  Without going too much into particulars I am working for a hotel management company.  The company not only manages hotels but also sells timeshares in the Caribbean.

I'm not exactly sure what title you would give my position, but I work in the timeshare department as the go-to French speaker.  About half of the timeshare owners are native French speakers, and until April they didn't have anyone at the home office in the US who could speak any French to assist the Frenchies with all of their questions, especially when it came to the financial aspect of timeshare ownership.  Basically I am in charge of all written and oral communication in French, translations, customer service, etc. as well as French and English collections.  I know, collections sounds horrible, trying to get money from angry and dissatisfied customers, but it really isn't too bad.  Besides, most of my time is taken up with the French aspect of my position, which is definitely more interesting for me and much more of a challenge as prior to this experience I rarely used French in a very professional setting since I was an English teacher and all.  I find the challenge of writing and translating professional, well-worded and thoughtful correspondence in French to explain financial concerns and calm the angry or dissatisfied customer to be the most interesting part of my job in fact.  I have always loved translation because I see it as a language puzzle that requires a great deal of logical thinking and reflection to solve it...just my kind of thing!

So overall I am happy with the job and I'm really thrilled to have found something that allows me to use my French, especially since that's what I went to school for.  And I really enjoy proving all those people wrong who always said that I couldn't do anything with a French degree besides become a teacher!

However, while overall I like the job for the moment, there are definitely some things I'm less than thrilled with.  Most of which would have been the case with any job in the US because it's just the absolutely ridiculous way things are done here, but a few are job/company specific.

In general you could say that for the moment I am professionally content, and definitely much happier professionally than I was in France.  And in the end, at the very least, this is a good learning opportunity, a great chance to build my confidence in my French language skills, and a good experience to help me professionally down the road, whether that be in the US or France!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

For all the Americans out there, have a Happy Fourth of July!  I for one will be enjoying the day off, though we don't really have much planned for Lionel's first 4th of July in America.  But at the very least I want to head out to see some fireworks tonight and maybe take in a free concert as well!

Hope everyone else enjoys their day!