I haven't been much of a blogger these days, have I? Well, there's no real explanation except for maybe that I'm spending my blog time doing other things or that I haven't been all that inspired to write lately. Maybe it's winter in Paris. I just don't really like the cold. Or the gloom. And, there's been a lot of both around here lately. Talking to a girl in my phonetics class the other day, we decided that the reason why we feel like Paris is Russia right now is because we don't have a car in a relatively warm garage to walk to in the mornings. We have a metro station a 5-10 minute walk away from home as our destination at 7:45 AM, when it's recently been at or below freezing. It just ain't fun.
I'm still taking my classes at La Sorbonne, which are coming to an end rather soon now. We have two weeks off for the holidays and then only one week of class in January before our big exams start around the 15th. Scary! Progress is slowly being made, I think, but I still have those days when my voice and tongue completely fail to work in any language. I am, however, finding that practice does make perfect, and the more I try to speak, the more I progress. Novel concept, I know. I had to go to our wedding photographer's shop today and as confident as I was about speaking to her before I got there, I felt like I stumbled over every other word once I was faced with actually speaking. Thankfully, she's incredibly sweet and patient (and hardworking, too - I heard her tell someone she'd be there on Saturday despite having family in town), so she indulged my choppy sentence structure with a smile and never once patronized me with corrections or funny looks. She also remembered my name right away, and reminded me how much she "adored" our wedding portraits. I remember when she was showing us the pictures for the first time, she kept remarking at how much the camera and light loved us. Flattery makes for good customers, I suppose, but she always seems sincere.
Besides my unceasing French lessons, we've been having quite the busy social lives of late. It seems that every weekend we've got things planned and even during the week, I find it necessary to check my calendar to be sure we're not "double booking" things. It's kind of strange. I think it's the upcoming holidays that have us so busy; since Thanksgiving and up until we head to the States for the holidays, it's a whirlwind of cocktails, friends, dinners and fêtes. Last weekend was completely filled with enjoying American food and drinks with new friends. We were celebrating the 200th episode of the Katia & Kyliemac podcast, which is frankly, quite a genius broadcast that these two creative geniuses host twice a week. (By the way, if you haven't checked it out and you're interested in expat life in France, you should give it a download.) They've got an amazing following of listeners who turned out from near and far to check out a live broadcasting of the historic episode, and we got to meet some really fantastic people and indulge in some really delicious fare in the process. Lucky us.
I've also (since last week) picked up a new hobby, which has been keeping me busy and often confused. It's knitting. My friend, Aimee has a beautiful tea salon in the 13th arrondissement of Paris where she hosts a weekly knitting group. She's a knitter (an amazing one, actually), and she offered to teach me and another friend to knit during the meet-up last week, and she did just that! I remember knitting and crocheting when I was younger - my grandma was always an inspiration for my creative side and she showed me once how to do it, but I didn't keep up with it as a hobby. Over the past couple of years, I've wanted to get more seriously into knitting - I've bought needles, yarn and a couple of books, and all I was lacking was a knowledgeable and patient teacher. Well, thank goodness that's exactly who Aimee is, and in between serving tea and soup, she gave me the introductory skill-set I needed to get started on my first project - a scarf. Since then I've been working almost daily on the piece, but every few rows I run into some kind of stitch-glitch and have to "frog," as they say, most of the work I've already completed. Still, it's been a rewarding and really fun hobby so far, and there's still so much I have to learn.
These next couple of weeks (THIRTEEN days!) are going to be pretty busy while we prepare for our trip to the US (and Gui's first American Christmas), but I plan on finding some time to blog. Christmas shopping is underway, and braving the cold is getting tougher and tougher for me. I just can't do it. All I can think of as I walk from my class to the metro is "home, heater, coffee; home, heater, coffee." We're trying to do some of our shopping online this year, though. Since we'll be arriving in Texas so late on the 23rd, we have to get most, if not all, of our gifts in Paris, which I'm not so happy about; besides having to brave frigid Paris temps, that also means that we'll be buying in euros and not dollars. I'm just hoping that the malls and Target will be open on Christmas Eve long enough for us to pick up any last-minute goodies. I seriously cannot wait!