Sunday, November 13, 2011


Everyday I would pass this Citroën 2CV on my way to school. I fell in love with it. I never saw it's owner but apparently he/she did appear occasionally and move the car because it was never in the same place. 
The bumper sticker translates; This is not a car........It's a lifestyle. 
 Like everything in France, nothing is simply what it is. It's all a part of a grand scheme that makes life in France so extremely sensuous.

All photos and text are property of The Gypsy Chef.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Learning French in France

When I arrived I truly had no idea what learning french would require. Don't ask me why, maybe I just didn't give it any thought.  My dream was to study the language in France. I didn't think much past that. My first day at the Cavilam included a test, it was deemed I spoke little if any french. Alors! I was assigned to a class with a terrific instructor. From the first day Souzic spoke nothing but french and insisted we speak in french also. As a class, we formed the United Nations.  Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Iraq, the Philippines and the USA were all accounted for in our merry group.
This Shot is from the first week. We roped an instructor in to take a shot, 10 cameras later he was glad to leave!
Leaving home for a month and studying a language is hard work. But it is also an adventure. I fell in love with France 34 years ago and this trip has intensified my love affair. The first 3 weeks I did nothing but study and practice. No matter what I learned there was still more to learn! I shopped at the marché, the Monoprix, tabac, boulangerie and also the patisserie! Every vendeur encouraged my french. 

I fell in love with the tarte citron, macaroons and chocolates at Cedric Iafati. Unfortunately it lies between the Cavilam and my home. Everything is divine at the patisserie. I spent nites studying for the next day. Little by little I began understanding what was being said to me.

My first week my friend Lynn of Autour Table d'Hote, Jardins des Thevenets was vacationing the first week. Which was a good thing, I was forced to use the french I was learning. 
I began to visit Janine and Marcel, Lynn's adopted parents. They had an unlimited supply of patience and spent evenings talking to me, correcting my french and my home work. But the best part was eating Janine's wonderful dinner. They have become my family here in Vichy.
With so much concentration I was just to exhausted to blog. Now that things are winding down I am going to try to record my adventure. You will have to excuse the pictures. I've been using my iphone to take snaps. I didn't bring my big camera, and I forgot the charger for my small one! C'est la vie! But it's not about the pics, it's about the experience. Which has been rich.
All photos and text are property of The Gypsy Chef.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Je suis fatigué, c'est le decalage horaire.


Monday's word was le decalage horaire or jet lag. I had only 4 hours sleep when I arrived at the Cavilam for my placement test. I could barely keep my eyes open to read the directions must less take the test. Luckily they didn't assume I was an imbecile and gave me a little slack. Could it be they are accustomed to this?
It was a busy day, new words, new friends and new abode and all in a new city. I was feeling like a fish out of water. By the end of the day, my mind was reeling and I was glad it was over. How I looked forward to bed. I thought 7 pm would find me asleep and dreaming. Alas at 7 I was wide awake! It took 2 hours before I could fall asleep. Nothing like conjugating french verbs to make one sleepy. I awoke at 0745 and had to return to school at 0845! I Was in such a rush I had time for only coffee. However, as luck has it, there is a wonderful Boulangerie next door to the school and at the break I enjoyed a croissant and a cafe creme!
This is the view from my studio. 
Bon journee!