29 November 2011

Marky Mark

"We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can 'show off' and astonish people when we get home."

- Mark Twain

27 November 2011


la Sagrada Familia para Gaudí
A charming apartment and park

 A lot of our adventures in the gorgeously temperate Barcelona were stumbled upon on our long walks through the almost confusing streets. By the middle of the first day, we might've been champs ... reading maps like the best of them.

We came across a pretty cathedral, as to the right

Here we have some of the Gaudí buildings, a strange architect that might just be a man after my own heart with his flamboyant glasswork and silly shapes. 

 No photo and travel trip to Barcelona is complete without some Spanish men arguing on the street.

Las Ramblas is the large street filled with tourist traps and men with weird bird calling whistles. It's lined with tempting shopping and bad food and leads to the sea. Walking it is a must, although I can't say it was the most enjoyable part of the trip. But hey! we did it.

I might've food my food heaven: Mercat La Boqueria. A tunnel of the freshest seafood (that lobster below is still alive), hanging meat, veggies and fruits. Artisanal chocolate, samples and chaos. I wish I could spent all day and all my money there. Instead I settled for breaded mussels and free Catalan treats.

24 November 2011


"Respiration. Concentration. Rénovation"

It's been a whirlwind week of a thought-provoking clown show (see quote above), a chinese-take-out Thanksgiving, loving family, amazing friends (new and old), school work, questionnaires, coffee, goofiness, champagne and now a bus ride to Barcelona.

I have a bundle to be thankful for.

20 November 2011

The Holy Pope and His Wine

Sur le Pont d'Avignon
Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse, l'on y danse
Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse, tous en ronde

Le "Pont d'Avignon" isn't actually called le Pont d'Avignon. It's something like The Herder's Bridge. And it's not functional anymore. And no one ever danced on it. It's still pretty pretty.

What little of Avignon I saw I was confused by. It was pretty but not in the jaw dropping whimsical way. It seemed to be a very serious city with a strange mix of modern and ancient.

16 November 2011

Red Hot Roasted Red Peppers-in-a-Soup

As inspired by Sarah J.

Far too many red peppers (like 6 - 7)
Garlic clove
Small onion
3 Dried hot peppers (or to taste)
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano, basil

Roast the peppers by setting them straight on the burner. Any hot surface works really, just wait for them to get nice and blackened. In a medium saucepan sauté garlic and onion in olive oil on medium heat until golden. Add spices. Add bouillon and fill the pan halfway with water. Once all the peppers are all blackened, slice 'em up and add them to the soup. Add the sliced hot peppers. After a good 20 minutes of simmering add the milk (about 1 cup) and simmer just a bit longer. Pulverize and spice to taste.

Enjoy with bread and goat cheese (per usual).

14 November 2011

A List of Sunday Things

1. It's sunny, ride your bike to the beach!
2. Stumble upon an outdoor art exhibit.
3. Jump in the cold Mediterranean "à la Française".
4. Bike to a monastery to repent for jumping in the cold Mediterranean "à la Française".
5. Have no regrets about jumping in the cold Mediterranean "à la Française".
6. Bike back.
7. Take a hot shower
8. Confess your 'like' for someone.
9. Go to the Subways concert.
10. Be a rock and roll queen.
11. Jump and get bruised by mosh-pitters.
12. Rest up for your presentation about social conformity and marginality in sociology class tomorrow.

13 November 2011

How to Talk Someone Down

Miss Sarah is afraid of heights. This is how you get her down in the ancient Arles coliseum.

72 AD to Van Gogh to One Fine Day

Every wood surface is painted a bright color: red, mustard yellow, forest green, aubergine. The sunlight sometimes peaked out of the clouds. Birds picturesquely snuck into my photos and yes, the city was vivid. Van Gogh was right in painting the streets with blocky splashes of color, the light can't seem to reflect any other way in the small town of Arles.

11 November 2011

Look at that f*ckin' ...

Only in France do you see a young hipster reading the newspaper at a basement hip hop concert.

06 November 2011

Red Alert

This weekend Montpellier was on red alert due to non-stop rain and 100 km/h (62 mph) winds.
Solution? Why sit around, eat, drink tea and talk, of course.

Crazy rain, cheese lady continues
Contrary to commonsense, Saturday I dragged my friends to the market (because they have become my ultimate addiction here). Walking there was manageable, a little sprinkle here and gust there; nothing threatening. Halfway through picking up my discount vegetables (three huge bowls of eggplant, avocados and bell peppers for 5 euro, by the way) the clouds opened their flood gates. And when I say flood gates I mean sheets and sheets of pelleted water. Bullet sized rain. We thought we could wait it out. Twenty minutes later it hadn't let up. So we braved it. We got to the center of town (Place de la Comèdie) and completely drenched, we decided to duck back into a café. A leisure coffee and torte later, we thought we might be ready for more.

At the movie theater
I have never been so soaked in my life. Not even when I had swimming lessons in Holland where I had to tread water fully clothed for two minutes. The streets were about knee high in water. Rivers were pouring out of drainage pipes and there wasn't any end in sight. Our coats, our shoes, our clothes underneath our coats: dripping sopping wet. The trams stopped and the only thing left to do was to sit inside, make a delicious meal (thanks Sarah) and listen to music from our middle school days. Sometimes taking it easy is just what the doctor ordered. This time the doctor prescribed it by way of red alert rain.

05 November 2011

Poisson, n'importe quoi

I found some fish on sale. I bought some dried lentils for next to nothing. This whole meal probably only cost me 1,50 euro.

any type of fish
unflavored tomato sauce
basil, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil

First you've got to cook the lentils. I had about a kilo (and plenty of reserves, now). I put them in water with salt and pepper and let them boil for about 20 minutes. Once they are tender, drain 'em and add a splash of olive oil, parsley and basil.

Then sauté up the carrots and onion with olive oil and all the spices. Once they're crunchy and browned, slide to the side. In the same pan, plop the filet of fish and quickly brown both sides. Turn down the heat and fill the sauté pan with the tomato sauce. Re-add the carrots and onions with some olive oil. Let simmer a bit. Add more spices. Then add the lentils. Not including cooking the lentils, the whole process should only take about 15-20 minutes.

Bon appétit!

03 November 2011

Dear French Bureaucracy,

Stop crushing my dreams. All I want is to peel potatoes and smell like onions and garlic while I do an internship at a restaurant. Is it so difficult to let me do this without filling out 20 papers and consulting the French national insurance system? Just think of the trees you're saving by simply letting me work nights and weekends behind a cutting board for little pay! I'll do you justice; make an awesome French onion soup and maybe even perfect coq au vin! I know you have a place and you are trying to help as many people as you can but, French Bureaucracy, sometimes I think you're here just to tell your citizens no. I've been offered an awesome opportunity to work in a French restaurant (!!!) and you're really cramping my style.
Sincerely from your American friend,

02 November 2011

Lemme Tell You About...


They do it all wrong here. Everyone half dresses up and there aren't enough decorations. I do believe we did it right: jack-o-lantern, decorated food and sloppy pictures.

However, it was so bad we were inspired to write a song about it.