30 January 2012

Le Mafia et Le Makroud

This is where the Lebanese Montpellier Mafia operates. It's a small corner store equipped with vegetables and fruits. It's next to a hip bar where I've spent a few nights dancing.

Before knowing this, I bought my clementines from the jolly round man quite often. He even offered unknowing-me a job (which was probably prostitution/drug smuggling). We even talked American politics. Well, he more like talked vicariously through me to Obama about his anti-semitic plans for Congress.

And yes; yes this does all occur in my favorite neighborhood, Figuerolles.

Figuerolles is considered 'the rough part of town'. It's bustling with mostly North African and Arabic immigrants, bazaars stuffed with canned and fresh goods and real life. Highly concentrated with attractive student-aged-peoples, Montpellier misses that 'vie quotidienne' or sense of daily life. Figuerolles has become my remedy for grounding; trekking out there reminds me of truth and that the world isn't a perfect sphere. I love searching through the veggies, barely understanding the market conductors in their accented French and dodging dangerous driving.

I also love these puppies, a Makroud Figue. An all-too-sweet pastry imported from Maghreb. I've found my favorite little shop where they know me as the American and we talk about the differences between here and there. 

Figuerolles has been necessary for when I forget what life's about. It puts me back in the real world. I'm lucky to have this rundown and vibrant quartier.

26 January 2012


Bonjour les Hôtes de WWOOF,

Je m'appelle Rebecca Asser. J'ai 20 ans et en ce moment je suis
étudiante étrangère à Montpellier III. J'étudie la sociologie et le
français. Je suis tombée amoureuse avec la mode de vie et le
paysage français et voudrais bien allonger mon séjour en explorant et
travaillant un endroit spectaculaire de Nord.
La possibilité d'être un petit morceau de votre vie colorée serait
quelque chose qui peut m'intéresser. J'avais toujours aimé la cuisine,
faire du sport et musique et la vie simple. Ce sera la première fois
que je ferai un aventure comme celui-ci. Mais, il y a que le temps
présent pour apprendre, essayer et faire! Je finirai mes cours le 15 mai
et j'ai la fin de juillet prévu comme départ. Serait-il une place
chez vous?
Comme WWOOFeuse, le travail serait quoi? Avez vous des vélos
disponible? Et l'internet?
Merci bien et à bientôt?
Rebecca Asser

22 January 2012

Luigi, why are you the bee's knees in a jelly jar?

Under the stresses of life it is easy to forget how lucky you are. There are so many church steps to be sat on, so many lovely people to share bad jokes with and classy Prohibition man drinks to try.

Bee's Knees
2 oz whiskey
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz honey

credit : all photos taken by Sarah Varca

17 January 2012

A Circle of Misunderstandings Only to Understand

Once we understand that we don't understand we understand that we'll never understand and then, and only then, can we understand that the misunderstanding is the fire that can help us let go and feel free from the pressures of having to understand. Because in the end, we understand the misunderstandings in our own way and realize there's nothing to understand anyways. It just is; and it is all a big misunderstanding.

14 January 2012

Whole Fish : A Recipe for Precision

I went to the market and compulsively bought whole fish (skin, head, eyeballs, fins, etc). They were slimy and stinky and was temporarily repulsed.
Sid and Roberta

1 whole white fish
some broccoli
some carrots
some onion
some garlic
those translucent Asian noodles
some sesame seeds
about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Put olive oil in a pan and add the whole fish with salt and pepper. Once the inside looks pretty cooked (it was a guessing game), flip it over. Take out of the skillet and replace with all your veggies, the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and Tabasco (to desired spice-level). Then warm up water in a pot and let the noodles sit for about 3-5 minutes. Take the fish off the bone by kind of wiggling the tail with the head down over a plate and re-add to veggies. *make sure to keep the skin. Once the veggies are a desired crispiness, remove and use the oil to fry up the noodles like a pancake. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Layer as desired.

And then Sid and Roberta were quite the enjoyable meal.

11 January 2012

IV. A. B. C. Les Montagnes me manquent

Goose and I went to Grenoble for a little mountain excursion. Crisp air, hot cocoa and a bonsai trip to the top shattered my sea-level lungs. However, I couldn't help but be enchanted by the peaks of the Alps. The sky was so clear. So clear you felt you could trace exactly where the autumn leaves turned into powdery white snow.

Of course we lounged at café's

My new New Year's Resolution : get me to them mountains and hike.

*All photos taken by : Annalise O'Toole

09 January 2012

VI. E. Le boucle d'oreille

Went to the beach on Sunday with friends. 
Made me some shell earrings : a little souvenir from the Mediterranean Sea 

Picasso would be proud

06 January 2012

A Resumé of Winter Break, Part II

I. Be Reunited with the lovely Goose at the McDonald's in Barcelona Sants
A. Imagine worst scenario possible : Goose is in the middle of nowhere and we'll never see each other again
B. See her, jump up too quickly
C. Get massive bruise

II. Explore Barcelona
A. Parc Guël

III. Paris for New's Years
A. Champs-Elysées Mayhem : Fancy Outfits
B. Drinking coffee and tea for 20
i. La Durée macarons
C. Philosophic talks in La Madeleine
D. So much walking...

IV. Grenoble
A. Climb to the top of the Bastille A.Q.A.P.
B. Mountains!

V. Jump on the wrong train; detour in Avignon
A. The dirtiest of hostels
B. A nice park by the Palais des Papes

VI. A day late, arrive once again in Montpellier
A. Let more adventures commence!
B. Family dinner
C. Check off the checklist 2012
D. Bike to the beach

Photos coming soon!