Monday, November 29, 2010

my baby's all grown up and savin' china!

Name that movie!?!?! :) The "name that movie" game is a favorite of Lindsay, Shorty's and mine. They have an unfair advantage as I always quote from the same 4 movies. :)

Anyway...

This post has nothing to do with babies. or saving china. Growing up? Yup.

The first time I was ever in Rennes, I went with Anne (the only girl in the picture below!) to the "rock 'n solex" and met Sven (white tshirt), Pierre (next to Anne) and Matthieu (squatting down by the solex).

These guys are AWESOME and we had so much fun together when they were here. They were studying at the engineering school here in Rennes, but all left a year and a half ago, to do internships and study abroad stuff.


Just a couple weeks ago, they all came back to Rennes to officially graduate with a Master's in Engineering!

Not only was it INCREDIBLE to see them, but I was SO PROUD! The "my baby's all grown up and savin' china" proud. :)




Don't they clean up well from the first picture? :) (ein reisz? muahaha)

I'm VERY proud of you guys!

in more detail

Sunday afternoon we had our staff team Thanksgiving. This year there were 30 of us all together -- with all of the children. Since none of our homes can host that many people for a big thanksgiving meal, we had it at our office. Lisa did a great job of decorating everything for the occasion.

Here are the two BFF's Joel and Nathan. Joel (left) is studying in Spain this year and he came back for a surprise visit for the next 3 weeks. And to eat Thanksgiving food.


Look at that yummy food! And look at the wonderful staff kids! I love staff kids!

Special note to my Mama: We used the left over plates from our student Thanskgiving and there was EXACTLY the right amount for us on Sunday. Thanks for picking out such cute stuff!!


The studious Anne and Gabe working on homework after our meal.


me and Raphaelle!

Gabe qui fait son beau gosse.



Rick even downloaded the Colts vs. Patriots football game (that was played at the beginning of last week) from itunes to make it like home. The nice thing about the office is that there's a big screen to watch it on!
I'm thankful for my staff team!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SUCH a blessing to be in france

I mean, look at these amazing people? How could I not be happy here with people like this around me!

It was hard not being with my family, but God SO blessed me. SO SO MUCH.

I am grateful.



The last two pictures are from our student Thanksgiving. :)

I love being in France. SO SO MUCH. It's been an awesome privilege getting to know these people.

christmas season has started!

I woke up to snow falling! BEAUTIFUL! With snow falling, and Thanksgiving over, I thought it was time to start playing Christmas music.

Sophie is going to come over and help me decorate (family tradition) and Joel and Jeremie think that the tradition of putting up a "creative" arrangement of Christmas lights on my balcony needs to continue. Do you remember their "smiley face" from last year? Hmmm...



This is my neighbor's plant. :)

OOOOHHHHH speaking of neighbors... I gave them a Thanksgiving card! Ha. It was, ummm, a little awkward, but I think they appreciated it. I HOPE SO!!!! I played the "I'm an American, and this is a tradition on Thanksgiving" card. I wrote in their card that I was thankful for their beautiful flowers. HAHAHA. Is that wierd!!? What else do you say to people you don't know??

Anyway, I mustered up enough courage to go over to their apartment and ring the doorbell, all the while remaining fairly composed. But right when one of the guys came to the door, I started shaking with nervousness. They are so intimidating! I managed to stutter, "bonjour! today is a special holiday in America -- it's Thanksgiving". Smooth intro... And right away he goes, "ahhhhhhh sanks gea vingue is today?!!" He knew about Thanksgiving! Or so I thought...I briefly explained what the holiday was, that I was on my way to celebrate with 70 students, and that I had a card for him and his roommate. He took it very carefully, which made me think he didn't really know about this "i'm thankful for you" tradition, and kept looking at me like "what in the world is she going to say or do now". So I said, "sooooo, happy thanksgiving!" And he said "thank you, you too." And that was that.

Whew!! A step in the right direction. Right? Right? I hope it wasn't too strange for them.

But I AM thankful for their flowers! If anything, it helps me breathe spiritually because I writhe with envy every time I see them, and then see my bare balcony. :) But it's better now because my balcony isn't bare -- it has a rain gauge on it!!!

KRIS!!! you commented on my blog and it made me SO HAPPY!!! Just for that, you are mentioned by NAME in a blog post. Do you feel honored? I'm thankful for YOU!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the gift that keeps on giving

This morning at 8:30 sharp, by the metro of viljean university, a historic event took place.

I GOT A BIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is VERY exciting! And it's mostly exciting, because this isn't just ANY bike. This bike belonged to Matthieu -- who was here 2 years ago. When he finished his studies and moved away, he sold his bike to Matthias (the father of cute baby Sammy).

In a few short weeks, Matthias and Cecilia and Sammy will be moving to a different city in France, and very generously, Matthias decide to GIVE, not sell me (do you feel bad Reisz? muahaha) the bike.


The gift exchange happened this morning at 8:30.

It's an old bike. It's rusting, has a torn up seat, but it works really well!

Now I just have to find a bike lock and I'll be zipping all over town. :)

Thank you Matthias and Matthieu for this great bike! I'll take good care of it! Better care than I do with my plants. :) Ich bin thankful fur der Fahrrad. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

thankful for teaching?

I never EVER wanted to be a teacher.
My Mom really REALLY wanted me to be a teacher.
You see, she was a 3rd grade teacher, and thought for sure that one of her daughters would follow in her footsteps. I suppose since I was the first child, she felt like I was the lucky recipient of the passing on of the teaching baton, and she eagerly awaited the day when I would declare to her that my dream was in fact, to have a career as a teacher.

This, however, never happened. Teaching was NOT something I desired to do. But my mother was convinced that there was a hidden desire, buried deep inside of me, that was just waiting to be discovered.

During my second year at the University, I went home to Africa for Christmas break to be with my family. Little did I know that prior to my arrival, my dear mother had cleverly schemed a way to get me to shadow some teachers at the international school where my younger siblings attended.

I was studying English Lit and French at Kstate, and she had arranged for me to sit in the classroom of the school's English teacher ALL DAY LONG. I couldn't believe it. She was convinced that seeing what a difference this lady made in the "young minds of tomorrow" would convince me that teaching was the career choice to make. I had no choice but to lovingly and willingly obey my mother and trudged out the door.

The day was looooooooooooooong and BORING. The time went by so so so so slowly. The only highlight of the day was being able to see siblings Lindsay and Andrew in class.

Never before had there been clearer confirmation in my mind that this was NOT the job for me. So, after the laborious 8 hours in class, I started on my walk home from school on the dusty streets of our African neighborhood.

As I entered our bright green gates, I saw my Mom. She was standing at the door, eagerly awaiting my arrival, poised with excitement at the anticipated news of her daughter following in her footsteps! I guess the expression on my face clearly showed how her plot had failed; nothing was clearer in my mind; I did not want to be a teacher.

This story makes me laugh every time I think of it. My Mom was not heartbroken for long, as she actually does have a daughter following in her footsteps. Lindsay Dorsch is going to be the best middle school and high school French and English teacher that ever lived. She is SO talented, bright, creative, fun and smart. Her kids are going to love her. I could never be as good of a teacher as she is going to be -- this fits her perfectly! And she was the one, growing up, who ALWAYS played school with Erika. I played marbles with Andrew, collected seeds, and smashed rocks into powder. :)

Wow, this is getting to be a long post...

The teaching that I do enjoy is one-on-one. I taught 3 little kids some basic French for a while when I was in college, and for the past year, I've been teaching a little French girl named Roxane. We do an hour of English every week and I love it. It's so fun when it lasts 1 hour and then you're done.

This week, we talked about Thanksgiving with Roxane (she's 8). I showed her a pictures of pilgrims, a turkey, the Mayflower, Squanto, etc. and talked about how Thanksgiving was a time to be thankful for what we had. Yesterday, her assignment was to write 5 sentences saying what she was thankful for, and then write a story about Thanksgiving. The story is hilarious! She has improved so much in a year! She barely spoke English before, and yesterday she wrote her first story!

In case you can't read it:

This is the Story of Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim Jane is happy because today is Thanksgiving!
Pilgrim John is happy because today is Thanksgiving!
Tom the Turkey is sad because today is Thanksgiving and he will die.

Thanks Mom for helping me enjoy teaching in a small way... :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

thanksgiving pizza party

Thanksgiving is coming up! This year, for our big event, we have a team of 14 students and staff to help organize it! It's going to be MEGA cool. :)

Our planning meeting was held at our office and we had homemade pizzas. Everyone was in charge of bringing something different, and they turned out YUMMY! They were very creative... creative, meaning I have never had pineapple, corn, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and onions all in the same pizza. Surprises in every bite and explosions of flavor in your mouth! oohhhhh, that could be a slogan for our pizzeria Anne Didier! :)

It took us on average 45 minutes to make 2 pizzas. LOTS of love was put into them, as we carefully placed each onion and pepper.





We got lots of planning done and I'm getting EXCITED for Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

good mennonite

I do not like the ziploc bags here in France. It's not a judgment on the country or anything, but I just haven't found ones that are nice and sturdy and that last for years.

My Mother dear is a phenomenal couponer and can get boxes and boxes of "hefty ziplocs" for nothing more than a song.

And, they're super light, easy to pack, and a great filler in suitcases. So yes, I have ziplocs in my apartment from America.

And this is where the good mennonite in me comes in. I use, re-use, wash, re-wash my ziplocs until they are full of holes and not useable or rewashable anymore. And this is how I dry them:


Is it wierd!? I get made fun of. :) But it's SUCH AN EFFICIENT WAY TO DRY ZIPLOC BAGS!!!

Please note: I did not wash my dishes solely for the picture... they were already done beforehand. Lest you think I was trying to impress you with my cleanliness.

Please note again: I have 3 canisters -- one for coffee, one for sugar, and one for flour. I find it highly entertaining that my coffee canister is always more full than my sugar and flour canister. Priorities, priorities.

This also makes me feel very Mennonite-ish -- storing cut up, frozen rhubarb in my hefty ziplocs in my freezer. :)

And since I was snapping pictures of the interior of my freezer, I thought I would show you the outside of my freezer, adorned with lovely magnets and pictures. I love seeing the picture of baby Cora and of Chris, Jodi and Dakota everytime I go to open the fridge -- a great reminder to pray for these families. I also love being to tell people who they are when they're asking about my pictures.

Oh, and the picture of the three girls in the top right -- it's me, Lindsay and Shorty. We're standing in our wheat field in BIRRRRRD CITY, Kansas!

Do you notice something wrong with my clocks?! Hehe. I think we need a battery change...


On an unrelated note... tomorrow is a national holiday in France and we're having a big pizza lunch with a group of students to plan THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

peace out

Friday night was hippie night. I think with these pictures 'nuf is said...

It's hard to find dress up items in your closet when you've only had your closet for 2.5 years and you wear most everything in it... it hasn't had a lot of time to accumulate clothing items from the 70s.

Nonetheless, hippie-ness was acquired. Glasses, head bands, and peace signs can really transform an outfit.




Fun fun!! As you can see, not EVERYONE dressed up... guys in front. :)

And Matthias, the address for the bookstore in the previous post is here. And GREAT job commenting. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

a favorite in paris

Over the past couple of years, I've had numerous opportunities to spend time in Paris -- whether it be for meetings, work related stuff, or visiting friends. The first time I visited Paris, I didn't like it at all -- I thought it was too busy, too dirty, too expensive, too crowded and too many tourists. And while those things are still true of the city today, I have a much better appreciation for Paris, as I've been able to discover and explore more areas.

Last year, I discovered a bookstore, thanks to my dear friend Laura Hennings, who loves books and reading as much as I do and it has since been a "must-see" every time I go to Paris.

It is for sure one of my top favorite places to be in Paris. It's called, "Shakespeare and Company". A tiny little bookstore packed FULL of English books, old and new, classics and modern.





Look at all those books!!! I could spend hours there! I've always wanted to have a library like Belle has in Beauty in the Beast -- wouldn't that would be AWESOME! Walls of books that go floor to ceiling, with a moving ladder!? Oh man.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

for you farmers

I doubt that there are many farmers in Kansas who read my blog... but for the few of you that do (Jeff??), I wanted to show you the farm land in my neck of the woods.

I'm really blessed to live not too far from the edge of the city, and I love walking around the "farm community" that's close to my apartment. It's intriguing to me to see the differences in farming here and in Kansas. I mean, since I know SO MUCH about farming and all. :) Here is a glimpse of my walk yesterday...


November 1st, and still corn to harvest!







So pretty!!! I love it around here and soooooo love going on walks in this area! It feels like a little bit of "Kansas home" :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

the big reveal!

Do you remember this picture? A little teaser of something great to come? :)


Well, it's time for the big reveal!

When I first moved into my apartment 2.5 years ago, this table was in the corner of my little garage.

It's old, the top had a lot of water damage to it, but it has a lot of character, and I thought it would be a great diy project! And how fun to paint it in RED!



I faced much opposition from people, to my idea of painting it red. I had the table in my apartment (just as it was in these pictures) for a while, and every time someone came over -- namely students, I would tell them of my idea to paint it in red, and EVERY SINGLE TIME they told me they thought I should leave it as it was.

Now that I think of it, it was kind of like Noah and the building of the Ark. People laughed and mocked and jeered and were incredulous to the idea that a table painted in red could be cool.
(slight exaggeration added for dramatic effect, muahaha)


Tereza's expression of grief (just moments before the freshly dipped-in-red-paintbrush was applied)


Despite adversity, I was thrilled beyond belief to paint! Oh, there were two guys on my staff team (Hubert and Dan) who were 100% behind the project. Maybe Hubert was like 68%? :) But Dan told me to follow my heart, which, fortunately was leading to red paint, so the project was launched without hesitation! (Mom, look at my slippers!!! hehe)

I completely replaced the top

READY FOR THE BIG REVEAL!?!?!

Here it is!

I LOVE IT!



Fall decorations! I put up two new pictures (second picture) that my Mom gave me from Ivory Coast, and I love how all of the reds are tied together.



So?! I'd loooooooove to know what you think!