Monday, February 28, 2011

quick and random update!

I'm leaving in a little over an hour to go to our week-long all staff conference in Lucon (3 hours from Rennes). We stay at this conference center out in the middle of nowhere and I LOVE it! No internet connection, no traffic, etc. It's restful and calm and fun to be with staff from all over France that I don't get to see regularly.

But, lest you think I had dropped off the face of blog planet, here are a few pictures of my week-end. There is no common thread besides the fact that they all happened within 48 hours of each other.

Karen, staff girl from Toulouse visited us for the week-end, and Cecile and Johannis (and baby Sarah!!!!) came up from Nantes for some work-related stuff for Cecile. They're staying in my place while I'm gone. Thankfully they got here on Saturday already, so I could have some quality time with baby Sarah. :)

 Have a really really great week!!!!

I'm running to Catherine's (doctor who gives me shots) house to get a Typhoid shot before I leave for the conference. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

skype. skype. skype.

What would we do without skype? I miss my siblings a whole heap. Skype has made the distance seem so much shorter (haha a pun for erika), especially when we can video skype and see each other!!

Andrew doesn't have a great internet connection in his room way up North, so we can't video skype a lot, but still... free calling is great!

Did you know that as you skype, you can secretly (or not so secretly) take snapshots of the people you're talking to? Muahaha. This I do regularly.

Today seems like an opportune time to show you some of the great faces of Erika and Lindsay Dorsch via skype. Pictures posted with permission. :) Like that "p" alliteration!?

 Now, since these are taken through skype, they aren't the best of quality, but I loooooove the pictures! :)

If you're wondering if Shorty fell asleep while we skyped once, yes. Yes she did. Although she would (and probably will) deny it. 

And if you're wondering what Lindsay is doing in the last picture, well, she's rapping. It's her new favorite past time. 

I love you sisters!!! You too, Ando! Do you even read this blog!?! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

french doctor and shots.

(Amy, as my favorite American doctor, this post is especially for you!)

As I said, I'm going on a 10-day trip to Burkina, which means it's important to be up-to-date on vaccinations.

So last week, Halle and I decided to venture to the French doctor and have her prescribe all of our needed shots.

Going to a French doctor, and going to an American doctor are very different experiences. My doctor has her office in an apartment building -- she's basically converted an apartment into her medical practice, which is what most all general practice doctors do here. They don't necessarily have a separate clinic like what you would go to in the states.

When you open the door of the apartment doctor's office, you find yourself standing in a hallway with 5 closed doors around you. The two on the left are toilets, the one straight ahead has a sign on it that says "waiting room", and the two on the right are 1) consultation room, and 2) office / secretary but which also has a sign on it saying "come in if you DON'T have an apointment".

Being the responsible planners that we are, we had an appointment, so went straight to the waiting room. It's kind of wierd not having anyone welcome you, or take your info, or ask you what your name is... you just walk in and wait. So we waited our turn, until the the doctor popped her head in and called our names.

Halle and I did all of this together as we basically needed the same shots and were going to the same far-away country.

The consultation room or actual doctor's office is one room (converted bedroom) with the doctor's desk on one side and the examination bed and all that on the other. Everything is together. Which means that when the doctor is ready to examine you, you undress (no robes are given in France...) right there in the same room as the doctor, who is patiently waiting. You pile your clothes on a chair, hop onto the bed, and the doctor does her examination. In the States, the doctor goes in and out of the room, gives you privacy, waits a looooong time before coming back in, and when he does come back in, you're in a robe... It took a while to get used to that. :)

THANKFULLY, since all we needed were a couple of shot prescriptions, we were allowed to stay fully clothed at the doctor's desk.

We paid about $30 (for both of us) for the visit -- that's without insurance. Woohoo!

That's a glimpse into what it's like when you go to the doctor in France. I really like my doctor -- she's super sweet, seems to be very competent (a good thing), and doesn't hurry you out the door.

So then yesterday was the fun part. It was shot time!

I need 4 shots total:
Yellow Fever
Hep A
DTP + cocluche -- (I don't know what "cocluche" is in English, but it's when you cough all the time)

My doctor said to do 2 at a time, wait a week and get the third. So yesterday I got Hep A and DTP and my arms are sooooooore today!!!! (The yellow fever shot is done at a special clinic in town, and doesn't happen until mid-March)

Catherine (the doctor pictured below) is on my staff team, and so she did Halle and my shots yesterday (for free!) during our lunch break at our all day staff meeting. So nice having a doctor on the team!

I've never had so many people watch me get a shot! :) These are all people on my staff team! Shorty, can you name them all?


Then it was Halle's turn. She was much braver. :)

Et voila! The adventure of returning to Africa begins!!!

Amy, does it make you want to set up your own practice in an apartment here? :) Do you approve of my shot experience?'s time for AFRICA!

I'm going back HOME to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso for a 10-day missions trip this April! 
I'm excited! EXCITED!
I'm going with a group of students and staff from France and cannot wait to go back! 

I'll share more details later (and fun pictures of getting shots today!!!)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a gift from afar!

Two days ago I got a note in my mailbox informing me that the mailman had tried to delivered a package to me but had failed. The reason he failed? I wasn't home and couldn't sign for it. This was saaaaaaad news!

Let me explain the way these packages work. If there's any kind of a tracking number of any kind on it, the recipient is required to sign for it upon delivery. If the mailman doesn't find you at home, he leaves a note telling you he'll be back the next day sometime between 9h-15h to try a second delivery. If you're STILL not there (which is usually my case) they leave you a second note saying, "fine! if you're not here, go pick up the package at the post office yourself!" Well, maybe not quite that much attitude. But you do have to go to the nearest post office, wait in line, show them your "I wasn't here to sign for my package papers" and then you FINALLY get the package.

So this very scenario happened to me this week. On Monday I got the first package slip, Tuesday the second, and today I marched myself down to the PO and anxiously awaited in line in order to retrieve my goods.

This is where it gets exciting. The little slips that the mailmen leave me say nothing about who it's from, or where it's from, or what's inside -- so I usually have no idea who it's from, or where it's from, or what's inside. :)

When the lady handed me a box that had this written on it:
I KNEW it was from Erin!!!!!!!! SHE SENT ME A PACKAGE!!!! It was soooooooo sweet. And sooooo Chinese. :)

I got new Christmas tree slippers! (don't ya love my flower power socks and rolled up jeans!?!)
 Complete with a leather print interior :)

And oreos and chips ahoy that have very "interesting" and "unique" flavors. I can't understand anything on the box but the oreos were ummm...very different. :)
 It was SUCH a sweet surprise to get a package from a dear dear friend!

Now, perhaps you are saying to yourself, "wow. with how complicated it is to get packages to melissa, I'm just not sure it's worth the effort to send anything." And to that I simply say, "my dear friend, it is SO worth the effort, so get that package sent AND I might even blog about it." Whaaaaaaat!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

while I was waiting for my bus...

Sunday afternoon I was waiting for my bus at Republique, when all of a sudden I saw this:

I mean, there are strange things that happen all the time. But it was just SO RANDOM! She was by herself, and enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll. I guess? She walked past me, and was kind of looking around, when she suddenly took off running!! Hahahahaha. Oh man. It was quite the sight to see! She must've seen someone she knew or saw someone who wanted to take her picture, but just like that, the girl on stilts was running down the street!

I was unashamedly laughing out loud. I mean, when you run on these things, you look REALLY funny -- it looks so unnatural. I didn't feel bad about laughing at / with her because I figured if you're confident enough to be wandering around by yourself on stilts, then you don't really care if people laugh at you or not.

I was also surprised that she wasn't holding onto anything -- don't you typically hold onto part of your stilts as you're walking? I was just imagining how much it'd hurt if she fell.

But it was greatly entertaining, and made waiting for my bus go by quickly.

Never a dull moment in France.