Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jet-lagged- body and soul

Modern air travel does a number on us humans.  Transporting you from Atlanta to Paris in 8 and 1/2 hours messes with your mind. You arrive in what is the middle of the night in US time but in the blinding bright light of mid-morning in France.  Your body should be sleeping, your mind is just trying to process everything.  Add a big dose of homesickness, having just left your family, and the fact that your vacation is now over, and it's like being in the spin cycle.

We left the US last Thursday morning, saying our goodbyes, hoping to see US family sometime in the near future.  Maybe I'm getting a little better at leaving, but it will never be easy;  My eyes smarted on the plane from tears now and then.  Hearing the hushed slightly nasal accents of French passengers and crew just annoyed me more than anything.  The Air France flight crew, by the way, all looked like they could double for Abercrombie and Fitch models, looking dashing in their uniforms designed by Christian Lacroix.

I was still in English mode and wanted to stay there.  Juliette was a little pill for the first few hours of the flight, whining "papa, papa", since we'd told her we were going home to see him.  The perfectly coiffed and probably childless French stewardess asked me if there was anything she could do for us since she saw Juliette crying.  Perhaps this is code for, what can we do to make your child shut up?!  But she said it nicely enough, at least.  "She just misses her papa," I said.

But she finally got to sleep, wherease I don't think I slept at all.  Still I had to be awake to haul my luggage off the carousel and then Remi was there to meet us at the arrivals lounge.  Poor guy has had to put up with us in our sleepy/homesick mode though he had been waiting three weeks to see us.  He had kindly bought us some of our favorite foods including some things to remind us of the US, like cranberry juice, doughnuts and oreo ice cream.

The first night I still had that mind shift going on where I didn't know what bedroom I was in, my mom's back at home or mine.  I still haven't gotten back into a good sleep pattern yet but that could also be 'cause my mind sometimes doesn't shut off.  Work's been slow as France and our students wake up from their own post-vacation bummed out torpor.  I had two full days with no classes so I'm trying to catch up on some things here at home.  That last suitcase will get unpacked soon!

As for me I'm starting to focus on the lab job search again and hoping for the best.  And trying to hold on to some of the peace and optimism that my vacation brought me.  That's what vacations are for.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Only in America

Only in our grocery stores...

We are a bit food-obsessed in America.  We like our sweets but we are conscious of the bad fats and bad sweeteners (even though you will still find them in certain foods, especially sodas).  It always amuses me to come back and see these labels.  France is just now catching on to the trans fat thing but they don't seem to use much of the high fructose corn sweetener. 

Likin' the new slogan, too! But I still prefer Krispy Kreme.

In Spanish, too, thank you.

Only in Florida...
Where the Trump International Golf Course is next to the Palm Beach prison.

Where you can't buy happiness but you can live there.  And ironically this was a very modest neighborhood.

And the Publix grocery store on ritzy Palm Beach Island looks like this and has valet parking.

And the beach where the rich and famous play looks like this:

Only in Alabama (or the south)...
Can you find stuff like this in the grocery store...

I didn't even know what chitterlings were.  Apparently made of pigs' intestines.  I know I make fun of weird food in France, but we have our share of it, too.

Like pigs' feet.  Logical to get them in a value pack.

The Bubba burger is apparently good.

And a Sunday breakfast consists of ham (that's Juju's hand sneaking a bite), cheese grits (corn-based) and eggs.  Thanks, mom!

And you can find great old favorites like green tomatoes (for making fried green tomatoes) and okra (the world's slimiest vegetable but so good fried!).

And fruits that sound so gracious just by name and remind me of when I read To Kill a Mockingbird, that southern classic.  Can't say that I've even tasted scuppernongs.

Enjoying myself immensely here and hoping it doesn't go by too fast!