Pagpustahan daw ba ko...

Posted by Analyse at 6:37 PM

Friday, May 27, 2005

Working with them back in the Philippines, them as expats and me as local, and now dealing with them everyday here in France is a heck lot of difference. There, they were the higher management, the experts, having a meeting with them was quite a privilege. I thought they were serious butts, you know, talking about work during pause café, brainstorming each time they bump into each other. But heck again, angkukulit ng mga 'to, mas makulit pa sa mga pinoy!

I just heard in the coffee room this morning that they actually circulated a memo months ago about...

So ok, I had a permanent contract a year ago and bought a house end of 2004 (with more than enough rooms for both of us). Two ideal elements to stir their kulit minds. Yep, the deal was 'little *frenchguy's surname* before end of 2005!'.

Natawa naman ako dun. Kung alam ko lang, I should have planned it a month later para mas exciting!

Kaya pala. As I flashbacked some short kulitans with my kulit colleagues, here is what I've gathered:

- Alors, ce sera quand, le petit bébé ? (So, when will the little baby arrive?)

- Il faut remplir la maison hein. (You should fill the house huh.)

- Hé, pourquoi tu manges des fraises ? (Hey, why do you eat strawberries?)

- Il faut peupler la France hein. (You should add to France's population.)

- Tu ne prends pas un peu de poids ? (Aren't you gaining weight lately?)

- Tu sais, pour les impôts, les enfants sont les meilleurs pour diminuer la charge. (You know, children are the best solution to lower down taxes.)

- Quand vas-tu nous faire un petit gamin ? (When will you give us a little baby ?)

Now I understand! Those discreet inquiries, they were actually keeping an eye on me. Haha, they probably started to worry when nothing was being announced. We actually decided to formally inform them about my pregnancy after my 3rd month. Now, those who bet for end of 2005 could breathe normally, I'm due on November hehe.

When I informed Frenchguy about this, his reaction was 'J'en étais sûr!' (I was sure of that!).

Ah, French!

Côte d'Or - Revisited

Posted by Analyse at 9:23 PM

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I finally had another occasion to revisit Dijon and Beaune this weekend and was again taken aback by how little information I know about this village I now call 'home'. My fault, I had the opportunity to explore this rich town and know its history but I let it slip from my hand - a free Dijon tour included in my French classes, but only on Saturdays. At that time I of course preferred the comfort of my bed rather than wake up early and listen to my prof!

So there you go, with my cousin, I played the unofficial tourist guide trying to explain Dijon's history. Luckily, there are some tourists flocking around the centre ville, so we just tried to follow them hehe. Easier task, right? Unfortunately, as always, I forgot my camera whilst visiting Dijon (sigh).

Last year, a Filipina colleague gave a week training here so I was able to guide her to one of the wine cellars here in Burgundy constructed in the 12th century -
le Chateau du Clos de Vougeot . There, a Charlemagne-old winepress displays proudly in their castle. Their wine stock dates back from the early 1900s so you will surely find a great gift idea for father's day :). The prices range from some euros to thousands of euros. Hmm, this region is a haven for wine connoiseurs! Their cellars are of course well constructed to age their wines to the finest - constant temperature all year round.

Next stop was at the Hospice de Beaune , a 14th century building which served as a hospital for the poor. Old medical paraphernalias are still on display which would surely scare the heck out of you.

The Hospice de Beaune displaying its famous tiled roof..

Last weekend, we visited another wine cellar, Le Patriarche , an 18th century old convent transformed into a magnificent wine cellar where a 5-km visit of their labyrinth cellar will lead you to a dégustation (wine tasting) of their selected wines. Wine baskets are at the disposition of possible buyers.

So how does a dégustation proceed? Got it right! Pay the fee. With the fee includes a brochure and the tastevin which you will use during the duration of the visit. The visit is free for youngsters under 18 years old as they are not allowed to taste the wine. Hearing this, of course I tried my luck telling them that I won't taste any wine as I am pregnant. Oppps, it's actually the dégustation which is free...ok.

There, a series of wine barrels from big ones...

to smaller ones...

then to wine bottles will surely set your eyes in awe.

All of the wine bottles are of course filled, classed by year and by origine.
This picture shows their collection of very old wines, cheapest bottle is at 800€, wanna give it a try?

At the end of the labyrinth, the much awaited dégustation starts. With the tastevin, pour a small quantity of wine, and there, observe the color (by moving the tastevin in a circular motion - this also permits the 'breathing' of the wine), the odor and of course the taste. A crachoir (spittoon) is available at every corner, you're not obliged to drink every drop hehe. In fact, the presented wines gets better and better as you go along the dégustation so better reserve your senses up to the last bottle.

The dégustation table with the tastevin.
Frenchguy playing expert with my cousin.
Buntis just couldn't resist to this inviting ambiance.
It says 'Burgundy wine is the wine of the kings', signed by Louis XIV
We ended the night with a sumptuous dinner at this magnificent restaurant in Dijon constructed in a 12th century crypt. The food was very mouth-watering, add to it this decor which captures the eyes. This crypt has a secret passage to the church at the other side of the road.

I hope they enjoyed their one-day stop at Dijon. To assure you, they drank moderately.

Mondays...and life's little tidbits.

Posted by Analyse at 5:30 PM

Monday, May 16, 2005

Lousy Monday

It's Lundi de Pentecôte (Whit Monday) today but I'm at work. After over 130 years, or so I heard, of counting it as holiday on their already long list, the French government decided to cancel it down and consider it as Journée de Solidarité pour les Personnes Agées, meaning, we work but won't be paid. All the profits will be given to the benefit of the oldies. This measure was conceived after the summer heat wave hit the whole hexagon 2 years ago. But hey, where are the rest of my colleagues?? Strike na naman?

Baby Update

I had my first official ultrasound last week. It was overwhelming, the little hands, the tiny feet, the heartbeat....there's life in there and I saw it with my two teary eyes. He was actually the snob type, he generously showed us his back and slept the whole ultrasound session. Even the movement done by the doctor didn't wake him up. I guess he was tired with his UK vacation too hehe.

Some UK Photos

I've been browsing our UK photos and memories just flowed back in. Surprisingly, after being bitter, our photos just showed otherwise.

Here I am trying my shopping prowess in the Nottingham Market à la tiangge hehe, and flaunting this same jupe infront of the King's College in Cambridge. Hmm, cool!

Here is where we spend our siesta time, at the Hyde Park. London could pride itself with its green and spacious parks where one could easily forget city chaos.

In Wales, we arrived in this little bar and were surprised that nobody was inside. So we had the whole bar just for us. Erm, is it true that when a woman is pregnant, her husband follows the same process of...gaining weight? Are we on competition now?

On to our vagabonding escapades, we luckily saw this steam-engined train. Wow, still functionning impeccably! Yep, functionning! It's not in a museum!

And this Abbey ruins...

I've written on my previous entry that i was quite disappointed with what UK could offer at an exorbitant price. In terms of landscape, I guess the main difference is that, they have hills populated by thousand of sheeps (top photo), in France, we have cows!

Entretien de Carrière

I haven't passed my annual interview with my big boss (darn, I hope my salary increase will still see its daylight, have you heard about buntis discrimination?), and tomorrow, susmaryosep, the HR Director wants to see me. Ayun, I frantically searched my one-page CV from my lumang baul and updated it at once. Bless his eyes, I hope he's using our very own products to see what's written on my CV, I shrank my 6-year university life and 4.5-year career life to fit in a page!

Just wondering why he wanted to see me. Frenchguy told me he just met this guy once, and he requested for a meeting several times before he was granted. Heck, this guy just sent an email to me and voila, he's got a rendez-vous with me at once. Not fair hehe. Anyways, after choosing my best formal gear (oppps, frenchguy warned me not to be on jeans hehe) and updating my CV, I'll be off for tomorrow.

My UK Encounter

Posted by Analyse at 5:41 PM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

We should have known better. After several travels within and outside Europe, it's the first time that we went home half delighted.

First regret, our roundtrip tickets were marked 'Non Echangeable, Non Remboursable'. I was so gaga to find a promotional ticket for half a price that we even extended our planned vacation for a day more just to fit in with the dates.

Arriving in London, I was hit by a terrible headache, and nuls as we were, we didn't even know what kind of medicine I could take. Our last resort was to call back home. 'Allo Maman.' Lesson learned: Paracetamols are still ok for pregnant women.

Well, we're economic voyagers, ehem, with European attitude? In most of our vacations, we always have our tents attached to our backpacks. Here's our 'where to stay' list according to priority (and of course, weather condition):

1. Camping Sites - tents are always useful, especially for us, itinerant tourists.
2. Youth Hostels - during off-peak season, they could accommodate 'older' tourists. Just pay several euros in additional for non-members. In the UK, it was £3 per person per night. The only time we didn't try this option was in Amsterdam, hmmm, I guess ya know what I mean.
3. Gîtes (equivalent to Bed and Breakfast in the UK) - in France you could ask for démi-pension (including breakfast) or pension complete (including breakfast and dinner). Ideal for randonneurs (hikers). And you will not regret it, frenchies are known to be great in cuisines, and it's not a hearsay!
4. Hotels (no stars please) - that is, if we don't have any other choice.

In the UK, of course we opted to option #3, the B&B. Goodness gracious, would you believe that we paid higher or equal to what we paid in London than outside the capital? Ok, equality is good, but isn't it logical that the more we go out of the city center, the less we pay? Honestly, Cambridge, Oxford and Bath are not equivalent to London, right? And you just cannot ask me to visit only one place, much so, stay in the capital. It's like you asked me to visit the Philippines and get around Manila alone.

As we progressed in our itinerary, we found out that Wales is practicing the same price ranges. Haha, they were even surprised to learn that they're charging higher than London, whew! And that didn't motivate them to negociate the price. Nice try anyway.

Ok ok, as one of their souvenir shirts says, if you cannot get my joke, get the fucking out of my house. We tried, but our tickets say no! Lesson learned: if you've got vacations longer than 3 days, never take 'Non Echangeable, Non Remboursable' tickets. Take a normal one, at least you have an easy passport to get out of the dilemma and not be obliged to stay or pay another ticket.

The food. After I paid £42 for an ordinary meal, I told frenchguy to calm down. I never paid such amount for such kind of food even in Paris. Actually, that decision was revised when our choices were limited to jacked potatoes and jacked potatoes hehe.

The narrow roads, driving on the other side of the road, the parking fee...

Hmp, puro ako reklamo. There are nice things about our visits naman. It opened our eyes to another face of Europe. I finally saw where my Mr. Sentimental did his masters. Undergrounds are cheaper on weekends. No congestion tax on weekends. English breakfast is HEAVY breakfast, good for us. Chocolate Fudge was uhmmm sumptuous! Funny things like Tony Blair won the election but asked him to back out the next day. We generally had potable weather during the visit, only had the typical English weather in Wales, which was sad of course.

And finally, we appreciated more the fact that we live in France. Uhm, maybe next time, we have to forget about France when visiting another country, wad ya tenk?