I’ve been here almost 2 and a half months and am pretty much settling into everyday life in Nice—“la vie quotidienne.” I’m trying to take advantage of my time away from work and trying to keep myself busy, so I’ve tried a whole bunch of new things.
I taught myself how to knit! Mostly through online tutorials and YouTube videos. Here’s picture of the first scarf I knitted for myself (and the link to the pattern). I’m currently knitting a hat and scarf for Em for Christmas and I’ve added slippers for myself to my list. I usually knit while making my way through 10 seasons of Friends and 8 seasons of Will and Grace 🙂
I’ve never done yoga before, not even the “sunrise yoga” during New Student Week at Northwestern or whatever. I’m not very flexible and I don’t have spectacular balance, but I wanted to try it anyways, so I signed up for a month of Bikram Yoga. For those of you who don’t know, Bikram Yoga is 90 minutes of yoga in 105 degree heat, and you burn 1000 calories! I’ve seriously never sweated so much in my life. It was intense and hard and took me a few times to get used to it, but it was one of those activities that made me feel healthy and relaxed afterwards. It was definitely worth the 40 euros and now that I know some of the asanas (positions), I can do it at home. I won’t be burning 1000 calories, but it will help me relax.
Ok, it’s not actually my first time running, but it’s my first time training for a race other than a triathlon. Since I went from playing ice hockey 3 times a week this summer to not playing at all since I’ve been in France, I decided I needed something to keep me active. Running is the easiest, cheapest way to stay in shape here. Plus, Nice is blessed with BEAUTIFUL weather (today is December 23 and it’s 60 degrees and sunny) and a gorgeous path along the Mediterranean Sea, so I can run outside most of the time. I decided I needed a goal to actually be motivated to run everyday, so I found a half marathon in Nice this spring. Now I’ve never run more than 4 miles at a time, so this is going to be quite a challenge. In my training I’m up to 4.5 miles and I’ve got a few races in mind as “milestones” before the half marathon:
10K: January 6
10 mile race: February 17
HALF MARATHON: April 21
Now that that’s out there for everyone to see/read, I have to actually stick with it, right? Wish me luck!
One new experience that probably cancelled out several days of running was introduced to me by Melodie, a friend from hockey. Her parents live in Nice (about 10 minutes away from me by car) and she and Andreea were in town to visit for the holidays and they invited me over for lunch. It was so nice to see a few familiar faces 🙂
If you like cheese, you would LOVE raclette. Traditional raclette involves heating a giant wheel of cheese and scraping off the melted part.
Our lunch was a more modern version of raclette. Basically, raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans in which you heat slices of cheese. The cheese is accompanied by platters of boiled potatoes, charcuterie (sliced prepared meats), cornichons (tiny pickles), and salad. Once the cheese is nice and melty in the little pan, you pour it over your potatoes and meats, then pop in another slice. At our raclette lunch, we had a peppery cheese, a plain cheese, a bleu-ish cheese, and a smoked cheese (my favorite).
Our lunch was accompanied by some very nice conversation. Melodie and her family have lived in several different countries and her dad gave some great advice. He said every country they’ve lived in has been different from the last (obviously), but the key is to not focus on what’s missing from the place you are now, but instead to focus on what this place has that all the others don’t. Saudi Arabia is different from Italy is different from France is different from the US and each place has their own culture and different things to offer. That really made me think, because I think I’ve been living the last few months with a “make the best of it” kind of attitude, which isn’t really the same thing. My goal for the next 6 months is to discover all the things France has that the US doesn’t, instead of trying manipulate everything in France to being like the US.
French word of the day:
racler (ra-KLAY)- to scrape
Quand le fromage fond, tu dois le racler et le mettre sur les pommes de terre.
When the cheese melts, you have to scrape it off and put it on the potatoes.