Houston, we have a problem!


So as many of you know, my life is generally one disaster after another, and I’m really unsure of how I manage to survive on a daily basis. When I say disaster, I mean like relative to my life, like how I managed to get all my credit cards cancelled my very first day in France…that was pretttttty awesome. Well I have a few addictions that are pretty serious, one being coffee, and another being my computer which provides me with pretty much all my entertainment (music, skype, american tv, the news, salacious celebrity gossip…) so not having it is like a death sentence. Sure I do spend a lot of time reading and knitting and cooking and coloring, but I can’t be a domestic goddess ALL the time. Even Betty Crocker needs her Perez Hilton fix. So in my wonderful Christmas travels I did so awesome at not losing ANYTHING. I managed to keep my gros-sacs in control and not lose a single item. I was so proud of myself because generally I lose everything (finding my keys in my 1 room apartment is generally a challenge). Flash forward to Tuesday night when I realize I left my computer charger in Paris and I only had 5% battery left. OH SHEESH YA’LL, twas not a dream. What’s a MAC girl to do in a PC world in France? Hop on the first  bus up to Montelimar (closest MAC retailer) and buy a new charger… The good news is, my new one isn’t held together by masking tape… YAY for progress!

Anyways, Holidaze update timez!! Paris was fun! The city is definitely growing on me but I’m still unsure if it is a city I could ever live in. I did a fair amount of shopping while there, which was great because now I have some fabulous pretty new things! I did go on a freaking wild goose chase all over the city after this one pair of shoes. Granted these shoes are totally bad ass and I’m so obsessed with them and I wish I could wear them every day but unfortunately sparkly 5in high heels are not acceptable every day wear except for if you are Lady Gaga which I am unfortunately not haha. Anyways I saw them in Strasbourg and I was like “dang those shoes are hot. I need them for New Years. Eh, I’ll get them in Paris I don’t need be more of a bag lady than I already am.” Well after going to SIX stores in Paris I finally found them. Apparently every girl in France wants to wear these same shoes in size 7. I mean who can blame them? They are so awesome!!!! That was probably the most exciting thing I did there haha. I wanted to spend a day in the cemetery Pere Lachaise (creepy! I know but really its cool, I promise) but it was kind of rainy and gross so I went on the Great Shoe Hunt of 2011 instead.

be jealous cuz these are FABULOUS, except mine are silver so they are cooler

I did get to go to Hotel Matignon which is the house of the Premiere Ministre of France to get some foie gras with my cousin’s husband. Not many people get to go inside the court of it so that was reallllllly cool! Yay for culture!

gettin my culture on with the premiere ministre yeahhhhhhh

keepin' it classy at hotel matignon

Germany was fun too! Hamilton lives about 1h30m from Frankfurt in a tiny lil baby town called Bruchmulbach. It is smaller than Nyons, BUT it had a train-station so it gets more street-cred pointz for that. When I got there Friday I was exhausted since I’d been up since 3am and so I slept all day then we went to the Christmas market in the next town over. The Christmas market there was basically one giant street party. People were drinking profusely in the streets, blasting German techno, and ordering Gleuhwhein (mulled wine/vin chaud) with like Jagermeister in it. I did not partake in drinking jager in my wine (that would not have ended well for anyone involved) but I did watch a lot of drunk German people do that! It was pretty funny, and I got a sweet Christmas 1997 mug.

jagermeister+Jesus carousel=Christmas in Germany

Magi rollin' up!

The next day we went back to Frankfurt to pick up my friend Mika, and then back to Bruchmulbach! Mika and I decided around 10pm that we were not being festive and needed a Christmas tree of some sort to be in the spirit fo realz. At 10pm we set off into the German wilderness on search of our Christmas tree, hoping we wouldn’t meet any bearz in the Black Forest. The good news is we didn’t meet any bearz and we did find a branch that became a tree…we are jolly!

army boot tree stand=classy

tree of dreamz

On Christmas we spent the day preparing a feast and then feasting. Although I did have to defrost our Christmas sausage in the bathtub since Hamilton burned up his sink plug (LOL). We had Christmas sausage (its Germany shutttt it), macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, stuffing, roasted potatos, Christmas cookies, and pecan deliciousness. It was a baller feast, I think my mom would be proud of how domesticly inclined I have become.

10 points for sausage innovation!

time to feast ya'll!

So on this trip, I tried something new called “covoitruage” which is ridesharing in English (sorry mom and Sarah). It was really cool, for 30 euros I rode with a guy, his girlfriend and another girl from Paris to Valence (2 hours from Nyons). It was great because I practiced my French the entire time and we got to talk about culture and all sorts of things. Although I will say there were times I thought I was going to die because French people just drive WAY faster than Americans (seriously the speed limit is like 80mph) so I spent a lot of the ride with my eyes closed haha.

Anyways I’ll leave you with some cool or wtf pix, happy new years ya’ll!

BARBAPAPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm obsessed with these guys

anyone need a 3 story tall necktie?????? it'd be a nice addition to any front lawn

SUPRISE! its my d*** in a box!

I do have to comment, WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON IN THIS PICTURE… I found it in a store in Montélimar, and I just don’t understand what is supposed to be going on in it. The only thing I can think of is that SNL skit d*** in a box bahahahaha

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Silly Santas and Scary Elves: Adventures in Strasbourg


So as you know, I just spent the weekend in the land of Christmas OD: Strasbourg, France. It was the stuff of dReAmZ fo realz ya’ll! If you love Christmas and want to have an overdose on Christmas cheer, then you should probably try to make it a life goal to visit Strasbourg at some point in your life. I want to go back, like now. However I have so many other things to accomplish this winter break 🙂

There are like 800,000,00,000 reasons why Strasbourg was B.A. but I’m just going to list my favorite reasons:

*Crazy Santas… everywhere you looked there were Santas and they all looked ridiculous, usually drunk, and enormously obese. Santas don’t look like this back home and I loved it! I took pictures of as many drunk/crazy Santas as possible

the fat b... "get in my belly" santa... also potentially drunk as well

"why yes i'll take another BOWL of vin chaud!" (drunk) santa

the "i'm going to break into your house and steal all your sheesh" santa

*Evil Elves… apparently evil Elves is like a “thing” in a European Christmas. The Children’s Market had an “evil elf” that would “trick you” if you lost sight of him. Ummm whatever happened to Rudolph? This is like the Miser Brothers (if you don’t know what that is well go youtube it. Its freaking weird but I loved it as a kid) on acid and like scarier.

happy holidays just doesn't have the same ring if an evil elf (in sunglasses) and a bat (?) aren't included

just what you want on your christmas tree, spreading holiday cheer

*Drinking in public… IT IS ENCOURAGED TO DRINK WINE IN THE STREETS. YUP you read that right! Everywhere you turn there is a stand selling “Vin Chaud” or Mulled Wine and it’s freaking awesome. Not only is it acceptable to drink wine in the streets its encouraged… Drink up people! It’s good for the economy!

helping the economy thrive by drinking wine in the streets

*Crazy hats… Not only is it encouraged for people to drink wine in the streets, it is also encouraged that they wear crazy hats while doing it. I’m not talking children, or parents with kids I’m talking full grown adults with no reason at all to be wearing crazy hats wearing crazy hats: polar bears, wolves, crazy Santa hats, birds, and a bunch of other weird things. It’s like a “thing” and I LOVED it!!!

normal

santa strip tease?

*The Lights… My pictures do not do the lights of this city justice. They were AMAZING! Even better was the cute town of Colmar that I visited. Both were spectacular and awesome and well words don’t really do it justice, and neither did my cheap (but handy) little camera.

check out this badboy rockefeller center!

*The food… sausage? Yes preaze! Sauerkraut? Yes preaze! Bread? Yes preaze! Beer? Yes preaze! Crepes? Yes preaze! Pretzels? Yes preaze! Vin Chaud? YES PREAZE… Did I gain an extra 10lbs on this trip? Probably. Was it worth it? I’m not sure yet but that food was DEELISH.

I couchsurfed here with a cool dude who took a lot of time to show me the city and the food and culture. He took me to the town of Colmar to see their lights one night and it was amazing. It was much smaller, quainter and more lovely. It’s like how I went to Toulon when I visited Marseille; the big cities were grand and spectacular but I’m a sucker for a small, quaint, lovely little place.

I spent Saturday with an assistant friend going to all the different markets throughout town (there are like 10, not exaggerating), and then on Sunday I did the same thing just by myself. Also it snowed Sunday afternoon! Talk about Christmas wonderland!!! The only thing that could have made it better would have been if all of a sudden people broke out into song and a choreographed dance in the street and then I met my true love or something like that. You know, typical movie business. Also this all would have happened while it was snowing and I had perfect hair.

Also, while trying to take a picture with Pere Noel (Father Christmas for all you non-frenchies out there), I was PHOTOBOMBED by a child. Look at the lower right hand corner of this picture… and then check out the zoom action.

just tryna get some last minute face time with santa!

PHOTOBOMB

Now, I am on my way to Paris (well when this is published I will have already arrived… but still) for a few days and then it is off to THE GERM aka Germany. I’d also like to point out my absolute inability to pack in a reasonable manner. The guy sitting next to me on the train is probably thinking “what the hell is wrong with this girl? She has like 17 HUGE bags” well not 17 but 2 gros sacs as I like to call them. Sighhh… sometimes I wonder how I make it through life unscathed. (post script: he gave me a super weird look when I attempted to arrange my things to get off the train, which took some serious effort)

2 gros sacs, plein de trucs (2 big bags full of random things)

Anyways, sending Christmas cheer and winter wonderland magic across the Atlantic!

Mego

I Have a Sponge!


So title story: As I was walking home last night, some French gangster-thugs saw me and realized I was the girl that speaks English. I hear them discussing this fact among themselves saying things like “oh there is that British girl. She speaks English, she is from England…” among other things. Then, because they think they are sooooo super cool and witty and funny they start yelling random English phrases at me. The one that I thought was the best tonight was, “ I have a sponge!” Ummmmmm thanks for sharing random French gangster thug? I’m glad you have a sponge, go wash off your disgusting cologne that I can smell from 50 feet away. These guys hang out in a parkinglot pretty much all the time and think they are just the coolest thing ever. Actually I can’t be sure if they are always the same guys or not, they all look the same: too much gel in their hair, LOTS of cologne, murses (man purses), and Adidas tracksuits. I’m swooning just thinking about how cool they are…(not). Moral of the story is, one of them has a sponge and he thinks he is cool.

Yesterday I babysat Cesar and Paloma and it was pretty fun. We made Christmas cookies, which turned into a disaster when Cesar decided to become a monster (he actually called himself the “dough monster”) and smear cookie dough on himself and make Paloma cry. However, as much as he loves terrorizing his little sister he is such a good kid I can’t be mad at him. He is very aware of the fact that my French isn’t perfect and so he takes the time to explain things to me that I don’t know. He always explains the rules of games to me and explains words I don’t know and he translates for his sister who is 5 and doesn’t recognize that I don’t always understand her. Also when we were baking cookies I didn’t realize the oven wasn’t on (how you might ask? I don’t know, leave me alone everything is in Celsius!) and put a bunch of cookies in the oven and then couldn’t figure out why they weren’t cooking. Finally their mom came down and was like, “ummm its not on…” and looked at me like I was a crazy. Well I am so I guess that’s ok.

Care Bears in France... if you are wondering if I watched this, the answer is yes, yes I did

So since it’s December and I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas (who are we kidding, SUPER OBSESSED) I thought I’d post some pictures of the Christmas lights in town. Now lets get real. French people and subtlety don’t go hand in hand and so Christmas decorations here are str8 up gaudy and I love it. Why not make a winter scene in the center of town with 1 an igloo, 2 a penguin, 3 a seal, and 4 a Christmas tree.

Idk bout you, but seals, penguins, and igloos are the FIRST things I think of when I think of Christmas

Or have a serial killer snowman and Santa at the other end of town…

"Don't look at me, I'm Frosty bi*ch!"

This Santa looks like he steals children away in his weird hat, turning them into Santa's workshop slave labor

The other cool thing here is to attach random Christmas trees to literally anything you could possibly attach one to… including other trees.

Tree on tree action

Theres some other random stuff too…

An elf dancing on the moon with fireworks? IDK but I'm pretty sure that I want one for my living room

And then the normal things that are all strangely blue and white…

ReAcH fOr ThE sTaRz

"What color best defines Christmas?" "Oh I KNOW! BLUE TOTES MAGOTES"... at one point this conversation def happened somewhere in Nyons

At school on Tuesday, I made Christmas cards in one of my classes. The teacher asked me to write a bunch of holiday greetings on the board and I realized at one point I had NO IDEA what “Season’s Greetings!” actually means. I told him it meant Happy Holidays essentially. Am I right? I don’t actually know. Also a kid drew a black Christmas tree on his card, talk about a buzzkill!

In other exciting news, there is a teacher’s strike today so I don’t have to work! I was going to bake cookies for my teachers, but maybe its better this way since I couldn’t even figure out how to turn on an oven yesterday. I also made a real French friend, which if you have ever lived in France you know is easier said than done. I am super excited, yay for real French friends!

And if you are bored and want to watch something hilarious, watch this very bad lip read of Rick Perry (SAVE A PRETZLE FOR THE GAS JETS)

Biz

Meaghan

Christmas Songz


So it’s December. YAY! This is my favorite time of year, holidaze OD. Think about it, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. Bing bang boom! I love it. October and December are my favorite months of the year, and the Christmas season is my favorite season. Listening to Christmas music, going to holiday parties, seeing everyone come home is so super fun and exciting! Since I’m missing out on all that this year, I’m making up for it by going to the biggest Christmas market in France on the 16th and I really can’t wait for the Christmas OD I am going to experience there (Erin I wish you could come with me!). Then it is off to Germany to spend Christmas with my cousin Hambone/ Hamburglar.

To prepare, I have been listening pretty much since November 1st, to Christmas music. You say too early, I say I do what I want (Cartman voice)! Thanks to Spotify, I have had access to Justin Bieber’s new Christmas album as well as Michael Buble’s. To those of you who hate on Bieber, you don’t know what you are missing he is actually awesome. I’m 22 and I love Justin Bieber… hate on haterz

Anyways I have been inspired to post on my Top 10 favorite Holiday Tunez. I love top 10 lists (if you want to waste your entire day, check out Listverse.com) so this is exciting that this is my first published (kind of) list ever!

TOP 10 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONGS

10. I Can’t Wait for Christmas- Mindi Abair

This is so jazzy and easy to listen to. I found it on a Christmas station at my parent’s house making cookies years ago. Will easily become a top pick for anyone who enjoys a little bit of jazzy Christmas vibe.

9. Christmas Time is Here- Diana Krall

Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown? If you don’t well maybe you should get yourself checked out or something. Charlie Brown is classic and this song which is from the cartoon Christmas movie is classic as well. Diana Krall has an amazing voice and this song has a great vibe to it as well. Thanks dad for showing this to me!

8. Mistletoe- Colbie Caillait

I’m not sure where I found this but I did and it’s a sad Christmas song. If you are broken up with on Christmas eve, check this baby out. If not but you just like her voice then check this out too haha. Fortunately I’ve never had Christmas heartbreak but I still love this song.

7. White Christmas- Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby’s voice is the definition of Christmas songmanship (in my opinion) and I just love the movie that matches this song. So romantical!

6. Holly Jolly Christmas- Burl Ives

I LOVED this song when I was a kid, probably because of the singing snowman in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer the claymation movie who was voiced by Burl Ives. I have no idea who Burl Ives is (sorry, I was practically born in the 90s) but this song has been one of my favorites since I was a small child. I used to listen to this in the summer when I thought no one was listening… yeah I was weird.

5. I’ll be Home for Christmas- Michael Buble

Well clearly I like this one since I’m not home for Christmas this year. However I am a sucker for Mr. Buble’s voice and I’ve appreciated this song a lot more as I got older and the realization that I may not always be with my family on Christmas loomed in the future. Anyways this is my all time favorite version of it. That got really philosophical… good thing I’m a sophisticated lady who listens to jazz and lives in France haha.

4. Blue Christmas- Celine Dion

I know I know blasphemy! I didn’t choose the Elvis version, and Celine Dion is kind of weird now that she is like out in Vegas doin her thang with her old man husband. I don’t know who bought the Celine Dion album at my house but somehow it finds its way on every Christmas and this is the best song off the CD hands down. Most of the CD is terrible and makes me want to stab my eardrums out, but I think this song is great, even if it is kind of really super depressing. I do have to say though I prefer her CD to the Chicago Christmas album (sorry dad!)

3. All I Want for Christmas is You- Mariah Carey ft. Justin Bieber

OK CALM DOWN PEOPLE I know you are all about to loose your cool on this one. GO LISTEN TO THE SONG and then come back and if you really hate it then you can yell. However, I think its better than the original. Here’s why: 1. Mariah 10,12, however many years later can still KILL those vocals and the quality of her voice has only improved. 2. Justin Bieber actually has talent and he sounds mature and deep here and it complements Mariah completely. The video is fun too and I want to steal her dress and wear it. Also I’m a sucker for the Biebs.

2. Baby It’s Cold Outside- Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton

This one I will fight you on if you say you know a better version. I don’t care for Rod Stewart (ever since my mom told me she thought he was “sexy” when I was 15 I’ve been scared) or Dolly Parton really either however I LOVE this song. I don’t know what it is, but I am obsessed. I have like 10 versions on my Christmas playlist on iTunes but none at all compare to this. Dolly is the perfect coquette and Rod does sound pretty dang sexy; I’d let him pour me half a drink more (if I didn’t know what he looked like or that he was like 60 years older than me).

1. Last Christmas-Wham!

I know what you are thinking “WHAT THE… (insert explicative of your choice here, my new favorite is PUNAISE aka bed bugs)” but you can’t deny its infectious. Although I was born in the 80s, I only lived for 5 months during the era so I can’t really call myself a product of the 80s. I’m not a big 80s fan and generally the music produced during this time (with a few exceptions) makes me want to stab things. This song is one of those exceptions. It just (ear)worms its way into your heart and then its there to stay. I definitely heard this on the radio in high school and have been obsessed with it since then.

Honorable Mentions: The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole, Santa Baby- Madonna, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree- Brenda Lee, and Jingle Bell Rock

I kind of live in a delusional world in my mind that is secretly hoping at all times that my life will somehow turn into a Christmas song/movie. So far, I’m still waiting, but I’m keeping hope that it may happen some day, in some way (as long as its not as a dysfunctional family way like in Christmas Vacation).

I have also felt inspired to do a movie list since I am so much in the Christmas spirit now

TOP 6 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES

6. Home Alone

5. Charlie Brown Christmas

4.White Christmas

3. Elf

2. A Christmas Story

1. Christmas Vacation

Finally TOP WEIRDEST CHRISTMAS SONGS

*Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey

*I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas

*Anything by the Killers

*Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Bing Crosby version (it is weird I promise)

*90% of the Time Life Treasury of Christmas (there is like 10 CDs with 25 songs each so… you do the math)

And to finish up, a little French anecdote since I am living in this wonderful country! At school on Tuesday the Ron Burgundy-esque teacher came up to me and said “Meaghan you are not very tan.” Thanks for the newsflash Ron Burgundy but people normally aren’t tan in the winter. He is actually my favorite teacher and the fact that he says all these random Ron Burgundy things to me just makes him even better. I love crazy French people.

Ahhhh I love typing… and Christmas. Hope this got you in the spirit!!!

 

Grand Bis

Meaghan

My Little Knitters


So the keyboard is back and working wonderfully and looking all shiny and new J. I feel like I have a whole new computer! The dude told me now it should last me another 4-5 years. Macs are awesomeeee

So title story time. Recently I’ve started babysitting on Wednesday mornings for a family with two children, Cesar (7) and Paloma (5). They are super funny and they are actually teaching me a lot of things which is great! Since the weather here is marvelous we play outside a lot, like hide and seek, tag, or my personal favorite “mummy” where I am a mummy and they laugh at me running into things. Anyways Cesar is a little cheater. All the games we play he cheats at hardcore. In French the words for “to cheat” and “to knit” are pretty similar (tricher, tricoter) and every time he cheats at a game I always try to say “you little cheater!” but instead I always say, “you little knitter!” Sighhh… language barrier…

Anyways in other news since I havn’t updated ya’ll in forevs (and I’m sure you have been dying to know what fabulous things I have been up to lol), I’ll start with Thanksgiving. Stephanie and I did Thanksgiving dinner at one of her colleague’s house. I made, pumpkin pie from scratch…

This became a pie, SKILLZ

YUM PIEEEEEEEEE

Stuffing from scratch…

Kitchen Queen! Watch out Mario Batali!

AND I roasted a chicken (no turkey sadness )

Chicky chicky chick chick

All I’m saying is that I kicked some serious ass in the kitchen and it was SO delicious. I know it was a little sparse, but for one meal I was at home and it was wonderful. The next day we had lunch with another colleague of Stephanie, who made us a wonderful traditional Sunday lunch, meaning it lasted like 4 hours no exaggeration. We ate raclette which is basically where you melt a bunch of cheese and put it on random food. If you are thinking, “dang that sounds like the best meal ever” I’m going to go ahead and say, Yes you are right. I’m thinking I should throw a French Sunday lunch party one day when I am home in the States so everyone can experience this!

Later that afternoon we went on a walk up in the hills of Nyons and picked grapes off of the vines and ate them. It was pretty French, and a perfect way to end the afternoon!

Fairytale land!

Me being FRENCH holla! bonjourrrr

 

Saturday we decided to go to Montelimar and see Mika for the night. I’m not sure what was going on, but apparently there was this HUGE festival/party/THING going on in Nyons and Montelimar called Telethon. In Nyons there was karaoke and wine tasting (?????), in Montelimar they turned the city center into a tropical paradise. To each their own I suppose haha.

Whatup Montelimar Beach in December????

BEACH BUNGALOW!

Sun shines so bright, I wear my shades at night... Montelimar Stylez

We also went to a sweet art museum with an exhibit on Cathelin, which was the style of art that I love. I wanted to steal all of his paintings and hang them up in my apartment. Instead, I settled for some postcards I’m going to frame and hang up in my house in America some day.

so pretty! want to steal!

I also made it my goal to find all the awkward chairs in Montelimar and sit in them. Mission accomplished. And Hannah, I’d just like to say that the chairs themselves are awkward, I was not trying to be awkward in normal chairs. I know you are thinking that, haha.

maj awk

It looks normal but ZING its not. GOTCHA!

Also there was a random marching band wandering the streets…

Why are you here????

A random bike race…

Tour de Montelimar!

Basically Montelimar was a happenin’ place this weekend!

Also, if you want to send me some mail (which I would totally LOVE) send it to:

Meaghan Dill

FJT Constantin

36 Avenue Paul Laurens

26110 Nyons, France

 

WHEW SORRY THIS IS SO LONG I just love TYPING sldkfjsaklsd;fakdjakldkajlkaks

Sending Christmas love across the Atlantic!

Meaghan