Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The French Countryside

Since we were having a long weekend because of the Monday holiday, my family and I decided to go to Aveyron, my hubby's home region, to meet with his friends for the village fiesta.

Lechon de leche, french style
They were cooking this for nine hours!
We managed to eat it at eleven in the evening!

Hubby playing pétanque, a summer sport, with buddies

The météo forecast was a cloudy, perhaps even rainy weather during the weekend, but it turned out to be all sunny since Friday up until now.  All the lovely flowers of spring are in full bloom by the roadside.

Spring blossoms basking in the sun

Orange flowers at our friend's garden
Dandelions scattering seeds up in the air everywhere

I have always been fascinated with the beauty of the South of France, especially the countryside. The people are always very warm and welcoming, even to foreigners like myself. My husband's friends are no exception. One of his friends offered his place for us to stay the night. It was a charming old stone house with a huge garden, filled with flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees. There was even a swimming pool for cooling down during the summer.

Our friend's charming stone house in the tiny ancient village of Cougousse, where we stayed the night. It was very lovely both inside and out. From our room, we have a lovely view of the vast garden and the surrounding hills. Makes me feel like I'm in Fairytale Land.

The huge garden with the swimming pool farther up in the frame
The house was situated in the tiny village of Cougousse, filled with charming stone houses, surrounded by the rolling hills. There was even a small river that cuts across the village, adding more charm to the scenery.  But I'm too lazy to post more pics.  :p

The day after the fiesta, we had some time to go around the town center of Marcillac for more photo-ops and to marvel at medieval French architecture.

Old house with medieval architecture, showing the beams jutting out,
with an obvious slant, almost giving in to gravity's pull with old age

Tiny chapel built with the characteristic reddish brown stone of the region

And of course, we wouldn't by any chance, neglect to sample the local offerings.

Gateau à la broche, Aveyron specialty

Bought some rosé wine from the region

It was a great refreshing mini-holiday break.  Not at all bad for my little baby's first out-of-town visit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Nudes of Europe

best viewed large, so go ahead and
click on the image for your viewing pleasure
i have always been fascinated with nudes.  i never really understood those who aren't.

i may be a bit inhibited when it comes to being naked, (being born in a country where people are so vain and had too many issues and insecurities about their physical appearance) but i have no qualms about appreciating a beautiful nude body.

and this is why i love europe.  i love those beautiful naked statues and nude paintings, nude photographs, uncensored nudity on movies, TV shows and advertisements... and sometimes, when you're lucky, people running around naked in the rugby field from across the street where you live! :)

crazy nude guy on the background
of some kids' clothing ad
i was quite surprised to wake up to a sunday morning seeing these crazy seemingly drunk people early in the morning, running around naked tackling each other in the rugby field from across the street, which can be viewed from our balcony.  usually, on calmer mornings, i only have the view of the icy peaks of the pyrénées.  but this morning, i was in for a surprise.

and sometimes, you even find them in even more unusual and unexpected places, like in an advertisement for kids' clothing. :D

surrounded with all this glorious nudity, really, how can it be more fun in the Philippines?  :p

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anticipating spring, no more

un bisou pour mon petit bébé
Our little baby girl arrived in the springtime, so we have decided to give her a name that is similar or synonymous to Spring.

When I first heard her voice, it was the loveliest sound imaginable.  I thought to myself, all the nine months of pain and effort are worth it.  And that I would do it all over again just to see this amazing bundle of joy that my husband and I now share.

I spent a week at the clinic for the delivery and recuperation.  It was a good stay at the hospital especially since all the nurses and doctors and caregivers really took good care of me and the baby during our stay there.  we managed to find a room of our own for privacy, and my husband was able to stay with me the whole time.

 There were a lot of friends who visited, and even brought some lovely presents, food and some entertainment.  I couldn't be thankful enough for having them around during this time.

pancit and brownies for my baby's first week
friends visiting at the clinic
one of the many gifts from relatives and friends
Finally, there were also my husband's parents who took leave from work for a week.  They managed to help us with a lot of chores, especially with regard to the baby's room.  They took some time to complete and arrange all the furniture and decors in the room.  And it ended up looking all warm and a lot lovelier than I have imagined.

nappy changing table and painting by Lola
painting-framed mirror by Lola
my baby's crib
my cozy feeding nook

It has been a good first week for my daughter, indeed.  and I feel like celebrating especially since my in-laws left a boxful of champagne at home.

My in-law's very thoughtful gift to me. They know I've been thirsty for champagne for nine months :)
Cheers everyone! :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Food Feast

Hubby and I decided to go for crêpes today for lunch. We went to this restaurant called, Crep chignon, recommended by my hubby's boss. It was quite nice. Especially since the last time I've eaten crepes was at Café Breton with friends at GB, Makati during my last visit to the Philippines!

Just look at these sumptuous treats that we had for lunch:

This is what I had for lunch: just a simple crêpe with jambon and egg inside, and some exotic salad with palm heart and pineapples on the side

This is what my hubby had for lunch: a simple salad, and crêpe with pork blood sausage and apples, and cider ice cream

Dessert in France is always delicious, no matter how simple they look!  This one is crêpe with bananas and hot chocolate, with chantilly on the side... yum!

Coffee in France is always espresso, unless you specify otherwise. I had a decaffeinated one here. You see the blocks of sugar on the side? Crafty, eh? But not very sanitary, if you're finicky about other people touching those blocks before you do.

After the restaurant, we went to the grocery to stock up on food for the weekend, especially since we're having some visitor friends of hubby, coming from Bretagne (Brittany, northwest of France). I remember back then, the first time hubby took me to the French grocery in Singapore, he went completely nuts. He went crazy and bought so much food. I think this grocery-craziness has rubbed off on me a bit. Especially since we moved to France. I mean, who wouldn't go crazy with these:

French bread -- according to hubby, this is real bread, the ones that scar your gums, not the soft ones we have back in Asia

Pastries and candies -- the ones on top are made from the famous Toulouse Violettes, below are loads and loads of cakes and pies and tarts

Of course, a trip to the french grocery or market wouldn't be quite complete without passing by a humongous selection of cheese

And if you ever go to the fresh open market, which they call marché, you will find fresher produce, and a lot more interesting and exotic stuff like rabbits and deer, etc. They're usually open for only a few hours in the morning, though.

Food, I think is just about the best thing you can find in this country.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Halfway Through

A couple of days ago, I had my visit at the OB gyn again. Since the start of the second trimester, I’m expected to make this visit once every three months. My doctor congratulated me because according to him, i am halfway through this pregnancy.

Twenty weeks!

I can't help but feel nostalgic and remember the first time I saw my baby in the ultrasound. It was just a tiny bit of a blob at six weeks. And according to my husband, it looked like a blackhole. :)

At 12 weeks it looked like a ninja turtle. At 17 weeks, we found out we're having a baby girl. And now at 20 weeks, it's about 7 inches tall. And when we looked at her in the écographie screen, she was looking straight at us, and appeared to be absorbed in deep thought, which kinda reminded me of Rodin's Le Penseur.  She’s so well-formed and proportioned, even the doctor thinks she's a really pretty baby... at 20 weeks!

Recently, I can feel her movements in my belly.  And she kicks so hard.  It feels as if she's practicing martial arts or something, sometimes.

I just couldn't believe how difficult i am finding it to NOT be a proud mom-to-be.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Day With Señor Dali

(Un Jour Avec Dali)

Since Friday was a National Holiday here in France (for commemorating the end of the 1st World War), my husband and I, together with a couple of my classmates at AF, decided to have a day getting to know Salvador Dali.  It's very convenient to visit his rest house in Portlligat, Cadaques and his Theater-Museum in Figueres (both in Spain), since the places are easily accessible by car from Toulouse.

Puisque vendredi dernier était une Fête nationale (pour commémorer la fin de la prémiere guerre), mon mari et moi, et deux de mes camarades de classe à l'Alliance française, ont decidé de partir à l'Espagne pour visiter le musée et la maison de Salvador Dali.  C'est très pratique car ces endroits ne sont pas trop loin de Toulouse en voiture.

I have fallen in-love with Salvador Dali, the first time I have seen a replica of his famous statue at Boat Quay in Singapore, Homage To Newton. 

Je me suis tombée amoureuse de Dali dès que j'ai vu pour la premiere fois une replica de sa sculpture trés connue, qui se trouve à Boat Quay à Singapour.  elle s'appelle, «Homage to newton»

Chez Dali à Portlligat, Espagne
Since we have arrived quite late at Portlligat, we decided not to visit his house anymore.  So we just looked around the area of his house, since it was quite an interesting area.  The house is facing the sea, with a lot of fishing boats.  And all around, there are these hills with thousands of old olive trees. It was really amazing for me because I have never seen such landscapes in my life.

Puisque on est arrivé trop tard à Portlligat, on a décidé de ne visitera plus chez Dali.  Donc, on a juste décidé de se promener autor de la maison, qui était vraiment sympa.  La maison se trouve au bord de la mer, avec plein de bateaux carrément en face.  Autour de la maison, il y avait des collines avec des millieres d'arbres d'olives. C'etait vraiment magnifique pour moi, parce que je n'ai jamais vu des paysage comme ca.

We arrived in Figuerès to visit his famous museum, where he is also buried.  So far, it is one of the most interesting museums I have ever seen.

On est arrivée au musée à Figuerès, où il était aussi enterrés.  Il était l'un des musées les plus intéressants que j'ai déjà vu.

Beside his museum, there is also a theater, and a museum of jewelries created by Dali himself.  I will never forget this diamond-studded heart with a smaller heart within it, glittering with red stones, and which was pulsating.  It was very pretty.

the tell-tale heart... the bloody-looking center was actually beating!

A côté de musée, il y a le théatre aussi, et le musée de bijoux créée par Dali lui-même.  Je n'oublierai jamais un bijoux qui ressemble à un coeur, entourée des diamantes. Dedans, il y a encore un autre tout petit coeur avec les pierres rouges. Ca m'a etonné un peu, parce qu'il palpitait.  C'était très joli.

Of course, the replica of the jewelries, were too expensive for me to even think of buying.  And I guess, my pictures are more than enough souvenirs for me.

Bien sûr, les replicas des bijoux ont été trop cher pour moi pour achêter.  Et je pense que je ne les ai pas besoin. Mes photos sont assez de souvenirs pour moi.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Franco-Filipino Project in Progress

Just got back from the sage-femme (midwife), and today was the first time I heard my baby's heartbeat.

I have been pregnant for three months now, so I guess I should start talking about it.

It was moving about quite a lot, as seen from the ultrasound.  And it's starting to look like my husband, I think. :)

It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.