Do you speak Aussie?

If you are a Games of Thrones fan, you must be familiar with the following sentence “you know nothing Jon Snow”… well this is the way I feel sometimes about my English. I thought that my universtity English degree, my previous lives in Montreal and London had afforded me to gain a wide knowledge of this beautiful language but it seems it is a never ending journey! But today let’s focus on the positive side only: learning a foreign language is like following the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz where each day is an adventure, an opportunity to discover and to learn more!

Actually when I moved to Adelaide I realized that there were many words and expressions (slang) I did not know! Furthermore, it seems that my French accent is SO strong that there is no way I could be mistaken for an Aussie girl… no matter how hard I try, when I open my mouth they instantly know I am French! Sometimes I wonder… why do French people sound so French?! Since I can’t really do anything about it, let’s focus on the former topic: Aussie slang!

Shortly after I moved to Adelaide, I made friend with my neighbour and enjoyed our daily conversations about the city, Australia, wildlife etc… even if sometimes he talked too fast and I could not catch the meaning of everything. One day he told me how popular the Aussie barbies were and that I should try. I thought he was talking about the Barbie plastic dolls (creepy…. why would he tell me that, I am not a kid anymore and what do Aussie Barbie dolls have that French ones don’t haha)… or maybe he was referring to bimbos, blondies (still creepy…why saying I should try?). So I got curious and asked him for more details (afterall maybe I was just lost in translation), I wanted to know what he liked about it… then I heard the word “shrimp” and the conversation went on and I learnt this day that a barbie is a barbecue, not a doll neither a bimbo nore a blondie!

Do you know what is a breakie? First time, I heard this word… I thought it was related to “break something”…  do I want a breakie? Is somebody going to break my leg? Is it an Australian custom? Well don’t worry, if you see this expression on a cafe menu… nobody is going to break you anything, it just means: breakfast! In my opinion it is a good word to know here and speaking of it I know the perfect place where  to enjoy a delicious Aussie breakie!

One day in English class, one of our teachers William asked us if we have been bothered by the mozzies during the warm and humid weekend. Because of the lesson topic, we knew he was talking about an animal but what kind of beast was that? The word sounded to me like a “mouse” but with a “S” so something like “mouses” but then I thought it can’t be, because the plural is “mice” (congrats these English classes are paying off)! A girl from Japan said that this animal did not exist in her country and William smiled  and said he doubted it! Actually mozzies mean mosquitos!

After 6 months living in Australia, I can’t declare I am fluent in Aussie slang yet but I am working on it because I like it here and I really want to fit in! So to prove my love to Australia, I am going to write something that only Australians can understand:

G’day, I started my morning with a lovely breakie and wrote some emails to my relies. Then I was invited by my aussies mates to a seafood barbie. I hope there will not be too many mozzies tonight at the party! No worries! Ta ❤

Moving abroad with or without your pet?

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” – Anatole France

A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to live the dream and have an international career. It was a project dear to my heart hidden in a little corner of my mind like forever. But at that time I was living in Paris with my 10 years old cat and his name was Paulo.

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Paulo and myself sitting on the window of our Parisian flat

He was the most adorable cat you could ever have imagined, always purring, asking for cuddles, giving love. Paulo was neither the bravest cat nore the most agile one… First, he was scared to death when hearing somebody sneezing! Secondly jumping from the floor to the table or walking on the bed frame seemed to be too challenging: actually he fell a few times BUT he had a big ego and hated when I would laugh at him that’s when I learnt to do my Poker face (thank you Lady Gaga).  But he was my cat and I loved him unconditionally no matter what. So it was obvious that Paulo would be part of my adventures should I move someday overseas. I started to enquire about how it worked, what kind of vaccination would I need, paperwork to deal with, pet carrier to choose…  it seemed complicated and expensive but a pet is part of your family so you’re ready to face these kind of problems! Unfortunately Paulo was diagnosed with kidney cancer and passed away shortly after this heart breaking news. So I never got the chance to bring my cat with me abroad. But as a pet lover I can totally put myself in your shoes. So what is going to follow now, is not my own experience but stories from friends who live overseas with or without their pets.

First you need to know that the decision is not that easy… Moving abroad is a lot of logistic and stress (for you and your animal) so some people decide it is a too big an issue and they prefer not to bring their little companion. They choose instead to give their dog or cat to a friend or a relative. It seems “easier” on a logistic point of view but actually it is not… because I have seen these same people crying and missing their pet a LOT!

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I want Mr Whiskas back!

I mean when you adopt your animal at the first place it is because you want to love it forever! Remember the first day your pet arrived in your home, how happy you were, how much you cared about your dog or your cat! So having the feeling of abandoning your little companion to make both of your life easier can be hard to cope with! So think about it twice… if you decide to leave your dog/cat behind you, make sure it is in good hands with people you trust and who will be able to keep you posted and be ok to handle the situation if you change your mind and want your animal back. Because you can think at the first place it is going to be ok and then realize you are too sad and too depressed… Keep in mind that when you will move overseas you will have no friends at the beginning and you will miss your country, your family, your old life a lot! So the absence of your cat/dog could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, better to have a plan B just in case!

On the contrary, I know other people who can not possibly imagine their life abroad without their pet. My friend Nasim (from Iran) has a lovely dog named Judy that she loves very much. When she decided to move to Australia, her dog was part of the plan!

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Judy in her previous home in Iran

But it is not easy either because when you move with your pet to Australia, laws are very strict and you have a very long delay to respect and it can be extended depending on your dogs’ results, current health etc… http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs . You have to live with the guilt of putting your animal through all these confusing experiences (leaving its home, its family and its routine for a while, long stressful trip, noisy shelters, cold cages, multiple tests, long time no see, strangers)… like I said there are no ideal solutions.

Furthermore, Nasim’s dog could not do its quarantine in Iran and had to be sent to Canada in a shelter for the whole duration and it is been a long time now… It is hard because the duration was extended many times and Nasim is missing Judy a lot and wondering how her dog feels about this situation… she has not seen Judy for 8 months! But a few days ago, Nasim received a good news: Australia is ready to welcome Judy now, all paperworks have been approved and she will see her dog very soon! The next step now is to find a good pet doctor in the neighborhood, nice parks for dogs and most important a welcoming home! Bear in mind that many landlords don’t accept animals so it is important when you move abroad with your pet to find a place where it is allowed and mentioned in the leasing contract!

Whatever you decide, focus on your pets’ interests, find the “best” solution for both sides and try not to feel guilty about the situation (it won’t help anyway). Good luck ❤

“Tant que vous n’avez pas aimé un animal, une partie de votre âme sera toujours sans éclat, endormie.” Anatole France

Fifty shades of Grey book critique

Fifty shades of grey E.L. James 2011 528 p. 100 million sale

Erotic romance novel written by British author E.L. James. The story traces the unconventional relationship between the naive college graduate, Anastasia Steele and the mysterious business magnate, Christian Grey.

The reader becomes the voyeur of this singular initiatory journey featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism. The author uses this taboo universe to explore basic themes such as: How far would you go for love, can love change someone, opposites’ attract.

E.L. James is placing her characters in uncomfortable situations: struggling with their emotions, fighting and finally compromising. The interest of the story lies on the conflict of sentiments between the two central characters. Besides all of their differences and deviances, they share a universal feeling: LOVE. That feeling cements their relationship and helps them to grow together and to explore new shades of their physical and emotional boundaries as the story progresses.

It could be a tale of love that triumphs over the odds. Unfortunately the characters are not believable and dialogues are dull. The author’s style is colourless and the plot is blindingly obvious.

Fifty shades of grey, despite all the leather and spanking, is pretty harmless!

 

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. I was asked to write a book critique in 200 words. I have picked “50 shades of Grey” first because I read it not so long ago (so I remember it quite well) and also because this assignment was scheduled in February at the exact time when the “steamy” film inspired from this book was released and everybody was talking about it for Valentine’s day… so I thought it could be interesting and fun to write my critique about it!

Please summer don’t go!

Adelaide is so lovely at the moment… it is not too warm, not too cold, it is perfect time to enjoy beautiful walks in the city and reward yourself with a nice iced tea sitting at the terrasse  of your favorite cafe enjoying the sun and the life going by!

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Lovely iced tea and waffles at cafe Troppo

I wish summer time could stay a little bit more… When I used to live in the north hemisphere the 20th March was a happy day for me because it was the first day of spring and I could already think about the nice places in Paris where I would go, the outdoor restaurants by my work place where I would eat, the cute summer dresses I would buy, the markets, the beautiful flowers and the lovely sun on my face ❤ but now it is different I live in Australia and today it is the first day of Autumn! What does Autumn look like in Australia… I have no idea… it is my first time here!

I have been told that after mad March, Adelaide needs to recover and it will be very quiet. People will stay at home, cook and relax! I am not sure I want to do that… I enjoy walking around, exploring the city, going to the beach, spending time with my new friends! I guess I can still do that even if the weather is colder… right?!

So here are a few activities I intend to do now the weather is getting cooler:

  1.  Rent a free bike and ride next to the beautiful Torrens river!
  2. Keep on exploring the city  thanks to the City council self guided Tours and Trails: http://www.adelaidecitycouncil.com/explore-the-city/see-do/maps-and-trails/tours-and-trails
  3. Go more often to the Food Court in China Town (by the way I love Mum Kimba Korean cuisine), so nice and yummy!
  4. Buy nice teas at T2 on Rundle street and enjoy the new comforting flavors (Choco Tchai with almonds milk mmm).
  5. Climb on Mount Lofty, in the hills, everywhere… Sport is good for your soul and your body!
  6. Take the train more often and start exploring the surroundings (I wish I could go back to Peninsula Fleurieu, so beautiful… and in autumn the colours must be lovely).
  7. Do more shopping at the Central Market and buy cheese and bread  (when winter is coming I generally start to dream about “raclette” or “fondue”: French dishes involving a lot of CHEESE).
  8. Treat myself with some mouthwatering milk rocky roads from Haigh’s chocolates: they only produce them during the cold season and they are to die for!
  9. Find a cosy cafe with a fire place where I can read new books and write beautiful pieces… hey wait a minute, there is a fire place in my new house in the living room 😉 I am already picturing myself with a cup of tchai latte and a nice blanket… too bad I don’t have a cat to complete this perfect winter scene!

Well… it sounds like a good plan to me! What about you? What are your favorite activities when the weather gets colder? What do you recommend me to do in Adelaide in Autumn?

PS: maybe I am being a lit bit too dramatic… Autumn does not seem very cold in Australia… actually this weekend is going to be very hot with 27 degree on Saturday and 32 degree on Sunday… I think I can still wear my summer dresses… the umbrella, the boots and the pullover can wait, YOUPI 🙂

Creative writing class

“We will fly in a brand new sky!”

I can’t believe that I am following creative writing classes in English with native people!!! This is so exciting and rewarding to be able to do such thing, to feel I am one of them, to believe I am not that different! At the beginning I was scared it would be too hard for me but finally I realised that when you are enthusiastic about something you can make it happen!

In a previous article, I have mentioned how important it is when you live abroad to have other activities that are not directly related to English. Learning the language of your new country is a necessity but sometimes it can be frustrating and it is a long path so it is important to reward yourself with other activities that are not too demanding.  For example, my friend Nasim (from Iran) is following painting classes, my friend Balbina (from Spain) is taking part to Zumba dance once a week and I have recently enrolled to a creative writing course and guess what we are all having fun! We are learning new things, changing our routine, meeting native people, making new friends, hearing about specific and technical vocabulary we are not familiar with… and it is great because we are doing something we enjoy a lot 🙂 something we feel proud about it where English is not an issue… well it is not totally true for me as I am following a creative writing class where I am supposed to write beautifully in English haha! Speaking of that, I will be posting from time to time some of my assignments so you can check my progress and see that nothing is impossible!

So don’t be shy! This is your chance to meet awesome people, to start a new activity, to make a difference in your life! Pick something you really enjoy, something you have always dreamt about in your home country but never took the chance to do it! Any classes… it can be dance, beach volley, Spanish, drawing, photography, cooking, yoga… anything! You are in a new country, that’s your moment, don’t miss it!

 

 

Adelaide College of the Arts

TAFE SA 

39 Light Square

Adelaide  – South Australia 5000

http://www.tafesa.edu.au/adelaide-college-of-the-arts/writing

In the mood for indian food?

I recall a time of my life when I was addicted to Bollywood films and had a poster of Shahrukh Khan (also known as the Indian Tom Cruise) on my wall…  YES,  I confess I enjoy this kind of movies because they are romantic and lively, full of happy people dancing and singing and it is nearly as long as a cricket match 😉 …but what I enjoy more is Indian cuisine and its beautiful colours!

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Beautiful colours for your soul

As you know I am always keen on trying new restaurants! So a couple of days ago, I went to a place called Jasmin in Adelaide CBD and I spent a lovely time there I must say. This award winning restaurant is pretty popular and well located on the corner of Grenfell and Pultney street. The atmosphere is warm and cosy… very intimate! The night I ate in this restaurant there was a couple in a corner holding hands and having a romantic dinner… I bet they were celebrating an anniversary! As for me, I was in good company and we all had a  delightful evening.

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Delicious North Indian cuisine, lovely intimate atmosphere

Each dish was flavory and so appealing with beautiful colours. I particularly enjoyed their “feed me” menu where they prepare a wonderful selection for you based on your tastes… I am terrible at making decisions  with food since everything looks amazing so for me it is the perfect option! Furthermore I like to be surprised and discover new flavours! So they kept bringing a variety of mouthwatering dishes and I felt bad I could not finish all these delicious plates but it was a lot of food! It was also the opportunity to taste new things that I would probably not have picked myself like the Tandoori mushroom! What a beautiful discovery! Basically it is a large thick and tender mushroom marinated in spices and it tastes absolutely marvelous! Definitely a must try!

So next time you are in the mood for Indian food, don’t look further and let the Jasmin Chef surprise you and prepare a memorable meal that will delight your eyes and your palate ❤

Jasmin Indian Restaurant

31 Hindmarsh Square 

Adelaide SA 5000

Ph: (08) 8223 7837

http://jasmin.com.au

Cricket Match decoded by a French girl

When I was living in France, I have never been a sport fan. I have been only one time to the French tennis open (Roland Garros), I have seen one day the “Tour de France” because the riders were biking in the city where I was living and I have never been to a rugby match which is a shame when you think that the city where I originally come from has the best team ever (ASM). I guess it was not really my thing at that time… but living abroad made me more curious I suppose and now I enjoy discovering about sports I am not familiar with and cricket is definitely one of them!

Sunday for the first time, I took part to the Cricket World Cup 2015 at Adelaide Oval! It was nothing like I would have ever imagined… First, I discovered that a cricket match is VERY long:  this one started at 2pm and ended at 10pm… so you’d better come prepared because it is a long time spent on a plastic seat! Forget what you know about other sports  or logic because cricket is really different!

I – The atmosphere

IMG_0202A cricket match is like a French family lunch on a weekend where everybody sits, eats and chats during HOURS about anything and sometimes stops when there is some “action” like a drunk uncle talking no sense or no more wine in the cellar or worst no more bread! Frankly, I was surprised to see that the people are not focus all the time on the match… actually they are chatting about what they did last weekend, their jobs, their families and eventually the match when a team scores! I have seen some people reading the newspaper, other enjoying a glass of wine, some texting on their Iphones…  it is a very relaxed event where people are reunited in the name of cricket! In my opinion, the ideal is to come with good friends of yours, have some beers, some junk food, entertaining conversations and enjoy the show on the field! If you have good company, it is a nice way to spend your Sunday.

II – The game

IMG_0963I am not sure I understood the rules… but I managed to get a few things! So there are 2 teams playing on the field so you pick the one you want to support (generally I base my choice on the jersey colour). It is a bat and ball game so basically one team bats and the other bowls and then it is the other way around. The goal is to score as many runs as possible, easy! It is good to do a WICKET or a FOUR (people seems to be happy when it happens). It is bad to do a LEG BEFORE WICKET you don’t want that, never! I personally like the WICKET thing because the stick flies in the air and there is a little flashing light on its end which is pretty original.

IMG_0955The cricket match is divided into periods which is good so you can go in peace during the break to the food stand in the meantime to get some nachos or fries… because there are not actions all the time during the game so you don’t want to miss it when it occurs… it is like fishing, you never know when the fish is going to bite and you want to be there when it happens! Applaud and stand up when your team scores and don’t hesitate to encourage them shouting “Hit the Ball!”, “Come on guys!”, take some pics and post them on Instagram and you’ll be all right 🙂 people won’t even noticed it is your first time!

III – The environment

IMG_0970I think we are really lucky in Adelaide. The oval is so beautiful, colourful, very modern and gigantic! This stadium looks like a convention centre. The bathroom are very fancy like in a SPA, there are even candles, can you believe that on a match day!? Also, it can be very warm in the stadium during the afternoon (hey, we are in Oz world!) so bring a hat, sun glasses, sun block and a fan! Like I said a match can last until late at night so bring a pullover, a scarf and a jacket too or you’ll be sorry because it can get chilly! A nice way to end the evening after a match if you are still hungry is to head to the Bakery on O’Connell street in North Adelaide or The Orignal Pancakes kitchen in the CBD, they are both opened 24/7 and pretty closed from the Oval!

In my opinion, it is worth going at least once in your life to a cricket game especially with a group of friends you want to catch up with! I am glad I did, I mean it is always fun and refreshing to experience new things. I must say I spent a good time and I liked the atmosphere. I hope crickets fans won’t be offended by my vision… again this is cricket decoded by a French girl who attended to her first match… it is clear I am not Don Bradman 😉