Friday, September 28, 2012

le marché

Despite the gloom of a rainy Wednesday day in Toulouse, Andy and I set out on a mission with one goal in mind: find a 30 x 30 cm cookie sheet for our unfortunately small "mini four."

While we ultimately failed to achieve said goal, we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely outdoor farmer's market en route to the kitchen store. There had to be at least 50 different vendors selling fresh products of all kinds - fruits, veggies, roasted nuts, olives, grains and more. I was in vegetable-loving heaven.

The colors were absolutely gorgeous. Who knew fruits and vegetables could be so beautiful? And nearly all of the produce was relatively local and cheap (think three huge bell peppers for 1,30 euro) to boot!

We'd heard open-air markets were a "thing" here in Toulouse, but hadn't yet ventured out to explore them. Upon further research, we've discovered that this particular market on Boulevard de Strasbourg is the biggest and cheapest in the city - parfait!

on to the next one...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the dog days of september

Harry has had a tough last month. His dad left, we packed up our belongings in Newport, moved everything back up to Berkeley, I headed to Utah for four days, we packed some more, flew to Chicago, drove to Iowa, drove back to Chicago and then magically arrived in France. Although he's handled it like a champ, I can't help but feel a bit badly for overstimulating his already miniature brain.

That being said, we've spent a considerable amount of time on long walks and frolicking in the park while Andy's at the Palais des Sports. Our most recent adventure brought us to the public gardens near our house, Jardin Compans Caffarelli. The park was created in 1981 and replace former military barracks. There are several paths throughout that meander through flowerbeds, ponds and sculptures. It's full of super cute puppies, hand-holding couples and people nose-deep in the book du jour. I'm so thankful this beautiful place is just a stones throw away.

On Tuesday afternoon, while I conformed to the reading norm, Harry did what he does best...

Before we knew it, two hours had passed and we headed back to the gym to pick up Andy for a little post-practice grocery shopping. I'm hoping the good weather decides to stick around for a bit so we can continue to enjoy the JCC.

on to the next one...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

is this real life?

Andy informed me Sunday evening that our friend and French tutor, David, would like to take us for food and wine on Monday afternoon. I assumed we'd meet in the Centre for a bite, have a glass of wine, speak English for a bit, and be on our merry way.

I was wrong. So so wrong. David picked us up and whisked us off to a perfectly rustic restaurant about 20 minutes outside of Toulouse. A well-connected community man and former professional rugby player, he took us to a restaurant that supports the local team, Stade Toulousain. We met YaYa, exchanged bisous, and sat down at the bar. Almost instantly, a bottle of local wine and an impressive spread (of just the appetizer portion of our meal, mind you) had been placed in front of me and Andy. For those of your wondering, yes I tried the "Foie Gras Croque Monsieur" pictured first below.

After paying a quick visit to Teiva's new offices (the wonderful man who started and runs our French tutoring program), we headed back to town. On the way home, the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful bright blue, and all three of us were singing at the top of our lungs to American pop hits like "Call Me Maybe" and "Empire State of Mind."

At one point I just stopped, looked around at the beautiful French countryside, and thought to myself, "Is this real life? Not even real life, but MY LIFE?!" It's moments like these that make this whole experience - the anxious days waiting for an email response from an agent, the stress of over late payments, and an oven-free/two burner life - oh so worth it. Never in a million years did I think on a random Monday afternoon, I'd find myself so love drunk and high on happiness. We're pretty stinkin' lucky.

on to the next one...

Sunday, September 23, 2012


To all my Niners friends and foes...VICTORY! Cue Jared Allen celebration dance...

Evan, please inform Toby of my celebration dance choreography offer. It still stands.

on to the next one...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

on iowa

The third annual family football tailgate has come and gone but I'm still basking in the glory of the Hawkeyes butt kick over UNI. Perhaps it's because my professional football world fell to pieces on Sunday. Or maybe because college football is one of the few things in the states I miss more than I should probably admit. I digress.

The past weekend was full of family, fun and football - can you ask for a better way to spend three days?

All arrived throughout the day on Friday. That afternoon, with a little perfect midwest weather and Mich Golden Lights in hand, we all honed our ladder ball skills in preparation for Saturday's tailgate.

Following a grill out and bath time, Harry and Ellie spent some QT during story time. Of course I'm biased, and I completely admit that, but she's seriously the cutest little human. Ellie even sported a mohawk to show her allegiance.

Unable to contain our excitement for the impending kickoff, the Drankas (including Anne and her fancy new haircut), Harry and myself stepped out for a morning walk on Saturday. Easily exhausted, Harry made the return trip in Ellie's stroller.

Before we knew it, it was time to get dressed, give the pooches a final run around (thanks to Ellie), and head to Jackie and Roberto's tailgate near the stadium. The weather was a dream and the ladder ball competition was fierce. Friday night's impromptu practice proved beneficial as Anne and I took home the W against Cody and Tricia - amateurs.

The buzz in and around the stadium was incredible. Between the custom rivalry t-shirts sold at every corner and entire groups of blacked out slightly less than sober students body-painted head to toe in black and gold, it's nearly impossible not to feel the school spirit in your bones. Though in many ways Santa Clara was the perfect fit for me, I can't help but regret not attending a big football school. 

One final note, to the obnoxious UNI fan sitting in front of me talking crap...scoreboard.

on to the next one...

Friday, September 14, 2012

so long, san francisco

On Thursday, I said goodbye to 924 Arlington, my mom, San Francisco and the rest of the beautiful Bay Area. It was so wonderful to be back for a couple days and get to enjoy the sights, sounds and food of my "hometown." Everyday was packed full of errands, lunch dates, appointments and more - to think, I was worried I'd be bored with nothing to do...

My last full day was spent primarily in San Francisco. I met Christopher for lunch in the FiDi (he picked a perfectly appropriate location!) and shopped up and down Union with Rochelle for most of the afternoon.

I'll sure miss this place while I'm away. I'm particularly sad to miss the Indian Summer in the city. Perhaps Toulouse has one too?

on to the next one...

Monday, September 10, 2012

E & P

This past weekend, "the girls" headed to Salt Lake City to celebrate the long overdue union of Emily & Paul. It was a weekend full of laughs, love, tears, beautiful people, breathtaking views, and most importantly, memories we're sure never to forget.

I'm so thankful for Emily and her family's love and generosity this past weekend. It was such an honor to be there to celebrate with everyone.

Kate to Europe Countdown: 6 days

I'm looking forward to spending a little bit of time in Chicago bookending a weekend in Iowa cheering on the Hawkeyes at the annual family tailgate.

on to the next one...