dimanche 30 novembre 2008


Well, its done. I am all moved out of my apartment. My stuff is now in piles all over Brian's apartment. I need to take some things to work to give to people, ship a little bit home, and pack the rest for the flight. I leave La France en deux semaines.

Everyone told me horror stories of French landlords and how they try to wring every last cent out of one's deposit. When you move into an apartment, there is a lengthy list of every single thing in the place, and a box to check to indicate the quality: good, used, or bad. When you move out, you must go through the list again and re-examine each item. My officemate, for example, recently moved out of a place and her landlord refused to refund a cent; she and her husband have now hired a lawyer. So, I went into today's meeting with a bit of trepidation. And what happened? My landlord gave me the entire refund back. She took the long checklist, and without even looking at anything, just checked "good" for everything. Finally I said, "I broke a glass," and she replied, "In 2 years? Of course! That is to be expected." We then went through all the water bills and she ended up giving me a 70 euro check because I had overpaid. So, it was unexpectedly painless.

Only 2 weeks left in France. I can hardly believe it after all this time.

jeudi 27 novembre 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Its been a mellow Thanksgiving day here in France, a work day. I'm about to head out to dinner to a place with a very delicious poultry dish.. I figured that is about as close as it gets. We may not have turkey with all the trimmings, but a nice meal is what it is all about.

mercredi 26 novembre 2008

Congratulations to my officemate Elisabeth and her husband David! Elisabeth gave birth this morning at 8:46 to Elliot, 3600 g. All are well. See Elisabeth's blog link to the right.

vendredi 21 novembre 2008

Le beaujolais nouveau est arrivé

Voila! November 20th has arrived, and with it the yearly arrival of the Beaujolais nouveau. While most people believe that wine gets better with age, there is one wine which is made to be drunk young: le beaujolais nouveau. Oh yes, September was a good month, wasn't it?

Lyon's proximity to the Beaujolais region makes it an excellent center for tasting the nouveau. The festivities began 2 nights ago with horses trotting alongside the Saône to deliver 2008's Beaujolais Nouveau to Place Bellecour. The revelers enjoyed live music and fireworks until exactly midnight, when they were allowed to pop open this year's vintage.

I'm sorry to report that I missed these festivities, but I did go out last night and saw the setting up for non-stop holiday celebrations until Christmas. This time of year, most restaurants in Vieux Lyon set up a table outside where they sell Beaujolais Nouveau or vin chaud, and people gather outside late at night eating crepes and drinking wine. I tried some B.N. last night, and I have to admit that it tasted like wine that had been bottled 2 months ago. The wine isn't that great, but somehow we all get swept up in it anyway. I do like vin chaud though. It is delicious on a cold winter's night.

samedi 8 novembre 2008


Everyone here is thrilled about the election. I cannot overstate the degree to which everyone I know here was routing for Obama to win. I saw multiple homemade Obama signs on the streets. People were talking about it everywhere. The night of the election, when we were walking back from the party, some French college students who had written 'Obama :)' on their faces stopped us to cheer. And I literally knew no one at my job who was pulling for McCain. It surprised me a little bit, because there are certainly a few Sarkozy supporters at work, so I assumed there had to be a few McCain fans in the crowd. But as Ann pointed to me over coffee yesterday, so many Europeans have been angered by Bush's foreign policy, specifically the unwillingness to work with other countries-- the 'if you're not with us, you're against us'-- for that reason alone people were routing for Obama to win. They want someone who is willing to work with their governments.

I've also been approached by several European colleagues who say things like, "I'm just so impressed that the US would elect a black man. I think that would never happen in my country." So, it is nice to briefly bask in the collective goodwill that is directed towards the US these days.

Farhad, an Iranian friend of mine at work, believes that Obama's election will likely result in moderates being elected in other countries. Bush was a real rallying point for radical politics elsewhere, so now the wind has been taken out of their sails a bit. Farhad also pointed out that when the Iranian government was accused of human rights abuses, president Ahmadinejad would just point out what a racist country the US is; that just won't hold water anymore. Farhad is hoping that Khatami will run again in the next Iranian presidential election. Its time for a moderate.

Alas, the election night party that I went to was a bit of a dud. It was at the Hilton, and there were 900 people there, crowded into a too-small room, and it quickly got overheated. Plus the "buffet" that we were promised consisted of a few bowls of chips and pistachio nuts. They eventually brought out a few trays of crudites, which were mobbed so quickly I couldn't even get to them. And the debates that I had so looked forward to were marred by a poor sound system, and I couldn't hear anything. Oh well. Plus I missed watching the election returns! I just didn't have the energy to try and stay up and watch them until 5 am.

Here are some blurry cell phone pics I took. The jazz band was pretty good.

lundi 3 novembre 2008

Election event

I'm supposed to go to this event tomorrow night.

In order to mark the important event in American politics, the Presidential Elections, the American and Franco-American communities of Lyon have organized a special Election Night evening on the night of the elections themselves - Tuesday November 4, 2008. The event will take place from 9PM onwards in the salons of the Lyon Hilton Hotel, 70 quai Charles de Gaulle in the Lyon 6th District. The American Club of Lyon, the Association France-USA , The American Chamber of Commerce - AmCham Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne have come together to organize this Special Evening for you in conjunction with the US Consul in Lyon. Our principal sponsors include – CEFAM International School of Business and Management, Alex Lapp, Air France and the Lyon Hilton. Our other sponsors include Wall Street Institute, FC2, ONLY LYON (Aderly), Coca Cola Enterprise, Le Casino le Pharaon, Dulac Fleurs , Conciergerie Cité Internationale , Bahadourian , Swiss com 2.

Several hundred people will be attending this long awaited event which will bring together numerous French and American personalities from the Lyon area. A buffet along with wine and soft beverage will be served while you enjoy some nice Jazz music from the Ecole de Musique de Limonest who will play with a grand piano furnished by their partner Bellecour Musiques. Experts from several domains will participate in animated debates about the political race itself as well as debates on the economy and the societal impacts in general of the 2008 American Presidential race. These debates as well as a tentative live video conference being organized with New York will give a good overview of the exchanges and partnerships in place between the Rhone Alpes Region and the United States. All during the evening, numerous animations are being organized, a live TV broadcast of the exit polls and the election results, a live drawing (winner must be present) of Free Tickets on the Lyon-New York flight offered specially for the evening by AIR FRANCE as well a straw poll of your vote for the elections will give a Lyonnais view of the American Political scene.