mercredi, décembre 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Today is the last day of 2008 and the office is really calm. Just a quick note to wish everyone a good year 2009 ahead.

Year 2008 has been good to us. Despite all the uncertainity of the financial world, we are not yet affected. Indeed, business is slower in almost all sectors. But Seb and I are blessed with good health and a new family member is in the making. That's what counts most.

For year 2009, there are many talks in the media that it will be a tough year. A french investor in New York had committed sucide due to the Madoff affair. That is such a shame. Even if one is bankrupt, it is not the end of the world. There are many people who are living in real poverty. Even if year ahead is tough, I pray that everyone will be able to brave through it.

vendredi, décembre 26, 2008

Boxing day

Seb and I spent a good Christmas with Seb's family in Chartres. This year, I had to abstain myself from eating smoked salmon, oysters and unpasterised cheese. Things which I always look forward to feasting during this year end festival. Seb did not even drink any wine as he had to drive us home after the Christmas lunch. That was difficult for him as he saw the good wine passing under his nose.

Today, both of us did not work. Seb's office is closed and his company imposed a day off for everyone. As for my office, today is considered a holiday for us. So though I did not work, I did not have to take a day off like Seb.

We went Paris for a walk. I had prawn dumplings noodle soup at Mirama in Saint Michel. Mirama serves the best dumplings and roasted duck in Paris. Even Angel's colleague who had been to Paris a few times for work agreed with me when we first met a few weeks ago.

After that, we went Carrefour for grocery shopping. At Carrefour, I took the queue reserved for pregnant ladies and handicaps. This was the second time I did that. Most of the time, I joined the normal queue as the priority queue was often just as long as the normal ones. And on both occasions, I heard remarks from people behind me commenting that I was abusing the queue. I had to justify myself by replying that I was more than 3 months pregnant. With my little bump hidden under my winter coat, no one could tell I am 5 months pregnant. At church, without my coat, I was talking to someone new and she thought I was a student in Paris. I guess I should take that as a compliment. Anyway, I just had my monthly check up and baby is doing fine, weighing 550g. That is the most important thing.

jeudi, décembre 18, 2008

Black rice vinegar and confinement

Angel was here on work trip recently and upon my mom's request, he helped me brought two bottles of black rice vinegar. Seb and I met up with him and his colleagues and we had a good dinner togather.

What is so special about this particular black rice vinegar? Well, Mom insisted that this is the only brand that I must eat during my confinement period. No other brand in Paris Chinatown will do. During the confinement period, it is necessary to eat lots of pig's trotters cooked in vinegar. I am not sure of the taste of this dish but since mom is such a good cook, I am sure I will enjoy it.

So what is confinement? This is something I explained to Seb long ago and recently explained to my mom-in-law and friends. It was never easy explaining and each time, I got bewildered eyes looking at me. Basically, confinement is something Singaporean women practiced for a month right after giving birth. Common practices include: No touching of water, no contact with wind, no heavy works, rest, rest and more rest.

I found two links that explained confinement really well. Mom will be my confinement lady; taking care of me. Since this will be her first time, I will negotiate with her to have showers every day!

mardi, décembre 16, 2008

Danger zone

Some explosives were found in Printemps shopping store this morning. The terroists group who planted these explosives in a few toilets sent out a warning note to the news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse). Apparently, these explosives did not have a timer. But the group warned that if their request for the withdrawal of French troops in Afghanistan was not met, there won't be a warning note the next time.

Seb sent me an email and pointed out the news to me. He told me not to visit big departmental shops from now on. I often shop in the Haussman area and would use the toilets at Printemps when nature calls. Small boutiques along the streets do not have toilet facilities. I was even thinking of going there this Sat to do our last minute Christmas shopping. I have yet to choose my present from Seb. These days, we can never be too sure of anything.

Good thing there is Vente Privée (a private sales website). It offers great bargains on well-known brands and I have been buying things from them. So far, I had bought books, cocottes from Staub, baby clothes from Absorba and Petit Bateau. For the moment, I will take my husband's advise and let my fingers do the shopping for me instead. Just hope that my wallet will not explode!

mardi, décembre 09, 2008

Christmas is coming again

I was not keen to get a Christmas tree this year. But when I saw a friend put up photos of her Christmas tree on her facebook, I was tempted to get one. So on sunday morning, we went to Truffaut and got a Christmas tree. It is about 1.1m. This is how it looks after being decorated. I am tired of the decoration and will definitely change them next year. The balls should retire as this would be their 4th annual appearance.
Je ne voulais pas un sapin de noël cette année. Mais quand j’ai vu sur Facebook les photos d’un sapin qu’une copine a acheté, j’ai craqué. Donc, dimanche matin, nous avons allés chez Truffaut afin de chercher un sapin. Il est environ 1.1m. J’ai décidé de changer la décoration l’année prochaine. Les balles sont utilisées depuis quatre ans et c’est l’heure de leur retraites.

On Sunday afternoon, we had Seb's family over for lunch to celebrate Seb's birthday. Our living room was really too small for 10 people after adding in the Christmas tree. But everyone managed to find their place. For entrée, I served vegetarian samosa and Wu-Xiang (bean curd skin pork rolls) that my mom made for me. I had already made a couple of my friends tried mom's wu-xiang and it was always well received. For main dish, it was baked stuffed female duck from Picard. Side dishes were potatoes wedges and buttered french beans. Cheese and cake followed. Everyone was satisfied with lunch and I had to give credit to Picard as it provides fresh, quality frozen food.
Dimanche après midi, nous avons invités la famille pour déjeuner afin de fêter l’anniversaire de Seb. Avec le sapin, notre salon est trop petit pour dix personnes. Heureusement, chacun a pu trouver sa place. Pour l’entrée, il y avait du samossas végétarien et wu-xiang (un sort de nem) fait par ma mère. Tout le monde aime ce que ma mère a fait. J’ai servi une canette farci de chez Picard comme plat principal. Il est accompagné avec des haricots verts et des potatoes. Ensuite, il y avait des fromages et le gâteau. On a bien mangé et je dois avouer que les produits chez Picard sont frais et bon.
As Christmas is round the corner, we have to move our butts this weekend to do Christmas shopping. As usual, it will be another stop at FNAC for books, CDs and games. December is always the month where I have to crack my head to get two gifts for Seb. For his birthday, it was an electrical Italian café maker from Bodum. For Christmas, I subscribed a year's supply of Hi-Fi magazines for him. I may just add in a CD too.

Bientôt, c’est noël. On doit bouger ce weekend et faire notre course de noël. Comme d’hab, on va aller chez FNAC pour les livres, CDs et jouets. Décembre est toujours le mois où je casse ma tête pour trouver les cadeaux de Seb. Pour son anniversaire, c’était un cafetière italienne électrique de chez Bodum. Pour noël, c’est un abonnement d’un magazine Hi-Fi. Peut-être, je vais ajouter un CD en plus.

mercredi, décembre 03, 2008

My virgin vote

I voted for the first time in my life. As I am still a Singaporean, I do not have rights to vote in presidential or general elections. But since I am working in France, I do have the right to vote for the election of the council of Prud'Hommes. If I am not wrong, Prud'Hommes is sort of a tribunal court dealing with complains and conflicts between the employers and employees. The union party elected will represent the employees.

Since a month and a half ago, we received our electoral card and also pamplets of each participating union party.

In Singapore, I never got to vote since there was never opposition contesting for my estate. The last time I was able to vote, I was living in France and the nearest poll center was in London.

It felt good to cast my vote though I am not sure how it would affect my work life.