Buying Local = Tastes Better?

I would say that the majority of the time, buying local does taste better. It also has a lot less mileage, perhaps fewer chemicals, and/or less processing. Cool, I like that! And I normally am a huge supporter of local farms, farmers markets, and locally stocked stores (one of my favorite farms is Polyface Farm, fav. grocery store is C’ville Market, and of course the City Market, all in Charlottesville, Virginia).

But grocery shopping here in France can be somewhat depressing, especially when I’ve been mainly exposed to the hyper-marchés like Carrefour. Not to say that we don’t have hyper-markets in the US – we do and I’m pretty sure America invented those horrible things (aka Walmart, Kmart, Food Lion, Giant; even the names convey “We’re big and we like it!”) – but, when you arrive in France, you kind of expect to have grocery stores to go along with the stereotype of amazing French food. Right? No, wrong!

And what does “local” food consist of in my Carrefour? Fruit from Corsica. I love Corsica and, even though Corsica is on the other side of the country, that’s more local than the other stuff there. They had some delicious Corsican clementines last fall and now they are offering an abundance of grapefruit. I’ll take a few of those, thanks!

I’ve now eaten two Corsican grapefruits and feel even more depressed. They are not very juicy and they hurt my stomach a bit. I have previously bought Florida grapefruit from the Monoprix (where I hate to shop because: 1) it’s expensive, 2) it’s expensive, 3) their fresh foods selection is despicable). And the Florida grapefruit was WAYYYY better (go Florida citrus!).

You think that the Corsican grapefruit would be logically a bit better due to it’s shorter travel distance, compared to it’s Florida friend who probably has some sort of United Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles, and perhaps a shorter storage duration than the Florida grapefruit. But noooooo. The Florida grapefruit wins here. I like supporting the Florida citrus business, so I guess that’s alright. But I’d still much prefer to buy local!!

There is a local “farm” store around the corner but I’m afraid it is going to be extremely expensive. I’ll have to go check it out. But, until then, I’ll have to decide where I’m going to buy my fruit: money-hungry Monoprix or crusty Carrefour.

I’d love to know if you have any grocery store options that are any better than those two!

PS – I have been to the market in Wazemmes but I am not sure how “local” the produce is there. Does anyone know? I don’t know why but I have the feeling that the produce is bought from sellers and that the men who sell fruits and vegetables in the market are also sellers and not really farmers. I’d like to know if I am wrong though! I love it there and we try to go as often as possible but it’d be even better if it were locally sourced.

 

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Things I need to do at UVa before I graduate.

In no particular order:

1) Go to Foxfield (as a UVa student).
2) Try to see at least one horse at Foxfield that year.
3) To go trivia night at Mellow Mushroom.
4) Go to class wasted.
5) Drag Bingo!
6) Streak the lawn (!??ahhhh!?!? noooo)
7) Corner Crawl.
8 ) Finish the Corner Crawl with a Gus burger.
Why do most of these things include drinking? Lets get more cultural.
9) Participate more in QuAA and my other group commitments from 2008/2009.
10) Steam tunneling.
11) Paint Beta Bridge with blasphemous French words. I once saw “Ta mère suce des bites en enfer.” Nice.
12) Study in beautiful places like: the dome room, the lawn, McGregor room – FOR THE LAST TIME!
13) Wine tasting at the local wineries.
14) See more exhibitions at the UVa Art Museum (and get free drinks).

What’s on your list? What do you think I should do? I’m up for suggestions!!!

And below is the 2009 check list for graduates. Do we have one for this year?

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Why I broke up with GG.

Three years of dedication, three years of tears and laughter, three years of beautiful memories. After three years of being together, why cut it off now? Why didn’t I end it sooner? Why don’t I just stick with it and get through the hard times? My guy friends once told me that three years is a legendary hurdle for relationships. It’s like the three month trial. If you pass it, something must be working. If you break up, well, it’s ok. We’ll understand.

I just can’t take it any more. Things haven’t been working for a while. I’ve really tried my hardest. The past few episodes have been just so painful. I can’t watch anymore. It’s like a beautiful girl who walks in the room with a gorgeous Matthew Williamson dress (by the way, that dress was killer) and then opens her mouth and she’s so goddamn whiney. Everything looks so good but sounds so terrible!

In the past, our relationship was fun, flirty, unexpected. Each episode was a new surprise. She kept me on my toes, always waiting for more, even though the best part was waiting to see what the characters would be wearing. Now, she’s so predictable.

The characters are fatiguing. Serena is stuck in a ditzy-blonde rut. Blair is no longer that fire that I used to love. She’s gotten all soft and now actually starts crying in front of a group of people. Lilly is a cheating, serial monogamist. Ruffus needs to get some sex. Dan needs to get a life. Jenny is a coke snorting slut who wants to take over the air-headed Nate. Vanessa keeps her so passé hipster coolness. And Chuck, poor Chuck, the last character that still has a place in my heart, has been broken down by Blair and his good-for-nothing-poser mother. And now that Chuck and Blair have broken up, what is the purpose of watching the show?!

And I wish that she would listen to me. I sit in front of the screen, groaning and rolling my eyes at the hideous dialogue. Since when did she become “Days of Our Lives”? No one asked for such heartless, bland, monotone dialogue. And you broke up the most interesting couple in the whole show! How DARE you!

We are finished Gossip Girl. We’re over. And don’t beg me to come back to you. It’s not happening.

Anyone have any good rebound suggestions?

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Top Ten Basics

The other day I was greatly inspired by the gorgeous Ms. Garance Doré’s blog post about her top ten clothing/make-up/accessories basics.

Because I cannot be brought to decide ten basics in general, I’d like to separate it into two categories: five for Fall/Winter and five for Spring/Summer.

Here goes:

Fall/Winter:
1) Boots (high heels/flats – preferably black)
2) Thick tights to wear with knee-length skirts (in black, grey, and brown)
3) Knee high socks (in all colors)
4) Moisturizer (Daily Moisturizing Lotion is the best for winter)
5) Perfume (Dolce and Gabbana The One L’eau)

Spring/Summer:
1) A chic pair of leather flats/kitten heels (in brown)
2) Flowy skirt with a great design
3) Colorful and bright bikini
4) Sunblock
5) Sunglasses

And necessary for forever: blacker than black mascara and a dusting of blush to make my cheeks rosy and take away the deathly pale color that is currently my skin. Yuck. I need some sunshine!

Now it’s your turn! What are your five basics for fall/winter and spring/summer? I might just have to adopt one of your picks as mine! And don’t just think this is limited to the ladies…I want to hear the guy’s picks too!!!

* Here is a link to her post in English and in French.

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My university is beautiful!

Being abroad has really made me appreciate how gorgeous my university is. We’ve got amazing, historic gardens with serpentine walls, dogwood trees and magnolia trees bursting into bloom across grounds, and soft lawns to stretch out on in the sunshine.

How I long to sit in one of the rear gardens and pretend that I am totally invisible to everyone.

Images courtesy of the UVa magazine. And here’s a link to 15 reasons to love Charlottesville in the spring.
PS – boy am I incredibly envious of all the alumni who are posting comments about how amazing Easters was. Damnit, bring Easters BACKKK!!!
PSS – to anyone who is curious to know what Easters is, it was a week long party at my school in the spring, incredibly famous throughout the entire east coast, where thousands of people would come to party, get muddy in Madison (Mud) Bowl, and have a good time. It got canceled in the 60s, I believe, because there were just too many people and the whole town was chaos.

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What would you have done?

Sometimes I am shocked by people, in both a good and a bad way.

Two Tuesday afternoons ago, I met a group of international friends to go together to class, Sociétés et Réligions Aujourd’hui, which was that day being held at the mosque. When the 8 or 10 of us were gathered, we all took the metro, and got off at the station closest to the mosque. As we walked up the escalator and onto the street, my friends stopped in horror.

There, weaving between my friends, was a bulky bully, surrounded his five friends (which comprised of three cheering tracksuited boys, the classic skinny, a hyper commentator bouncing around all over the place, and a fake-bake bottle blond with some skin issues), ruthlessly beating on a gawky boy, who was desperately clutching his schoolbag, with blood pouring out of his mouth. It couldn’t have been any more stereotypical.

At first, I didn’t immediately see what was going on but, when I did, I swiftly pulled my friend Saori out of the way of the bully. We all just stood there for a moment, totally repulsed and in awe of what we were witnessing. Then, suddenly, as if we all had the same idea at the same moment, we started to plan how we could save the boy.

Although I wanted to help the boy so badly, I knew that a group of international students was not likely to stop a big French bully. I looked around, trying to find someone to ask for help, and saw a man lounging by the metro smoking his cigarette. “Monsieur, est-ce que…” “Non.” I hadn’t even finished my sentence and he was already shaking his head and taking another puff of his cigarette. Jerk. I looked around again. No one. I knew that no one passing by would do anything. Maybe if we all linked arms and surrounded the poor boy in a circle (yes, this is my fantasy of a 3rd grade anti-bully strategy)? But this looked impossible too. Each time the boy wiggled out of the grip of the bully and tried to run, the gang would run after him and re-corner him.

Just as I was about to give up, my friend Basia diligently walked up to the group and told the bully he had to stop. I felt so honored to have such a friend who was brave enough to stand up to a bully. The kid just laughed, made fun of her (adorable) accent, and her to her “Fuck off bitch, this is not your problem.” (The kid said it in French but I’m not going to write what he really said here… it’s too terrible.)

I gave up. There was nothing to do. I walked away.

At my high school, lunch wasn’t lunch without a fight. I’ve seen so many altercations, so many people get the shit get kicked out of them. I’ve seen a kid get their ribs broken, another kid get smashed on the head with a chair, a girl get hit by her boyfriend, I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. It’s sad to say, but sometimes I’m not even phased when I see teenagers fighting. Of course, I am upset, angry, frustrated, confused, stupefied, but sometimes you just cannot do anything and it’s best to let them work things out. Basia didn’t feel that way; I am amazed by her courage and bravery.

I’m sad that I’m not phased. I’m sad that I did not have more power to react and intervene. Or maybe I was smart that I didn’t get in the middle and get punched by accident. Maybe, sometimes, it’s best to let people duke it out and find their own solution?

Finally, I saw our professor, who is very tall and authoritative-looking, come out of the metro. I ran back to the scene and all of us asked him to please stop the fight. The professor was slightly effective, although the bully tried to keep beating on the kid while the professor was talking to them. About three minutes later, the police came and things were settled. The bully and his friends ran off and the poor kid, with his mouth bleeding, was trying to convince the police that everything was fine. Ah, life.

What would you have done?

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___ make everything better

Yesterday was a difficult day. I learned that my granny is in the hospital and that my roommate situation has yet again changed for next year. Eck. But at least class was canceled that evening (which means 3 hours next Monday…?!?!) and I got to come home early.

All I wanted all day was a huge hug to make everything feel ok. HUGS FOREVER!

Here’s my list (just a few of many many things that make me feel great):

Hugs make everything better.
Tea makes everything better.
Blue skies and sun make everything better.
The smell of a loved ones perfume makes everything better.
Fluffy pillows and a cozy comforter make everything better.
A beautiful dinner (breakfast/lunch/any meal) makes everything better.
Warm sweaters and big socks make everything better.
A magazine with glossy photos makes everything better.
Your friends and family make everything better.
The beach makes everything better.

I could go on and on. But I’m sure you know exactly how I feel when I say that sometimes all you want is to cozy up, feel good with the things you love, and take a little me-time.

What makes things feel good for you? I’d love to know…maybe you’ll inspire me (please do!).

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