Arabic Made Easy–With Jordanian Friends

The secret to learning the gorgeously intricate and fascinating language of the Middle East lies within its own speakers–i.e. if you make Jordanian friends, you’re bound to learn a word or two.

IMG_5585It may require picking them up from the airport on Labor Day weekend then inviting them over to someone’s house to hang out. And then you may have to get out of your comfort zone by trying an Xbox Kinect dancing sort of game whereby you’re flailing your arms in front of your new friends. But hey, when they’re fourth year medical students with only a month-long rotation at your hospital–you dance in ways you haven’t before.

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A Hear-ty Welcome Back

That’s hear as in your ear kind of hear.

And if you’re reading out loud, which I quite enjoy doing, despite dirty glances and an occasional chiding “keep it to yourself” spat my way, you would especially enjoy taking these out for a spin: otoscope, eustachian tube, transilluminate.

Upon returning from spring break, us first year medical students just wrapped up the head and neck portion of the physical exam. In my starchy white coat, I attempted to decipher words fuzzily familiar to those from anatomy class. My eyes on the patient, my chin nodding in agreement, my brain all aflurry–how is it that I can’t recall what I literally learned a month ago!? An hour of that and I walked out of the examination room hearing a distinct and distant invitation to [word]press on.
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Creeping at Christmastime

I took up for the upteenth time that pastime to which none of us would admit yet of which all are guilty: people watching. This month is dedicated to consumers who ironically purchase gifts which celebrate the birth of him that had no where to lay his head. But for once, I won’t preach on the meaning of Christmas, I’ll merely let my observations speak for the French traditions discovered by firsthand creeping and/or experience. In the spirit of the advent calendar (sans bonbons which, forcement, cannot be transmitted through cyberspace),  the cutenesses witnessed this winter season: Continue reading

Nightlife Junkie

I have not been to bed before midnight in a good couple weeks. Scout’s honor. Ask anyone that knows me and they won’t have words for the abandonment of my militant sleep/running/class schedules. Though homework and repeat 200’s are still getting done, the French verb sortir has appeared more frequently in my dinner conversations. And, because “cultural immersion” is this semester’s tagline, I wondered exactly how does one go out in Tours, France?
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TG Sans Turkey

Is that even possible? is the question I posed on the eve of a day slotted for merriment and gluttony. The morning of, 0715 brought me to wake then open my shutters like a good French girl. Traces of the words “H.TG.” were forbidden from my mouth lest all the associated memories spill over and wash what little sanity I had. Under the rare and sunny sky, this day would be and had to be fantastic, an answer to mine and mom’s and everyone else’s prayers for joy that overflowith like gravy over turkey. Continue reading

You Are What You Eat

Me amid healthy-French-organic-(at times free-trade) gastronomie at its height. Paradise.

Today I attended Eurogusto, an exposition of responsible Slow Food International. Probably half of Europe’s eco-friendly producers and a few of their free trade counterparts from operations in Africa and South America showed up. Within an enormous hall, rows upon rows of vendors skirted around various stages for teaching French cooking techniques or debates etc. Continue reading

La Clusaz

Whatever you’ve heard about lighter European meals is not true in the Alps. At all. Le pire is that the pounds sneak up like the Freshman, or rather in the gastronomical capital of the world, the French fifteen… ok, I’m fibbing. But really, the only way they maintain their paint-tight-skinny-jeans-sveltness is by skipping their breakfast and walking everywhere. One can tralala to the patisserie, bounce over to the fromagerie, then finish up at the boulangerie (not to be confused with the boucherie where the only pain you’ll find is stomaching the sight of freshly hung/dead rabbit and the like.)  After an eternity of hunting and gathering, the national sport, they walk a few blocks home sans breaking a sweat.

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Maison + Malade =

Homesick. OK. I give up trying to pretend like I can learn in 3 months what a French woman knows after 20 years. The idea struck me on the heels of an incapaciting stomach bug, exasperated by my endless to-do list. I had taken on so much that by the end of October, the time of our trip to Normandy, my body decided to shut down. I don’t blame it. If anyone, I point my finger at my parents and anyone else who encouraged my insanity to forsake family, familiarity, and the following:

1) Mon Kitchenaid me manque. Continue reading