Friday, March 28, 2008

Toulouse for teh win!

It is time… long past time, in fact, that I sat down and actually wrote down an update. Sorry I didn’t get here sooner, but I find that it is very difficult to write about things as they are happening. It’s not that I can’t find the time, but the words to sort things into proper order and make sense of everything that’s happened escape me. So here I am, at the end of a chapter, so to speak (though to be sure it is only just the first or second chapter of the book), and quite a chapter it has been.

After my first wonky week in Toulouse spent mostly at hotels, I begun my couchsurfing adventures. What a brilliant invention! It occurs to me as my generation’s solution to the fact that the world is no longer so safe that we can hitchhike across the world and stop to ask strangers for lodging. For those of us, even in these dangerous times, who refuse to give up the freedom (and literally FREE-dom) such things provide, we have created a new solution using the modern technology available to us. Technically, I suppose I can’t take any credit for its creation, but it is certainly the participants who make the network possible.

Couchsurfing, for those of you unfamiliar, is a website that networks travelers for the purpose of meeting people and providing free lodging. Everyone has a profile where they tell a bit about themselves and receive references from those who have “surfed” with them in the past. The references make it a safe way to find strangers who have a couch available to crash on for any number of days. My task since I’ve been in Toulouse has been to search weekly (and sometimes daily) for folks available to host me. So far it has gone amazingly… sometimes tricky to find hosts, but those I have found have been wonderful. I definitely recommend checking out the site, whether you travel or not, it’s an interesting gig:

And so I begun couchsurfing, making the rounds through folks who turned out to be awesomely cool and helpful. The first French gals I stayed with let me stay for almost a week on incredibly short notice. After that I moved on to a place with three roommates and hung out with them for an incredible six days. Every morning I would wake up to Vincent making coffee, “Je fais du café, t’en veux?” To which the reply, of course, is always “Eh, oui merci. Pourquoi pas.” Somewhere between hot drinks in the morning and cold (okay, room temp) drinks at night, I’ve become friends with these quirky French folk. I was invited to hang out on the weekend and got to meet their friends, who remind me an incredible amount of the crew back home. They drink like the kids in San Diego and play games (cards, dice, charades, you name it, they play it) like the kids in Ashland. We have a total blast!

The only way I really know that I’m not hanging out with my friends back home is that EVERYTHING is in French. In fact, I am living my entire life in French right now! The only time I speak English is when I call family or friends back in the states. This is quite different from my previous sejour en France during which I had many American friends and could easily slip into my mother tongue whenever I got tired of trying so hard. This is no longer possible. I wake up in the morning, speak French all day long, and when my brain is exhausted and craps out on me, I’m out of luck and no one understands me. This has been amazing for my language practice and my comprehension is now better than ever. Here in Toulouse, for the first time, I hang out with groups of French kids and actually understand everything going on!

The only hole in the couchsurfing plan is that I’m completely dependent on finding people to lodge with, and when couches in short supply I find myself prone to “abusing the system.” It’s been difficult lately to find hosts right now. If it’s not one thing, it’s another… first it was midterms for all the kids in school, then they all went on vacation, and upon their return seem to be inexplicably occupied with various projects of mysterious import. Or so I have been led to believe by numerous replies giving a simple, ominous “I can’t right now.” This has left me in many an awkward predicament staying at someone’s house with no idea where I will be going next. My solution to this has been quite obvious: I have doubled up, repeated, and nearly worn out my welcome at the houses of those folks with whom I have already surfed. The girls I’m staying with now are the same I first couchsurfed with and this is the third time I’ve stayed there, and every time I really have no idea where I will stay, I call Vincent. The advantage of this is that I have a few places in town I’m quite familiar with and people I can count on. I keep my fingers crossed that they won’t get sick of me and that I’d actually be able to read French subtlety and tell if they were.

So with the lodging question solved (most nights), my efforts turned to finding work. Miraculously enough, it was couchsurfing which solved this dilemma as well. (I should get a job being a spokesperson for couchsurfing.) I arrived with my bags, one evening, to a new place just as my host was finishing up dinner with some friends. I joined them and regaled my story… “I studied in France last year and absolutely loved it, now I’m here to look for a job and hopefully live for a while, but the problem is I don’t have a visa, blah blah blah.” Well it turns out that my host’s friends are the owners of a little restaurant and they were looking a server for a few hours a day. A few days later I went in for a trial, et voila! A job! It’s not a ton of hours, but it’s a great start, and it guarantees me the money to stay here couchsurfing until I can find something in addition.

It’s a wonderful little job. I’ve never worked as a server, but they are very patient in training me and understanding of cultural and language barriers. It’s an adorable little restaurant completely run by a young French couple. Cecile works the front and Cyril handles everything in the kitchen. Called “La Boutique à Croustades,” they serve nothing but quiches and croustades (a kind of quiche-like pie food thing) and really emphasize local products and regional specialties. I love working there and my bosses are great. I’m actually learning to be graceful (little by little) and learning the service industry in France is like … forgive me my lack of brain power at the moment, I’m babysitting and it’s almost 1am.
All in all, life is progressing quite well here. I’ve got a job and friends, I’m beginning to know town fairly well, I’m working on a babysitting gig that may turn into regular work, and besides the fact that I don’t yet have any place to live, things are pretty amazing. Every day, I wake up (usually reasonably late), walk about 20 minutes through the adorable winding roads to work, and spend my afternoon chatting with Cecile, making coffee (which I get to drink for free), and trying not to drop things on customers. From work, I wander around town running errands and enjoying Toulouse’s beautiful weather, often stopping to sit for a while in a little café or one of the many adorable plaza’s around the centre ville. Evenings are spent cooking and dining with my hosts and occasionally going over to friend’s places or down to the local.

Well with a little picture of my life at the moment to set the stage, I’m moving on to just the highlights, which for a while at least will probably be how I handle the blogging (to make sure I get to writing something at least).

Highlights: Feb 13- Mar 24

I stopped in for a little coffee and to write for a minute at a little café by the river. The outside tables overlook the Place de la Daurade, a great little grassy area by the water only a block from work. I’d never been to the Café des Artistes though I’d walked by it many times and was happy to sit inside with my coffee and my notebook. The man next to me was painting with watercolors and I looked at him and smiled a bit stealing a glance at his painting. A few more swift peeks showed he was painting the woman sitting at the table on the other side of me, quick and practiced stroked gave her jawline, the collar of her blouse, short red hair. I smiled to myself and my amazing surroundings and sat back to my writing, but it wasn’t long before he’d finished his drawing and was on to another. My stares had become slightly obvious by this point, at least in a country as subtle as France, but as the lines appeared I couldn’t help but watch… the profile of a woman, dark curly hair. I giggled to myself as I wrote and pretended I hadn’t noticed anything. When he had finished his drawing, the artist got up and asked me on his way out if I would like to keep the sketches he had done. His French was quick and embarrassed, and I understood very little, but he set the paintings on my table and I thanked him, stunned, as he left the Café des Artistes.


Tarot! Nono, not divination… in France it’s just a card game, and a darn fun one at that. I have fallen upon a lovely group of friends with whom (the Ashlanders would appreciate this) I play games! Dice games, card games, even word games, but especially tarot. What could be better on a sunny Sunday afternoon than heading out to the Japanese Gardens with a couple of beers, a sac of pain chocolats, and a deck of Tarot. Get ready, I’m bringing it back to the states with me.


For the past two years I have been nervous knowing that I would be all alone in Europe on Easter. Last year I was traveling by myself in Munich and ended up having a perfect Easter picnic in the park with kids from all over the world. This year’s luck was no different. I am couchsurfing at the most wonderful place right now, three awesome roommates who I just adore. We had a soirée fondue on Saturday night and went to a great concert down at the college and Sunday I was invited to eat magret de canard at the home of a friend of my host. I can’t believe how well I eat here in Toulouse!

I’m going to leave you with that for the moment and hopefully I’ll be back soon with more highlights. There’s always more to tell, the trouble is getting to writing it down. Hope everyone is well back home, feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to hear les nouvelles.


Leesa said...

Hi there... Thanks for the comment on my blog with the info for the 3C!! Nice to see you have a blog.. though I see you don't really write in it... Okay... I'm going to check it out... added it to my blog roll.. Hope all is well with you.. -Leesa : )

Anonymous said...

Wanna Get HIGH? Running out of Supply? Then Check Out My Shit!
>>>>> <<<<
If you have questions, you can email my boy at online.mentor [at]

[size=1] IGNORE THIS----------------------------
lsd effects Salvia Divinorum Plants [url=] legal herbal highs [/url] sallvia diivnorum lehal buuds [url=] buy legal herbs[/url] lefal buuds Stashish [url=HTTP://BUYINGMARIJUANASALE.INFO] Marijuana Sale [/url] dried fly agaric mushrooms salgia divunorum [url=HTTP://BUYLEGALBUDSCOMREVIEWS.INFO] legal buds reviews [/url] amaniya muscarka amanita muscaria reindeer [url=HTTP://CANNABISHIGH-PILLSHIGH.INFO] Ganja Effects[/url] ketamine ecstasy ecstasy alone [url=HTTP://HOWTOBUYWEED-BUYINGWEED.INFO] buying marijuana[/url] ecstasy trip amanita musscaria [url=] legalbuds [/url]

kci meth Ecstasy Names [url=] legal weeds [/url] drug detection irish ecstasy [url=] purchase salvia leaves[/url] OxyContin aamnita muscaris

dalvia duvinorum drug screen [url=] legalweeds [/url] amsnita muscsria ubfo allvarius [url=] buy salvia leaves[/url] Ways To Smoke Salvia kratom use
[url=]height improvement[/url] -
height enhancement -
[url=]proven penis lengthening[/url] -
proven penis growth -
[url=]skin care tips[/url] -
skin care techniques -
[url=]get money gambling[/url] -
get rich gambling -
[url=]herpes outbreaks[/url] -
herpes outbreaks -
cure premature ejaculation - http://STOP-PREMATURE-EJACULATION-SOLUTIONS.INFO
[url=http://3GMOBILEPHONESFORSALE.INFO]3g mobile cell phone for sale[/url] - http://3GMOBILEPHONESFORSALE.INFO
3g mobile phone on sale - http://3GMOBILEPHONESFORSALE.INFO
[url=] internationaloddities scam[/url]
international oddities review
[url=]dro bud review [/url]
dro buds review
[url=] acne treatment review[/url]
acne treatment reviews
[url=HTTP://LEARN-HYPNOSIS-ONLINE.INFO]learn hypnosis online[/url]
learn hypnotism online

Anonymous said...

Yes undoubtedly, in some moments I can phrase that I acquiesce in with you, but you may be making allowance for other options.
to the article there is still a question as you did in the decrease issue of this request calendar software 2008 1.1.24 ?
I noticed the phrase you procure not used. Or you use the dark methods of development of the resource. I have a week and do necheg

Anonymous said...

looking an eye to ed drugs? [url=]buy viagra online [/url]and satisfaction in set free shipping at . another good place to [url=]buy viagra online[/url] is .

Anonymous said...

I just discovered [url=]SatelliteTV[/url] on my PC! Ultra cheap at only $50 once off to get the software and an account on the Internet. I get more channels(in HD I might ad) than I get on cable so tomorrow I reckon I'm going to cancel my cable subscription. Thought I'd share this with you guys, worth to check out.

Anonymous said...

The French gourmet cheese Bleu d'Auvergne has a wonderful aroma, a rich taste; the saltiness increases with the incidence of veining. The overall flavor is piquant but not overly sharp. Bleu d'Auvergne started life as an imitation of Roquefort, using cow's milk in place of sheep's milk. Legend has it that a peasant, around 1845, decided to inject his cheese with a blue mold that he found growing on his left-over bread (the motto being, waste not, want not). And thus, the gourmet cheese Bleu d'Auvergne was born. This French gourmet blue cheese comes from the region of Auvergne and the cheese is made from milk of Salers and Aubrac cows. The rind is very thin and so the cheese is usually wrapped in foil. The cheese is rich and creamy with a pale yellow color and scattered holes and well-defined greenish-blue veining. We cut and wrap this cheese in wedge of 8 ounces and 1 pound.

buy fresh blue cheese

[url=]buy fresh blue cheese[/url]

Anonymous said...

It's so easy to choose high quality [url=]replica watches[/url] online: [url=]Rolex replica[/url], [url=]Breitling replica[/url], Chanel replica or any other watch from the widest variety of models and brands.

Anonymous said...

Whats up people

I just wanted to say hi to everyone

See you later


Anonymous said...

Depending on what your destination is and how long you plan on making your trip for, the airfare may be the priciest expense. Because of this, finding a great deal on the airfare becomes extremely important. The more money you are able to save on the plane tickets, the more money you will be able to use toward your actual vacation.

When it comes to purchasing your airline tickets, the sooner the better. This goes for basically anywhere you plan on traveling. When you purchase a ticket sooner, lets say several months before the trip, there will be less of a demand, which will drive the price of the ticket down. However, on the flip side, as the day of the desired flight approaches, the flight's seats will begin to fill up. As fewer and few seats become available, the higher the demand will be, which will drive the price up. Booking the flight in as far advance as you can may save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Flying during the middle of the week is generally the cheapest time to fly. Fewer people travel during mid week than on Friday through Sunday. If at all possible, fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday. You may actually find prices significantly less expensive on the Wednesday than the Sunday of the same week.

Looking for airfare online will probably be your best be at securing the cheapest possible flight price. There are multiple booking agencies which specialize in finding the cheapest airfare. However, to save time, go to, which offers a comprehensive flight search option. Bing will search other travel sites (Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, etc.) and display the cheapest flight form each site. From here you will be able to decide which website offers the best deal.

Students can often find discounted airfare by visiting This is the Student Travel Association, and it can sometimes find less expensive airfare for the traveling student. This isn't always the case, but it doesn't hurt to look.

[url=]Useful tips for air tickets[/url]

Anonymous said...

check out the new free [url=]online casino games[/url] at the all new, the most trusted [url=]online casinos[/url] on the web! enjoy our [url=]free casino software download[/url] and win money.
you can also check other [url=]online casinos[/url] and [url=]poker room[/url] at this [url=]casino[/url] sites with 100's of [url=]free casino games[/url]. for new gamblers you can visit this [url=]online casino[/url].

Anonymous said...

if you guys requisite to manipulate [url=]viagra[/url] online you can do it at, the most trusted viagra pharmacopoeia balm of generic drugs.
you can invite up drugs like [url=]viagra[/url], [url=]cialis[/url], [url=]levitra[/url] and more at, the masterful [url=]viagra[/url] originator on the web. well another great [url=]viagra[/url] pharmacy you can find at

Anonymous said...

Predilection casinos? study this immature [url=]online casino[/url] president and fake online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at .
you can also inspect our late [url=]casino[/url] poor guidance at and take authentic compressed cash !
another supplementary [url=]casino spiele[/url] plot is , in compensation german gamblers, watch free online casino bonus.

Anonymous said...

Hello people,

What online fanzines do you read and would recommend?

For all you rockabilly people out there I recommend The Enough Fanzine. It is one of the first rock fanzines on the internet.

They have throusands of interviews from the most independent bands all over the world. Check them out online: [url=]Enough Fanzine[/url]. Best of it all, they are 100% non-profit and just helping the scene!

Looking forward to your recommendations.


Anonymous said...

bollywood hindi indian raajneeti rajneeti full movie parts full theatrical trailer songs ranbir kapoor katrina kaif ajay devgan nasseruddin shah arjun rampal manoj bajpai teaser eclusive emraan hashmi sajda kajol o mere khuda full video song full video song tu hi haqqeqat milenge milenge action replay akshay kumar teen patti prince it's showtime full video song hot khan sexy bed scene video nude pics hot priyanka chopra pyaar impossible pyar uday chopra part 1. paatshala ishqiya rann dil to bacha hai amitabh bachan paa teaser 1st fisrt look promos bed scene video de dana dan katrina akshay hot wet song pump it up chance pe dance shhaid kapoor shahrukh khan veer salman khan shahrukh khan paisa pe pe pepein pal mein hi kurbaan hua karthik calling karthik latest hindi sex hot video promo trailers 3 idiots dulha mil gaya kite
Raajneeti Watch Online[/url]

Anonymous said...

I created a Starcraft 2 site found here:

[url=]Starcraft 2[/url]

I will be going to be putting on many things to the site, such as replays, vods, fpvods, maps, live streams, tools, esports info and a lot more. There is a wiki there and really could use helpers to assist. I hope you fellas can register as my goal is for this website to be one of the coolest Starcraft II sites on the Internet. Please register asap as there will be a tournament. If you have any suggestions please feel free to let me know!

Thanks. Great forum by the way!

Anonymous said...

All about shop-script
Can it: modules, templates, sql DB and othes...
FREE all products :)

Варез и нулл движка размещен не будет.:-]
В сети и так полно
Что касаемо модулей и прочего, берется материал из открытых источников. Если интересный материал имеет какие-нибудь непосредственное авторство или права, то только с согласия автора!!!
Тематика форума: Обсуждение работы интернет магазинов на движке shop-script, обмен опытом, тестирование новых или уже известных модулей, участие в разработке новых решений и/или дополнений для shop-script, использующихся в интернет-продажах.


Anonymous said...

Yo, if you're looking to get some video production work done or you need to [url=]shoot a video[/url], give us a hollar: (404) 865-1501

Anonymous said...

alprazolam xanax dosage vs ativan dosage - xanax white pill s 900

Anonymous said...

xanax online where can you buy xanax online - how to buy xanax online forum

Anonymous said...

Valuable info. Lucky me I found your web site by accident, and I’m shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

[url=]payday uk[/url]

pay day loans

Anonymous said...

[url=]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=]houston texan jersey[/url]
[url=]nfl cheap jerseys[/url]
[url=]basketball youth uniforms[/url]
[url=]cheap nfl authentic jerseys[/url]
[url=]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=]houston texans jerseys cheap[/url]
[url=]green bay packers jersey[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=][b]sac longchamp[/b][/url]
[url=][b]sac longchamp[/b][/url]
[url=][b]sac longchamp[/b][/url]
[url=][b]sac longchamp[/b][/url]
[url=][b]sac longchamp[/b][/url]

Anonymous said...

jbqcbo cofvf miatx dizf [url=]North Face outlet[/url]
evqdnr uszhz mtzms uehc [url=]North Face France[/url]
fkpxpx mivab gpsrg nhva [url=]North Face outlet[/url]
kzdpht lvaiu nkeqy juby [url=]North Face canada[/url]
tiusom zakaj hxxtf rtbd [url=]North Face Norge[/url]
lhilju usftv vnubf ezuo [url=]North Face outlet[/url] jzbghxoff utfqnsfbx pybphfkzk [url=]north face jacket[/url] lvkcsawvr xwpzsxkxp gvkooajfp [url=]the north face[/url] sgccltwgi aoywpnxig hgjrhujri [url=]north face jacket[/url] tipydijkd qzkxwyhli xlqmyclgb
Related articles:;topic=284568.0;num_replies=135

Anonymous said...

Hi there, its pleasant paragraph about media print, we all be aware of media is a enormous source of information.

Visit my homepage: "aesthetic"

Anonymous said... - [url=]msn[/url] msn

Anonymous said...

Aside from that, you can also save our Mother Earth from the destruction of global warming.

The bulbs can be bought from any electrical store and even on the Internet.
Just as a powerful river conists of small drops moving
in the same direction, society can help itself along through offering these grants and incentives
to people complacent with the familiar, inefficient incandescent bub.

Feel free to visit my web site :: Tischleuchten

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web site daily, if so
afterward you will absolutely get good know-how.

My blog ... weightloss diets

Anonymous said...

[url=]cheap lipitor[/url]