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Moving to France, part 1

Monday, July 23, 2012

I am in the process of moving to France for work. I was offered the opportunity a few months ago...with no specific position named at the time but a promise of one to be found...and since I work for a French company an international posting, to France in particular, is a major coup. Few Americans get that opportunity and I'd have been short-sighted to say the least not to take advantage of it.

So we started the process and in the interim I had about 3 different potential positions until the final decision, which ended up being a promotion to the position I had expected last year. Bonus! So since June I've been going back & forth, starting my new position & closing out my old one, waiting for my work permit & Visa to be approved so I can make the final move.

Needless to say it is somewhat stressful. In addition to not speaking the language (yet) the culture and environment can be a bit different than Americans are used to. Fortunately I've been to France several times for work so it's not a completely new experience but somehow it just seems different from a short term visit.

For my fellow Americans, some of the differences I've experienced so far (outside of the obvious language & metric system ones):
*toilets are in a separate room from the sink/shower/tub in homes & hotels
*shower heads are typically the hand-held kind with a hook or something attached to the wall to hold them
*no shower curtains, just a short glass/plastic rectangle that is maybe 2-3 feet wide (so needless to say one gets water everywhere until figuring things out!)
*no window screens (and no mosquitoes!)
*occasionally see men urinating on the street (which is technically illegal but happens anyway)
*opening a bank account is a big deal - I had to provide proof of residence, a letter from my employer, pay stubs, my contract, and an utility bill.
*not that I will do this but the bank made very sure I am aware that bouncing a check is a major deal - if it happens, no more bank account...anywhere...ever...in addition to the legal penalties
*renting a home or apartment is also a big deal - I had to provide all of the same documents as above but also my current property tax bill and my income has to be a minimum of 3 times the rent
*homes are much smaller than we are used to in the US, and more expensive (than my area in MI anyway)...the house I am trying to rent is just under 1300 square feet and the rent will be as much as my mortgage in the US for a 2400 sq.ft. home
*yards are also much smaller (at least as compared to my neighbourhood, which is old though so the yards are much larger than the norm today for new housing)
*yards are typically completely fenced in around the entire property, front & back
*real estate agencies are all independent and there is no master on-line data base of all the houses/apartments for sale/rent in the region...so unlike the US where you can go to any agency and see everything regardless of which agency lists it, here you have to go to each individual agency to see only what the agency is listing. This really slows down the process
*at work one is expected to greet & shake hands (or kiss) all coworkers every morning...this is probably one of the hardest things to get used to
*no tipping in the restaurants, this is already included in the bill...another thing difficult for us to get used to
*there ARE "real" grocery stores and people DO shop for more than a day or two at a time...unlike what we are led to believe
*no peanut butter or Keurig coffee makers/k-cups...Nutella is just not the same and the Keurig equivalent is Tassimo
*air conditioning is not a divine right
*cars tend to be stick shifts and use diesel, not gasoline
*malls are not the norm, most stores are in street store fronts
*stores/banks/offices tend to be closed during the lunch hours, and close by 6-7 at night; they are also generally closed on Sundays, and some on Mondays as well; my bank, for example is open from Tuesday-Friday, from 8:45-12:30 and 2:00-5:15, and on Saturday from 8:45-12:00
*closing time does not mean you come in at 11:55 am when they close at noon and still expect to take care of your business; closing time means the time all business is finished.
*there are coins for 1 and 2 euros, not bills

I will be located in or near to a city called Compiegne, which is about 45-60 minutes northeast of Paris. Here is the wiki link if you are interested: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compi%C3%A8gne

The house I found last week is in a tiny village (population 556) called Guiraumont, about 5 miles away from the Compiegne city center & about the same from my company. I'm still waiting to find out if I can rent it. Here are some pictures of the front & back of the house:


Front


Back

We (me, my daughter, Stupid Dog, and 3 of my 5 cats) will be here in France for 3 years. There may be a possibility to extend my contract for another year or two, but it's impossible to say what will happen 3 years from now. We have to go to the French consulate in Chicago on 8/6 to submit our Visa applications and the lady in immigration thinks we should be approved by mid- to late- August, at which time we will make the official move.

In the meantime my Dad is coming to MI for a week (from SC) to hang the last 3 interior doors and put in all the new trim & door mouldings in the house. I had thought about letting my son stay there when I move, since he is staying in the US to go to school. He will be 17...but I don't think he is quite mature enough to be allowed to stay on his own. He would survive but I don't think my house would fare well. So he will go live with his Dad which means he will have to go to a different school than the one he planned, and find a different job, since his Dad lives about 45 minutes away from us.

My daughter will be going to the regular French public schools. She just finished 9th grade in the US but will be repeating it in France since she is not fluent in French and is also "behind" in math - in MI our schools teach geometry in 10th grade but apparently in France the students have already learned it. So for her first year (anywhere from 3-9 months) she will be in the "special" French school to get caught up in her subjects (French & math) and when she is fluent enough in French she will transfer to the regular public school.

And in the meantime I am racking up the frequent flyer miles going back & forth!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VYVIENN 8/25/2012 8:40AM

    Nice place you found there! You'll also be pleased to hear that along the northern coastline, there are many dog-friendly vacation places (NOT something to be assumed to be normal in Europe, alas), in case you and Jaqc want to do a long weekend getaway sometime.

It's funny you'd comment on Nutella. We the Europeans complain about the same thing, only in the reverse direction. I always find that as Nutella boasts to be a hazelnut/chocolate spread, it should taste at least a little like hazelnut, like it does here...

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IYA_EKUNDAYO 8/1/2012 3:11PM

    Good luck to you and your daughter (and fur babies).
My husband and I recently (days ago actually) have found we in a similar situation. We are planning a move from Florida to Puerto Rico. He is from Puerto Rico so it will not be a big deal for him, but it is for me.

Enjoy the adventure!

Regina.



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PAMNANGEL 7/28/2012 12:04PM

    France! Wow! I get stressed just moving across town. Good luck to you.

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EUPHRATES 7/28/2012 11:25AM

    WOW, what an adventure! How exciting!

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MYOWNHERO 7/28/2012 11:17AM

    How exciting! This is an awesome opportunity for your daughter (and for your son too since I'm sure he'll get to spend some time in France too). Best wishes for all!

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ILOVEMALI 7/26/2012 4:02PM

    I love your change. It is brave. My daughter is planning to take her last year of college in Provence -- she is a vocalist and a French major. This is also brave!

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KKINNEA 7/26/2012 3:38PM

    What a big life change! I hope it's totally rewarding for you!

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BOILHAM 7/26/2012 8:56AM

    You know how to live. What an adventure you have in front of you.

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NOSUGARADDED87 7/26/2012 4:35AM

    Welcome to France! You'll actually be about 2-3 hours from where I am. If you need any help or want to chat, feel free to send me a message!

I'm an American who lives in France currently, and although it takes a lot of getting used to, I love it!

You are so amazingly lucky to be able to come here with a job already offered. In fact, it's seemingly miraculous. I have gone through unbelievable hoops just to get the right to work, and it seems that the Prèfecture wants to deny me that right until November. *sigh*

I hope that your time in France is wonderful! :)

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STRIVER57 7/26/2012 4:19AM

    Claire is right that some of those things are not quite true, at least throughout France ... but many of them are. We have one separate toilet and a toilet in the bathroom, which doesn't have a tub but only a shower (but then we renovated the apartment, which we owned, when we moved in).
i think moving to a foreign country is one of the bravest and most challenging and most rewarding things one can do in one's life. the first year, most people feel (i certainly did) that surviving every day is an accomplishment, and that you've learned something new & made progress every single day. it's good you're staying at least 3 years, because you -- and your daughter -- will feel at home here sometime before you leave.
sounds like she will be getting some "individualized" education for the beginning, which is wonderful -- individualized instruction in France is rare ... normally everyone is expected to fit into the mold, and tough if you don't. no allowances for people with less than major handicaps because that wouldn't be fair to the people who don't need them!!! if you have any questions about how they teach math here, ask me ... DH teaches hs math (and speaks fluent English and understands about the differences).
good luck and feel free to ask any questions and to rant (you will feel like ranting often).
btw, otoh, your bank can and should offer you an overdraft allowance ...

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CLAIREINPARIS 7/26/2012 3:53AM

    It is SO brave to move to France without speaking the language! Congratulations for doing it! But you do seem like a very brave woman!

May I say without offending you that a few things you are saying about France aren't right? For example if you never leave any tip in your favorite restaurant, don't expect a good service!!! Tip isn't mandatory, but it is seen as a kind gesture - which develops a relationship. Try and leave a little something (at least a couple of euros) if you found the service and food OK. If you don't, they will either think you didn't like it, or you are rude!

The toilets thing made me laugh so much!!! The toilets are in the bathroom in my apartment, it is just coincidence that you went to places where the toilets aren't.
The shower curtain made me laugh like crazy too!!! I have never been to a place that has a shower curtain like the one you mentioned! It is sooooo funny!

As for the bank, I know you won't need that, but I am afraid you misunderstood. You still keep a bank account (otherwise you couldn't live a normal life!!!) if ever a cheque you wrote is rejected because there was no money on your account. But it takes a while (5 years I think) to have the right to write cheques, have credit cards back, etc. Thank goodness you aren't left without a bank account!!! What is true however is that you cannot open a NEW bank account during that time, in any bank at all.

I never realized Americans thought there were no grocery stores in France, none of my American friends ever told me that. Oh this is just too funny!

I have never ever owned a car that used diesel!!! Diesel is only worth it if you drive a lot, because cars that use diesel are much more expensive (and very bad for the planet!).

As for shaking hands or kissing all your colleagues every morning, I think my colleagues would think I am completely mad if I did that!!! In my office (only French workers there), we only kiss or shake hands to wish each other Happy New Year when we come back after the holidays.

Remember that you live in the 'Province', in the countryside by Parisian standards! Compiègne is a very small town. So many things will be different there compared to bigger towns and cities. For example most stores remain open during lunch time in Paris, thank goodness!!!

The house you found looks like a typical 1980s-1990s French house! I hope it will work out and you'll enjoy it.

Comment edited on: 7/26/2012 6:12:29 AM

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SKNYMOMWANNABE 7/26/2012 3:12AM

    So I commuted to France from '91 until 94 and finally moved to Aix en Provence, with three small children in tow. I came "home" in '98 and my kids finished their high school education in France. One graduated from Tufts, one from Northwestern and one is graduating in December from Cornell. The academics are challenging but your daughter will grasp the language pretty quickly with some motivation, generally the peer thing works pretty well in this situation?
The quality of life is so MUCH nicer in France than the US, the weather is nicer-family from Wyandotte & Trenton, MI-almost no humidity, very little snow where you are. Think of the differences simply as a new way of life, much like Spark . It is simply new, not different.
Public markets are run 2-3 times a week and have fresh, seasonal produce, meats, cheeses and pretty much anything you want. Whatever you do, don't touch the fruit-the salespeople help you , self service isn't an option except when it comes to bagging groceries and then it's the only option, lol! Most Frenchies have really small refridgerators so they don't shop a la Sam's club or Costco and shopping frequently is simply part of their life. Many don't drive or own cars in the cities so getting a lot of anything is a bit of a hassle. Stock up on sneakers here and anything "American." I was lucky and got unlimited clothes/shoes from Adidas while I lived there but when I had to buy sports apparel, the sticker shock was huge.

Try living the French life, take your vacances, enjoy Sunday as a family day and see the country by train, TGV. As long as you attempt the language the people are nice. Between my California accent, tone deafness and actually taking French classes in the southern part of the country I have an outrageously BAD accent...however everyone was incredibly kind, patient and helpful as I merrily butchered their language because I was told that most Americans don't even TRY. I was comdic relief at a few dinner parties by inadvertly using slang simply by changing the verb placement around. "It" can always be hot-Il fait chaud-"you" or "me" cannot be hot unless we mean hot like in heat...je suis chaud. Really it was a lot of fun, I'm so glad I had the chance to do it.

We spent most school-year holidays in Paris with the children's grandmother and while the pace of life was a bit more frantic people were exceptionally generous with their time. There is tons to see and do in Paris and the surrounding areas, pace yourselves-the sights have been there for a couple world wars and a few hundred years. English books are pricey so invest in a nook or kindle, something we didn't have so I made do with book swaps. Have fun! Vive la difference! I am so jealous!

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JENIYE707 7/25/2012 6:08PM

    You sure do have alot going on. good luck with everything. You deserve it.

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SPOOKYTHECAT 7/25/2012 4:05PM

    That is absolutely amazing! I am in firm belief that we only get one life , & to fill it with as much adventure & new experience as possible.

& you are living my dream, I Will live in Europe (at least for a while) & speak French, someday.

Hooray! Good luck ;-)
If you get the chance, read Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, may help ;-)

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DEZZIEJAMES 7/24/2012 10:09PM

    You have so much going on.... and the black belt testing soon!!! You are so amazing. I too look forward to reading more about your adventures!!!!!

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STUFFANFLUFF 7/24/2012 3:46PM

    Awesome! Sounds like a very hard, but wonderful choice you are making. Way to go!!

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SPOONGIRLDEB 7/24/2012 1:49PM

    Sounds like an awesome opportunity! I worked in Switzerland for a summer (not quite the same, but still...) and I know what you mean about the banks - I wanted to keep my "swiss bank account" but they wouldn't let me once I moved away. Oh well! LOL

On a practical note, please make sure you do your homework on taking your pets! At my current job I endorse certificates for pets going overseas, and the EU changed all their rules this year, creating a nightmare for us! Don't forget to get all those ducks in a row well ahead of your scheduled move, so you don't have to leave them behind :-).

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IMPROVINGME 7/24/2012 12:46PM

    How exciting for you! What a wonderful opportunity for you and your daughter!
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ILIKETOZUMBA 7/24/2012 9:01AM

    All that stuff would definitely take some getting used to! You're so brave for being ready and willing to embrace moving to another country for several years at least...I wouldn't have the nerve. I admire you! Good luck with the house and transfer and all those flights! :)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 7/23/2012 10:26PM

    Sounds amazing! But change (even good change) is stressful.

Take care of yourself!

-M

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STARL_73 7/23/2012 5:26PM

    don't forget everytime you walk into a store, you say hello to the salesperson. Especially before placing an order.

As for "malls" - I haven't been to many, but it was different that you took your shopping cart throughout the building. I especially remember that at the mall.. think it was near the new arc (the modern one.. it's been so long since I've been there).

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APED7969 7/23/2012 5:16PM

    That is such an exciting opportunity! From someone who's lived overseas for 8 years it'll get to the point where some of those differences will feel totally normal and it will feel strange when you go back to the US although there will be other things you miss about home. I'm sure that will be even more true with a different language. Good luck finding a new place and learning French!

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SADDYSPOT 7/23/2012 4:35PM

    I was in France last year for a couple of days as a super tourist (running from place to place). It was beautiful. Good luck on your adventure!

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INIT2LIVEIT 7/23/2012 4:29PM

    I was chuckling from most of the stuff on your list. All of it seemed so normal to me, but growing up in Israel makes me closer to Europe than the US. Guess there's a lot more in common.
Its a wonderful experience for you both. and think of all the weekend trips you could take to other European countries!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/23/2012 4:07PM

    that is totally AWESOME!!!!

I cannot wait to read all about your adventures :o)

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KAREN_NY 7/23/2012 1:43PM

    WOW!! How exciting!

Many of your observations are true in NL as well. I absolutely fell in love with the pace -- it wasn't "slow," but it wasn't burn-yourself-out-until-you-can't-f
unction like it is here.

I never really got a handle on how personal business is taken care of though. Are work hours sufficiently flexible that you can take non-lunch time to run errands? Or is Saturday the national errand-running day?

I admire your fearlessness & wish you every bit of terrific!!!

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TARABEAR 7/23/2012 1:34PM

    Congrats! That is so awesome!!!! Yes, it is and will be super stressful and difficult at times, but what amazing adventures you will have! I'm so excited for you!

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DOGSTARDADDY 7/23/2012 1:26PM

    Good luck with everything.. and please keep us posted.

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FIZZYBALL 7/23/2012 1:09PM

    Awesome! I lived there for 18 yrs. and do miss it some. High school was more like college is here. That's a life experience your daughter will never be able buy. What a gift you have given her.

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SAFARIBABE 7/23/2012 1:01PM

    Don't forget pay toilets in the middle of the sidewalk! The other thing we have at my French affiliate that I don't have in the US is a comapny cafeteria. Apparently going out for lunch is NOT the norm as we've been lead to believe -- the 2 hour lunch and all that.

Sounds like you're embarking on a grand adventure! Enjoy it!!

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KAREN42BOYS 7/23/2012 11:45AM

    What an adventure this will be! I'm glad your housing has come through.

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MCJULIEO 7/23/2012 11:27AM

    So glad to hear how things are falling into place... your new (possible) digs look charming, and you are going to thrive like crazy... Way to go!

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 7/23/2012 10:31AM

    What a wonderful opportunity!!!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 7/23/2012 10:31AM

    So many things going on for you!! CONGRATS!! Best of luck & oh yeah, SUPER cute house!!

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SEXBOBOMB 7/23/2012 9:59AM

    So excited for you -- what a fabulous adventure!

Also, how great an experience will this be for your daughter! My Dad had an opportunity to transfer to Belgium when I was in high school, but in the end, he and my Mom decided to turn it down because they worried how it would affect me and college.

To this day, it's the one thing we regret not doing as a family.

This will definitely bring you and your daughter even closer than ever -- and will give her such a leg up in understanding how very small the world is and how different (and how similar) other countries can be.

Best of luck to you both!
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EMFRAPPIER 7/23/2012 9:55AM

    That sounds so exciting! What a great adventure!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/23/2012 9:28AM

    WOW, what a fabulous adventure. Congrats. Looking forward to hearing how things progress.

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RUNNER4LIFE08 7/23/2012 9:27AM

    What an adventure! Can't wait to hear about more.

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MERIADATH 7/23/2012 8:57AM

    What a wonderful opportunity! Avoir une belle aventure!

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DOODIE59 7/23/2012 8:56AM

    Wow. What an adventure:) May you get the most out of it -- actually, I have no doubt you will.
Take care
Deirdre

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DABLUECAT 7/23/2012 8:25AM

    How exciting! I'd love to go stay in France for a while. Hope your paperwork/jumping through hoops, finishes soon.
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Going it alone

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

At the start of last night's karate class I & one of the other black belt candidates had to re-do our push-ups. Neither of us was able to do the required 50 during the pre-test. Unbeknownst to me at least since this was never mentioned or done in class the new push up requirement is to go further down than I have been working on, basically for our chests to practically touch the floor, and we did them at the end of the pre-test instead of the beginning as I had expected so we were tired. I still got 41 of them done (actually 42 but the other candidate mis-counted). He got 49 of the 50.

So we had to re-do them last night. I got all 50 but it was tough and took longer then the 2 minutes. K still got the 49 and just couldn't get that last one completed.

Then Sensei B told us that the other 2 candidates are not going to test in August and recommended that K also wait until Oct/Nov to test because he just doesn't have the endurance yet.

Me? I have no real choice but to continue with August 4 otherwise I think he would have recommended the same for me. So I will be testing alone in a few weeks. Those push-ups worry me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMMERJESSE 7/17/2012 4:53PM

    Wow, impressive!

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AWOOD1973 7/12/2012 11:58PM

    You will rock it out, just like you already did! Hakuna matada (sp?) No worries, you'll do great!! :)

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/12/2012 12:25AM

    my coach had me do those in leu of "modified"...I couldn't even do one. So you doing 50 is nothing short of amazing to me!

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MCJULIEO 7/11/2012 11:23PM

    Maybe if you WERE Dolly Parton..... have you considered a WonderBra???? emoticon

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CODEMAULER 7/11/2012 8:31PM

    Wow - those are some tough requirements... and you are tougher!!

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CLAIREINPARIS 7/11/2012 3:38PM

    It sounds tough indeed! But a great challenge! emoticon

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GETSTRONGRRR 7/11/2012 1:58PM

    Keep at it..... Will another challenge help motivate and put you over the top?

I'm all in if you need it....even though I'll be in Vegas next week and on a cruise shop in Alaska the week after that!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 7/11/2012 1:50PM

    Wow.... you are one tough chic! emoticon on those push ups!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 7/11/2012 12:58PM

    Chainsaws, push-ups - ain't nothin' but a thang (or as the saying goes:) You can wrap your head around this one, I know you can!! :)

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TRI_BABE 7/11/2012 12:34PM

    I had a mean gymnastics coach who used to make us do push-ups until our chest hit the floor. He used to say stuff like, "SOME OF YOU GIRLS THINK YOU ARE DOLLY PARTON OR SOMETHING..."

I couldn't stand the guy, but still think of him to this day when doing push-ups.

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DOGSTARDADDY 7/11/2012 12:05PM

    Push ups are tough if you need to go all the way down like that. Good luck.

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I'm Home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For a few days anyway, after an 8.5 hour flight with a crying toddler in front of me who finally fell asleep 10 minutes before landing.

I left the airport by 2; by 2:50 pm I pulled into my driveway and saw this:



My earlier assumption was wrong. Instead of 20 feet of blue spruce in the yard a good 30 feet of the tree had snapped of, taking a large limb of the maple tree with it. Inside the house I had an estimate for cutting everything up, cutting down the remaining 15 feet of tree and removing the stump for the "deal" price of $800. Which is not too much more than I was expecting.

So by 3 pm I was back in the car and up to Lowe's to buy myself a chainsaw. $95 and 4 hours later this is what I'm left with:



I think I'll just leave it there for now, see if it survives, instead of having it cut now and de-stumped. At least I no longer have to worry about it falling onto the house.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 7/21/2012 5:06AM

    Wow, you did a great job! I hope it will survive!

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AWOOD1973 7/11/2012 2:40AM

    Wow! Talk about a welcome home present! Chick, with Chainsaw!! You go, girl! That's a heck of a workout! Thank goodness it didn't land on your house!!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/10/2012 6:16PM

    Holy swiss cheese you are freaking amazing!!

At first glance on your pic it DID look like it fell into your house.

What a way to come home and take out the agressions of a crying flying child. LOL

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KKINNEA 7/10/2012 5:19PM

    Glad it didn't fall on the house! You've got a "tree sculpture" now!

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SHRINKINRUNNER 7/10/2012 5:10PM

    emoticon

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 7/10/2012 11:20AM

    Well done, well done!! Way to just take care of it!!

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NINJA_SMOO 7/10/2012 10:27AM

  Rawr! I bet you're feeling the cainsaw-ing muscles this morning :) Great job hun!

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CODEMAULER 7/10/2012 9:19AM

    That's one way to beat jet lag!

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KAREN42BOYS 7/10/2012 8:23AM

    Wow, you get it done!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 7/10/2012 8:08AM

    emoticon

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GETSTRONGRRR 7/10/2012 8:08AM

    Way to go Wonder Woman!

Go for the Bose noise-cancelling headsets.....well worth the price!

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AZMOMXTWO 7/10/2012 8:00AM

  good job and saved money also plus you got exercise i bet it was scarry to see it had fallen

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Checking in

Sunday, July 08, 2012

I know I've been MIA lately. So much going on, not enough time to do it all. You all know the story.

Had black belt pre-testing last Saturday. I was to chicken to read the results until today. You know how it is when you take any sort of test...you keep reliving and magnifying all of the mistakes you made. And while I am confident on the outside there is still that nasty little voice inside convinced I failed. And then I had a dream this morning that I finally looked at my results and they had a big red line through them, meaning I had failed and would not be allowed to test next month. Since I didn't like that dream at all I woke up and got out of bed to make sure I wouldn't continue with it, instead of sleeping in today like I had planned. But nothing for it now but to bite the bullet and finally look at the results.

I passed the areas of the pre-test! I have areas to work on, and we didn't test everything, but I get to test in a few weeks and have a pretty good shot at it.

Please don't tell me you expected nothing else, I can't afford to get over-confident right now. I need the worry to push me to try that much harder.

I've been in France for work this last week, no real exercise at all during this time for various reasons. Unlike home which has been going through a major heat wave here in Compiegne it has been cool, overcast and rainy. At least my nutrition has been OK. I couldn't get an affordable flight home on the weekend so I'm sill in France today and fly home Monday morning. All flight options seemed to have me connecting to a Royal Dutch Airlines flight...which had a "sudden" price increase of over $6000 as soon as I clicked on the flight option (for a coach seat mind you, not even Business Class). Even if I'm not the one paying for it...I don't think so. If my ticket is going to cost over $7000 it had damned well better NOT be in coach. So I go home tomorrow.

And get to see the damage. On Tuesday there was a huge storm and the top 20 feet of the blue spruce in front of my house came crashing to the ground. Fortunately it was to the ground and not on my house or the neighbour's house/car. I still haven't seen a picture to know how bad it really is but I can imagine. Getting rid of it is going to be an expensive pain, my insurance would only cover it if the tree had hit a building or vehicle. I'm OK with that b/c if it had hit the house it would have taken out the 2nd floor...not to mention landing squarely on my bed! But it's still going to be an expensive pain to get rid of, and I get back on the plane to France Saturday night so coordination is not going to be fun.

Yesterday I spent the day at the palace and grounds of Versailles. I almost didn't go but as with exercise and other times I forced myself out of my comfort zone, I'm glad I went. I have pictures, which I will post in another blog b/c they are on my camera and data roaming charges are too astronomical to send them until I get home. I had lunch at a little cafe stand in the gardens there and was joined by several of the cats that apparently live in the gardens. They ate all the chicken from my pizza and were reasonably polite about it. One of them even ate a slice of tomato someone gave her and two of my mushrooms. I've never seen a cat eat veggies before.

This was initially meant to be just a quick check in to let you all know that I'm still alive so I will end here and go take the nap I promised myself.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 7/10/2012 12:19PM

    Tres Bien!

Glad you hear you are among the living!

Safe travels!

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IONICAQ 7/9/2012 11:52AM

    Sorry to hear about the tree, that's horrible!

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MATTERJT 7/9/2012 9:17AM

    Hey girl, sounds like your schedule has been a bit crazy, but that you are managing well. Congrats on your testing. Once you become a black belt, we can be black belt buddies. :) I have a second degree black belt in Taekwondo. It's so exciting!

When you said you were going to France awhile back, I thought you were moving there permanently. I didn't realize you were just going there for work. LOL!!!!
What kind of work do you do that has you flying regularly to France?

But you did move out of Michigan, I see. So how do you like your new place? Do you like it better there than Michigan?

We definitely should register in some races together in the near future so we can meet up and hang out together.

Hope everything turns out with the tree. I have three trees in my yard that I want taken out, but I heard that tree removal is insanely expensive. And of course, my trees are huge! LOL!!!

HUGS!!!!

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DOGSTARDADDY 7/9/2012 4:49AM

    Thanks for the update. Good to see ya.

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AWOOD1973 7/9/2012 3:43AM

    Wow! You have a lot going on!! Congrats on your testing! Well done! As far as your flight back home, I wish you safe travels! :)

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CODEMAULER 7/8/2012 12:56PM

    I'm glad that the results were better than your dreams/nightmares. I psyche myself out of tests all the time, so a passing mark is always appreciated.

Travel safely and hope the tree removal is kind to the wallet.

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GETSTRONGRRR 7/8/2012 11:08AM

    Pretty decent stroke of luck not being around the house when the storm and the tree hit...could have been dicey.

Nice news about the Black Belt testing.....chalk up another success to the push-up challenge!

Safe travels!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 7/8/2012 11:08AM

    Thanks for the update & safe travels back home!! Congrats on the pre-test also, don't let your nerves get the best of you, just respect them & listen to your intuition!

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SEXYPEENOSAUR 7/8/2012 9:38AM

    Welcome back and at least you've found some time to enjoy some of the surroundings on your trip!

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PENNYPACKER3 7/8/2012 9:11AM

    glad you are back.

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Push-Up Challenge - The Payoff

Friday, June 29, 2012

As you may remember for I few months I did. Push-up challenge with some other Spark members, which ended sometime in June. The challenge was for consistency, not quantity and the goal was to do a minimum of 4 sets of pushups 6 days per week for several months.

I won. emoticon

Honesty, however, compels me to admit that is only because GETSTRONGRR missed a day due to some travel misadventures. Further honesty compels me to admit that the actual challenge was really a tie since I also missed one day in May when I was feeling contrary and just did not do them.

But I still won.

A few weeks ago Sensei B announced that the black belt candidates would have to do a pre-test to make sure we were ready for the real test on August 4. The pre-test is tomorrow. So last night I went to the early class to assist and during the classes' warmup said "Mr. M, come over here and count Rebekah's pushups and situps, she has two minutes to complete 50 of each.". And these are military style pushups, not girly ones.

Nothing like being on the spot unexpectedly!

But thanks to my daily pushups challenge from the past few months I finished 60 of them in less than the 2 minutes.

So then I asked Sensei B "Since I did the pushups/situps tonight I don't have to do them on Saturday, right?"

I knew the probable answer but had to ask anyway since one just never knows what the answer will actually be. I might have gotten lucky.

His answer was "If you couldn't do them tonight you wouldn't BE testing Saturday, I don't want to waste my time if you can't meet the basic fitness requirements. And you will do them again on Saturday."

Right. Just what I expected but I had to try emoticon

But I wonder how the other 3 candidates "knew" to miss class last night?

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LRK4CHRIST 7/8/2012 8:27AM

    Oh wow! Do it! LOL! Keep up the good work. Ur motivation is helping me out. LOL

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MCJULIEO 6/30/2012 11:42PM

    FANTASTIC! You GO, Girl!

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TRI_BABE 6/29/2012 6:37PM

    Great job! I started doing push-ups recently and notice a difference. Have you tried the Insanity workouts? Lots of push-up variations in those. Nice for xtraining for running or traveling, you just need to bring a DVD.

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THEEASYKILL30 6/29/2012 3:41PM

    That is awesome! Wow, you must have the most incredibly toned arms. Good luck with your black belt test!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 6/29/2012 2:14PM

    LOL that's awesome. congrats :o)

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BOILHAM 6/29/2012 9:23AM

    Slim and strong equals success in pushups. Less body weight to "push up". Great job and good luck on the test.

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LEARNINGWITHLIZ 6/29/2012 8:54AM

    Congrats.. good luck Saturday!

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/29/2012 7:52AM

    Magnifico! Nice try with the sensei.....knock it out of the park during testing

Don't know what happened to our third partner....Safaribabe has a tendency to disappear in the summer.

I'm also glad to see that a side benefit of doing so many push-ups was to improve your honesty and fess up to missing that day!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 6/29/2012 7:51AM

    Congrats & heartfelt best wishes on Aug. 4th! :)

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OPTIMIST1948 6/29/2012 7:18AM

    What a wonderful idea! I gotta bum wing right now. Maybe i will self impose a situp challenge.

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