Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Month to Go...

In exactly one month from today, I will find myself in Charles de Gaulle airport and set my feet upon French soil.

However, before that day comes, I must deal with sorting and organizing the many, many things I will require for my proper installation. What better way to do this than by making lists?

The Essentials:

The Passport (duh)

The Plane Ticket (duh)

The Arrêté de Nomination (my work contract-major DUH)

Multiple photocopies of said document

The French Cellphone (duh)

The French Cellphone Charger (major duh if you consider the French Cellphone)

French Checkbook for Société Générale

Société Générale Bank Card

Perhaps this sounds a bit negative, but considering the money I don't have in the account, this card is practically pointless...

Official Copy of Birth Certificate

Some French organizations require proof that I was born. It will impress them to see that I was born in New Jersey 23 years ago.

The SNCF Carte 12-25

This is a discount card for train tickets. Very, very efficient if you make lots of one-day trips to surrounding French cities. It requires a passport-sized picture and a valid I.D. (passport) with the train ticket. The pesky contrôleurs may or may not check all of this when you board the trains.

Divia Bus Card

This is a card that also has my picture on it. I use it once I purchase a monthly bus pass, which is different from the card itself. It wards off those pesky Divia contrôleurs who randomly hop on the buses to catch those without a ticket or bus pass and fine them.

The Carrefour Carte de Fidélité

Does not require picture I.D. It is the points card for the supermarket chain, Carrefour. This card collects store credits (money) and later awards me with store check which I can use to buy more stuff at Carrefour. When Carrefour wants your fidélité (loyalty), it gets it, all right.

Clothes-shirts, blouses, pants, dresses, hats, socks, bras, underwear


Each packet lasts for approximately one month. That is, only if I end up with new roommates who also do not like coffee. If they happen to love coffee just as much as I do, then I predict I will run out of espresso by October 15.

Espresso Maker

Essential Bathroom Stuff:

2 Tubes of Toothpaste with Whitening Power

I've noticed, with horror, that the French have unusually yellow teeth. I would like to blame smoking and excessive drinking of coffee and alcohol for such a vibrantly disturbing color, but both my room mates neither smoked nor drank coffee and only drank alcoholic beverages on social occasions. Conclusion: something is up with their toothpaste.

1 American Toothbrush

French toothbrush heads are quite small. Perhaps it has something to do with the difference in dental structure between both cultures? Are American oral orifices that honestly that huge?

Yes, they are. I will treasure Oral-B for life.

Shampoo and Conditioner/Body Wash/Deoderant

I could easily save myself some extra weight in my suitcase and just buy this stuff over there, but I also aim to at least spare myself from having to purchase these toiletries for 1 month or so. I got to save some money and buy in bulk.

Feminine Stuff. *ahem*

Obtained Items for Trip:

4 New Pairs of Shoes

3 New Pairs of Jeans (In a smaller size, no less!)

2 Very Cute Bolero Jackets from Forever 21

1 Dress that I Got on Clearance (Thank you, Target!)

I always tend to splurge on new clothes for a trip. I blame my mother for instilling this vanity in me. Plus, I'm gonna be over there for 7 months...I need to spend in Dollars while I still can!

2 Small Notebooks (very handy when I need to jot down something quickly)

Pending Items:

Money for rent and one-month deposit (!!!)

How I'll get this money, I'll never know...

At least 2 cans of Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam hair mousse

I just haven't been able to find anything that works as good as that in Dijon. I have a hunch that it might be available in Paris, but I'd rather pay for the mousse in Dollars rather than Euros. I'm sensibly stingy like that.

Bottle of Biosilk Silk Therapy (hair product)

While I am on this item, I would like to take a brief moment to vent. It seems that for the time that while I was away, the makers of Biosilk (apparently, Farouk USA) decided that it would be a fun idea to irk me by nearly doubling the price. Instead of viciously yanking out my hair in tufts, I'm gonna hit some stores and compare prices. The game's objective: whichever store offers the lowest price gets my money.

Strawberry Nesquick

They only have the chocolate kind over there, and that will be sure to freak out my students.

A Bottle of French's Mustard

If strawberry Nesquick doesn't freak them out, then the American version of a bright yellow condiment that dare calls itself "mustard" will. Remember: Dijon = Mustard

I especially hope they get the irony of the brand's name...

American Mini-Oreos for my students

Oreos do exist in France, but they 1) come from Spain and 2) are quite expensive. I could get a 3 ounce bag over here for $1 at Target.

My Lost Temporarily Misplaced CD of Christmas Music

The French have the wrong impression that American Christmas music consists of slow ballads crooned by Bing Crosby. "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" are unheard of over there! I really need to dispel this misunderstanding.

Gifts for French Friends!

One of them specifically requested that I get her a box or two of Duncan Hines cake mix. I think I will stock up on Cuban coffee and guava paste. Mmmmmm...


Before I start getting too excited, I must also remember that I am returning to a not-so-foreign country. Like many foreign countries, there is a possibility that I may encounter some culture shock-inducing instances.

That is why I decided to re-train myself and start the culture shock process while I am still in the States. I find that music often aids in my transition...

Ilona Mitrecey "Un Monde Parfait." Yes, this is a children's song and it was a hit over there. Deal with it.

Philippe Katerine. Just about anything he does is weird, but I still haven't quite recovered from "Louxor, J'adore" and "100% V.I.P."

And, the biggest shock: France Gall's "Les Sucettes." Written by the legendary Serge Gainsbourg, who admittedly was not the most saintly man, "Les Sucettes" is a playful song about a girl named Annie who likes "lollipops." Really likes "lollipops."

The best part? 17-year-old France Gall had NO IDEA about the song's innuendo. At all. Not even with the bluntly explicit music video.

After seeing these videos, you may wonder what exactly appeals to me about France. What could possibly make me love a country that produces such weird music?

...I just feel at home over there. I can't quite explain it, really. :-/

Wish me luck!

Barb the French Bean

Disclaimer: the videos are not mine...even I couldn't think up stuff this weird. o_O"


  1. So excited for you and your Oral B!!!

  2. oh man this list makes me so excited! hmm french have yellow teeth? maybe because of wine? i doubt toothpaste company's would pull such an evil trick. or yellow food. or maybe its the tiny toothbrushes.

  3. Lol the french all dont have yellow teeth!!
    Perhaps they have different water, the US have stuff like fluoride etc in theirs. xxx

  4. A monthly pass for metro and auto bus! When at cages have your croissants and coffee inside not outside as it cost extra
    Enjoy Paris and the French moutard is divine and cheap

  5. oh MY, I wish I was as organized as you are!!! I will adopt this idea of making lists for future times! xo

  6. I love to make lists before a big trip, too! Fun and practical.

  7. Sounds exciting!!! Lists are always fun :)

    By the way, Ilona Mitrecey's "Un Monde Parfait" was the first French song I ever listened to, in my first year French class. I still love it.

  8. "Money for rent and one-month deposit (!!!)

    How I'll get this money, I'll never know..."

    There is still a guy looking for a lucky lady in Holland that apparently you look like... I'm just saying.

  9. Kate: Thanks! I'll pass your congratulations on to my Oral B toothbrush. ^.^

    Pancake: All I know is that a significant number of French have a yellowish tint on their teeth. As an American, it's been hammered into me that pearly whites are highly coveted. :-P

    Kitty: Well, you are right. Not all French have yellow teeth (my Ex comes to mind), but, when compared to Americans, their teeth do appear to be less-than whiter. Once at a dinner in Miami, a visiting French friend even told her husband, amazed, how Americans "all have white teeth."

    YogaSavy: I thank you for the advice of having my petit crèmes au comptoir (at the counter), but I don't think I clarified in my post that I would not be staying in Paris. I will use the Métro should I visit it, though. Dijon certainly has a variety of moutarde to offer, as well!

    ^.^ Merci beaucoup!

    Kelly: Yes, do so. Once you jot down certain things, you will eventually notice some extra items and add them to the list. Example: I forgot that I need to purchase Clinique make-up *here* because their eyeliner and mascara are double the price over there!!! :-P

    LS: Yep. Totally 100% agree. :-D

    Delphine: Heh. I accidentally came across the video a couple of years ago while I was searching for videos on Youtube. I liked the song so much that I purchased the CD. >.>

    Karen: Faut pas être jalouse! ;-)

    Stu: Hm. Well, if I'm desperate enough, I'll consider meeting up with Mr. Bling-Bling Watch. Who knows? He just may turn out to be Mr. Right.

    -French Bean

  10. Wow, I love this list (especially the items obtained for the trip=trip shopping is so much fun and hope those smaller jeans treat you well)! I have always wanted to go to France and have not yet had the chance. I will be looking forward to reading about it

  11. Hi French Bean,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and mocking/agreeing with me. I actually enjoyed that a stranger read it! lol.

    If you are Canadian, or better yet, Ontarian (is that the right phrase?)...

    Biosilk Silk Therapy = CHEAP AT WINNERS~! At least half price! Possibly the same idea at Marshall's or T.J. Maxx in the US.

    No thanks required. Unless you feel forever indebted, in which case, feel free to follow my self-depracating blog so I don't feel like a loser with only 3 followers. Just kidding. Sort of.


  12. p.s. is there any way to follow you without sharing my info with Facebook?

  13. Stephanie: Well, I thank you for your suggestions, but I managed to get a set from Target that had not only a large bottle of Biosilk but also came with bottles of shampoo and conditioner...all for $26! Target sold the same Biosilk bottle alone for over FORTY DOLLARS. >.<

    If you are using Blogger, you should be able to follow with a Google e-mail account by clicking on the tab on top of the page that says "follow." ^.^

    I also think there is an option to make yourself appear anonymous if you follow via Networked blogs, but I'm not sure how that is done. :-P

    -French Bean


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb