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A couple of animated short (love) films

A couple of animated short films came to my attention in the last few days, and they have been nominated for the Oscars 2013. Without a single spoken word, both of them – Paperman and Head Over Heels – made me smile and teary at the same time. The former tells the story of the whimsical side of falling in love, of fate and what’s meant to be. The latter shows how love may yet bring people together after drifting away in separate yet intricately linked worlds for many years.

Paperman went on to win the category but Head Over Heels had me reflecting more on the issue of love in a relationship. Love for the sake of love does not sustain a healthy relationship. It requires nurture and effort, a lot of give and take, but most importantly never to be complacent and assume that love will always be there.

There will be times of disagreement and hurt, disappointment and anger, but there will also be times of consideration and care, small (yet significant) gesture and joy. The path which the relationship takes depends on us to steer it in the right direction. The hope is for continued banking of love, no matter how little, because it will all matter.

I am not saying I’ve got it all figure out (far from it!) but I have learned how easily one can take things for granted, and inevitably resentment will follow when things go pear-shaped. And perhaps at time like this, it is even more important to remember why one love in the first place, and find his/her way back towards the guiding light.

Project 365 – Week 8

This winter has been the bane of my health and I am really tired of it. It seems I’m falling ill nearly every month, and this week has been the worse yet. The irony is that I’ve had a restful week last week and was preparing for a solid week of work and planning etc, only to be thwarted suddenly by a crippling flu. I had to stay put for a couple of days at home. Boo.

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Cherry blossom

18 Feb: Seeing cherry blossoms makes me happy. It just does, and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s the imminent arrival of spring (never mind that the weather forecast for the rest of the week would be coooooold). Maybe it’s the wispy splash of soft pink. Maybe it’s its association with Chinese New Year. Maybe it’s the reminder of the beautiful view I used to get from my studio in Cité U.

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Errm, he is my …?

Loving elephants

The running joke is, if something’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen. After F and I got PACSed, I made an announcement – first time ever that’s related to my relationship status – along with a photo of us together. Congratulatory messages poured in (thanks again everyone for the well wishes), along with a good deal of confusion of the following variety:

– What is PACS?
– Are you engaged?
– Did you get married?

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Le Croisic

Early this month, Frédéric and I were back in his hometown in (historical) Brittany and taking advantage of the opportunity to see another part of the region which I don’t know, I suggested an afternoon visit to Le Croisic. Situated at the tip of the Guérande peninsula (just a little further down from Le Pouliguen and Batz-sur-Mer), it is a beautiful small town but a little on the quiet side during the winter – the visitors won’t be coming in until warmer summer months.

But first, we made a pit stop at Plage Valentin of Batz-sur-Mer, which we didn’t visit previously. It is not named after St Valentin (sorry to burst some romance bubble there) but rather, it was introduced by a certain Monsieur Killian who was nicknamed Valentin to be a small “bathing therapy” resort. It gained popularity and the venture took off. Today though, it is favoured by families for beach holiday, given the relative calm of water in this bay in comparison to the other beaches along the coast.

Le Croisic

Le Croisic

Le Croisic

Le Croisic

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Project 365 – Week 7

I have just realised, while I’m keeping up with this photo project, I am falling behind with my reading. A whooping seven weeks into the year and I’ve just finished my third English book, never mind none in French yet. And rather frantically, I haven’t been able to find my public library card either. A spring cleaning is seriously needed because I’m hoping to make this year the one where I make full use of the libraries around Paris instead of buying more books when I have no space to store them.

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Winter sunset

11 Feb: Frédéric often tells me how much he loves the winter sky, specifically the softer colour hue at the end of a fine day. This evening was one of those where you couldn’t take your eyes off the horizon, where shades of colours blended into one harmonious palate. I wasn’t the only one who stood rooted at a spot looking up – a number of people on my Twitter were excitingly sharing their photos of this beautiful evening.

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French writing – fail!

Recently, during lunch time discussion, one of my colleagues mentioned how she was preparing herself to help me settling in my first months in Paris. Not just at work, but also with accommodation search, administrative meetings, opening bank account, getting mobile phone, etc. She was duly impressed that I managed most things on my own, and knew right then that I like France enough to make all the effort to fit in.

Correct your French blunder

Oh if only she could see the imposter in me dancing away to this praise I don’t quite deserve. Sure, I read and speak better French now, and I can understand rapid conversations a lot easier (although I still talk a lot less than I would when a conversation is in English or in Chinese), but oh if only you know how atrocious my writing is (and can be)… We’re not talking about reports or poetry or anything of that magnitude; we’re talking 2 lines email to my group of friends!

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Project 365 – Week 6

It has been a strange kind of week, which I couldn’t quite put my fingers on. The days rolled by quickly and yet everything felt stretched out in time. And weekend, well, it just disappeared. Maybe that’s a sign I’ve spent way too much time on the phone (well, plenty of calls to be made to family to send my Chinese New Year greetings) and watching rugby (nail-biting, and ultimately disappointed that both France and Ireland fared poorly)?

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Miniature orchestra

4 Feb: Just how cute is this set of window display? It is a miniature orchestra set, most of the items smaller than my palm! The shop itself is one selling actual size musical instruments, mainly string instruments. Jean Pavie – Luthier can be found on Quai de la Tournelle, and this shop itself has been in operation for nearly 30 years. Creating is a work of art here, and there aren’t many of them around anymore nowadays.

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The rising water of River Seine

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the level of water of River Seine had been unusually high. I made note of it during my photo round up of Week 5 and quickly forgot all about it. It appears the water level hasn’t subsided since and remains at flood level that footpaths of the embankments are currently closed for safety reasons.

Crue of River Seine

Crue of River Seine

A few days later, I was out after work one evening along the quay again, and this time, I saw water that had spilled over what was normally a pedestrianised path. I guess, given the amount of snow and rain we’ve been getting this winter, this is to be expected. Little did I know that there have been warnings given by the city about the high level of River Seine. I do read the news nowadays, really, except my news feed had been kinda swamped by articles relating to the raging debate in the Assemblée Nationale.

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Project 365 – Week 5

As I’ve promised previously, back to normal transmission. I’m glad that the days are getting longer, but I’m a tad frustrated too that I’m rather busy at work so by the time I’m out of the office, it’s dark outside. There’s a limit to how far I can go without being home too late for dinner either. I must try harder to get more variations!

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Musée Curie

28 Jan: The first woman to ever receive a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie was an extraordinary scientist. She won not only one, but a second Nobel, and both in different disciplines (Physics and Chemistry). Her former lab has now been transformed into a small museum and it was also here where her daughter and son-in-law made new discovery that went on to win another Nobel Prize for themselves. The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm. The admission is free. (I must come back when it’s open one of these days!)

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Battling for carte vitale


I did not take advantage of February’s free museum Sunday. Month numero deux of the year and already I’ve recommenced the going-away-at-weekend trend. I had a good excuse for this trip though – it was to visit my belle-famille and a birthday celebration was in the work. Frédéric and I also had a little excursion to Le Croisic (more on that another time), I cooked the Sunday lunch which was well-received (I was simply relieved nobody gets food poisoning) and all in all, a wonderful if tiring weekend, as our train arrived back in Paris near 1am.

On entering our apartment, two letters greeted me, one from the Caisse d’Assurance Maladie and another from the Carte Vitale. For those not living in France, the former deals with national healthcare system and the latter issues the card that allows me to receive healthcare nationally without emptying my bank account.

Hurrah – finally, I shall have my card!

Errr… no.

There was nothing that felt card-like in the envelopes.

There was no little green card in sight.

I was jolted wide-awake at this stage. Reading through the incredulous correspondence, I was simply furious and I spluttered a series of phrases not to be repeated here. I also felt defeated. I’ve battled this for 19 months. 19 months! By now I should have my card, and I and was actually planning a guide blog post on how to get the card with minimal pain. Given all that I’ve been through, I thought I knew where all the pitfalls may be.

Errr, again, no.

[Warning: long rant ahead]

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