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Eggscellent! (œufs surprise from Patrick Roger)

On Friday evening, I came home to a beautiful green bag sitting on the table. Inside, a box of eggs, and these are no ordinary eggs ;)

Easter egg from Patrick Roger

Patrick Roger produces these specifically for Easter. The eggs have previously been emptied and thoroughly cleaned, before an even coating of dark chocolate was set within the eggs. Then, soft praline is piped into the core and finally sealed off with a dark chocolate button. Voilà! I’ll let the pictures (hover over them for captions) do the talking.

On the other hand, I’m not sure that my photographic skill does them justice though…

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Guy Savoy’s Les Bouquinistes

A couple of weeks ago I managed to not only renew my carte de séjour but to also change the visa type to vie privée et familiale. It went well, except for the part where I forgot to bring my current carte de séjour with me and had to go home to retrieve it, oops.

Frédéric attended the appointment with me – a requirement given the change of visa type – and even though we arrived 15 minutes ahead of our appointment, we were attended to immediately. After about an hour wait while someone reviewed the file, we were informed that the application has been approved and a relevant récépissé for me was duly issued.

Les Bouquinistes

Menu of the day

We celebrated this paperwork victory with a lovely lunch at Les Bouquinistes. The choice was an impromptu one. Initially we were going to go our favourite creperie near Odéon but when we passed by Les Bouquinistes, I couldn’t help but paused to take a peek at their lunch menu. The next you know, Frédéric walked in the door to ask if a table for two is available.

Choosing what we would eat couldn’t have been easier. The daily lunch menu consisted of two options for each of the courses: starter, main, dessert. Yup, you’ve guessed it, we both ordered the different items and promised to swap a few bites during the meal. Drink-wise, a glass of apricot juice for me, and a glass of white wine for Frédéric.

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Project 365 – Week 12

One of the big news circulating in the last couple of weeks has been on the imminent death of Google Reader. It may be a non-issue to many people (how many of you here read this blog via Google Reader as I advised last year, or do you subscribe to the email notification?) but to the more techy crowd, this represents a more serious problem. It’s an issue of trust. A number of Google Products have been retired in relatively short period of time (cf The Google Graveyard), and it is chipping away the goodwill of its users, many of whom have worked hard to build a techno-ecosystem that’s most efficient for their use. To have random tools taken away from this network of utilities is jarring to say the least. Last year, I was sad to hear about the shut down of iGoogle but there was over a year’s notice to transition the content elsewhere. With Google Reader, it’s reduced to mere 3 months. At least, you could still, for now, use Google Takeout to download all data that you want to keep.

Ps: I apologise for the lacklustre photos for the week. The lack of sunshine really shows how dull things can get…

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Paris

18 Mar: There is a typical “feel” of Paris which everyone could pinpoint out right away. In my humble opinion, it stems in large part from the architecture introduced by Baron Haussmann, which incorporates these distinct rooftop styles. The top floor with grey exterior, corresponding windows to the maid’s rooms, and terracotta chimneys that emit white fumes when there’s a nip in the air. If you are lucky, peeking through your rooftop view, you may well see some of the most well-known monuments, including the grand dame in iron, la Tour Eiffel.

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On staying positive

Dusk by the sea

It had been a frantic few days.

As a result, the small pot of daffodils which I bought in support of Institut Curie sat there for 4 days before I got round to replanting it into a bigger pot. I did buy the soil for re-potting right the next day after I brought the daffodils home though.

As a result, I didn’t have time to bake some goodies for a girls’ evening with my friends and I ended up with a store-bought cake.

As a result, I was enormously happy to squeeze in a walk at Luxembourg Gardens with Frédéric on Saturday, when he surprised me after my science outreach activity afternoon and just before I left to meet the girls.

And so forth…

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You win some, you lose some

I have been on a kind of high since renewing my carte de séjour last week. It may seem trivial to some (“I don’t know why you worry about it because we were sure you will get it”) but for an expat, the actual possession of a confirmation that it’s all good – even if just for another year – means stability for a year to pursue all that I want to chase. It was an important win.

Then came a crash this morning.

Cat figurines

No, no, don’t panic. It has nothing to do with my residency rights. Nobody’s trying to send me away or anything. In fact, the madame processing my carte de séjour last week was nice and helpful when we got there with a big huge folder of all kinds of paperwork plus copy but sans my actual card! The ditzy-me left it in the scanner at home. I was calling myself a hundred kind of stupid and was very glad that she processed my file as usual, with the onus that I retrieved my card and returned to the Préfecture later with it.

Anyway, I digress. My bone is with the CPAM. Again. The crash came when I saw the amount of reimbursement I have just received from the CPAM.

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Project 365 – Week 11

This week’s selection of photos is perhaps one of the most eclectic yet. Some day, I have so much to choose from it’s actually hard to figure which to include for this weekly project round-up. Other day, limited option as I shot something on the go quickly. Then of course there were the two days of snow, but I have other non-snowy photos to share for those days, just so you’re not tired of seeing snowy pictures on this blog again.

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Parisian cafe window

11 March: Oooooo hot beverages… After the wonderfully warm Saturday, the weather turned rainy on Sunday evening and cooooold on Monday. Snow had arrived on the northern parts of the country, so it was just a matter of time before it made its way to Ile-de-France. Nothing like a cuppa something warm to keep one going. And at home, I even have a supply of Horlick’s now thanks to a friend who gifted a jar to me.

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In retrospect: St Patrick’s Day 2008

My social media feeds have been flooded with various St Patrick’s Day-related photos, videos, well-wishes, articles and more. They are making me very nostalgic for the good ol’ days when I celebrated the festival with much gusto, as well as certain level of silliness, with my friends.

Today, I found a folder of photos from St Patrick’s celebration back in 2008 on my computer. These photos are precious to me. I have not been in Dublin for Paddy’s Day since 2009 (I was elsewhere, then I moved to France) so this was more or less the last time I properly celebrated the big day with the whole shebang: parade, céilí, pub crawl! (Previous years I even hosted parties at home – fun, but a lot of work!)

St Patrick's Day 2008

St Patrick's Day 2008

St Patrick's Day 2008

St Patrick's Day 2008

St Patrick's Day 2008

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It snows in March!

It may says March on the calendar, and we’re a mere week away from official start of spring. However, the weather is anything but that. Between yesterday and today, the temperature plunged to sub-zero level, and in Paris, the snowfall easily measured a good few inches. Not as severe as the northern part of the country, where some places received over 60cm of snow!

As the buses were not running this morning and trying to take the métro would only complicate things for me – there’d be unnecessary distance to travel before changing line and the two lines, which are already normally among the busiest in Paris, would be completely crazy on a day like this when service was reduced and there were even more demand than usual. Besides, it was not a terribly long walk, and I got rewarded with pretty winter scenes to photograph.

Without further ado, snowy Paris in March over two-day period :) (Hover over images for caption)

Walking in the snow

Small lane covered in snow

Frozen icicles

Breakfast

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‘Cos you’re hot and you’re cold

As my friend Anne put it, we are immersed in pleine tempête sibérienne today. Despite it being mid-March, we woke up in the morning to snowfall and it has been non-stop since. Public transport system is thrown in a loop, flights were cancelled, many northern France-bound train services (including Eurostar) had been halted.

Snowy Paris

Yet, it was mere 3 days ago when we had a wonderful spring day (yes, sadly, just one day). The sun was out, the mercury recorded some 18°C, we were out cycling, walking in the park (no coat, no scarf!) – how wonderful! When we arrived home, I made a passing remark to F: “je suis chaude” to which he raised his eyebrows and started laughing at the same time.

Ah, yes, welcome to my amusing world of French faux pas. Again.

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Project 365 – Week 10

This has been a week of small victories. Getting my carte vitale, progressing positively with my project at work, celebrating the anniversary of my move to Paris, semi-plotting meet-ups with friends who live elsewhere (including Malaysia and Australia!) and pencilling in diary the dates to host them. I love it when things run smoothly. Only one big last administration hurdle for the year looms big – I’m heading to the Préfécture in a few days. Fingers crossed, all will be well.

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Walking down spiral stairs

4 Mar: One of the busiest day yet. It really was home -> work -> home kind of day, without any time for detour. Luckily F offered to cook dinner and deal with all the washing up. And so you are stucked with a photo from Sunday actually. We took advantage of the free monument visit Sunday and went to the Arc de Triomphe. On our way down, I couldn’t resist taking a pause to grab a couple of photos. Since it was relatively dark, I needed longer exposure time, resulting in the ghost-like moving feet as other visitors walked past me to descend the monument.

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It’s my 2nd Pariversary!

Photo mosaic

9 March 2011

I woke up in the morning with things strewn all over my soon-to-be-former bedroom floor. I was supposed to have put everything I wanted to keep into boxes and nicely stacked in the conservatory (to be pillaged every time I go back to Dublin, of course, so I can bring more things over), set aside books and clothes that I planned to give away to charity (with my cousin assigned the duty to bring them over to the charity shop), threw everything else into the normal and recycling bins accordingly (mostly recycling), and the top priority of all – pack my suitcase!

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Oh my – I have a carte vitale!

Oh yes, the elusive green and gold card is finally here!

After a mere 21 months of paperwork wrangling and waiting, the victory is, at last, mine. I came home on Monday evening to find a letter from Assurance Maladie with the carte vitale attached, hurrah hurrah! If only I didn’t have work to do that evening, I would have uncorked a bottle of champers and celebrate. *Happy dance*

Carte vitale

You need a social security number too?

If you are new in France and you’re not working for an employer with dedicated HR personnel who would deal with the sécu on your behalf, then you’re probably in a similar situation as I was. You will need to get yourself registered for a numéro de sécurité sociale. Information in English language is quite scattered and many sites simply say “apply for your card through your local CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie)” and the likes – not very useful.

I hope this post would be of help to anyone who’s trying to obtain French social security number and carte vitale, but know that I am writing based on my personal experience. The information is current as of early 2013 but liable to change. Be prepared for things to be sidetracked. I thought I was quite dilligent and yet things went off-tangent before they finally became right.

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Project 365 – Week 9

Another gear has kicked in at work and the next two months will be full-throttle busy. I’m not yet sure how it will affect this project, but don’t be surprised if the photos are shot mostly between places I pass between home and lab instead of other Parisian neighbourhoods. The blame for lack of leisure reading now sits squarely on work too. I’m doing so much project-related reading that I have little wish to read more while at home…

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Paris snowy rooftop

25 Feb: It snowed overnight so first thing I did upon arriving at work this morning was to head straight for the top floor of the building. As it was still snowing at that time, the view was not as crisp and clear as I’d like. You could just about make out where the Eiffel Tower and the dome of the Invalides are in the shot. Oh how I wish I have an office on this floor of the building…

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