Wednesday, July 30

To Be? or Nantes To Be? That is the question!

You're probably wondering about the title...Nantes, it's a French city in the north western part of the country (so as all words in french go... don't pronounce the last letter. So you say "nohnt") The city used to be the southern most border of a separate country called Bretagne (pronounced "breh-tohnya") Some famous king dude, Louis the something, decided it needed to be part of France, so now it is part of France. But, Bretagne is kinda like Texas, cause some people still think it should be independent, they have their own flag, emblem, slanguage, and they are super proud of their state-thingy. Whatever. Anyways, Stephane was born and raised in Nantes, so we decided to take Vincent there. Also part of the reason for going was Stephane's best friend Maxime and his little brother Pascal were celebrating their birthdays. Like most roadtrips, we stopped at some pretty rural rest stations. One was called Paris. We felt obliged to use the Notre-Dame Catherdral restrooms. And take some pictures at some upside down fork in the road called the Eiffel Tower.
*If you use the Notre-Dame Cathedral's bathroom, is it considered a religious movement?

*Who knew a bunch of scrap metal would be so popular?
*Straight up gangsta, yo
*I was going to buy this apartment on the left, but the street traffic is ridiculous

And most importantly, we found Vincent a french moonbounce. (in french: bounce de la lune) and you will be happy to know that Vincent kicked out some 5 yr old kids just to take these pics.

Upon arriving in Nantes, we took showers (that's an important detail) and then headed over to Maxime's birthday BBQ, Stephane's bestest friend since grade school. French BBQs are very different than Texas ones. While Texans appreciate their meat, the French are obsessed with their sausage.

So back to Maxime's BBQ...

*Maxime is the guy hovering over Stephane
*It was the guy's "crazy picture" and don't ask how Maxime can reach his leg that high...ok fine, he is a 23rd degree black belt in Taekwondo
*These guys have been friends since before they had cooties
*Word up, G

So basically we drank a lot of "non-alcoholic" french wine, beer, and rhum. And after feeling really sober we decided it was time to shake it on over to a club.
*Who can resist Michael Jackson's signature move?
*Billy Jean is not my lover...
*Let's just say Michael Jackson was on for a while

*We gonna sip Bacardi like its yo birthday

*I know he is taller than me, but he is still my little brother
*Fo shizzle dizzle, grab yo blizzle if you a gangsta-izzle

*This is only excusable cause it was Maxime's birthday
*What can I say, this is what "non-alcoholic" drinks do to you
*Naturally, the night ended with Vincent showing the French clubgoers how to dance
*Anyone got some $1's ?

Little did we know that the sun was making its way up by the time Vincent made his way to the pole. We left the club at 6am! It was a super fun night and a super drunken one too! How drunken? Well, I may have fallen down the stairs coming back from the bathroom...damn those "non-alcoholic" drinks! I guess I have an allergic reaction to alcohol because I always seem to make a fool of myself when I drink a lot ?? I don't get it! I guess I need to get really drunk more often so I can figure this out. Not to worry all you fans of the scientific method, the next night I got equally as drunk and thus able to test out my hypothesis. I am so glad I paid attention in grade school. Let's see if I remember it correctly:
Ask a Question: "Do I have an allergic reaction to alcohol because I always seem to make a fool of myself when I drink a lot?"
Do Background Research: So, I looked back at all my pictoral evidence since college.
Construct a Hypothesis: I think that when I drink a lot, I make a fool of myself
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: Well, this oughta be fun
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: Still in progress
Communicate Your Results: Does this include those drunken phone calls I make?

To any grade school teachers who read this, "Thank you for teaching me and so many others such a valuable lesson."

So back to Vincent being in France, stay tuned for the next night of our "non-drunken" adventures.
This is Veronique, the American formerly known as Ceci...signing out!

Tuesday, July 29

What's worse than one Barretto in France?

TWO !!! That's right, France had the lucky privilege of having not one but two Barretto's within its borders! Lucky for me, my hangover from the All-White Party had subsided just in time to pick up my little brother, Vincent, at the airport in Paris for his month long visit. Ok, that's a lie. I still had a hangover so I made Stephane go pick up my brother. Ok, that's a lie too. I really couldn't miss school. But it's way more hardcore to say I had a week long hangover. hahahaha.

Anywho, my brother arrived here in Lyon on June 11. And like most big sisters would, I made sure he was well taken care of =) I take great pride in knowing I was the perfect role model. Rest assured I taught him all I know. Skill is everything!

And so did Stephane...

Now don't get your undies in a twist, we showed him the finer sides of life too. For example, historical fountains

bridge architecture...(bridge in french: "le pont"...don't pronounce the last letter!)

fashion...(in french: Haute Couture)

fine dining...(in french: Haute Cuisine)

ninja-like cooking skills...(in french: cuisiner comme un ninja...pronounced "neenzha")

and of course a well balanced diet...YUMMY!!! What? Fruit is a major part of a proper diet!
(in french: ooh la la!)

After such a long day of learning about "adult-like" was time to show Vincent where people in Lyon go if they want go "down under"....... you are sick! We took him to an Australian Bar! Aussie's are known for their "non-alcoholic" beer and "totally sober" bar patrons, so naturally we thought it was a great place to take Vincent.

* the only thing missing in this Barretto sandwich is our middle sister, Tori
*And these two are lawyers???
*I take no responsibilty for my brothers facial expression, oh wait, i was buying him "non-alcoholic" beer
*We really are rockstars
*Don't ask, just laugh

So, being that my brother stayed for one month, the next few posts will be about the positive influence and cultural teachings that I bestowed upon my brother. I like to think he is my protege.

P.S. A message for my brother:

"The force is strong with you, young Jedi"

Your Oldest Yoda
(I know Tori teaches you a thing or two also)

To the rest of you, thanks for tuning in. Look for the sequel to the "Two Barretto's in France" adventure.

This is Veronique, the American formerly known as Ceci...signing out!

Monday, July 28

Those poor French people will never know what hit 'em

Now that I have YOU under my spell and addicted to this blog lets get down to the nitty gritty, the juicy stuff, what REALLY goes on hear now that "Veronique" has arrived. If you really know me you should be saying to yourself..."Self...DUH!! Ceci would P-A-R-T-Why?...Because she's gooood at it!" No, seriously here is how good I am at this whole part planning thing...BEFORE I even arrived in France, I already had Frenchie draft up some invites for a themed party to celebrate 2 of his friend's birthday. (That was just a cover up, they were really there to celebrate my arrival to France, teehee)

As is the custom for all of my parties (in french the word for party is fete, and remember you never use the last letter =), so it is pronounced, "feht") so back to the custom of my "fetes", there is a THEME!!! I went with a classic one of having everyone dress in all white. Give me a break, I have to ease the french into this theme fete idea. Not to say they dont have themes, but they dont have "Ceci" themes. I love that my name has now become an adjective!! So with invites out and guests RSVP'd, the week after I arrived we had the Fete Blanche (if you can't figure out the second french word too bad, i'm not stopping the bus for you).

Almost everyone, showed up in all-white. As is the custom in France, we drank a ton of champagne and wine. I did all the cooking, so naturally it was scrumcious, some highlights were my tasty guacamole, some of my famous stuffed mushrooms, and Stephane handmade some sushi (watch out ladies, he's taken). I also introduced them to "jello-shots". They looked at them like they were lab samples but upon shlopping them down, they said, "Voila! C'est magnifique!!"

They don't know what jello is here!! They don't have it! I can't imagine childhood or college without jello. I discovered the jello at a small tiny bagel sandwich shop that sells some American staples like stuffing (6 euros), fluff (7 euros), Trix (10 euros), Dr. Pepper (2 euros), Budweiser (5 euros), Arizona Iced Tea (4 euros), Aunt Jemima syrup (11 euros), and jello (5 euros) Now go back and multiply the euro amount by 1.5 and you have the equivalent amount in dollars. So for what normally costs me $0.39 a box in the I have to pay $7.50....for FREAKIN JELLO !!!! Dr. Pepper $3 a can!!! So if you are feeling generous send me some jello or some Dr.P.

Continuing on, after some champagne, some wine, some jello shots, some beer, it was time for me to show them real party music. Hee hee hee. All of my BYOW peeps better know this playlist by heart. (I will explain BYOW to all the deprived in another post) Songs included some Bohemian Rhapsody, Crank That, Santeria, Walk It Out, Hypnotize, I Got Friends in Low Places, etc. I didn't speak a lot of French, but I think I got my message across pretty clear! I'm "unique". hahahaha.

After the craziness of Ceci singing solo (Stephane helped a little but didnt want to look look tooo weird in front of his friends) it all went down hill. I think I may have "tossed" a couple of glasses on the floor, balcony, wherever there was prime breaking area. I think I may have comically went off one of Stephane's friends for not being "gangster" enough. Oh well, if they didn't know Ceci before, they know me now. Just a small discalimer .... they all had a blast, they want me to throw another one (with jello shots), and they still hang out with me. (well not the kid I reamed into for not being gangster, but 1 out of 7 ain't bad).

*the guy in the right is the one I yelled at for not being gangsta enough
**the blonde one is actually a gangsta

When this fete happened, I had already been in french school for 5 days. The class had some interesting folks in it but one imparticular stuck out. This spanish girl with black hair like the color of toros (in english that's "bulls") and fiesty like one too!! Hahaha but from day one we were a pair. I take the words from Mae West, "If you've got nothing good to say about someone, come sit next to me!" So, I teach her Ceci english and she teaches me Paula spanish (for all you mexican spanish learning Thpanish from Thpain) We are quite a duo trying to survive in France and making fun of the french way of doing things the whole time. So from here on out Paula may appear in some of my posts, so readers let's make her feel welcome. I'm proud to say that even after inviting her to my all white party and her seeing me in all my glory, she told me, "Veronica, you are one crazy *spanish explicative* and I LOVE IT!! We will get along just fine!" and we have. On a crazy side note, her and Stephane have the exact same birthdate, right down to the year!

Needless to say, after one week, I made like a dog and "defined" my territory. So I hope you enjoy the post, the pics, and stay tuned for more of Veronique Moves to France.

P.S. To all my BYOWs and BYOW groupies, Bohemian Rhapsody is no fun when you sing it drunk and alone. So when I get back to the US, we are totally getting wasted and belting out at the top of our lungs all the BYOW favorites!

This is Veronique the American formerly known as Ceci...signing out.