Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where is Bee Ean?

You happen to wonder why Bee Ean is so silent those days?

Well, since we couldn't order our internet connection before we first moved in, we now have to wait about 10 days in order to get it back, this is extremely painful for Bee Ean (and me too) ... so addicted to the web!

It seems that "free", our inernet provider, is making up good progress in setting up our access so, unless something goes terribly wrong, Bee Ean should be back online next week with plenty of things to talk about.

Fabien (often referred here as "hubby")

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Our apartment!

Well finally we signed the deal and we are now owning our apartment and at the same time in debt.

Just imagine this apartment empty and it would be how it looks now.

One thing I learnt is that in France buying a property comes with a lot of extra charges besides the property itself:

Lawyer fee: 7% of the price
Agency fee: 3.45% of the price
Yearly property tax: 0.5% of the price
Bank guarantee: 0.8% of the loan
Bank fee: 0.4% of the loan
Monthly apartment charges

Somethings I noticed:
1. The real estate agent lied a lot and we have to pay her in full while the seller doesn't have to pay anything.
2. We had an inspection after signing the agreement to buy and discovered some minor areas that need to get repaired. But at this point the seller has no more responsibility and the agent just keep delaying her time to response to us.
3. Loan rate in France is quite low and fix rate loans are more common. People don't have to worry about the fluctuate interest rate.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blocking ear

My ear is blocked again. It happens once every 2-3 years.

I quickly did a research on the internet and this is what I found onBBC Health:

" Many people were brought up to believe that cleaning out the ears was a good thing, that it was hygienic. We now know that this does more harm than good. The ear has its own internal cleaning mechanism that can manage without our help."

"...The wax then falls out without us even noticing. The moment we try and clean the ear, this wax is not only pushed back in, but is compacted and is extremely difficult to shift. So, it gets stuck and the ears become blocked."

So I shouldn't have clean my ear with q-tip as that was what caused my ear being blocked. But when I went to the pharmacy, the unfriendly pharmacian told me to "get the habit to clean your ears regularly".

So should I clean my ears or not? What about you guys? Do you clean your ears regularly?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy sticky rice festival!

UPDATE: I went to the Chinese grocery shop nearby and they didn't order sticky rice. When hubby arrived home, he was like where is my sticky rice!

Happy sticky rice festival everyone! I'm heading to the Chinese shop to see whether I can find some there. And, tomorrow is a big day for both hubby and I, care to guess? Hint: I might not be able to blog soon.

Do grocery shopping online!

This is NOT a sponsored post. :-)

We are so happy to be the pioneers to try out this cool new service in our area. Basically, you just choose the grocery you want, pay online and then pick up the grocery later. No more hassle to the crowd in the supermarket and long queue to check out. Besides it's closed to our apartment and on the way to work for hubby.

It's a service call chronodrive, you can go to their website if you are curious about what people buy for grocery in France and what are the prices. We tried it out last Saturday as their prices are quite attractive, and when we got there, the friendly worker loaded the items in the trunk and we were good to go.

We also got some free gifts such as this magnet board. I think it's cool as I always wanted to have one to jot down the grocery needed. But hubby seems to "abuse" the true use of this magnet board.

Hubby was in good mood since he discovered the online grocery shopping (he was the one responsible to buy grocery so now this job is kind of lighten), so he decided to make a chocolate cake. You can find the recipe here.

We were doing shopping for the father's day and discovered all these smoked sausages. Anyone wants a slice of pepper sausage?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Update on French politic

These are hot topics in the French politic currently.

Yesterday the French had their second round of legislative election and the right wing (blue) managed to have the majority control in the parliment, eventhough they unexpectedly lost some seats to the party socialist (left wing - pink). And some ecologists were elected.

What is unique about French election is that eventhough people can vote until 8pm, by 8pm sharp all the TV channels reported the election result. They said it was an estimation but usually they are very accurate. Some websites even had the result around 6pm. Now how do they do that I have no idea.

Caricature is a very popular form of political expression, I found this one pretty cool.

President's son: Mom, we buy nothing for daddy for father's day?
France first lady: He already have everything: the police, the justice, the parlement... (implying the president has everything on hand to start the reforms he promised)

Now this is another hot topic but it's involving important French politicians personal life.
The guy wearing glasses is the president of the party socialist and the woman was the candidate in the April presidential election. She lost.

And what interests people is, they have been together for a long time, have 4 children but never married. And yesterday, during the legislative election, they announced that they have separated.

I think it's very tough for the guy. He is the president of French left wing so he was supposed to be the candidate for the presidential election. But instead the party nominated his girlfriend, they probably thought that the French will choose her bcos she's a woman and it's time for a woman to rule in France. They were wrong.

From the Malaysians eyes of view, these politicians must have a very mess up private life. The president was divorced once, then remarried with a women who has two children. So together they have 4 children before their fifth son joined the family.

And the Malaysia's Prime Minister was so secretive about his wedding. According to an article, he also prevented the reporters to report the fact that his new wife is an Eurosian who was raised as a Christian and later converted to Islam after her first marriage.

Malaysian politicians need to relax about their private lives.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Organic veggies+French wine (joke)+French patisserie = The French Way

Hubby's grandma and father came for a visit, and when I told her that we got too much organic zucchini from our weekly bio vegetables supply, she instantly taught me a recipe she likes. Click here for the zucchini and pan fried potato recipes.

Grandma also gave us a bottle of sweet white wine, can you see the joke on the bottle?

Here's the translation:
On the left: Bureau de vote = Vote office
On the right: La gauch ou la droite? = The left or the right?
Bottom: Les français se tatent = The French touch themselves
Basically it's a man scratching his b**ls left and right hinting the current French election of selecting the right wings or left wings.

This is one of my favorite French patisserie, everything with fruits suit me!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bio vegetables

The bio products are getting big in France. We joined a group call AMAP, to support the farmers who grow vegetables in smaller scale, and this one happen to be bio vegetables growers. They had to leave the land for 3 years before the soils digesting all the chemical products used on that land. We paid in advance (7.50 euros per week), to get bio supply each Thursday. The kind of vegetables we get depend on what are ready in the farm on that week.

These are what we got this Thursday.

Sometimes we got vegetable that we have never seen and don't know how to cook. Anyone knows what is this?

We visited the farm back in March.

One kind of lettuces.

The farmer and his daughter in this zucchini ground. Recently he distributes to us lots of zucchinis.

Tomorrow I will post our dinner using these vegetables.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ten things you may not want to know about me

I got tagged by colourmecrazy about this topic, I think it's a good chance to look back at myself so here goes the answers:

1. I love money - I'm very sensitive about everything money related but I'm not stingy. Having money in the bank account make me feel safe.

2. I learnt cooking very late - the first time I cooked a full meal was when I was 24. I dislike cooking at the beginning but since I have a very encouraging boyfriend now hubby he gets me to slowly enjoy it.

3. I have very bad sense of direction - when I tell you to go right you should go left.

4. I have lousy level of French - both speaking and writing, even after 2 years living in France.

5. I do not like alcohol - I forced myself to like it but failed. Now I drink wine just to go with the culture and to not disappoint my FIL but in fact I don't know how to appreciate it.

6. I don't like going to bar/pub/disco - I couldn't stand the loud musics, the smoking environment, and the drunk behavior

7. I do not like socialist system, eventhough I'm living in a country applying it.

8. I'm addicted to soup operas, mainly Chinese and Cantonese one. I can watch for hours, eventhough I missed the first 10 episods I still watch it.

9. I don't do much sport. I learnt how to swim but failed.

10. I'm addicted to puzzle eventhough I'm no longer a kid. I'm planning to spend 52 euros for a 6k pieces of puzzle. I would like to pay it myself, so please bear with me if you see more pay post appearing. hehe. Right now I have accumulated $50 from bloggerwave but need to save more for my next puzzle supply. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

bah kut teh mihun and hamburger

I'm from Klang, so of course I cook bah kut teh (Chinese herbal soup) from time to time. When I have leftover, here's what I made: bah kut teh mihun soup! Yummy. That was my lunch.

Hubby prepared us hamburger for dinner.

He loves durian and I love cheese

Yesterday after reading my blog, my hubby protested and declared that he loves durian! Here's a photo when he was trying out the stinky fruit.

I have been in France for 2 years. Seeing how Fabien dares to try different kind of foods or fruits, I tried out some out of the 300++ different kind of cheeses, and I start to love them. Sometimes I just treat them like durian, for the stinky smells!

Having cheese with baguette, the famous French bread

Doesn't it look just like durian!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chinese soup = instant noodles

Once during our conversation class, a guy mentioned that he eats a lot of Chinese soup. I'm usually very sensitive towards everything Chinese, so I asked him what is his version of Chinese soup, was it those egg drop soup or wanton soup like in those Chinese restaurants in USA?

He described thoroughly and I realised he was talking about INSTANT NOODLES.

Being in an interracial marriage, there are always things I crave for but hubby doesn't appreciate as much. In my case, it's noodles, chinese porridge and DURIAN. So, I eat those when he's not at home. Since getting fresh noodles is difficult here, I settle with the Malaysian instant noodles.

These days they have to much varieties to choose from. When I bought these my last trip home, my French friends thought I was crazy. :-)

It seems that now these Chinese soups start to have market among the young French students. I'm not sure how healthy they are, but at least they taste better than those frozen foods I had in USA.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our wedding invitation card

It took us quite some times to come out with this card design. I found it quite interesting that some of the French really put efforts in designing their own wedding invitation card, unlike in my Chinese wedding in Malaysia, we just use those standard red envelope style.

Here is the first page (Fabien was trying to use the black colour Chinese character, those of you who are familiar with Chinese culture, can you imagine the shock it would caused when my family receive a card with black double hapiness??)

Take out the transparent part you will see us looking at each other

The content inside. The triangle part is extra information for those who are invited to the wedding dinner. Some people only got invited to the cocktail party.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

French right wings would get the majority in the legislative election

The French voted today for their legislative representives. Only 61% came out to vote for the first round compared to 85% for the presidential election. From this first round result, the right wings have a chance to get 383 to 501 seats out of 577 seats, estimated to have the majority in the parliment. With this majority we may see more actions for the reform promised by the new elected president.

I like the way this election is handled. They sent out the name of all the candidates in our areas and information about each candidates so that every voter has some idea about the political orientation for each candidate.

Party time

I organized a dinner and night out for my friends who are getting married soon. The night turned out very nice and hubby was the one that prepared all the foods.

Here's the menu we had.

Drinks: Margaritas
1. Appetizers: French sausages, olives, guacamole.

Guacamole before it was mixed

You can find the recipe of this Guacamole here.

2. Main course: Fajitas (didn't have chance to take photo)

3. Bio salad. We didn't serve cheese.

4. Fruit salad

After that we went out dancing salsa. It was fun. And I'm very happy that I managed to drink without problem since I was the only one not drinking alcohol in the bar hehe.

Mistery shopping mission

I found a mistery shopping task for hubby since they asked for a man for the visit. Before going to the shop, we were asked to review a set of questions that need to be answered after the visit is completed.

The shop that we needed to do the survey is one kind of role playing gameshop. Eventually we got this.

The task paid for the games we bought plus pay us 35 euros for the visit. I think this is not bad at all!! Not only we can discover new games and buy it for free, we get paid!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

10 days without internet?

We are moving to another apartment soon and we try hard to get internet on the first day we move in. And that might not happen, bcos the owner of that apartment is keeping their phone number.

So, in order to get internet connection with Free (the internet provider we are using), we have to first get a proof of domicile like electricity bill, then only we can ask for a phoneline from France Telecom, then the internet connection.

That means we can only do it AFTER we move in. Last time when we moved in to this apartment, it took us ten days to get the connection, and we were considered lucky, bcos it took my friend one month to get it with a lot of complication.

I'm so unhappy with Free. I used to be their supporter. Recently we are having a lot of cut off from the internet. From time to time we got cut off like 5 minutes then it's back then it's cut off.

Anyone knows of other provider who has better transfer policy (from one apartment to another) and faster installation? Plus free Chinese channels and low rate to call Malaysia.

I think it will be a disaster to not have internet connection for 10 days, minimum.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chicken beats Columbus

An Auckland anthropologist has come up with proof, in the form of chicken bones, that show Polynesians were in America long before Christopher Columbus showed up.

More news read here.

Good news for property owners

The French government just decided to implement a law in favour to the property owners. You can now deduct 20% interest of your loan payment directly from your income tax. The maximum tax credit is 1500 euros per year for a couple or 7500 euros for single person. The tax credit is applied for 5 years period only.

Good news for us bcos we will be in our first year of loan payment and the interest is always the highest at the beginning. So we got to deduct from the highest amount we are going to pay. Yeah-Hoo!!

The government is finally taking care of the middle class. I'm sure the left side is going to make noise saying that some people can't even afford to rent and you are giving tax credit to those who own?

More information here in French.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hillary Clinton

More on powerful women.

Even since I saw her debating in the Washington Supreme Court in 2001, I fell in love with this lady. She definitely has charisma and charm, a very strong candidate for the 2008 US presidental election.

She revealed recently that during the marriage crisis with Bill Clinton after the husband cheated on her, she has relied on the religion to help her pass through the tough period. Before moved in to the white house she was not a firm believer, but after moving in she is.

After all the damages the current president has done, the USA needs a president who can charm the wold. That's just my humble opinion.

French first lady is hiring a personal advisor

The French new first lady, Cécilia Sarkozy, is taking up a personal diplomacy advisor Nicolas de La Grandville, to prepare her into the role of the nation's first lady. Her current task will concentrate on feminine issues such as children, women, human right, French language and social issues.

This kind of suprise me as I thought she declared that she has not keen on taking the first lady's role. I think she has no choice eh?

Malaysia PM getting a new wife

Selamat Pengantin Baru

I read in sinchew-i that our Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Badawi is going to remarry to Jeanne Abdullah on this coming Saturday. Well, this is a great news but a stunning one as the Malaysians have not heard of this until today. There's not enough paparazi to report the personal life about our politicians, let's keep it this way.

Malaysia PM: Abdullah Badawi
Age: 67
First marriage: Sept. 4, 1965
First wife: Endon Mahmood - died on Oct. 20, 2005 after 4 years of struggling of breast cancer)

Name: Jeanne Abdullah (isn't it weird her name sound more western than a muslim name?)
Age: 53
Experiences: administration and hotel sector after being involved in managing several famous hotels in Malaysia, including Hotel Hilton Kuala Lumpur and Hotel Pan Pacific. Worked before as manager of the Seri Perdana Complex (the prime minister's official residence).
Note: Jeanne is the ex-wife of Endon's brother (wouldn't it be weird? He is marrying the ex-sister in laws of his ex-wife).

Personally I don't know why the busy PM needs to remarry, but according to the news he's very lonely. If it's due to love, he has all my blessing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Our telephone got spammed!

It happened so many times, that I was sitting at home, and the phone rang.

I got it, and it just have the faxing sound. And it repeated and repeated and it really piss me off.

But what can I do, I can't even tell the guy to get off.

Since I stay at home at lot it becomes very painful.

These days with Freebox suscription, we are able to see the number who were calling, and traced it on internet. It was a fax number, so we got the phone and called the company. The receptionist said she's going to inform the people who use the fax machine. It worked and it stopped.

Today, again I had 6 emails in my mailbox telling me that I had 6 phone messages. And it all had the annoying faxing sound.

How do you stop this kind of scam? I think our phone number used to be a fax number.

In US, we got call also all the times, looking for a girl called Rebecca. Apparently they reuse the number that was already cut off.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A dishwasher

Both me a hubby don't like to wash dishes. Since I'm not working, most of the time it's me who handles this lousy task.

I told my hubby that once I get a job, I want to have a dishwasher.

Our apartment in US was equipped with a dishwasher, but I had never used it bcos:
1. In Malaysia we don't have dishwasher so it was not a habit to use it
2. We ate out a lot so not as much dishes to do

Now in France, the situation is very different. Since eating out is expensive, we have dishes to wash EVERDAY. Sometimes it annoys me to a level that I want to break them all.

I like to invite people over for a meal, but it's always a mess in the kitchen after. Here, we change plates for dessert, then different alcohol have different glasses to match with. It was always a huge chunch of dishes to handle after a dinner gathering.

Hubby disagrees with this purchase, bcos he comes from a family not having/disagree with dishwasher, and he said that it will destroy the plates. I don't know how true it is as every household in US seem to have it, and since they love Made in China products which are considered low quality, how can they afford to break all these plates and not complaint about it?

So what do you think? Is dishwasher really destroy plates?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Manual Vs automatic car

I started out driving a manual car, but since then everybody in my family has switched to automatic car. It's so popular now in Malaysia. Sometimes people buy manual car bcos auto is more expensive.

When I was in USA, I drove auto bcos I was afraid it would be too complicated to drive a manual on the right hand side. Plus, auto is so common there.

Here in France, gosh, so different. When I told the French I prefer auto, they told me it's for HANDICAPE or old people. Gosh, so those who drive auto in Malaysia must be all handicapped!!

Sincerely, in Nantes there's so many roundabout, won't it be easier to drive an auto then switching the gear all the times from 4 to 3 to 2 then eccelerate to 3 and 4 then 3 to 2 for the next roundabout. In certain roads there's so many roundabout that I sometimes feel too lazy to change gear. :-(

I'm so getting an auto if I ever get my own car.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mother's day in France

This coming Sunday is Mother's day in France. Yes, I don't know why the French have different date compared to US and Malaysia.

When I told my mother about this, she said:"What? It's mother's day and you guys are going over to your in-laws place expecting the mother to cook and serve you guys? The best gift for your MIL would be having a nice dinner prepare by her son."

So, Fabien, that's what you are supposed to do this Sunday. Cook for your mother. :-)

Earn money

I have heard of so many people talking about earning money through blogging. Some even said that they earn up to 5 digits income per month. I wasn't sure whether it's true or not. I feel that some people just say that to attract readers so they can generate more traffics.

Since I have a paypal account really, this time I'm trying it out myself using this bloggerwave. I will let you know if it's really true you get to earn money from it.


My favorite food

In response to Jamy's tag in her seay's kopitiam, I'm revealing that my favorite food, at this moment, is cha kuey tiao. Not any cha kuey tiao, but the one I got when I was in my form 6, on the way home, passed by a restaurant and order this specially from the cha kuey tiao uncle, and he looked at me and nooded, understood what I want. Yes, one cha kuey tiao with noodles and little chili plus an egg. Then I went home with my favorite Wesley novel in one hand, eating cha kuey tiao on the other hand. That taste, is simply unresistable.