mardi 30 avril 2013

Assimil L'Espagnol Spanish

Assimil L'Espagnol and FNAC

Here is a bit about my last FNAC experience in Paris, back in July 2011.

I lurve FNAC. Apart from clothes, shoes and handbags... it sells everything else I love: books and electronic gadgets. (it also sells concert and theatre tickets and other random stuff).

It's the kind of shop you can browse in for AGES. Now in Geneva where I live now there is also a FNAC (or several) but the books they sell are pretty much the same as the ones they sell in France except more much expensive! However, on the other hand, the electronics (such as cameras) are cheaper... weird, huh?

But be warned there are ALWAYS long queues to pay in FNAC. It's the kind of store that's almost always crowded especially during lunchtimes...

Anyway, so on my recent trip to Paris I wanted to go to FNAC to buy this beauty (pic above). I found Assimil immensely helpful for learning French and during my last last trip to Paris before this current one (July 2011) I bought the German one, hoping and planning to pick it up... Unfortunately, it never took off because I couldn't find the motivation to do it. :( I just don't like the language at all. Meanwhile, Spanish and Italian sound much nicer and are much easier for me having learnt French just before.

I ummed and erred for ages about which language to pick up but Spanish won easily since I LOVE this country, I love travelling there, the people, the food, the weather, the lifestyle.. if it weren't for the high unemployment rate I could happily live there, I think. And the other thing is that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language after Chinese Mandarin. So in the end it was an easy choice.

I have been easing myself into it very slowly (since now I work full time and I didn't when I started learning French) and have a very busy social life and hobbies, etc... I've been starting on Pimsleur and listening to Roxette songs in Spanish to the point where I can sing a lot of them off by heart now (but half the time I don't know what I'm actually singing LOL).

The Assimil L'Espagnol on the FNAC website is for the MP3s (1 CD with MP3 recordings). However, I bought the white one (pictured above) with 4 Audio CDs. Last time with the German I bought the  MP3 one but found it broke up the tracks into lots of pieces (which made it really annoying to listen to on my ipod.. why the heck did they do that?! so this time I actually left the queue to pay, went back to the shelf to grab the white one instead and hope that this time the tracks are intact!

Also, when I bought the German one it was on sale but the Spanish one was marked full price 65,90€. However, when I went to pay there was also a discount on it! Bonus :)

The interesting thing (and challenge) is that last time I was using Assimil to go from English--> French. This time I'm not going from English--> Spanish but from French-->Spanish (since you wouldn't be able to buy the English-->Spanish version one in France anyway). Although it seems like a challenge, I actually think it's easier since there are so many similar words between French and Spanish.

I remember this post that Jennie wrote "Learning a third language through a second" (way back in August 2010!). At the time I hadn't even moved to France yet and it didn't mean much to me but I still remember the post and the principle.. and now I will actually apply it.

Wish me luck! :D

When friends become parents

Continuing on from my previous post... A lot of change happens in 2 years. I can't believe it had been 2 years already since I last saw my friend and 1.5 years since I was last in Paris.

I was surprised when my friend told he had gotten married a few months back. Then I joked that the next time we meet he will have kids and he said, "I don't think so..."

Somehow, I believe he will though. If I leave it another 2 years I'm quite certain he will have at least one kid... Afterall, France has a very high birth rate.

And it got me thinking...

All these French people I met on language exchange sites... It was a coincidence that ALL of them were couples, none of them were singles. And when I arrived in France I visited them all around the country and it was very generous and kind of them to allow me to stay with them and show me around their home town.

And then, one year or so later, they all had kids. I would like to revisit them but I can't. It may sound selfish but I feel stressed around babies and young kids and they wouldn't be able to 'hang out' anyway as their whole schedule and life is now around their kids.

I think back to my friends at home, and I think to bloggers I read (and feel I 'know' because I've been reading their blog for many many years)... Their lives and blogs used to be so interesting and now it just revolves around their kids. Nothing wrong with that and it's completely normal but at the same time it saddens me as I always feel I've 'lost' my friends that way. We no longer have anything in common, we no longer have anything to talk about and they don't do much with their own lives because their life IS their kids' life (as evidenced by those who even put their child's photo as their own profile photo which I kind of find a little disturbing).

There are so many female bloggers I read and their blogs used to be so interesting but after having kids, now every single post is the same... there is nothing new or interesting.

And as much as I try to stay friends with these people I just can't. I've experienced it back home and here. People generally don't bother to stay in contact with you if you aren't going through the same things in life (except by superficial methods like Facebook posts). I go to their kid's birthday parties... and I'll start a conversation with a stranger who'll ask me about my kids.. I'll tell them I don't have any.. and then they're thinking, "Oh shit... what can we talk about then?" and all the while I wonder why I am even there and can't wait to leave...

I shouldn't complain about this I know and I know people will tell me I can still continue to be friends with these people but I really don't feel I can :(

As I write this post... last night I actually had a dream that I was pregnant and gave birth but instead of having the baby the normal way, it came out of my left side! (where my waist is) and I 'only' had a 10cm scar and was walking around normally straight afterwards. The baby was completely normal, healthy and happy... so it was a nice dream.


Babies in dreams are common, because every creation begins with an idea. Many people are invested in learning how to create in their lives, whether it's a new job, a greater relationship, or creating the type of person they desire to become. Next time when you have a baby in your dreams, celebrate the opportunity to learn more about yourself and creativity.


To see a baby in your dream signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings. Babies symbolize something in your own inner nature that is pure, vulnerable, helpless and/or uncorrupted. If you dream that the baby is smiling at you, then it suggests that you are experiencing pure joy. You do not ask for much to make you happy.

(image from here). 

lundi 29 avril 2013

Paris, how I love thee!

Paris... Paris... will I ever get sick of you? No.. never.

Every trip to this magical city just seems to be... magic. Even if the weather is cold, grey and crap, I still manage to find zillions of things to do and enjoy myself immensely. The time always passes so quickly that I exhaust myself trying to fit as much as I can in one day until my legs turn to jelly and I cannot go on walking anymore...

It had been a whole 2 years since I saw my friend in Paris and almost as long since we last spoke... We kinda lost touch but since I was going back I decided to get in touch again. Actually he's not from Paris but that's besides the point... he's lived there for 5 years now. So we had dinner and a chat... Last time he took me on a scooter ride during the daytime, this time he took me on a car ride at night which was a totally different experience, but both equally great.

This whole trip to Paris was a bit like déjà vu because last time (with my friend) it was also in April, in Spring and with this gorgeous mid-20s sunny weather as well... (and pretty much every other time I came to Paris it was grey and cold).

That tour of Paris by car was THE highlight of my trip among all the many things I did over the last few days.

Again,  I felt like I was in a movie... we drove around both sides of the Seine (including the tunnel where Lady Dianna died :( ), around the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysées, around the Eiffel Tower (which looks huge when you are right under it)... and various other places.

I didn't speak English at all the whole time I was there, even when someone spoke to me in English I'd pretend I didn't understand and continue in French.

I don't think I could ever run out of things to do there. However I will say (and agree with many French people) that I wouldn't want to live there. It would totally take away the magic if you had to go to work every day.  It would be a great place to live if you didn't have to work though. That would be such a dream. To be there and just soak up the atmosphere, just wander aimlessly through the streets no matter what time of day... to just sit in a cafe all day and people watch...  To shop in the fresh food markets...and come home and cook up something fabulous...  To observe everything and everyone...

How could anyone not love this city? :)

(image from here)

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