Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cinq Cent Trente Sept Jours a Sceaux (537 days in Sceaux)

It has been over a month since I last posted, but it has been a busy time and I got to spend two weeks in Houston on business. Of course, that also means I got to see the family. It is been a busy time at work, it seems that we spend the last half of the year setting the plans in place for the coming year. I guess this is the job of headquarters; look ahead, plan ahead, inform everyone else.

I will say that the expatriates at headquarters do miss one another when we are traveling. We are often traveling alone, and the one thing we share is that we are all a long way from home, and do not mesh 100% with the culture in which we find ourselves. I notice this especially when I return from Houston after my last trip. This is my first expatriates assignment, but for the two or three others in our little group, this is one of many such assignments. Yet, when we all find ourselves in the office together at the same time, there is a bit of celebration. We almost immediately began to plan our offsite lunch. The offsite lunch is something we noticed our French comrades and other European comrades do not embrace. We enjoy getting off the site to fresh in our minds, get a little bit of perspective, enjoy the culture, and let loose a little bit. The esprit de corps is refreshing.

I hit the big FIVE-OH last week. No, not in years, that happened some time ago (but I feel less than half of that, believe me). I sampled my 50th cheese since being in France. As I mentioned earlier, I was not into cheeses at all when I lived in United States, and only began my pursuit here as a hobby, something to do to avoid going completely stir crazy.

Les Fromages de France
Vache qui Rit
St. Agur
Chevre frais
Chevre vieille
Chausee aux Moines
Crottin de Chevre
Crottin de Chavignol
Saint Nectaire
Saint Felicien
Fromage pur chevre
Bleu de brebis (blue sheep cheese)
Saint Marcellin
Saint Paulin
Le Montagnard des Vosges
Chevre de Palet
Bleu d’Auvergne
Fromage de Brebis Corsica
Sainte Maure
Cure Nantais
Saint Andre
Saint Albray
Le Vieux Pane
Fourme d'Ambert
Bleu Gourmage
Tomme de Savoie  20111105

When I first began this cheese adventure, I was a little hesitant about all the wild and strong flavors I might encounter. Now, when I see a cheese I have not tried, I buy a small portion, knowing that if I do not like it, it will find its way into the trashcan. So far, only a couple of cheeses have met that fate.

I have signed up for the 2012 Paris half marathon in March. I feel like I am making a bit of a comeback on my running, after being sidelined by a severe head cold and the dreaded "top of foot pain". The combination of these two kept me from running for almost 6 weeks. I feel like I'm starting over again, especially when it comes to technique. Technique will be very important in the half marathon run, because it was at a similar distance that I discovered my technique was off and causing problems with my fifth metatarsal during the summer. It has been a bit of a challenge to get my wind again, but it is coming. I intend to conservatively manage my increase in mileage, based on my ability to hold technique during the run.

From the first of November to the end of March represents the dark season for those living in the area around Paris. We have, however, been blessed with a few days of sunshine, like today. Today is an absolutely cloudless sky, and the colors of fall which remain are vibrant. I went on a bit of a walkabout today, mostly in the Parc de Sceaux, and you can see my pictures here:

This coming week represents what should be my last week of travel before the holidays. I am traveling to Southampton, England on Monday and Tuesday, then off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Wednesday through Friday, landing back in Paris early Saturday morning. The trip to Kuala Lumpur was unexpected, and cost me my trip to Marrakesh. But this is business, and that's why I'm here. I have a lead on another opportunity to go to Morocco in January. 

I'm looking forward to Christmas with the family; we are gathering with my side of the family at a very large beach house on the Texas Gulf Coast.

That's all I have for now, thanks for coming along.

A bientot,