Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm Ba-ack!

So, France was very lovely and kind of appallingly expensive. I feel like there's kind of a disconnect with foreign money. I just changed everything into Euro, and then went around handing out those twenty-Euro bills with a sort of crazed enthusiasm, like, "You mean if I give you this piece of blue paper you will give me a ride on a boat? No way! Here!" I handed them over and nice French people gave me presents!

I still don't really understand the deal with restaurants, where an entree costs 17 Euro, but a formule of an appetizer and an entree (en Francais, entree et plat) costs 12 Euro. I kept sort of gritting my teeth for the bill, and then looking at it like, " that all?" But a pot of tea for 5 Euro ($7.50!) would have hurt, had I had any attachment at all to the pretty 2 Euro coins. But I didn't, really. So I had a lot of tea.

Yet somehow, on the combination of my visit overlapping with my parents', the convenience of staying in a house with a relatively well-stocked refrigerator, the cheapness and deliciousness of baguettes and tea (when consumed at my sister's house, as opposed to at a lovely Salon de The), the Luna bars I brought along, and K's kind agreement to pick me up at the airport in my parents' Volvo, I managed the thing on $300. My sister, generous hostess that she was, also paid for me to take a cooking class with her (in French, but I managed: the combination of French-from-fifth-grade, Latin-from-high-school, and German-on-the-level-of-a-preadolescent being, evidently, a reasonably effective one). The $100 I had sitting in my checking account for spending, then, is on its way to the Freedom Fund, where it will bump the balance above $5,000.

I brought a bunch of stuff back with me, and honestly, was more constrained in my spending by space than money. If I'd thought I could fit five more jars of jam, you can bet I'd've bought them. As it is, I brought home apricot jam, pistou, olive tapenade, fleur de sel, chamomile blossoms for tea, tea for tea, chocolate, and herbs de provence. Perhaps a few items that I can bear to part with will end up as gifts, but...probably not too many.

Anyway, I'm back at home, back at work, back at work on my finances, and rejuvenated for the final push towards the year-end goals. I'll be catching up on my blogroll over the next couple of days. And I learned a couple of new very frugal, very delicious recipes at that cooking class--I'll put 'em up this week!

Tell me something about your week in the comments!


Mrs. Micah said...

Euros look so much like monopoly money, don't they?

My week was pretty average, but I made good progress on some of my sewing. :)

Kim said...

WELL, I had a $80 gift card to IKEA, from when I bought my new couch (yeah, couch deal! buy a couch, get a gift card worth 20% of the value of the couch!), so I took a little trip to the great warehouse of wonder on Saturday. I wandered around picking up things that I wanted...sort of needed...but really just wanted. Things that will make my life a little bit happier, but that are definitely not necessities. Such as: really cute candle holders (called Oregano, $.99 apiece!), egg slicer, garlic press, spring-form pan, vase, baskets for organizing the linen closet, etc.

All in all, I only spent $45 of my $80, which means I still have another $35 to splurge--or use towards something bigger later on down the line.

I also crafted a solution to my rug problem -- I had purchased three 2x3 rugs and was looking for a good way to secure them together (the coffee table weighs them down, but the corners were curling upwards). Solution: DUCT TAPE! So easy, so cheap. So works.

And, I realized that I don't need to purchase anything to go under the coffee table to hold my fabulous coffee table books--they balance quite nicely on the supports under the table!

I'll post pictures on my blog soon...for now, this comment is far too long! :-)

Sistah Ant said...

glad you had a great time!

this week i managed to spend almost nothing on food.

Anonymous said...

i just got back from a 3-day weekend in reno. one of my best friends live there with her family so i managed not to break the bank while i was there... free board and lodging, her family ponied up for food and such... but i spent way too much money on new clothes... sigh...

krystalatwork said...

Glad you had such a wonderful time, AND you were able to stay on budget. Not sure if I would have been able to do that! :)

Strange Bird said...

Welcome back! That seemed so fast!

This week, I did very well on spending, because I spent all week working on my first graded assignment of the semester so I couldn't go shopping like I'd wanted to. Unfortunately, it meant I had to buy more expensive pre-cooked meals instead of making things from scratch, because I had no time.

GG said...

I loved reading about your week in France. IMO, eating at your sister's and bringing home fun French food like jams and tea is the way to do it.

Last week I went apartment hunting, wrestled with whether or not to get an apartment, wrestled with whether or not I'm too dependent on my parents and well, I'm still wrestling. I also enjoyed fall weather and wonderful weekends.

Glad to have you back! (And fun idea for the comments.. I like reading what's new with other PFers. :))

Kat said...

Provence is darling! I'm so glad you loved it. The herbs and pretty fabrics, mmm.

ryan said...

my wife & I lived in germany for a few years, exchanging $ for Euro to pay rent every month was NOT fun, but it was a lot better before now. I still have friends over there and I can't imagine the frustration with the exchange rate.

beth said...

Your trip sounded *lovely*.

My week was rather low-key. I did mange to cook homemade soup, so I had yummy food to bring to work for my lunches and food in my freezer. Yum!

But I delayed a lot of projects, so tonight I have to finish sewing the mantlepiece thingy for my mom for her Thanksgiving decorations.

English Major said...

I really like all the life-updates here!

Mrs. Micah, if I get a new iPod for Christmas, I'll definitely check out your iPod cozies. Kim, that sounds like a lovely way to spend a Saturday--I want a springform! Way to go on your food spending, Sistah Ant and Strange Bird! anonymous, I entirely agree about the value of free lodging--it's how I managed to go to France at all. gg, I really sympathize with that kind of wrestling: it's my perennial occupation. Congratulations on your soup, Beth!

It's nice to know what's been going on with all my PF compatriots.

Escape Brooklyn said...

Welcome back! Sounds like a great trip. I saw one of your comments on another blog and thought, "Wow, she's back already?" Time's flying.

I went to a yoga class using my Yoga Passbook last night, which I just remembered expires next month so I'd better get my money's worth.

Not as fun as your vacation! =)

Tired of being broke said...

Glad you had a great time.

This week was just work and nothing else. Only spent money on bills.