We just finished celebrating Max’s birthday weekend. Saturday night, we went out to his family’s favorite restaurant. We ordered a “menu” – where you pay for several pre-picked courses. Our menu included an entree (appetizer), plat (entree), cheese course, and dessert – plus wine pairings and a few extra snacks thrown in between courses.
My entree – seafood!
Max’s entree – fois gras
Main dish – fish
Max’s main dish – beef
Dessert! Chocolate mousse, white-chocolate ice cream, strawberry sorbet, and apple tarte
And the birthday boy:
Jojo has settled in very well to his new home. He’s already learned to come, sit, lie down, get his toy, and (reluctantly) go to his room. He, in turn, has been training us to play fetch, take him on long walks, and get Max to feed him scraps of cheese and peanut butter.
He even met the neighbor’s husky. They just stared at each other in silent mutual respect.
Last week was the second installment of what I like to call “Adventures in the French Healthcare System” (the first was the Great Mono Experience of 2010). I woke up with aweful tooth pain and a fever on Wednesday, but still dragged myself to work to stare at a computer screen for a few hours. When Max and I went home for lunch, my wisdom tooth was making my entire face swell up, so I decided to try to rest until the pharmacy opened at two. Max talked to our boss, who helped Max find a dentist who would see me that afternoon.
Once we got to the office, we waited only a few minutes to see the dentist, who spent ten minutes looking at my teeth and writing prescriptions. He assured me that it was an infection, and that I wouldn’t need to have emergency surgery to remove all my wisdom teeth – yet.
Next, he sent me across the street for an x-ray, where the office was able to see us immediately. Next door, we picked up all the prescriptions at the pharmacy. The entire process took about an hour (including driving time), and cost 75€ ($97) total for the x-ray, dentist, and four prescriptions. Unfortuntely, I don’t have a French social security card yet (or most of this cost would’ve been paid by French national health insurance), but once I receive the card, I can still be retroactively reimbursed.
By the next morning, my fever was gone, and I was able to get back to work. Here’s the “Carte Verte” that provides access to French healthcare:
Max and I went to check out the local library. It’s super tiny, but all the books are borrowed from a larger regional library, and they switch out the books every three months.
These nice ladies helped us set up the library cards, though they had trouble using the system and ended up just writing down the codes for our books.
This is the view walking home:
Some nice farmland and wind turbines.
Also, there is always a husky silently watching us from behind a gate.
Our next door neighbors have a machine that acts like a Roomba, but mows the lawn. I haven’t decided if this is another weird French product, or if our neighbor is just an eccentric inventor.
Today Jojo and I took a long stroll through our tiny town.
So many daffodils!
The church in the town center
The library in the center of town
Saturday, we went to our local shelter in search of a dog. The place was very clean, with plenty of open-air pens where the animals could socialize. The director was super nice, knew all 50 dogs by name, and was able to point out dogs who wouldn’t mind a small yard.
Max’s brother came along to help – he adopted a gentle giant rotweiler named Tina from the same shelter several months ago. Once we narrowed down our favorite dogs, we decided to take one for a walk. As soon as the director handed us the leash, he immediately jumped into our arms and started licking Max’s face. Clearly, Jojo had chosen us.
The director immediately brought us to sign paperwork and get copies of his vaccination records (no application neccessary, just a contract giving us legal ownership). She handed us all kinds of free doggy toys, leashes, and food bowls. We left Jojo at the shelter while we ran to the store and bought supplies for the dog, and Max’s brother helped find materials to build a gate in the yard. Once we brought him home, Max set up the gate, and I gave the reluctant Jojo a much-needed bath.
So this is how we spend all our free time. Jojo is super clean and obediant, and loves to play fetch and cuddle. I’m looking forward to taking him on long walks around town, and teaching him commands in English!