Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Acupuncturist the Dragueur

Today I went to see an acupuncturist for treatment of my persistent migraines.

While taking my complete medical history he asked me a whole bunch of questions none of which seemed out of the ordinary. At one point he did inquiry about my relationship status which I found a tad peculiar but I let it slide and the querying continued. However, when he finished asking me all of the "official" questions the following dialog took place:

Acupuncturist: So why are you single?
LE: Uhm I'm not really sure.
Acupuncturist: Do you ever think about why you are single?
LE: Uhm sometimes but generally I have other thoughts that occupy my mind.
Acupuncturist: I don't understand because you are a nice girl.


Now, I may not have a background in ancient Chinese medicine but I'm pretty sure that the above line of questioning is not only unnecessary but totally inappropriate. But I figure with the cost of the session partially being covered by the French social security system and the balance being covered by my mutuelle, making the visit essentially free, I can't really complain can I?

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Love Picard

Before moving to Paris I remember someone telling me about the good frozen food that France had to offer without any further elaboration. At the time I thought it was pretty bizzare feedback especially considering all of the other great things France and Paris have to offer. I filed that information away and went on my merry way.

When I finally arrived in Paris and got settled in my apartment I would pass in front of a store named Picard each day as I either entered or exited the metro. During my first 6 months in Paris I had no idea what the store was or what they sold. And while I was curious to know what was inside behind their sliding doors I never dared to enter because of the sterile looking interiors. Not to mention that at the time I had no idea what the word surgelé meant. It wasn't until friend of mine started raving to me about the goodness that is Picard did I garner up the courage to venture inside to see what they had to offer and that was a turning point for me.

Picard is like the mecca of frozen foods. Picard is the single guy and gal's best friend. The friend that turned me on to Picard actually refers to it as her boyfriend. What makes the place so amazing is that you can find almost anything in frozen form and ready to be cooked with zero prep time and the best part is that it actually tastes good. Picard is light years ahead of it's closest US competitor in terms of quality, taste and product variety. You could actually prepare dinner for an entire dinner party by stocking up at Picard and no one would be the wiser as long as your tossed out the evidence before your guests arrived.

Fast forward to yesterday when I was talking to some friends about the quality of food in France and naturally the topic turned to Picard. One friend who's only been in Paris for 3 months mentioned that she's never been to a Picard and wasn't even sure what it was. Because I had once been in her shoes and am still grateful to my friend for opening my eyes I let her in on the secret by going on and on about how good Picard is. She gave me a skeptical look as I talked and she didn't seem fully convinced at the time. Maybe I should have told her that the cashiers are known for actually bagging one's groceries as well unlike most French supermarkets. I'm not concernerd however because I'm pretty sure curiosity will drive her into the store and thus will begin another American's love affair with Picard.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At the Pharmacy

I am an allergy sufferer and to alleviate my symptoms I take a prescription medication year round to keep them in check. Having neither the time nor energy to visit my doctor for a prescription refill I put off the inevitable task of replacing my medication. That is until several weeks ago when my allergies got the best of me and made my daily life unbearable. Seeking relief I went to my local pharmacy and explained my situation to the pharmacist and he gave me a comparable over the counter substitution.

This arrangement worked out well until two days ago when I once again ran out of my substitute medication. Not wanting to suffer as badly as I did last time, I visited my local pharmacy today. The pharmacist who originally supplied my substitute medication wasn't there and I requested a replacement from the woman behind the counter. To my disappointment they were out of my substitute medication and she proposed a substitute for the substitute. I hesitated for a moment and then I told her that I wasn't interested since I normally use a prescription medication but didn't have a prescription and didn't want to try something new yet again. To my surprise and with an expression that said "why didn't you just tell me that in the first place", she told me that she would just give me my usual prescription medication.

As appreciative as I was by her gesture and as happy as I was that the medication only cost less than 10€ even without a prescription, it made me wonder, doesn't this kind of behavior devalue the whole concept of a prescription from a doctor?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wait For It...

Several week ago I made an appointment to have my lady parts checked out since it's been almost two years since my last visit. Having already seen several doctors here in France and hearing stories from friends I thought I would be fully prepared for the experience or so I thought.

On the day of my appointment I arrived at the office and am greeted by the receptionist who asks me if I was referred to them by the American University to which I replied non (not so bad so far). After providing some administrative information I was escorted into the where several other women were already waiting (ok I got this). Then after a 10 minute wait the doctor came to get me and escorted me into her office. All along I'm thinking to myself "I've got this in the bag" or so I thought.

In the doctor's office I was asked to give a detailed medical history and then was asked to disrobe for the examination. No, I wasn't given a modest gown but I was mentally prepared for that and I even made a joke about the experience being different than in the US. I sit down on the examination chair/table all ready for my exam the doctor proceeds to take my blood pressure. As we are waiting for the results the doctor takes a seat on her examination stool. As my final blood pressure is displayed to the doctor she peers up from between my legs and asks "is your blood pressure usually this high?" What I really wanted to respond with was "it's only this high because you waited until I was completely disrobed and in the most awkward position possible to actually take my blood pressure. Generally speaking, my blood pressure actually quite normal" but all I managed to murmur at that instant was "no, it's not".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Velib' as a Guy Magnet? Guess Again...

Summertime in Paris is the perfect time use a Velib' to get to your destination within the city because one can avoid the stinky, crowded and too hot metros. Summer weekends are perfect as well because the streets of Paris are even more tranquil than usual with so many jetting out of town for the weekend. It's also great because you get a completely different perspective of the city one that you wouldn't get when taking other forms of transportation. And more often than not riding the Velibs throughout the city can be full of adventure.

Take for instance my brief trip yesterday to run some errands. I started out on the main boulevard near my apartment and made my way towards the Place de la Republic. While stopped at a red lightI turned around to see what two guys were yammering about and I found myself on the recieving end of an air kiss. Fast forward to the next intersection where I found myself on the recieving end of some crazy sound effects by the man that was crossing the street in front of me. Lastly, as I made my way back home and was parking the bike at the nearest Velib' stand a man approached me and I initially thought he was going to ask me for a cigarette or a light or even some spare change. But non, I was completely wrong, this man asked me if I would be interested in joining him at his place. I'll let you all guess what my response actually was.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Going on a Picnic...

According to an article in last week's NY Times picnics are one of the most economical ways to pass a warm summer afternoon or evening in Paris. Anyone that has ever spent any time in Paris during the summer already knows this but the article was timely and interesting nonetheless.

After having a lovely afterwork picnic last Thursday it was time to do it all again on Sunday to celebrate my friend Juliet's birthday. We all gathered at le Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the northeast of (real) Paris. Througout the afternoon while bathing in the warm late afternoon sunlight, we ate, we talked, we laughed, and we even sang (thanks to the talented and musically inclined brothers Garnier). A good time was had by all especially the birthday girl.

One of the best parts of the afternoon was the little fan that took a liking to our English/French speaking group and our singers/guitar players. The expression on her face is priceless.