Monday, March 23, 2009

Checking in

Hey Ya'll, this is just a State of the Union address. Not a whole lot has been happening here, or at least we didn't travel to three other countries or get deported from anywhere. We have been mostly hanging around Gueret and enjoying the spring like weather and taking bets when the hill sides will turn green. We fed the ducks the other day at the lake, 
It was nice and fun. The french ducks seem to be way more aggressive and territorial than the ducks in the states. There was a lot of duck on duck crime.


We have also been going to the market in Gueret every once in a while. It's very nice, and it's nice to see the locals in a hospitable mode. The have chickens on rotisseries that you can smell down the street.
We met a nice american couple at the market last saturday. We were hoping to be able to hang out with them but the guy seemed a little on edge. We have e-mailed them but they haven't sent anything back. They live out in the sticks, and they come into town to use the internet at McDonalds so maybe they haven't got the e-mail yet.

 Gigi's friend Jason and his girlfriend Meg came to france not long ago. They got here the day I was deported. We hung out in Gueret for a couple days which was fun. We got them a little too drunk to be traveling the next day but the managed quite well.


We also have gone on many walks around town. This was through some trails near town. We brought a couple bottles of wine and cookies and had a picnic. The weather has been so nice.


Another fun thing we have been doing is traveling to Limoges which is near by. It's just an hour long train ride from here. We went to shop and enjoy a city bigger than ours. There is a river that run through the town so we played a stick dropping game on it that Kendra taught us. We didn't bother to get sticks so we used the cigarette butts under foot. I lost.

Our friend Benjamin had a concert in Limoges that we went to see. It was fantastic. He had a few clarinet solos in a piece called yiddish rhapsody. It was great and moving, I hope we get a copy of the song before we leave.



We also have had a few dinners out on the town, and went to the movie theater for my first time. It's a small theater, but one of the most comfortable I have ever been in.  We saw the wrestler, which was great. I really liked it, Gigi didn't so much. We have also seen Synecdoche, New York which was SO good. It was written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, who is a genius, but he likes to mess with your mind.

We have also been watching Six feet under which is also a mind scramble, and eating so good. Gigi has been making some awesome breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and I have been masterfully cleaning up behind here. It all just been stunning work all around. We have been playing a lot of cards. Gigi is something like 7 of 8 in wins for pinocle. She pulled a win right out from under me the other day. I had to make 3 points and she had to make nearly 50 to go out so I gave her the bid, and she puts down a double pinocle, and aces around, and wins on her going out. I was a bit distraught. 

Well it's really nice to keep in contact with everyone. Keep keeping in touch. Gigi's family comes this saturday and will be in Gueret Wednesday. It will be her mom, sister, brother, and now her Grandma too! It will be great fun, and the food will just be getting better and more plentiful. 




Birthday Party!

Well it was in February, so this is a little past due. I wanted to be able to use it before I showed it off.

Gigi gave me a Steel Dobro Guitar. It's beautiful.


The story of it is the best part. We walked by a music store in Gueret and saw it in the window. It was marked down -70% and we immediately loved it. We went in and played with it a couple times, and I said I would buy it by the end of January if it wasn't sold by then. I would fantasize about it and think about playing it in town as a pan handler just for something to do. I was really excited. So just before the end of the month it was still in the window, and we were about to head to Paris, so this was our last chance. The thing is in France there are only sales on things in January and July, and more often than not, they are great sales. So since this was the end of January we figured this was going to be the end of the discount. So on the way to the train station we stopped by the guitar shop. Gigi spoke to the guy and went back in forth for a while. It was a little longer than I thought it should be. Then the news, it had already been sold, and Gigi was trying to figure out a way for us to buy over the price because it was still in the shop. The guitar man said in english to me, "I'm sorry but it has been sold." which I thought was weird because that guy never spoke english to me. The train ride to paris was a long one. I was fairly disappointed.  Time had passed and it came up to my birthday. Gigi, Nick and I had spent all day traveling around on my birthday, hanging around Paris, enjoying a rugby party on a train, getting stopped by the police for cocaine, which Gigi told them we had, and eating at our favorite creperie. When it was time to crash we did so in La Sout at Kendras school. I was pooped, but the girls were gitty. Kendra and Gigi did the birthday song and dance then Gigi pulled out my gift, my brand new guitar. I was floored. I liked it so much the next morning I broke a string right away. It has since been replaced. Gigi pulled a fast one on me. The day we went to buy it right before we left for Paris Gigi was speaking to him IN FRENCH and buying the Guitar and arranging to pick it up at some point, then she told the guy IN FRENCH to tell me it was sold. That guy wasn't a good actor looking back on it, but he had me fooled and so did Gigi. I was surprised she was able to keep it a secret. Then in the mean time she had snuck it from Gueret to La Sout using her friends. What a tricky lady.

 I have learned some things, and I'm trying to fine tune it, but here is a sample.




video

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not keeping up

I still have to blog about our adventure to Barcelona and England, and I just haven't got to it yet.

here are some links to the pictures though.





Deported

What a weekend. Don't I start every entry like that?

I went to England this weekend to work with Gigi's aunt and uncle on their mastif kennel. I was so excited to have something to focus on, and I would get to play with huge dogs too...  

Like this one:

This is Twelve, he's from Italy.

Well at any rate, I flew to Stansted, London from Limoges, France and it only took a little over an hour. When I got there I went up to customs and did the stupidest thing ever, I told the truth. I had been so excited about this for a while, and I have been telling everyone about it. So when the customs lady asked me what I was doing in England I answered, "Staying with the in-laws, In fact I'm helping them work with their dogs until they hire a new aupair." They said they were sorry but they needed to further investigate my stay in England. They don't let people in to work and I should have known better to tell them about that. I even told them it wasn't paid, it was just me helping out my aunt and uncle. That doesn't fly either. Another big flag I believe was that I am currently unemployed.


They brought me over to a counter to search my belongings. I was very surprised what they questioned me about. They pulled out my gloves which are old construction gloves that I got from the new 35W bridge. They said they looked quite worn, and I said yeah, I've had them for a while. I also had all my French homework, and in all those papers I had blank work visa papers for France. That sucked. I have since thrown those away in disgust.

The odd thing was that they were so sweet the whole time. They probably knew from the second I opened my mouth I was gonna be deported.

They brought me to the detention center at the airport and put me in a "interview room." They asked me all the same questions again and took my finger prints and a few pictures and searched my person. Nothing invasive, which was a bummer.

They then put me in an even bigger room with a few people who sat around looking very pissed off, and playing on the TV was Hot Fuzz, the English movie about police. I thought it was ironic. 

It wasn't long after I sat down they came down hard with the second round of questioning, "Do you want something to eat? Something to drink? Candy? Coffee? Tea? Juice? Crisps? We have sandwiches, do you want a sandwich?" They were more hospitable than anything I had ever experienced. I actually thought they were trying to drug me or something. In the middle of Hot Fuzz they pulled me back out and told me I wasn't going to be let into the country, and that I will be staying in this room until 8 the next morning. Needless to say I was PISSED! I was being really cooperative and nice to everyone, but then I turned on a dime.

The thing about the hospitality was that it was coming from the people holding me, immigration, and not customs who had denied my entry into the country. So, even though I was pissed, the people who I was surrounded by had nothing to do with me not getting in, so they didn't deserve my attitude. 

Time passed really slowly and people came and went all day. I watched 6 movies and finished my book "Franny and Zooey". I watched Hot Fuzz, and a bizarre documentary on the Rolling Stones called Sympathy for the Devil. It was messed up, it started with girls in white night gowns being murdered by militants, and then it had a comic book store run by Nazis. I was the one to put it in, and after it got really weird I asked everyone if I could change it. Everyone stared blankly at me. No one spoke english. As I went to change it, a man in his fifties stopped me and gave me a thumbs up as two militants fought over an unconscious girl on the TV screen. I kept my eye on him for the rest of my stay. After that I watched The Great Escape in Italian with an Italian dude. I watched Top Gun, and then Mission Impossible Two. Two Tom Cruise Movies back to back. It was then I knew I was in Jail. Oh, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe was somewhere in there. I didn't make it long enough to watch West Side Story and, my favorite movie as a child, The Flight of the Navigator, so I stole them. You know, just to show England what happens when they deport Alex Finseth.


To sleep I pushed two benches together so I wouldn't fall in my sleep. I finally dozed off around 1 as the "guards," if that what you would call them, started a Denzel Washington Movie. I woke up around 4 to them playing Trouble, and that god damn dice bouncing around its little dome over and over again. I asked them if they would stop and they looked at me blankly for way too long and kept playing.

They eventually had a shift change and got me ready for my plane. They went off and checked my bag for me. They told me that I wouldn't get my passport back until I landed in France, and that I should just ask the flight attendant for it. That's when I recalled a conversation we had about their procedure when they were deporting some one. More often then not, if you ask for your passport, they just give it back, but if you are going to be arrested or shuffled around more they won't give it back. That haunted me for a while. 

Victor, his peers call him Jesus because he was a priest or something, brought me to my plane. He actually was ordained in Minnesota, and right after they told me I wasn't getting into the country I went and laid down on a bench, he called me into his office area and asked me "Do you recognize this?" It was his MN state ID. I was so angry that all I could say was, "That's great," and I pivoted on my heal and went and laid down again. I felt bad, he's really sweet, but I was in no mood to be cordial. I felt like all these people had this job of watching deportees just so they could have friend for a few hours who couldn't go anywhere.

Well, he brought me to my plane, and walked me past the whole line of people waiting to get on the plane, so I got a seat before anyone else. I felt privileged. We flew back, and as we were getting off the plane I asked a flight attendant for my passport back. They told me that the pilot wanted to speak to me. I started freaking out that they weren't going to give me my passport back and they were going to deport me back to the States. I popped my head into the cockpit, and he said, "You're Alex?"

"Yeah I'm Alex"

"Oh you're a Finseth. Are you Norwegian?"

"Yeah, I'm from Minnesota, but I'm of Norwegian decent"

"Oh, I'm Norwegian. Your name is popular there"

"Oh"

"Well here's your passport"

All I could do was thank God that I had my passport in my hand, and as I stepped back from the cockpit there's customs again right their with their guns, and they want my passport. Shit. They sit me down as the rest of the plane unloads. They ask me why I was sent back to France, and I told them thats where I came from. They hold onto my Passport and ask me to follow them. Double shit. We take a long walk into the airport and there is the whole plane load again standing in line. Customs walk me past all of the passengers again. We get to baggage claim and they ask if I had a bag, and told me to grab it. I grab it and they hand me my passport and told me to have a nice day. SCORE! Home free.

It was a long process that I don't want to do again. I spent $200 bucks for two plane rides and a bunch of shitty sandwiches. Thank God they didn't ask me to pay for my ticket home. Apparently it was on RyanAir.

Oddly, for the longest time, I thought this was a prank that Aunt Jo was pulling on me, because I got her really good when we stayed with her a couple weeks ago. She threatened to get me back so bad, and I felt this would have been appropriate punishment, but no it wasn't her prank, so I still have that to look forward to as well.

Now to move on to the next thing, because there is no chance in hell I'm going to be able to get back into England this year.

c'est la vie.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Losses

Just tonight Me and Gigi... I mean Gigi and I found out we both lost grandparents. She lost her Great Grandpa James and I lost My Grandma Mildred in the same night. We spent the day in the woods not knowing anything had happened, then we came home and both made the phone calls in which we found out about our losses. 


It's amazing we are having these experiences together. I don't know if it makes it easier or not. We are both being supportive and thats what counts. 

Keep our families in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friday the 13th, Valentines, and My Birthday

It's been a long time since I wrote, so the past couple of weeks will be in sections to save my sanity. 


This is the weekend of February 13th, 14th, and 15th. Being Friday the 13th, Valentines Day, and My Birthday. It was quite the eclectic weekend to celebrate. It was also the weekend that Gigi's Brother Nick joined us, which was a great treat to have a third from Minneapolis.

Friday the 13th was definitely that. Some very bizarre occurrences. First of all it was the day we were to wake up and travel to Paris to celebrate Valentines and pick up Nick. When we opened our window we found that it had snowed more than we have ever seen here, just over night. We had to tromp through it all the way to the train station which isn't very close.

The next bizarre event was one that bared fruit for us. We were just scooting along on the train and as we passed another train we got the usual startling SWOOSH that gets Gigi and I to jump every time. A split second after that a window on the opposite side of the train from us shattered right before my eyes. Apparently two broke during this incident, and we were asked to go sit up in first class for the rest of the train ride. Score.

Once we got into Paris I was hungry and tiered so we went to our apartment that Gigi booked for us, which by the way I am so grateful for all the lovely things she has done for us through all of this. She books all the trains planes and apartments and they are the most beautiful places imaginable. She is so selfless when it comes to this "party planning" it's quite admirable, and I am such a lucky boy to have such an awesome girlfriend. Thank you Gigi.
This is our apartment, that came with a great little hammock chair. After freezing our butts off for a while we decided to blast the heat and go grab some snacks before going out for our Valentines dinner which we were doing a night early so we didn't have to subject Nick to the cuteness.  It turned out to be champaign and McDonalds. We're a classy couple. It did save me from a hungry and tiered tantrum.


After snacks and eye gazing time we went to dinner in a cute little restaurant down the street. It was so Parisian, and fabulous. We had wine and I had something cooked in bones, which is new for me. I'm sad I didn't get a picture of it, but if I had it my way I would have some one fallowing me around with movie cameras.


After dinner we made our way down to the Eiffel Tower, because even after a few weekends in Paris, I haven't done anything appropriately touristy. We brought in Valentines day under the tower kissing and cuddling. It was perfect until the 4th or 5th vendor came up to us, grabbed Gigi's arm, shoved roses in her face and in a screech yelled "I love you" with his buck teeth stretched out at us. We were mid-kiss.


We had also Spotted Batman and The Joker down by the tower, It must have been still Friday the 13th somewhere.



The next morning we woke up nice and early to pick Nick up at the airport. This would be Valentines day Proper. We grabbed him and brought him right to the train station. It turned out to be a busy school holiday so most the trains were all booked up, but we grabbed one on the later end. That gave us some time to walk around Paris for a while.

Nick was able to get some Steak Freet which he was very excited about since his plane landed.
We spent the rest of the day wandering by the River Seine and just around. We grabbed some Champaign to drink in the park, and stayed warm by shivering and rattling our teeth. It was a lot of fun, and nick got many opportunities to skate around Paris.

After a long day of wandering we were looking forward to a  nice long train ride to La Sout to sleep and rest. We get to our car and there was barely any one on with us... until about 5 minutes before shove off. A HUGE family joined us in our car blowing whistles and shouting with paint on their faces and french flags over their shoulders. They were celebrating a French win in the Rugby game that night. The adults were tanked. I step away from the party for a second and when I came back Gigi's got a cup of whiskey going. They poured us all a drink and we join the party. We talked to everybody, and practiced our french. It was tons of fun. the drinking was endless, and when it got close to the end of the road for us they filled out cups zealously. Some one took a liking to nick and gave him a corkscrew, and french scarf, which was the most generous showing that we had seen in our whole stay here. We left the train with hugs and High Fives and walk into the train station where there were 8 cops, some with machine guns ready to great us. "I guess they don't like us drinking on the train" Nick said. I walk through the crowd of brass with out any word then Gigi, then the second Nick walks in they pull him aside. The head cop starts asking some questions and Gigi answers for Nick. He asks for Nicks passport and then asks more questions and Gigi says Yes to the Wrong question, and a puzzled look comes across the cops face. He asked if Nick was brining in cocaine. The correct answer to that question turns out to be No. We all laugh and the cop lets us go.

The fun never seemed to stop. After that we had dinner at the famous Creperi of La Sout


I scored with my crepe, and every one seemed pretty happy as usual. Just deliciousness. After Dinner we head back to Kendra's school for retirement, and I was surprised to an awesome birthday present from my darling Girlfriend. The trick she played on my was about as priceless as the gift, but I want to premiere the gift to everyone the right way, so it will be coming to a blog nearby soon. Now all of this happened Valentines day. To us it seemed like days on end.


The next day being my birthday was understandably spent resting. Nick slept till nearly 4. We had a wonderful Curry for dinner before heading back to Gueret. We were spent.

Thanks to all of you for the great birthday wishes, and as you may see it was a Great Birthday. I love you all.





Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Website!

I have a Portfolio of a website for my photography, and thats what I have been spending my time doing for the last few hours, so it's an update on my trip as well, so there.

Here it is