Friday, March 07, 2008

I think that I am turning French...

It is happening, I am turning French.

Not only am I in love with the food and the people and the location; not only am I living here...I now have a French bank account!

Holy cow, was that a bit of work. I really must thank Gus for helping me, if it wasn't for him going through all of this for himself before, I probably wouldn't have managed to get one. It is amazing how hard it is. You need to have so much paperwork and documents, a lot of it you need to be renting a place to get, but you can't rent a place without a bank account. Unless you luck out like me.

Gus and I went down there yesterday, with my pile of papers in hand. Luckily, I had things like a phone bill from home (to prove that you have had one at least) and all my visa paperwork. It took about an hour, a mountain of paper signing (of which I mostly can't read, trusting Gus here...)but I have come out of it with a bank account, cheques and a credit card. This is going to be very useful if I ever want to get out of the hotel and find my own place.

The second half to me turning French is that Gus' girlfriend Mary is going to help teach me French! It is actually really hard to learn French doing what I am doing. All the guys on the base speak English, the guys I work with speak English and even the pilots speak English. It is rather important with airplanes to have a common language, and English is the international language of aviation. It would be really bad if the French spoke French, the Danes spoke Danish and the rest of us spoke English! Nothing would get done.

So, Mary has offered to help me learn. I am hoping that with her help, and Gus and Jerome, I will be able to hold simple conversations with people by the time I leave. Or at least understand them a lot better.=)

Other than that, things have been going okay. The boys and I have started to go Karting down at an indoor track about once a week. I like the fact that we are in there so often that the staff gives us special treatment, like free time and the best karts. This past week I did really well, dropped two seconds off my time even though I had some idiot's playing bumper cars and purposely slamming my kart into the tires when I tried to pass. He if I had figured out which guy he was when I got off the track he would have had a broken nose. I am hoping that with a few more runs at it, I will be dropping at least one more second. I see area's where I am making mistakes, and I now know how to improve them. Then I will be ready to try the outdoor track at Paul Ricard. With those 2-stroke engines, and an acceleration that is 0-100km/h in about 3 seconds I think that I will have my hands full!

A couple of weekends ago I flew up to Denmark to see Megan and Hans and the newest addition, Camden. It was a very short time to be going so far, but it was worth every second of it. The flight into Copenhagen was brutal; big storm with lots of wind made for a very bumpy flight where many people where holding the barf bags waiting to let go. Luckily, I think everyone managed to keep lunch down. The Saturday there, we went to Odense to visit the city. It is something like the third largest city in Denmark, but in reality it is quite small. It is also the home to Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote many great stories that we all know from childhood. We wandered around for a while, saw H.C.Anderson's house, looked in shops and just enjoyed the day. In the afternoon we went to meet an ex-coworker of Megan's at his place with his girlfriend and her kids. It was a nice visit, although I don't think that Julie (I think that was her name) spoke much English, so they hopped back and forth between languages. That is something that I am quite used to now. =D Sunday was just a nice quiet day of visiting, playing with Camden and walking around Ringsted. Then Monday, it was all over again as I flew home to France.

I am thinking of taking a weekend to go to Paris. I have never been there, and I can catch a flight on Air France for about 55 Euros and be there in an hour, or pay a bit more to catch the TGV and be there in three hours. The TGV would be a lot more comfy, and I would end up right in the middle of the city, whereas the plane would put me outside at one of the airports and I would have to bus it into the city.

But I think that it would be a good get away to be in Paris, go see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, and what ever else I can find. I will have to do it before summer season hits and we are stuck here on fire duty, but I am sure that I will find a weekend.

Upcoming work in about a week is going to keep us busy. We have to do the pre-fire season maintenance on the two planes, which will be about two weeks each in the hanger. The first plane will be good, but the second might be tough since we lose Bo when he goes home to spend time with his kids in Denmark for spring break. At least we will be playing mechanics for a change. We spend so much time in the office these days, waiting for something to happen that my tools are getting lonely.

Fire season looks to be interesting. We are scheduled to be working six days on, two days off for three months. This is what the contractors want, since they want 60 hour weeks, although I would be happy with 40 hour weeks. Oh well, it is money in the bank. I have also managed to get a week off in July, about mid way through the summer that I am hoping I can get Meg and Hans to come and visit then. It would be nice to have them here so that I would have someone to play tourist with.

Well, I guess that is about it.