In boxes

Hey everybody,
I know it's been a really long time since I posted anything, and that's because we are in the middle of our MOVE, and we haven't had internet connection... except for when I go to Starbucks, where there is free WiFi (that is what I am doing right now actually, enjoying a nice chai tea latte :) )!
I hope Christmas was very merry and bright for all of you, mine certainly was. We didn't go to town with Christmas presents this year, mainly because we are in chaos right now with all the boxes etc, but also because we are surrounded by the biggest present of all (the new appartment)! But we did have a few presents... and a wonderful celebration, which consisted of baking, eating, listening to jazzy Christmas music, playing board games and going to the movies.

This is me in the fabulous new kitchen, holding a tray of Christmas sugar cookies (double YUM):
They weren't vegan, sorry about that. I wanted to try a vegan version from the internet, but like I said, we have no internet... so I had to use the old recipe.

What I did make that was vegan is Granola (TRIPLE yum). I took a picture of it but can't find the cable to my camera... it's somewhere in a box. Ugghh! I'm really getting sick of all this moving business!
Update: Found the USB cable to my camera, I am now able to post pictures! Here they are:
 

The recipe is from Nigella.com. Here it is. If you haven't ever tasted homemade granola, make this. Right now. You won't regret it (in fact, you'll probably eat the whole jar right away it is so yummy!)

On Christmas day we went out for an afternoon movie, Life of Pi. It was, in one word, AMAZING. If you have the chance to go see it, do. It was really worth it. It even held my little brother's attention (and few movies do). I can't wait to start reading the book!

I probably won't be able to post anything for another ten days... So Happy New Year in advance! I wish you the best 2013, and don't forget to eat your veggies! ;)

First World Problems

Yesterday, as I walked in the door, I exclaimed: "I HATE this bag! It is SO impractical!", throwing my bag onto my bed.
And at that second, FIRST WORLD PROBLEM flashed in my mind.
As Ryan Higa so cleverly pointed out in his extremely funny video (see below), we all complain about such stupid things, while at that moment kids in Africa are starving, and kids in India are exploited for child labor (they probably made the stupid bag, as a matter of fact).
Have you been dreaming of a new computer for a while, and been so frustrated when your parents won't buy it for you? Have you had a fit of rage when a web page was taking ages to load?
Have you been ashamed of your shirt with a stain on it?
Or been envious and mad at the fact that your hair is less fabulous than your neighbour's?
I've got three words for you: FIRST WORLD PROBLEM.

Hier, quand je suis rentrée chez moi, je me suis exclamée: "Ce sac est HYPER incommode! Je le déteste!" en jetant mon sac sur mon lit.
Et à ce moment précis, ces mots ont flashé dans ma tête: PROBLÈME DU PREMIER MONDE.
Comme Ryan Higa à si intelligemment souligné dans une vidéo hyper drôle (en bas), on se plaint tous de choses tellement stupides, alors qu'à ce moment précis des enfants en Afrique meurent de faim, et des enfants en Inde sont exploités pour le travail (ils ont probablement fabriqué le sac, en fait.)
Fait-il un moment que vous rêvez d'un nouvel ordinateur, et avez-vous été frustrés quand vos parents refusent de vous l'acheter?
Avez vous déjà été enragés quand une page web à pris des heures à charger?
Avez vous eu honte de votre t-shirt qui à une toute petite tache dessus?
Ou même été envieux du fait que vos cheveux sont moins beaux que ceux de vos voisins?
J'ai quatre mots pour vous: PROBLÈME DU PREMIER MONDE.

 
When we put things in perspective, we sound like whiny spoiled brats.
Now aren't you happy this isn't your reality?
 
Quand on met les choses en perspective, on a l'air de gamins gâtés pleurnichards...
N'êtes vous pas contents que ceci n'est pas votre réalité?

 

Fete des lumieres and a first batch of vegan christmas cookies!

Every year, in Lyon, where I live, there is a four day party in the whole city: La Fête Des Lumières (the party of lights).
All throughout Lyon are made light exhibits (sculptures, movies, animations, projections...) that people can admire for free while roaming the city streets. It is very, very cool, except for one thing: the crowds. Okay, maybe two things: and the weather.
But while fighting the mobs of people and freezing my butt off  I did manage to get a few pictures and vids:

Chaque année, à Lyon, où j'habite, il se déroule une fête durant trois jours dans toute la ville: La fête des lumières. Dans tout Lyon on peut admirer des expositions de lumières (sculptures, films, animations, projections...) gratuitement en se baladant avec ses amis, sa famille. C'est très cool, sauf pour une chose: les foules. D'accord, deux choses: la météo aussi.
Mais en combattant les foules et en me gelant les fesses j'ai quand même réussi à prendre quelques photos et vidéos:
This was like a magical fish tunnel. A tunnel with floaty fish in the ceiling and lights changing colors, all with the sound of the sea. Going through that tunnel was like a weird dream. It was almost surreal. Except for the thousands of other people crammed inside with us.
 
Ça c'est un tunnel (presque) magique. Un tunnel avec des poissons flottant au plafond, des lumières changeant de couleurs, et un bruit de fond de mer. Passer dans ce tunnel était comme un rêve bizarre, c'était presque irréel... à part pour les milliers d'autres gens
  entassés dans le tunnel avec nous.
 
And these were fun floaty fish outside of the tunnel.
Et ça c'est des poissons flottants illuminés à l'extérieur du tunnel.
 
 
 We headed over to where we are going to live (we are moving in only six days! Oh my god!!!) to see what was going on there. We found this:
 
On à marché jusqu'où on va habiter (on déménage dans six jours seulement!!! Wouah!) pour voir ce qui se passait là-bas. Voilà ce qu'on à trouvé:

 
It's the projection of a whale onto water!
C'est une projection de baleine sur l'eau!
 
 
Moving onto the cookies, yesterday I baked my first vegan cookies EVER! I decided that I just needed to try a vegan cookie recipe. I found a very appealing chai spice snickerdoodle recipe at post punk kitchen, and they turned out DELICIOUS. I made my family taste them before telling them they were vegan, and everybody exclaimed that they were "soooooo good" and "very very good Carmen" and "THESE ARE THE BEST COOKIES I'VE EVER TASTED" (that was my brother). Yes, indeed, they were fabulous, chewy and cinnamon-y and so perfectly sweet...
I brought them to my friends' house, and everybody there loved them too. I was scared to make vegan cookies, but these turned out great and made me want to keep exploring vegan baking! I don't think that animal products in these would have tasted better! This is the recipe if you are interested. 
 
Hier, j'ai fait mes premiers cookies végétaliens! J'avais décidé que je devais absolument essayer une recette végétalienne de cookies (c'est à dire sans oeufs, ni beurre, ni lait). J'ai trouvé une recette de cookies très attirante, aux épices de Chai (cannelle, cardamome), et elles étaient DÉLICIEUSES. Je les ai fait goûter à ma famille avant de  leur dire qu'elles étaient végétaliennes, et tous ont dit qu'ils étaient "troooooop bons" et "LES MEILLEURS COOKIES QUE J'AI JAMAIS EU" (mon frère). Oui, ils étaient formidables, moelleux, le dosage parfait de cannelle, et sucrés...
Je les ai amenés chez mon amie, et tous là-bas ont adoré aussi. J'avais peur d'essayer des cookies végétaliens, mais ceux-ci étaient supers, et m'ont donné envie de continuer à essayer des recettes végétaliennes! Je ne crois pas que des produit animaliers auraient eu un meilleur goût.
 
Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles
 
Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles

 

Watch this- another amazing 13 y/o with a project!

            
My last post was about an awesome 13 year old, and here I am to write about another one! This is Nina, my close friend from school. We have known each other for over a year now, and in that time I have heard her sing lots of times. And trust me, she is an amazing singer.
I am SO jealous of her voice! Just listen to this!

Mon dernier article parlait d'une fille de treize ans super cool, et aujourd'hui je vais en parler d'une autre! Je vous présente Nina, mon amie très proche. On se connaît du collège, et ça fait plus d'un an que je l'entends chanter. Et croyez moi, elle est incroyable!
Je suis tellement jalouse de sa voix! Écoutez moi ça!



I find it so cool that teens like us have so many ways to express ourselves, through singing, writing... and the web facilitates it!
Every Saturday Nina will be posting a new video, so subscribe to her YouTube channel to stay tuned! :)

Je trouve que c'est vraiment trop bien que les ados comme nous ayons tellement de façons de nous exprimer, en chantant, en écrivant... et internet facilite tout ça!
Chaque samedi Nina mettra une nouvelle vidéo sur sa chaîne YouTube, alors inscrivez-y vous pour toutes les voir! :)


Interview #1: With Eileen Li, of ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

 
Encore une fois, je m'excuse au lecteurs français, car l'article d'aujourd'hui n'est pas traduit de l'anglais. C'est trop de travail, vous voyez, c'est un interview, et c'est très long, à chaque fois que je traduis mes articles je prends le double du temps.
 
 I'm sorry I took five days to write another post everyone, shame on me! Oh well. Today I'm super-duper excited because...Guess what? I'm starting a series of interviews! Introducing Eileen, my first interviewee, a totally awesome-crazy-cool blogger! I first got interested in her because she is 13, like me! And there aren't a lot of young bloggers out there - I mean this young. She is an avid reader, another point in common between us, and she posts book reviews on her blog.
 
 
Eileen!
Name: Eileen Li
Age: 13
Blog: ***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** (If you Google it, it comes up! I’m so excited about this because it’s not everyday one of your creations is the top forum on the Google page! Then again, you usually don’t have a totally long title that’s a pain to spell out constantly.)

 
Why did you start blogging?

Simply enough, because The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa (my favorite series of all time) totally got me and I freaked out over them like insanely. This was also the period of time where I discovered I wanted to actually do something about my singing career (I want to be a singer when I grow up), so instead of opening a YouTube channel like the next sane guy over there, I opened up a blog. That blog later got accidentally deleted (don’t ask; this is a story for another time) and I started up a new one and I think it’s gone pretty well!

Describe yourself in three words.

Singer, insane, Asian (Because I am actually the stereotypical Asian.)

Where are you from? What language/languages do you speak?

I am from the great country of The United States! But my parents are both 100% Chinese, so technically I am an ABC—American Born Chinese. So I’m like 100% Chinese appearance-wise, but the personality is all American baby! And I speak English—who doesn’t? This language is ridiculously easy people. I also am learning to fluently speak Chinese. Dude. You can’t even fake your way through this language! If you don’t know a character, you don’t know it and can’t PRETEND to know it. Any of you know what this is: 我的名子是我不要告诉你因为我不知道你是 ? No I didn’t think so!
But, can you pretend you know what this is:
Hola me llama no está diciendo a tú porque no te conozco.
You trust your eye for the above words, and you attempt to read them. I don’t know if I got the sentence right, but I’m sure if you can read, you can get close to how you’re supposed to pronounce that. BUT, if you’re reading Chinese or some other characters, it is virtually impossible to guess what those words are unless you have training in that specific language. I also take Spanish as a language requirement in my school. However, I focus more on Chinese because contrary to what you may think, I suck at Chinese. I should probably be doing my Chinese homework now, in fact. But nope. I’m on the computer being the wonderful human being I am.

What are your hobbies?

I sing, like, ALL the time! I have a YouTube channel, and I cover songs on there (http://youtube.com/eileenli08) and I’m always practicing songs for there and just jamming to random songs. My parents always tell me to shut up, but it’s a total passion and I really can’t stop doing it. Seriously. I want to be a singer when I grow up, thus the constant singing. I also love writing songs and playing the piano! I’m self-teaching myself Für Elise by Beethoven, and I have half the song down, except the thirty-second notes, which aren’t that fast, it’s just a relative sight-reading issue.


What is your worst nightmare?

My worst nightmare (life-wise) is probably not getting to do something I would’ve loved because I didn’t take the chance when it was offered to me on my silver platter. For example, if somebody gives you a chance to accomplish your life-long dream—say, singing—and you don’t take it because you’re scared, that’s your fault. I don’t want that to happen to me, no matter what happens.


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would go to Los Angeles (or Nashville) or England! So many record labels are based in Los Angeles and Nashville, and it would be a dream to go there and see if I could get someone to sign me to their label. England because I have so many friends there and I just love British accents, they amuse me way more than they should!

If you could wave a magic wand and grant one wish to make the world a better place, what would it be?

I would want everyone to get a fair chance at life. I don’t think that just because some people’s parents are poor that they shouldn’t not be able to do things that they could do if they had more money, like go to dance camp, or something. And, if everyone started off with a fair chance at life, you could make your own choices on what you want to do without many restrictions. Well, obviously you can’t do something if you don’t have the ability or talent, but I would just love if everybody could pursue one thing and have it based solely on their talent and their capability, not the amount of money they have or who their parents are.

If you were to transform into an animal right this second, what would it be, and why?

I’d turn into a bunny! Does anybody know the Chinese zodiac? If you don’t, simply put, the Chinese zodiac is basically giving you an animal sign for the year that you were born. It repeats every twelve years I think, and I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. I always loved bunnies as well, so there you go. Although I hate carrots. Don’t know how that would work...

Who is the biggest inspiration to you?

I think it’s definitely Taylor Swift! Her music and her personality just inspire me all the time and I really want to be at least half as successful and talented as she is when I grow older and hopefully become a singer! That would be my number-one dream, no doubt, to be able to inspire someone the way that she inspires me one day.

Who is your favorite author?

Can you give me a Julie Kagawa?!?! I love that woman to pieces! Seriously, I have screenshots of almost everything she ever said to me, no. Joke. Her Iron Fey series got me to start blogging and start the chain of events to me creating my YouTube channel and if I ever become a successful singer, I’m dedicating her (and Taylor Swift of course!). They both did so much to help me discover who I am.

What's on your bedside table?

Okay, the full rundown of my bedside table:
My bedside table is more of a cubby, and I have clothes and old Chinese DVDs piled up on the two open cubbies. The counter space on top has my reading lamp, a book, two pads of sticky notes to tape onto my wall, a few pens, lip balm, receipts, bookmarks, my iPod charger, deodorant, and hair ties. No books, guys! I’m OCD about putting books back onto the shelf as soon as I’ve read them, so they’re nowhere near my bedside table, except for that one book. It’s a library book I never brought downstairs.

What is on your Christmas list?

I don’t usually ask for a lot, but this year I want a few fairly expensive things (and some things that are just pure wishes to the world)
1. A guitar
2. A professional recording microphone
3. Taylor Swift concert tickets
4. For everyone to be okay after Hurricane Sandy, even though it already happened. I was in the storm, I lost power for 10 days, and it was brutal. But I cannot imagine what it must be like for the people who lost every piece of their house, all their furniture, every memory they ever had in that house, and even the people who lost their friends and family members. Personally, I just want everybody to end up okay. Even if that may be wishful thinking, I think that we all just need to stop for a second and say, “I really hope you’re doing okay today” to someone who was directly in Hurricane Sandy. Totally sappy, but I have a temporary classmate whose house was destroyed, and I feel so, so bad for him.

What song is stuck in your head at this moment?

JUST ONE?!?! That is brutal, my friend. I’m covering The A-Team by Ed Sheeran very soon so I guess that would be the one since I’m trying to learn all the lyrics. But other than that, pretty much every song I’ve ever recently heard and liked is running through my head on repeat.


Thank you Eileen, to have taken the time to answer these questions! You're fabulosa (hey, how do you say that in chinese?) ;)

What Temple Grandin has taught me about cats

Gaspard
My aunt told me a few weeks ago about Temple Grandin, an author and animal scientist, because she thought I'd like her, being an animal rights activist. I took out a few of her books at the library, and she's a really interesting person. She is a profesor at Colorado State University, and what makes her especially interesting is that she is a woman with autism, and because of that, she has an "uncanny ability to understand animals". One of her books is Animals Make Us Human, and inside there is a chapter on cats... Being a cat lover, that is where I went straight to, obviously! ;)
I have been living with two little kitties for over a year, and after reading Grandin's words, I realized I've been observing them the wrong way. Turns out that what we thought was a regression to breast feeding (kneading their paws against certain woolly objects) was actually marking territory (their paws release little glands that only they can smell). How cute is that! :3
My female cat, Olive, a tortoiseshell, is way more sociable then my sweet male cat, Gaspard, an orange kitty. They love to snuggle and play together, but oh, are they different. Olive is like a dog. She always wants to play, and she'll come talk to us while we're at the dinner table, looking at us with her big eyes, and going "Meow." and we say "what is it, Olive?" and then she'll go "Meow;" and "Meow" again, until she gets what she wants, which is either what we are eating, to be petted or play time. When visitors come, Olive has to approve of them first, asking them lots of questions, staring at them quizzically from up on a shelf or sniffing their feet.
Gaspy, however, is another story. He can be very affectionnate when you are quiet, lying down in bed or reading a book. Eventually he'll creep on to the sofa while we watch a movie. But at any loud noise or clap of the hands he will sprint off to one of his various hiding spots, and we won't hear from him for another hour. When visitors come over, he does the opposite of what Olive does and he hides the whole time.
Turns out that tortoiseshells and black cats are the most sociable cats and orange cats tend to be shyer most of the time.
Grandin writes about how cats get intensely attached to their homes, and that they can get obsessive about their surroundings, like they will notice every little change that happens and freak out about it. She says that her aunts' cat had a very hard time adjusting to their new home when they moved, and tried running back to its first home several times. Does this mean we will have problems with our cats when WE move???? That would be awful!
I suggest you look up Temple Grandin, you'll be glad you did.


 
Olive
Il y a quelques semaines ma tante m'a parlé de Temple Grandin, auteur de plusieurs livres et scientifique des animaux, car elle pensait que je l'aimerais bien, étant activiste des droits des animaux. J'ai emprunté quelques uns de ses livres à la bibliothèque, et c'est une femme très intéressante. Elle est professeur au Colorado State University, et ce qui la rend intéressante surtout est qu'elle est autiste, ce qui lui donne une incroyable capacité à comprendre les animaux. Dans un de ses livres, qui s'appelle "Animals Make Us Human", il y a un chapitre sur les chats, et vu que je suis obsédée des chats,  c'est où je suis directement allée, évidemment! ;)
Je vis avec deux petites boules de poils, maintenant ça fait plus d'un an, et en lisant les mots de Grandin, je me suis rendue compte que je les observait de la mauvaise manière. Il se trouve que le pétrissage qu'ils faisaient sur des pulls ou couvertures que je pensais était une régression à l'allaitement maternelle est en fait un pétrissage pour marquer leur territoire (leurs pattes ont des petites glandes que libèrent une substance que seuls  les chats peuvent sentir).
Olive, ma chatte, une écaille de tortue, est beaucoup plus sociable que mon chat Gaspard, un tigré roux. Ils adorent se caliner et jouer ensemble, mais ils sont très différents. Olive est comme un chien. Elle veut toujours jouer, et elle vient nous parler quand on est à table, en nous regardant avec ses grands yeux. Elle dit "Miaou" et on dit "qu'est-ce-que t'as?" et elle répond "Miaou" et encore "Miaou", jusqu'a avoir ce qu'elle veut, c'est à dire ce qu'on mange, qu'on joue avec elle ou qu'on la caresse. Quand on a des visiteurs, Olive doit les approuver, en leur demandant plein de questions, en les observant d'un air interrogateur depuis une étagère, ou en reniflant leur pieds.
Gaspard, c'est une autre histoire. Il peux être très affectueux quand tu est calme, allongé ou lisant un livre. Eventuellement il vient nous caliner lorsqu'on regarde un film. Mais dès qu'on tape des mains ou qu'il y a un son fort, il court vers une de ses cachettes, et on n'entend plus de lui pour une heure. Quand on a des visiteurs, il fait le contraire d'Olive et se cache tout au long de la visite.
Apparemment les écailles de tortue et les chats noirs sont les plus sociables et les chats roux les plus timides.
Grandin parle de comment les chats s'attachent beaucoup à leur maison, et qu'ils deviennent obsessionnels de leur entourage, et qu'au moindre changement ils s'affolent. Elle dit que le chat de sa tante a eu beaucoup de mal à s'habituer à sa nouvelle maison quand ils ont déménagé, et a essayé de s'échapper plusieurs fois pour retrouver son ancienne maison. Est-ce qu'on va avoir des problèmes quand NOUS on déménagera???? Ce serait horrible!


Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pecan Pie
We don't usually celebrate Thanksgiving, given that we live in France, but we are American, and I've always wanted to celebrate it, and have a traditionnal (well, without the turkey) Thanksgiving dinner with my family. So we figured that this year we would. And yes, I know, thanksgiving was thursday, but we celebrated it today with friends. And the Pumpkin Pecan Pie was AMAZING. So I thought I'd post the recipe:

D'habitude on ne célèbre pas Thanksgiving, car on vit en France, mais on est Américains, et j'ai toujours voulu le célébrer, et avoir une tradition dans ma famille (sans la dinde). Alors cette année on s'est dit qu'on le célébrerait. Et oui, je sais, c'était jeudi, mais on l'a célébré aujourd'hui avec des amis. Et la tarte au potiron et aux noix de pécan était vraiment superbe, alors je vous donne la recette (regardez tout en bas):

You'll need:

  • Your favorite pie crust (9 inches)
  • 2 cups (or 1 can, 15 ounces) of pureed pumpkin or butternut squash.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

And for the pecans on top:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, pumpkin, syrup, sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Line a 9-in. plate with crust, and pour the smooth pumpkin mixture into it. For the pecan topping, in a seperate bowl combine egg, pecans, maple syrup and sugar, and spoon over the top of the pie.
Bake at 425°F  for about 10-15 minutes then turn the heat down to 350°F and bake for another 45 minutes (but keep your eye on it, you don't want it to get burned!)
Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour, and refrigerate overnight (it is best the next day). Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Pretty Pumpkin
Pick a nice pumpkin

 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, pumpkin, syrup, sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth

 Poor smooth pumpkin mixture into the crust
 In a seperate bowl, combine Pecans, maple syrup, egg and sugar
pecan topping
 And spoon on top of the pie.
It is now ready to go in the oven.
 
 
 
Ta-da! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
 

 Tarte au Potiron et aux Noix de Pécan

Vous aurez besoin de:



Votre pâte à tarte préférée
• 500 g de purée de potiron ou de courge musquée.
• 2 œufs
•115 mL de sirop d'érable
50 g sucre
• 50 mL de crème fleurette épaisse
1 1/2 cuillère à café de cannelle moulue
• 1/2 cuillère à café de noix de muscade
 


Et pour les noix de pécan:


• 1 œuf, légèrement battu
600 g de noix de pécan coupées
50 g de sucre
115 mL de sirop d'érable




Dans un grand bol, battre les œufs, le potiron, le sirop d'érable, le sucre, la crème, la cannelle et la muscade jusqu'à l'obtention d'une consistance lisse. Tapisser un moule à tarte avec la pâte à tarte, et versez le mélange de potiron dedans. Pour les noix de pécan au dessus, dans un bol séparé mélanger l'oeuf, les noix de pécan, le sirop d'érable et le sucre. Verser les noix sur la tarte.

Cuire pendant environ 10-15 minutes à 210°C, puis baisser le feu à 180°C et cuire pendant 45 minutes de plus (mais gardez un oeil sur la tarte, il ne faut pas la brûler!)

Laisser refroidir sur une grille pendant au moins une heure, et garder au réfrigérateur jusqu'au lendemain (c'est meilleur le jour d'après). Servir avec de la crème fouettée ou de la glace à la vanille.
 
 

Book review: Never fall down, by Patricia McCormick


Mes excuses aux lecteurs francophones, aujourd'hui je n'écris qu'en anglais, car je fais une recommandation d'un livre que j'ai récemment fini de lire, et il n'a pas été traduit de l'anglais. Peut-être un jour il le sera! :)

I recently finished reading this book, and I recommend it to all of you, especially you humanitarians.
Never Fall Down
In this book, Patricia McCormick, the author of Cut (another great read) tells the story of Arn Chorn-Pond, a poor child in Cambodia whose life changes dramatically when the Khmer Rouge arrive in his hometown and evict everybody, separating him from his little brother, aunt and sisters. He is forced into working the long days under the blazing sun in the rice paddies. Every day he sees and hears people dying of sicknesses and starvation. He saves his own life when he volunteers to play an instrument, regardless of the fact that he's never touched an instrument before. But doing that pulls him into the centre of the killing fields, and he is forced to become a soldier, and if he wants to survive, he will have to be very brave...

This book is wonderfully written, and very informative. You will be shocked at how far cruelty can go, and how inhumane humans can be. You will be even more shocked about the fact that this is a true story. That all of this stuff actually happened and it is still happening
Arn is brought to do things he would have never in his lifetime imagined himself doing.

I read this book quite fast. I think that the content of this book is very important, and it is necessary that everyone reads this to be more aware of the problems in the world. The end is very inspiring, and brought tears to my eyes.
So add it to your reading list.
I give it five stars.
Happy reading! :)

What the fudge is this?

There are so many beautiful, wonderful, amazing things in the world, so, my question is... Why this?
See this picture? See the number of people out there on my street?
Manifestation


Well, they are protesting. They are making a big ruckus, and a LOT of noise.
Why?
They are protesting against gay marriage and adoption.
...
...
...

What is the matter with people?! Where is the world going?
If you are gay, you're born like that and you should have the same rights as everyone else! How can these people try to deny gay people the right to have a child, or to get married? Any of those people out there, protesting against justice and human rights, could have been gay, or even their children. Then how would they have felt?
Even someone I respect, a very nice, correct and polite person, admitted to wanting to go out there and protest as well. People can be so disapointing!

Going to bed disappointed in humanity tonight :(



Il y a tellement de choses magnifiques, merveilleuses, fantastiques dans le monde, donc ma question est... pourquoi ça?
Vous voyez cette photo? Le nombre de gens dans ma rue?
Et bien, ils protestent. Et ils font BEAUCOUP de bruit.
Pourquoi?
Ils protestent contre le mariage homosexuel et leur droit d'adopter.
...
...
...
C'est quoi leur problème?! Où va le monde?
Si tu est homosexuel, tu est né comme ça et tu devrais avoir les mêmes droits que les autres! Comment accepter le fait que tu ne peux pas te marier, ou adopter un enfant...? N'importe-qui dans cette manifestation contre la justice et les droits humains aurait pu être né homosexuel, ou même leurs enfants.
Même quelqu'un que je respecte, quelqu'un de très sympa, correct, et poli a exprimé l'envie d'aller protester. Les gens peuvent être si décevants!
Je vais me coucher déçue en l'homme ce soir :(

 

Japan touch

So last weekend, we went to  a Japanese "exhibit" (I'm not sure what to call it exactly). It was a 10 000 square metre room dedicated to Japanese this-and-thats, art, culture, music, and... cosplayers (and some were REALLY into their roles).
Wait... What's cosplay?
Cosplay is the short term for costume play. It is a form of performance art where you wear a costume and hairstyle of the character of your choice (from a manga, video game, movie..) and pretend to be them.
 
Alors le weekend dernier, nous sommes allés à une "exposition" (je ne suis pas sure de comment l'appeler) japonaise. C'était une salle de 10 000 mètres carrés dédiée à la culture, l'art, et la musique japonaise... et aux cosplayers.
Attends... C'est quoi le cosplay?
Cosplay est un terme court pour dire costume play (déguisement joué). C'est une forme d'art de la performance où tu te déguises et tu te styles les cheveux  pour ressembler au personnage de ton choix (d'un manga, jeu video, film...), et tu le joues.
 
I felt out of place in this huge room full of cosplayers, some of them prancing around half naked, pretend shooting people with their out-of-the-ordinary weapons. I took pictures of a few:
 
Je me sentais hors place dans cette salle remplie de cosplayers sautillants à moitié nus pour certains d'entre eux, faisant semblant de tirer sur les autres avec leurs armes surnaturelles. J'ai pris quelques photos:
 
 
 
My brother came unprepared for all these people dressed up as imaginary creatures and heroes, but got to try out his dream katanas.
Mon frère n'était pas préparé pour ce spectacle de costumes, mais a pu essayer les katanas de ses rêves.
 
We listened to this Japanese lady playing a lovely instrument while we strolled the bonsai garden.
On a écouté cette dame japonaise jouer cet instrument pendant qu'on visitait le jardin de bonsaïs.
 
My mom played a practical joke on my dad by getting a group of girls giving free hugs to all jump on him at the same time and hug him.
Ma mère a fait une blague à mon père: un groupe de filles donnant des calins gratuits ont toutes sauté sur mon père en même temps pour lui faire un gros calin.
Then I got to taste my first green tea matcha ice cream, and let me tell you, it is GOOD. It differs from the normal ice cream flavors, and I really like it. I definitely will be buying some the next time we go to the asian market!
Après, pour la première fois, j'ai pu goûter une glace au thé vert matcha, et laissez moi vous dire, c'est SUPER bon. C'est très différent des autres parfums de glace, et j'aime beaucoup. La prochaine fois que j'irai au marché asiatique j'en achèterai!
 
have a nice week everyone
bonne semaine a tous
xxxxx

Be cool, not cruel

I want to tell you about how it is just impossible to find cruelty-free shoes. I have been searching for months. With no luck... until the other day.
I was looking for little black boots that would look cute with skirts, jeans, anything really, and I wanted it to be synthetic material, because I just hate the idea of walking around with the skin of a dead cow on my feet. You can order cruelty-free shoes from the internet, like from vegetarianshoes.com for example, but the shoes, with all the extra shipping costs, would cost more than 120 euros. Not happening!
I searched in all the nearby boutiques and stores, and found nothing of what I was looking for. No-one sells synthetic boots, because everybody wants real leather. I find that really dumb. Synthetic leather costs sooooo much less, it looks exactly the same, it is waterproof, AND cruelty-free. So who needs leather?!
Determined, I did not want to give up on my shoe quest. Then, somebody suggested that we try Pinka+, a shop that I had always ignored, because it looked junky from the outside. So I went in, and guess what? They had a large variety of fashionable, affordable, high-quality, synthetic "leather" boots! I then had a hard time choosing which boots I wanted! There were so many! So, the message is, never judge a book by its cover. Or never judge a store by the way its store front looks! ;)

Also, I just finished reading Choker (by Elizabeth Woods), and now I'm not sure what to read. Any suggestions?


Je tiens à vous dire à quel point c'est impossible de trouver des bottes qui ne sont pas en cuir. J'ai cherché pendant des mois, sans chance ... jusqu'à l'autre jour.
Je cherchais des petites bottes noires qui iraient avec des jupes, jeans, en gros tout, et je voulais que ce soit en matière synthétique, parce que je déteste l'idée de me promener avec la peau d'une vache morte à mes pieds. Vous pouvez en commander sur Internet, à vegetarianshoes.com par exemple, mais les chaussures, avec tous les coûts supplémentaires d'expédition, coûteraient plus de 120 euros. Pas question! 

J'ai cherché partout, et j'ai rien trouvé. Personne veux vendre des chaussures en faux-cuir, car tout le monde veut acheter du vrai. Je trouve ça bête. Le synthétique coûte tellement moins cher, a le même aspect, c'est imperméable, et, le plus important, pas de cruauté impliquée. Qui a besoin de cuir?!
Déterminée, j'ai continué à chercher, et quelqu'un nous à dit d'aller à Pinka+, une boutique que j'ai toujours évité, car l'extérieur est un peu moche. Alors j'y suis allée, et ils ont une grande variété de jolies bottes, pas chères, de bonne qualité, en en matière synthétique! J'avais même du mal a me décider. Il y en avait tellement! Il ne faut pas se fier aux apparences. ;)


Aussi, je viens de finir un livre, et je ne sais pas quoi lire maintenant. Des suggestions?

Thankful

On other blogs, I have been reading the lists of what people are thankful for. This gave me the idea to make one myself. Here it is:
1) I am thankful for Barack Obama:
I am so, so proud of being American right now. Obama's victory is a great example to the rest of the world.
I identify with Barack Obama because he is bi-cultural, just like me. He is half Kenyan. And I was born in Kenya! (Is this a sign?)
In the way that I am trying to fight for animal rights, Obama has fought for what he believes in -- and he has succeeded! So, in many ways, he is my idol. I want to grow up to be like Obama. He has done so much for what he believes in, and look where he is now! Change IS possible. And I think everybody has a lesson to learn from the current president of the United-States of America.
Olive the cat
2) I am thankful for the little furball nibbling at my toe as I write this. I would like you to meet Olive, in all of her splendor.

3)I am thankful for the fact that I have wonderful friends and family that have been super supportive through the building of my blog. (Thanks again, everyone!)  :D

4) And last but not least, I am thankful for the apartment that we will be moving to in a month, we seriously lucked out! I just can't wait to create a new home, and sort through all the clutter, hopefully getting rid of a ton of stuff... and to start the moving process all over again!

So this is my list. What are YOU thankful for?




Sur d'autres blogs, j'ai lu les listes sur ce dont les gens sont reconnaissants. Cela m'a donné envie d'en faire une. La voici:

1)Je suis reconnaissante envers Barack Obama:
Je suis très, très fière d'être américaine en ce moment. La victoire d'Obama est un bon exemple pour le reste du monde. C'est mon idole en plein de façons. Il est multiculturel, tout comme moi. Il est moitié kenyan, et moi je suis née au Kenya (Est-ce un signe?)! En la manière dont je me bat pour les droits des animaux, il s'est battu pour
 la cause en laquelle il crois . Et il à réussi!
J'aimerais grandir à être comme Obama. Il s'est tellement battu, et regardez où il en est. Le changement est possible. Et je crois que tout le monde à une leçon à apprendre du président des Etats-Unis.

2)Je suis reconnaissante envers la petite boule de poils qui grignote mes orteils lorsque j'écris ceci. Je vous présente Olive, dans toute sa splendeur. (voir la photo au dessus)

3) Je suis reconnaissante envers le fait que j'ai de la famille et des amis formidables qui m'ont beaucoup soutenu lors de la réalisation de mon blog (encore merci à tout le monde!). :D

4) Et enfin, je suis remplie de gratitude pour l'appartement dans lequel on vas déménager dans un mois. On a eu beaucoup de chance! J'ai trop hâte de commencer à faire les cartons, à me débarrasser de plein de choses...

Alors ça, c'était ma liste. Quelle est la votre?







Vote for Hope

Today is the day of the US elections.... Fingers crossed for Obama!
I will be heartbroken if he is not re-elected.
I can't believe it was already four years ago that Obama became president. Time flies! I remember watching CNN on the couch with my mom in Paris, and how we both started crying whan he was elected. What a happy memory.  :')
I hope, with all my heart, that it will be the same this year. Here's a video that we watched repeatedly four years ago around the elections:

 
Aujourd'hui, c'est les élections présidentielles aux États-Unis... Croisons les doigts pour Obama!
J'aurai le coeur brisé s'il n'est pas réélu.
Je n'arrive pas à croire que cela fait déjà quatre ans qu'Obama est président. Le temps passe tellement vite! Je me souviens du soir des élections il y a quatre ans: J'étais encore à Paris, et avec ma mère on regardait CNN sur le canapé. On avait toutes les deux pleuré quand il était élu. Quel beau souvenir.  :')
Je souhaite de tout mon coeur que ce sera pareil ce soir. La vidéo juste au-dessus, on l'a regardé en boucle au temps des élections il y a quatre ans.
 
 

Dream house

Attention, everybody, this may be the last time you hear from me. You see, my brother kindly informed me that he might murder me.
Here are his exact words: "If you make me eat that soup, I WILL MURDER YOU"
So far, he hasn't murdered me yet, but you never know.
I doubt that he will though, after experiencing a little brother-sister love at the Musée des Arts Contemporains Lyon.
We went to go see Cage's Satie: Composition for Museum (link: http://www.mac-lyon.com/mac/sections/fr/expositions/2012/john_cageerik_satie/copy_of_john_cageerik_satie/) and concluded that some people call themselves artists but actually don't know what they're talking about. I would not recommend going to see this. Unless you are very moved by photocopies of crossed out music and videos of people in colored uniforms "dancing" like ostriches, and listening to John Cage repeating over and over again that he has a polyp in his nose, and that "it was caused by a unfortunate case of rheumatism". If that is your type of art you can go see that, and I am sorry to have critisized your interests.

The funny thing that happened is, on the final floor of the museum (and THIS part wasn't THAT bad because it actually wasn't John Cage's show anymore), we had to take off our shoes and enter the "dream house," a large room that was all dark but with beaming purple neon projected on the walls, fluffy white floors, and a deep metal hum resonating throughout the room. This caused a major case of energetic running-leaping-laughing in my brother, and my mom and me were madly chasing him around that room, slipping and falling and laughing hysterically. Even the other visitors joined us in our madness and started chasing each other. My dad was the only one calmly standing, watching us and holding our bags. None of the guards were getting mad at us. Then we made my dad chase my brother, and it took a little convincing, but finally he started running also, and guess what happened? HE got in trouble with the guards. Haha!



Attention, tout le monde, c'est peut-être la dernière fois que vous entendrez de moi. Vous voyez, mon frère m'a gentiment informé qu'il  allait peut-être m'assassiner.
Voilà ce qu'il m'a dit exactement: "Si tu m'obliges à manger cette soupe, JE VAIS T'ASSASSINER"
Jusqu'à présent, il ne m'a pas tué, mais on ne sait jamais.
Je doute qu'il le fera, après s'être éclatés au Musée des Arts Contemporains de Lyon.
Nous sommes allés voir la Composition pour le Musée Cage's Satie
: (lien: http://www.mac-lyon.com/mac/sections/fr/expositions/2012/john_cageerik_satie/copy_of_john_cageerik_satie) et j'en ai conclu que certaines personnes s'appellent artistes, mais en réalité ne savent vraiment pas de quoi ils parlent. Je ne recommanderais pas d'aller voir ça. Sauf si vous êtes très touchés par des photocopies de musique barrées et des clips de personnes en uniformes de couleur qui "dansent" comme des autruches, et écouter  John Cage répéter encore et encore qu'il a un polype dans le nez, et qu' "il a été causé par un cas malheureux de rhumatisme". Si cela est votre type d'art, vous pouvez aller voir, et je suis désolée d'avoir critiqué vos goûts.
Il s'est passé, à l'étage final du musée (et cette partie n'était pas si nulle, car elle ne faisait pas partie de l'expo de John Cage), quelque chose de drôle. Nous avons dû enlever nos chaussures et entrer dans la "Dream House" une grande salle où il faisait tout noir mais où rayonnaient des néons violets projetés sur les murs, et où les sols étaient tout doux et blancs, et résonnait profondément un bourdonnement métallique dans toute la pièce. Cela a provoqué en mon frère une envie folle de sauter et courir, et ma mère et moi le poursuivions autour de cette pièce, en glissant et tombant, mortes de rire. Même les autres visiteurs nous ont rejoint dans notre folie et ont commencé à se courir après les uns les autres. Le seul tranquillement debout, c'était mon père, nous regardant et en tenant nos sacs. Aucun des gardes s'était mis en colère contre nous. Puis nous avons obligé mon père à courir après mon frère, et il a fallu le convaincre, mais finalement, il a commencé à courir aussi, et devinez ce qui s'est passé? C'est LUI que les gardes ont arrêté. Ahaha!
Fall collage

I think fall is my favorite season. It's so warm and cozy, and most of the time all you need is a little jacket and scarf to go out, not your big coat and snow boots. I love the color of the trees in the fall, and I love drinking hot chocolate. In France, there is no fuss at all over halloween, but that didn't stop me from making cupcakes. The scarf on the picture is my favorite scarf of all times, I just think it's so cute. You can't really see the colors of the tree, but the Parc de la Tête d'Or is so pretty right now.  And I met a little squirrel. ^^
 
L'automne est ma saison préférée. Tout ce qu'il faut pour sortir la plupart du temps, c'est une veste et une écharpe, pas ta doudoune et tes grosses bottes de neige. J'adore la couleur des arbres en automne,et j'aime boire du chocolat chaud. En France, on ne fait pas grand chose pour halloween, mais cela ne m'a pas empêché de faire des cupcakes. L'écharpe sur la photo est mon écharpe préférée. On le voit pas sur la photo mais le parc de la tête d'Or est très joli en ce moment. Et un petit écureuil est venu me faire coucou. ^^




Ahh, don't you love it when you wake up, thinking you have to get ready for the loooong day ahead, and then you remember: wait, I'm on vacation! and then you just let your head sink back into the soft warmth of the pillow...
okay, so I am relaxed, but... I DO have a current concern.
Next year, I have to make one of my biggest life decisions: which academic track to follow?
At age fourteen.
At age fourteen?!!
I have to know what type of career I want to lead in my life.
Isn't it a liiiiiitle bit early to be thinking about a career? Shouldn't teens be living their lives when they can, and not have to think about stressful things like jobs, money...?
Cause I'm kind of stressed out.
What if I decide right now that I want to be, let's say, a cook, and then when I reach age twenty I realize I want to be a journalist?
I don't have to decide EXACTLY what I want to be yet, but I need to choose a path... Scientific? Literary? Help!
Is it like this in other places in the world, like the States for example? Or is it just in France?
I keep telling myself this: you have no need to panic. You have no need to panic. You have no need to panic. You have no need to panic.
You have no need to panic.
PANIC!
Should I be panicking? Am I crazy? Well, I have all day to think about this, as I am almost sure that I will not be leaving the house today, since IT IS 1°C OUTSIDE (winter just came all of a sudden, with a click of the fingers!)
And I'm okay with that. A lazy monday :)

Ahh, la joie de se réveiller en pensant que tu dois te préparer pour la loooongue journée, puis se souvenir: attends, je suis en vacances! et laisser sa tête retomber dans la douce chaleur de l'oreiller...
Alors, oui, je suis détendue, mais ... J'ai quand même une préoccupation.
L'année prochaine, je dois prendre une des plus grandes décisions de ma vie:
À l'âge de quatorze ans.
À quatorze ans?!
Je dois savoir quel type de carrière je veux suivre dans ma vie.
N'est-ce pas un touuuuut petit peu trop tôt pour penser à une carrière à mon âge? Les ados ne devraient-ils pas vivre leur vie quand ils le peuvent, sans avoir à penser à des choses stressantes comme leur emploi, l'argent ...?
Je suis stressée, là.
Qu'arrivera-t-il si je décide maintenant que je veux être, disons, chef, mais quand j'atteint l'âge de vingt ans, je réalise que je veux être journaliste?
Je n'ai pas à décider exactement ce que je veux être tout de suite, mais j'ai besoin de choisir un chemin ... Scientifique? Littéraire? Au secours!
Est-ce ainsi dans les autres coins du monde, comme les Etats Unis, par exemple? Ou est-ce ainsi qu'en France?
Je n'arrête pas de me dire ceci: pas besoin de paniquer. pas besoin de paniquer. pas besoin de paniquerpas besoin de paniquer.
pas besoin de paniquer.
PANIQUE!
Dois-je paniquer? Suis-je folle? Eh bien, j'ai toute la journée pour y penser, car je suis presque sûre que je ne quitterai pas la maison aujourd'hui, puisqu'il fait 1° C dehors (l'hiver est venu tout d'un coup, d'un simple claquement des doigts!)
Et cela ne me dérange pas. Un lundi paresseux  :)



Lyon pleine lune


Ps: The full moon came to visit last night, to add to the spooky halloween feeling!
La pleine lune nous a rendue visite, pour ajouter a l'effet d'halloween!