Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


Life in France: Day 20 + 21

Day 20, October 13th

Work passed easily enough today. After work, Kujtesa wanted to take a look at something in a big electronics story, so we headed there. They have each game console set up and for the Xbox 360, had the new game Just Dance 3 displayed and available for people to play – well, dance.

27 - Just Dance 3 Wii Pal

I have never really danced before in my life. Still, I had the urge to give it a try, but not alone. It took me five minutes to convince Kujtesa, as she worried about people watching us. I finally convinced her though, and we decided to play.

We ended up doing five songs.

Wow. That game asks for a lot from the players. Those five songs exhausted me and made me crave my bed. Of course, I had to travel half an hour to the apartment and by the time I made it there, the fatigue had faded to the back of my mind.

Good game. I might get it or one of its predecessors; I need the exercise!

I took the day off from writing, just to relax after writing so much these past few days. I did reread what I wrote and make small edits; I always give my writings a once-over. Nothing major: Just small details that bug me when I read it. Extensive editing comes later.

Day 21, October 14th

No writing done today. Work until 17:30, back at the apartment at 18:00. Right now, it’s 20:00 and in half an hour, Melanie and I are heading off. First off, dinner at McDonald’s, followed by checking out the new The Three Musketeers movie. I’m going to assume in French.

English: Awesome.

French: I’ll live.

Worst case scenario, I’ll watch it in English some other time. It’s not really that much of a bother, plus, watching it in French will help my language skills a bit, even if it’s just a little.

You’ll have to wait and see how it turned out, since the movie is at 22:30 and we’ll return after midnight, probably around 01:00. That counts as tomorrow, so perhaps a mini-review will be in order for tomorrow’s blog!

As for tomorrow, Melanie and I will head off to what is supposedly a huge mall. Maybe I’ll find something interesting? We’ll see.

I’ll let you all know tomorrow; have a nice weekend!


Life in France: Day 18

Day 18, October 11th

As Melanie said yesterday, she showed me where the mall was today and we got groceries. It wasn’t even a five-minute walk and yet I ended up searching unsuccessfully for an hour yesterday. How that happened, I don’t even want to know.

I will banish the memory to the deepest depths of my mind. No more thinking about that embarrassment.

Let’s see. After shopping and having dinner, I decided to write and made a discovery. Look at these two sentences:

  • “I’m going to try to get some words down.”
  • “I’m going to get some words down.”

The first line is what I’ve always said up until now. “I’ll try,” and then nothing happens. I sit there, intending to write at some point during the day, but it never gets done.

The second line is what I decided to say today. It’s a small difference, but for the mentality, it helps. And boy, did it help with the real writing process.

I chose to work on this new series I started. After finishing the first chapter, I got to work on the second chapter, wrote a section and then took the unfinished short story that inspired this series and did some editing to it, to make it better and fit the true idea.

progressbar, progress bar

Image via Wikipedia

All in all, in writing, rewriting and editing, I gained 2,069 words. I’ll add a progress bar in the near future, once I create an actual page for the series and all that fun stuff. Don’t worry – it will come soon!

I’m hoping this small change will help my writing habits and spur me onwards, so I get stuff done quicker. If you want to know how it’s going before then, just ask; there’s plenty of ways you can contact me, as listed on my Contact Me page.

Now, off to have some delicious fruit and relax for the rest of the evening! Night, really. It’s 11:15 pm.

Tune in tomorrow for more!


Life in France: 16 + 17

Day 16, October 9th

To mark the halfway point of my time in France, I decided to have a day filled with nothing but relaxation. This means that I stayed in the apartment, played Final Fantasy IV and overall, just spent time chatting with friends online and all that fun stuff.

It’s also the reason I didn’t blog yesterday – to enjoy the relaxation.

Aside from that, nothing happened. It was a normal, well-spent day of peace.

Day 17, October 10th

Worked passed easily enough, like any other day. What happened after work, however – horrible.

I found this little critter during my lunch break! That makes three - I still demand a Mario reference!

6:30 pm.

I wanted to go to the mall to get something to cook for dinner, since Melanie would be exercising with a friend. She gave me directions and I left. The directions: First left, then straight, straight, straight and more straight.

I couldn’t find it, so I headed back to the apartment. By the time I found the apartment, I walked towards it from the opposite sideof the side I left from – talk about a detour. Having figured out where I was, I tried one more time, then after fifteen minutes of walking headed back.

Luckily, I remembered the way back that time. I entered the apartment, grabbed my month-ticket for the tram and walked ten minutes to the nearest stop, rode fifteen minutes to the city center, headed over to Subway, bought food, walked back, another fifteen minute ride, ten minute walk and then made it into the apartment at 09:00 pm.

By that time, all I wanted to do was have my dinner, so I ate. The last I had eaten was at 12:30 during my break.

Needless to say, that was an… eventful evening. Not one I’d like to repeat.

Melanie said she’ll walk with me to the mall tomorrow.

That sounds like a plan.


Life in France: Day 14

Main logo/inter-art for the television series ...

Image via Wikipedia

Day 14, October 7th

This blog brought to you on a French keyboard with frantic re-checking of my text to avoid errors. I’ve gotten better on it, but it’s still unfamiliar and odd to me.

Melanie is kindly letting me use her laptop, as it seems mine is having issues. Either the charger is dying and is the reason my laptop isn’t charging properly suddenly, or it overheated and needed a rest, which it is getting now. I hope it works out, otherwise online life will get much more complicated these next two weeks.

At the moment, I’m watching NCIS in French; four episodes of it. I think this is the last of the night, but who knows? I’ll see how it turns out.

Work consisted of lots of registering books again; I’m still working on finishing all that. It’s a lot more work than I expected, but it shouldn’t last much longer.

Aside from that, today was what I’d consider a “normal” day. Work, groceries and relaxing – with laptop stress in between. Watching NCIS is a good pass time, though, even if it is in French. NCIS and chatting with friends: The good life!

No writing today, but I have a weekend ahead of me. Let’s see how useful I can make it!


Life in France: Day 8

Day 8, October 1st

My plan of sleeping in worked out; I didn’t get out of bed until 11:15 and I desperately needed that. We didn’t leave until around two and in the end, didn’t spend more than forty-five minutes at the chocolate festival. The total travel time took longer than the time we spent there.

A candy necklace - the expensive style.

Artistically appealing, but honestly, who would leave it in that state for long?

There were no sculptures this year, so I couldn’t take any pictures of fancy chocolate. I did, however, spot this, which ended up as the most artistic food on display – and it’s not even chocolate!

Aside from that, there were various stands with highly priced chocolate for sale from different chefs and brands. I tried a few samples, bought some smaller, cheaper items and had an ice cream.

Sadly, that was all there really was to do this year. They had one small stage where at one point, a chef started to make chocolate live, but we didn’t hang around to watch the entire process.

What a beautiful view.

On our way back to the apartment, Melanie took a small detour and parked near a small lake, or pond – either way. We only stayed for a minute or two, as she was just showing it to me, but it was quite beautiful and peaceful. Empty, except for one concentrated fisherman on the lake-bed.

After that short trip, we got some groceries and after putting them all away, Melanie headed off to some friends. That leaves me alone at the apartment tonight!

For once, I don’t feel rushed as I’m writing today’s Life in France blog. This past week, stress and haste got to me and I couldn’t focus, felt physically and mentally exhausted.

Now, after regaining some sleep and having a relaxing day, I feel better. I can only hope it stays this way for the rest of my journey in this foreign country. Here’s hoping for an enjoyable three weeks and that I may have stuff to blog about every day!

Stay tuned, everyone. There’s many more days to come.


Life in France: Day 5

Day 5, September 28th

Today was a long day. Long, but good.

Rather than being in the computer room today, I was with the secretaries. I corrected the English version of a previously translated document, made some tags for folders and worked on the mail. Heck, I even wrote a French letter from my school books when I didn’t have anything to do.

After my break, I got sent to the sister school. There, I got two French documents and translated them both to English and German. It went well, got complemented on being quick and having good translations and all that. All in all, it was a good day.

After work, I hung around town and looked around some shops until meeting up with my teacher, Kujtesa and Melanie. We went to a Crêperie and had dinner together. I had a wonderful dessert. A big glass of ice cream, citrus, lemon and pineapple flavored with little pineapple chunks in it and whipped cream.


This furry thing awaited our arrival.

After spending that time at dinner, Melanie and I got back to the house just after ten.

Despite it being a long day, it was definitely worth it. I had more fun today, working with languages and all, since languages are one of my passions and it is what I’m studying for.

We’ll see what tomorrow has in store for me.

Our teacher leaves Friday morning. Tomorrow’s the last time we’ll see her, and that will free up some time. Time is good – especially when it gives me more time for other things and sleep.

Sleep is good.

I’m so sleeping in this weekend. In between doing stuff, that is.

There’s no way I am not getting some well-deserved rest.


Life in France: Day 4

Day 4, September 27th

Another day, more work. The day started off wonderfully. I got dressed, got myself a bowl of cereal, sat down to eat before leaving and then proceeded to dump half the bowl’s contents on my lap.

I was not impressed.

Melanie's cat. The funny part? That box in on top of the refrigerator.

A change of pants, cleaning, and eating the rest of the bowl later, I was out the door and on my way to the city center. Kujtesa and I met up early and had some hot cocoa before going our separate ways, I got my tram card for October sorted and finally headed to work.

I was definitely more in my element today, working with a computer. Excluding, of course, the French keyboard that came with it.

I can work with English and German ones. French? Not so much.

The letters are messed up and throughout the day, I kept having to retype everything at least twice. Still, I got the shiny new library list done and they’ll list it on the school’s website – assuming I understood it correctly.

Tomorrow, though, I’ll be spending time doing more secretarial duties. I heard something about French documents that need to be translated into German and English. Sounds like a perfect chore for me.

During my lunch break, because I only need fifteen minutes to eat and not an hour, I looked around for some bookstores. Found three – one without an English section, one with a poor English section, and one with a decent English section. From the latter, I picked up A Game of Thrones, after reading Elisa Michelle’s review of it.

I ended up regretting not bringing any reading material. Sue me.

After work, Kujtesa and I had some dinner together and looked around. There’s a carnival going on, so we played some games and won a few prizes. I got my hands on a laser light, key chain and a little pocketknife. Yay for prizes!

Some guys did try to get our attention, but they received rejections in the form of the, “We won’t acknowledge your existence.” attitude. I got back to the house at 21:30 and am writing this now at about 23:00 – it’ll arrive on my blog just before midnight, I suspect.

I’m going to meet up for dinner with my teacher, Kujtesa, Melanie, and potentially the woman Kujtesa’s staying with, after work tomorrow. There is no rest!

Then again, isn’t that the point of these things?