Friday, December 25, 2009

last of lasts


Watch le placard
Spectacle and jo family
Dinner with girls at foy du roy
Last walk around old town, son et lumiere
Masques with alineke


Check out, move, clean thing
Gave things
Last byes in le mans, deb in gare
Paris arrive, café, pascal
White Bordeaux wine and vinegar Pringles
Chai 33


Espresso and last bad shower for a while
Pleasant 3.5 hour bump up, no problems
Guy on third metro playing fiddle holiday tunes
Angels with bags

last saturday

I officially finished all my shopping! I went into my first fancy schmancy wine store and bought my first bottles of not the least expensive wine I could find, which was a bit intimidating. I found a copy of Les Miserables by Hugo, 9 separately published parts from an old journal bound together- super cool! I tried Chichis, which is a specific type of fried bread with mass amounts of sugar dumped on top (I think are actually Spanish-Mexican ).

Tonight was my last to go to a club or bar in Le Mans, and the first time I took the tram and was the only person on it (eerie… everyone is gone). It was also the last time I can legally purchase alcohol for myself until February 23, and went for a spot of gin. Deb and I wound up at Café Pop, where we have had tons of great times with friends dancing to superb music. As soon as we walked in, our favorite dj recognized us and sat us down by his turntables. I met a CouchSurfer from Le Mans there, finally and as I’m leaving, named Gregory. He’s really cool, and as Deb noted looks like Justin Timberlake but cuter. He stayed a bit, and then the ambiance shifted into an Arabic dance party which was great. We decided to dance to a famous salsa song, which turned out to be the last one of the night. We walked back home in a new wave of flurries 

last friday

Much of the same today- Christmas movie, shopping and last drink with fewer and fewer friends. Deb and I busted out laughing during Elf, I wandered around the old town and downtown several hours buying cadeux for Texans and we had a drink at the beloved Mulligan’s.

last thursday

In the theme of Christmas, nostalgia and the lack of holiday spirit compared to back home, I found another new-old Christmas movie to experience. A Christmas Story is pretty cute!

Our group of 30-40 swarmed a kitchen for the official last student party, before everyone started leaving the next day. It was a pretty somber crowd, and the mood was more like one of a wake than anything. With snow still everywhere, a group of girls and I changed our plan of going out to playing in the not so fluffy white stuff, and didn’t stop until we had left tracks over the entire 2 basketball courts.

last wednesday

I studied hard for my last test in contemporary French history today, taught by an inconsiderate and egotistical man, and the whole thing is not pleasant to remember. I don’t know when I’ll find out my grades- c’est la vie en France.

Tonight was an Erasmus Christmas party at Café Berlin, where I tried my first hot wine (which I learned is more than just wine heated up) and several delicious regional treats for free (free is not as often in France- universities never give things away, clubs don’t receive much funding, and my university is so in the whole that last winter the heating wasn’t turned on for a month to save money). All the internationals, and some truly lovely Frenchies I wish I had met earlier, gathered round and attempted to sing O Christmas Tree (Le Beau Sapin), Jingle Bells (Vive le Vent, which literally means live the wind, I don’t get it…) and Le Divin Enfant.

I gave my first tearful au revoir tonight to Michelle, a truly lovely Czech girl, and she gave me little forget-me-not colorful coaster.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


So today I slept in, and as I was about to leave my room for the day I opened my windows and was shocked to discover a true winter wonderland! It had snowed starting the night before, and everything was blanketed in white, like a dream. Absolutely marvelous, and a perfect goodbye to Le Mans, France and Europe- just in time for the first round of international students leaving today. I learned my cowgirl boots are not the best approach to walking on ice- I fell and almost sprained my ankle twice walking around campus, but la neige was still new and exciting so not too painful.

And so starts my series of “lasts,” or some last for a long time things. I got in the Christmas mood and made cards for my closest friends here. I did my last shopping at the 24 hours race store, where I chatted with the woman about the snowfall and she gave me a parting chocolate  I checked out National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the first time, and I don’t know how all the Lampoons got so famous and are so well loved.

Alineke and I heard about a free buffet on campus, Christmas themed, and finally found the university lounge-hangout area. It’s separate from everything, only opens on Tuesday nights to students, and the buffet was just chips- so not terribly eventful, but good to see how the French campus life goes down.
I said bye to Mathilde. I went through my last batch of genuine French groceries: sparkling Perrier, tiramisu, caramel rice pudding, sliced cold sausage-ham, olives and two whole brioches pain au chocolates.

Friday, December 18, 2009


today i did various responsible things. and i've been home-hunting online for a place to stay in denton- lots of exciting people and place prospects, within all my needs and some desires, which is pretty cool. praying my way through it, i'll see what god helps me work out!
after tea with deb, i met french-country-friend rafael and his fellow CS friend arya from california. he's a cool guy, and the 3 of us had fun doing all things country: looking at rafael's taylor swift london concert pictures, teaching them how to dance, taking george strait christmas tunes, and trying whiskey a new way (scottish blend with oj).
we met his female friend for dinner at buffalo grill! i love that place, man; and for christmas, their kid headbands had santa riding a bucking reindeer. i ordered a "mix tapas" of 4 fried things, including chicken served 2 different ways, onion rings and some sort of french take on jalepeno popper-cheese sticks-hashbrown-pizza bites looking things. by the time we were ready, the next tram was 31 minutes away; so if our evening wasn't american enough, we went to the closest place for warmth in the -2 degree celsius weather: mcdonald's.
eventually, i made it back to campus and spent 3 more hours finishing up pride and prejudice with the ladies. i attempted to repay their food kindness by making creme brulee; turns out, my third time to make it was not the charm. the stuff never formed thickness even after 2 hours, and was just a putrid yellow goo. with my refusal to waste things and the girls' politeness, we tried it anyways; we made it a couple slurps in before the caramel mixed in made it look like human waste. then melissa and i began to have tummyaches, and she was able to bathroom up the toxic sludge while i curled into the fetal position in bed for the night. maybe not the best way to repay kindness after all...

sunday of brittish-ness

after a couple hours of sleep, i went with jo to church for the last service while i was here. it lasted 2.5 hours, which is normal, and my favorite part was still attemping to sing and worshipping with french songs. after an odd but pleasant run in with a haitian man, we met a moroccan man in the supermarket who recommended us a tunisian red wine to take (delicious). for the third time, i tried to go to the country themed clothing store, like a small local cavendar's, but they are only open 2 days a week for 12 hours, so another time i hope.

i headed back home, and then met up again with jo, her fellow brit emma and american melissa for a pancake party! 3 hours later, we had successfully demolished my first pancakes (still not quite the same, but close) since i left the states. emma and jo introduced us to "proper english pancakes," with lemon juice and sugar on top. emma then gave me her recipe for chocolate chip scones! they shared their goal for the day with me: to watch the mid 90's version of pride and prejudice all the way through, which is around 5 hours. i debated and accepted!

for the next 6 hours, we watched the movie while pausing for several bottles of wine, baguettes, stinky cheeses, foie gras, fancy chocolates and other french munchies. jane austen would have been so proud! somehow, we didn't finish it in time for my skype date with the parents, and agreed to "carry on" the next day.

saturday night fever

Today was the best dance party of the semester, and the last night when all the Erasmus internationals were together before we begin to leave. Nostalgia has officially hit everyone, but I’m a bit behind on the bittersweet feelings so far. We met for dinner in the kitchen, and I made a fondant chocolate (cake with gooey chocolate) before trying Czech hard liquor (slavoviska?) and a special Czech treat from my Czechies. Unfortunately, we were kicked out by security two hours before the closing time because the oh-so accommodating director has no heart.

This did not deter the Europeans: bent on finishing the last of their alcohol before everyone went home, we stood outside shivering, swapping chips and plastic cups until it was all gone. We headed to Café Pop to dance, and once again it was lovely to dance with these guys. Out of a good 35-40 people, the majority danced the entire time (except one or two, all nonsexual), and the dj humored us with an amusing fog machine and electronic beats. As the night wore on and people went from tipsy to drunk, which was rather funny to watch and laugh being sober.

The 2am closing time meant only a pause for kebabs, and I discovered a new place for us to go. Leading 2/3 of the group to Le Stan, a piano bar that somehow doesn’t play any music that has piano parts. We jammed to popular American music over several decades until it closed at 4, and walked home teaching each other Christmas songs in our native tongues. Bed at 5, lovely!


Ya for sleeping in! It’s a beautiful thing. I met up with Jo for some coffee and prayer late afternoon, then Alineke and I finally visited a salsa class we’d been wanting to visit. It was Cuban style, which is pretty dang different than the traditional style we both know. The room was full of middle aged French couples, but they took us in with smiles all around and were quite pleasant. However, the codgy old man teaching the class was a horrible dancer, mean lead and rude to me as an American; for the first time since being in France, I was blatantly insulted in another language and quick enough to respond with poise in said other language. We stayed for a couple hours, then checked out Laredo Café, the French’s take on a Latin club. It was lovely! I got something I think called a Kao, a blended fruit and rhum thing, and we had a nice time together before taking the last tram back.

thursday, don du sang

I gave blood for the first time! I’ve been too young, or enough time had not passed between visiting “dangerous” countries, a tattoo, etc. in the past, but now it was able to happen! I dislike needles very much so, and was even more uneasy with the language barrier, but really wanted to make it happen- it’s basically helping another human being live, which is pretty much the coolest thing I could do for someone.
However, like a little kid, I started crying at first and some doctor felt obligated to come hold my hand which was awkward. And then the vein wasn’t strong enough, so the aide stopped; we waited for another chair to open, and I switched arms. This time I didn’t cry (just almost), but after I was done and eating and drinking sugar I fainted. Never fainted before, and it was an odd experience; I came to with two doctors holding my legs up over my head, laying down, questioning me, “ca va?” repeatedly. It all worked out, but I had to stay for an hour.
After the total 2 hour ordeal, I had 30 minutes before taking a final. Thankfully, the professor was nice and the test was easy for me! I had hot chocolate with Mathilde in my room, and then met up in the kitchens to get in the first round of last rendez-vous with the internationals. I stayed several hours, then decided the whole loss of a pint of blood and fainting made dancing not the best choice

wednesday, back in le mans!

I saw my geography professor today, and learned the test I took two weeks ago (still ungraded) would count as my final too, so one less test to study for and take! I met up for a drink with Erin, another CSer from the States teaching here, at a new place for me called Bar’ouf. I tried a Monacco beer, Carlsberg served with lemonade and red fruit syrup.
I shivered my way around our Christmas market, enjoying the sights of small brown cabins (Lincoln log lookalikes!) arranged for local vendors to sell seasonal goodies, watched kids stand in line to sit on Santa, smelled fresh warm sugary drinks and fried pastries, and heard a surprising mix of reggae-bluegrass- and classic Christmas music in English over loudspeakers. I bought an ornament at a store nearby, and discovered a new part of the town I hadn’t seen before, while window shopping.
I bought a kebab and fries, in bbq sauce, and bought a ticket to watch Le Concert in a huge theater called le Coliesso, if that tells you anything. It has 7 rooms inside it, so it would be small for average American standards. I couldn’t find the bathrooms, and learned that each room had its own set of men’s and women’s toilets! No need to leave the room and debate the best time to leave a great movie, just walk to the front, stage right, and there you are! The movie was a fantastic story, half French and half Russian about a has-been orchestra of misfits reassembled in Paris against their “enemy of the people” status. Perfect movie, great evening by myself

tuesday, day 5: loire valley

After getting dropped off at the train station, I journeyed to Amboise for my second and last Loire castle for a while. The city is medium sized, split into three sections by two rivers (one is the Loire, I forgot the other one). I was the first one to enter the grounds that morning, and wandered around various buildings, towers, a cathedral and gardens in the Gothic and Renaissance style for a couple hours. This is where the Algerian king and 80 of his closest people were held captive after the conquest of the country, and I got to warm up a bit by a really cool fireplace with a fire by a Christmas tree overlooking the rivers. Not as majestic, but not complaining- it was still really cool.

I walked to Clos Luce, a castle given to Leonardo DaVinci during his last 3 years by the king of France where he lived and worked until his death. I spent an hour walking around the town, and then settled into a crêperie for a “Panini” savory crêpe and a couple scoops of icecream afterwards, even though it was freezing temperatures outside. I went back to Tours, and then back to Le Mans.

I had my first test, and grade for that matter, since I started my semester here. It was for my language class, and it went well! I wish the university system was less vague, ambiguous and unforgiving here; for many specific reasons, I’m glad to be returning to the American college system and be educated with all the great things it has to offer.

monday, day 4: portugal/loire valley

We left early the next morning, with bellies full of aletria that didn’t go down as well the second time, back to Tours, France. Turns out, we took the same plane to and from Porto as two other French kids our age from Le Mans! Deb rode back in their car, and I set my sights for prime castle viewing. Tours is the hub of action in the Loire River Valley, with some of countries most famous and influential castles within 20 miles in different directions. Château d’Usée actually inspired the story of the Sleeping Beauty!

After studying my guide book from my grandpa since July, I narrowed down my favorites and went first to see Chenonceau. I hopped a local train, and had a little bathroom fiasco on the way there- you would think I know how to use them by now, but maybe not so much. I got off in Onzain, on the brink of the castle gardens and grounds, with a new friend from Austria named Agnes. First was a medium sized labyrinth created with only immaculately trimmed bushes, and then a garden designed by Catherine de Medici. I walked up the castle, and could scarcely take it in. It was almost completely destroyed, during the hunger for noble blood in the French Revolution, but because of the kindness, generosity and cunning of its lady owner at the time it was spared form mob chaos; the small chapel inside was preserved from demolition when the priest disguised it as a tradesmen’s shop.

It poses in the middle of the river, accessed by only one entrance in the front (except for the secret escape used in wartime to smuggle soldiers across the river which divided which was German land). The place was pretty much designed and kept up by women, its most unique characteristic; many kings and queens lived and were birthed here, including a couple Henry’s, Catherine and Diane of Poitiers. I saw where they worshipped, ate, slept and ran the country; the kitchen had 5 parts, and was super cool. Each day the castle places out new bouquets of flowers, and because it was almost Christmas the entire chateau was donned in classy seasonal attire.

I came back to town, said bye to Agnes, and visited the Cathedral of Tours which was dark, without visitors and peaceful. I walked through the old town, complete with quaint Christmas market and elaborate Christmas lights and trees. Then I found my way to Marie and Kevin’s flat, other CSer’s who welcomed me for the night. They made me dinner, we watched TV and researched which chateau I would visit tomorrow before I left. I turned off the North African paper lamp in my own room with ska posters covering the walls, and enjoyed sleeping.

sunday, day 3: portugal

After sleeping only 6 hours, which turned out to be after 2pm, we got ready and went to meet up with Fernando and other CSers at a barter-only market. They shared cake with everyone, and the CS table offered fresh tangerines and oranges as tokens to trade small crafts and used goods amongst everyone. Deb and I headed to San Francisco, a church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, which was awe-inspiring and gorgeous. It was also Baroque style, but reverent and definitely all about the reason a church exists. Inside the concrete-carved church was gold plated wood, intricately carved several hundred years ago. We popped in to crypts under the church from the 18th and 19th centuries with a small sacred art museum attached.

Then was our third night of CS dinner parties, at the house of Susanna and her young son. Deb and I laid around catching up on world news from a television the first time since we arrived in Europe, munching on little crackers and chocolates. Then the party started, with about 20 people gathering around her apartment with dishes made by her and another woman. We dined on several starters, lasagna Portuguese-style and for dessert aletria. It’s brilliant: a specific type of thin pasta noodles, boiled with a certain white sweet crème that hardens it into a casserole-like dish with cinnamon on top. Susanna gave us an entire tub to take for breakfast the next morning!

saturday, day 2: portugal

After waking up on Albert’s sleeper-sofa, we went to the neighborhood café again and ate some delicious pastries before heading to my first wine cave tour! Of the 30 or so choices of brands, we went to the Croft house of Porto wine. I got to see where the wine was stored, watch replicas of the carrier ships bob on the side of the river, and taste two types and colors of wine. It tasted really strong, and I learned it was because after the grapes have been foot-smashed for 3 days during harvest season grape brandy is added; so it’s a liquor- wine. Albert, a man who loves to talk and loves his city, had alllllll sorts of stories to share, and felt inclined to present them at all times, even giving his own version of the wine tour while the guide was talking.

This continued as we wandered around the old part of the town, crossing a famous bridge across the river, where I learned that “Boas Festas” means happy holidays in Portuguese! He led us to my first Baroque cathedral, and it was artistically beautiful but spiritually atrocious; it was like it was dripped in nasty. This was followed by a tour in the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen in my life. It’s fairly small, but the gorgeous interior, dark and rich colors, new and ancient books from floor to ceiling, and an epic staircase made it rather enjoyable. Deb and I decided we would rent it out and throw a huge 20’s- themed ball.
We bid adieu to Albert, took a deep breath of silence and continued on our merry way. For as long as we could stand the steady rain, strong wind and ominous clouds we wandered the town, snapping shots of monuments, cathedrals, tile-adorned buildings, small gardens and the swankiest McDonald’s you will ever find (chandeliers, people!). Exhausted and soaked, because my umbrella officially went to a better place, we retreated to Albert’s for a nap before our monumental night out.

Another CS dinner, this time a bit cheaper and at a closed-for-the-night small bar and grill. Deb and I were ushered to the back room downstairs, where a group of Portuguese men were huddled over a smoky bbq pit for round one of endless meat buffet. We sat down at a table for two, covered with a piece of butcher paper, and they brought various unidentifiably scrumptious meat about 7 times. Copying Fernando, I tried red wine and orange soda- what an oddly great combo! We sat around with a group of new CSer’s from Belgium and Portugal until the younguns left to paint the town.

We hit up a bar called Peter’s, on the river, celebrating its first year anniversary with music and cake. It’s a huge CS hub, so we spent a couple hours talking and hanging out with people from all over. I met a lovely Irish girl who had the exact same hat as me, a guy a couple years older than me with two engineering degrees and his own company wearing a yellow hoodie and old jeans (Francisco), and an attractive, cocky classical music composer. These three, along with a half dozen others and our original CS crew, found a karaoke joint! We stayed there for several hours, dancing to Brazilian and Portuguese music in-between crooning “Summer Nights” and “I Love Rock & Roll.” I tried the beer of the country, Super Bock, with some cherry grenadine, and we stayed until it closed.

Not deterred after hearing of all night clubs, we sought out our next place. The first was expensive and I almost had an asthma attack from smoke, so we left and went to the only place our native amigos knew that was still open: my first gay bar. It was everything I thought it would be, from the trendy and more put together men than me, to the electronic music and green strobe light, to the occasional leather clad dancer in fishnets dancing above us. After trying my first gin and tonic, we called it quits and made it to bed at 8am. Great day!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

friday, portugal: day one

deb and i left for porto (oporto in portugese), the second largest city in portugal on the northern coast, today! with a combination of walking, tram, train, taxi, flight, metro and bus we made it into the city (8 hours later). it was maybe 5-10 degrees warmer than le mans, but we caught the city on a nasty weather weekend of no sun and tons of rain. deb, who was in charge of our couchsurfing situation, wound up without the name, phone number and address of our host, which played out interestingly. thankfully, God allowed us to meet a rather nice mom and daughter who spoke english and helped us find a place for us to get online to get the info, then drove us to his home. we actually stayed in villa nova de gaia, which is oporto's sister city separated by the river.

there we met albert, a 50's something portugese gentleman. among other more steady jobs (and testing virtual reality video games), he used to work in the pits with racecars, eventually became a driver himself, and even drove in the le mans 24 hour race! he lives by himself, and his wife is an international law attorney in brazil. with cheesy jokes and dramatically bushy eyebrows, he welcomed us into his moroccan themed living room where we would stay for the weekend. famished from the day of traveling, we visited his favorite neighborhood cafe and tasted some magnificent portugese desserts and espresso. we rested a bit back at his place, and discovered with amusement a romanian dance show on tv.

hopping on the bus back to oporto, we met up with a group of other couchsurfers for dinner organized by fernando. fernando is also an older single guy, with the biggest hospitable heart you can imagine, and in less than two years has hosted more than 470 couchsurfers; tonight, 5 and the next night 4 different ones. it was a cool idea- about a dozen french, americans and portugese all linked only by couchsurfing ordered a sumptious neverending meal with several courses and drinks, and everyone pitched in 10 euros. i tasted minced crab meat in a creme sauce served cold, cod and another local fish before we left for a small closed cafe for dessert. we had several yummy, mini custard tarts, made with egg yolks from the portugese tradition of using the egg whites to bleach nun's habits. then we visited two different bars, the second of which we began a dance party that took over the entire place, to classic american 50's and 60's songs (ya beach boys!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

wednesday, car themed!

today i went to the harley store in le mans, decked out in my leather jacket my dad gave me from the corpus harley store and matching boots. feeling kinda cool looking, my pride (and cleanliness) was checked as i was walking there when a car drowned me in street water, boots to hair. i got there and it was exactly like the ones in the states, the only variation being everything was in euros so it cost even more than already being expensive and the clerks spoke french.
i hit up the le mans 24 hour race store next, and stocked up on gifts and bought a cute pink racing tank top for me (thinking texas weather, not french). my town is known for this race every late spring/early summer that is 24 straight hours, car and motorcycle, featuring racers from around the world. it seemes patrick dempsey was here last year race time, "driving" for a charity.
i accidentally stumbled upon "le mans," an american movie from '71 about the race, with groovy heartthrob steve mcqueen. after finding all 12 parts on youtube, i made it through half before falling asleep 3 times. the beginning was cool though, because it was my town, on film! and from the standpoint of an american, with footage of campers.
i felt sufficiently nascar today :)


after my language class, i went ice skating!!!!! i went with my sister leslie last year once, but other than that i haven't tried in years. considering the lack of complete healing in my knee yet and the fact that i would be balancing in sharp metal blades on ice for a couple hours, i wasn't sure how it would go.
perfect is a good description :) angels helped me not fall, even once, and i had a great time with the mix of french-czech-germans-turkish i went with. it was student (university) night, so they had some games to play on the ice. i skated/stumbled through hula hoops and cones, and came in 11th of 13 in the speed race, haha. highlight of night: ducking under two teeny hoops at the same time as petra, holding her hand, and then doing it backwards!
when we headed out, our new french friend did a circus-type performance with fire in the parking lot (same guy who just got injured from his scooter for delivering burger).


confession: i watched 10 episodes of glee in the last 30 hours, and it was excellent.
i went to the christian union tonight for the second time, with jo, for a dinner party. nice to eat with believers, we just hung out in french and ate. it was 1.50 euro, super cheap, for a yummy ham carbonera pasta. i tried bacon flavored chips, that are even shaped and semi-dyed like bacon; not so great, but now i know.

saturday and sunday with mathilde

i really had a great time with this family! we went to the local weekly market, got hot chocolate at a bar and mathilde and i walked to a nearby castle and checked it out. i slept in, took my first actual bath (not shower) in more than 3 months and wore a sweatshirt all weekend. i watched my first rugby game with dad and brother, and i was intrigued, appreciative of good lookin men and afraid all the same time. i also watched a famous movie from the 70's about a frenchman who is a food critic (go figure).
we spent 2 evenings in front of the fireplace together, which was great considering the family doesn't use heaters at all. they shared legit champagne, red wine from bordeaux and white wine from le mans with me over bread coated with fois gras (bird innards mashed up served cold) and caviar. this was only the beginning of mass quantities of deliciousness: casserole (french style), plenty of veggies, cheese souffle, beef so rare i thought it mooed at me, madelines, french and dutch cheeses at each meal, and then the desserts! i had several different chocolate this and thats, one pear tart/pie, one apple tart/pie with meringue on top, and one piece of mousse-fruit-pie. when i left, mom gave me a tupperware container of leftovers to take back home, fancy chocolates and a christmas ornament! great weekend, perfect timing

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


first test of the semester! it was in geography, the really confusing class. the subject is a piece of cake, but the french, being the only international in there, room changes, class cancelations with no warning, teaching assistant unaware of what's going on, the lack of communication to the students and the lack of students communicating with me other than blatantly judging me makes it not so smooth. for all these reasons, i showed up an hour late for the test. thankfully, it was fine- i could still take it, and had one minute to spare for finishing my eighth page of writing in french. hope it went well!
joanna came and prayed with me afterwards, and i realized just how exhausted i was from life recently. good ole talkin with the my best friend, the creator of the universe, with a friend. i was ucnertain how the weekend would go- i planned to spend friday, saturday and sunday with mathilde and her french family, in a small town nearby with absolutely no control or idea of how it would go.
and it was great! we took the train to her home, and i met her lovely family and dog whose name in french means grumpy old man. dad is a "professor of sport," which i forgot means coach in english (gulp, oh man) and inquisitive in jsut the perfect amount about my life and the states. mom is a doctor with kids, cooks amazingly and is really chill. paul, her brother, is my age, with a disability that i think qualifies him as a little person and he is easy going. manon is 13, is obsessed with twilight, and looks exactly like mathilde.
their house is a home, they all get along, they like and love each other, they enjoyed me being there- it was magnificent. they were so affectionate, and bickering like siblings, and mom gave me leftovers and a christmas present to take home. we pretty much just relaxed, ate dinner and watched an old french film about a food critic (go figure).

turkey day!

happy thanksgiving, france! man, i miss thanksgiving in the states, thanksgiving with my family, the food, the traditions, the turkey coma. i had an amusing time trying to translate "food coma" into french, and wasn't surprised to find out nothing like that exists in the language.
today was not the ideal thanksgiving day of luxury, but still ended with a full stomach. instead of having thursday and friday off, i woke up early for a class in which the prof showed up half an hour late (don't worry, he decided it was fair to compensate for his error by keeping the class an extra 30 minutes afterwards to continue lecturing). i had another class this afternoon, in which i was totally ditched by my fellow students (not the first time) without knowing what happened. i went to the bathroom one room away, came back and they had all left without a sound. 30 minutes of waiting and finding a woman who treated me like an idiot later, i found the other building and room the class had been moved to. oh, and i have a test tomorrow that prohibits any remotely late night of fun.
we had a feast, and it was perfect for this place! another american and a lebanese guy hosted about 30 americans, germans, english, french at their flat. it seemed there would be no pumpkin pie and not enough food, but alas! another american had bought pumpkin pie mix, unheard of in france, at a specialty shop in paris and saved it for sharing tonight and it was GREAT! mom, you ahev full permission to bake me an entire pumpkin pie to myself when i get home for christmas. only half the people brought food, but somehow there were leftovers of everything! i made stuffing for the first time ever, from a box recipe my darling friend ashley sent me from the states, and it was a hit :)
oddly, all the girls who don't keep up with football at all wanted to watch the game. however, we were 7 hours ahead and without ESPN; we almost resorted to yelling at the closed china cabinet and gesturing wildly, but decided to maintain dispositions of sanity instead ;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

news pics on facebook of life in le mans, trip around normandy, scotland and ireland!!!!!