Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a wrap

Well, I guess I'll start with my last week in France. On my last weekend, my family went crazy and this is what showed up on my plate...

it's called "raclette" and basically you melt the cheeze, peel the potato, pour the melted cheese over the potato, and eat it with the meat.

After lunch I got introduced to the greatest French film of all time according to my hostfamily: Les Tuches!

"Oh Monaco, oh Monaco; chez toi il fait toujours chaud
Oh Monaco, oh Monaco; ton rocher est le plus beau
Oh Monaco, oh Monaco, on te trouve aussi au bistro!!!"

On Wednesday I met up with my favorite foreigners at the ice skating rink!

Then on Friday my class threw me a party. The goodbyes were hard!

After school I went into town with my friends for one last hurrah...

...and said my goodbyes to Angouleme.

My wonderful amazing AFS friends met in Poitiers to see us off!

After two days of travel, I finally got through immigration and customs to see my parents waiting for me at the airport.

I think we were all glad that I was home!

It's been very very nice to see my parents. Because of midterms, I've been chilling at home and catching up with all the stuff I need to do. It has been kinda weird not to be in France: I keep forgetting that everybody around me doesn't speak French and all of my habits seem off. I've even tried my hand at baking baguettes!

So, I suppose that I'm coming to the end of my blogging experience. I'll probably be back, whether in a week, a month, or a year, to rethink about my experience in France and how it is affecting my home life. But for now, a big thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this experience: my parents, my hostfamily, my friends, AFS, and my blog readers and commenters!

Au revoir et a bientôt!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back to school + Poitiers

2 weeks left here in France! I will be very happy to see my family and friends back home, but it's still hard to believe that I'm so close to the end of this adventure. I've been dreaming, thinking, planning, anticipating, and living this for a whole year now, and in two weeks I'll be remembering.

Last weekend was our last weekend of vacation and last week was the first week of school in 2013. Last weekend I made up a calzone recipe for my hostfamily: eggplant-cheese scones with tomato sauce. Yum!

On Monday it was back to school with a test on Voltaire's Candide. On Tuesday I had tea with my hostgrandparents, who came by in the afternoon with the usual provisions from their stock of food that they grew in their garden last summer. On Thursday I got out of school at 3:30 because my English teacher wasn't there, so I came home and made crepes.

On Friday Alice and I both finished early so we went downtown to go shopping because they have this thing called "soldes" where starting last Wednesday all the stores have complete liquidation, with everything that's been there for over a month up to 70% off, for 5 weeks. Awesome!

So yesterday I took the train to Poitiers with Michela and Elizabete.

Clara, our German friend, met us at the train station, and we met up with Stormie, another American, at the bus stop.

We bought lunch at the market (Stormie and I were super excited to find a stand that was selling hummus)and then bought juices at a cafe so that they would let us eat our lunch there.

After lunch, we met up with the AFS volunteers and most of the people from our region. We split up into teams,

and went on a sort of scavenger hunt for historical information that took us all around Poitiers.

Then we met back up and went to eat the galette des rois, which is a French tradition for the Epiphany. It's a cake, either a brioche or puff pastry with marzipan, and they hide a little toy or statuette inside. This was my 6th galette des rois, and I found the toy for the first time!

So, following tradition, I was crowned queen of the Epiphany!!! (it's a good thing that I'm leaving soon, because whoever is king or queen has to buy the next galette!)

After the galette we still had a while before we had to be at the train station. Lots of people went shopping, but Michela, Marta, Clara and I didn't really feel like it, and since it was our last day all together we decided to hang out at a cafe instead.

It was really a lovely day, and I'll never forget all of the amazing friends that I've made here...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's and the rest of vacations

Bonjour tout le monde!

So I left off a few days after Christmas, and now it's 2013!!! So, last Saturday Benedicte's aunt, uncle and cousin came over for dinner...I made popovers...

On Sunday, I spent the morning preparing lunch: mac-n-cheese a la francaise. My cantal-cheese sauce didn't beat good old cheddar, but it was still good.

For dessert I made a carrot cake with real Philadelphia cream cheese frosting. Yum!!!

In the evening, one of my AFS friends arrived by train from Poitiers: Clara, who is from Germany and is here in France for the year.

She had to change host families and her new hostparents already had plans during the vacations, so she had been changing around hostfamilies throughout the two week break.

So guess how we spent the morning?? That's right, oooking. I made a quiche while Clara made scones, and then we made creme chantilly, which is sort of a cross between clotted cream and whipped cream, to go with the scones.

Michela came over for lunch,

and after lunch Benedicte drove the four of us into town where we met up with Elizabete

and introduced Clara to Angouleme.

When we were too cold to stay outside any longer, we called Benedicte to come pick us up. Back home, we helped Alice with her contribution to New Year's eve dinner: les crepes.

Crepes made, we dressed in our finest and headed to Michela's house with our food contributions.

Quite a feast!!

So we ate, and constructed the Latvian gingerbread house that Elizabete's mom had sent her, and called Elizabete's parents at 11 (midnight in Latvia) to wish them a happy New Year in Latvian...

...and played twister...

...and wished everyone a happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Redux

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!! As for me, I'm at the end of the first week of my two week winter break. Last Sunday, my family took me to see Bordeaux.

We ate lunch at a teashop, saw the Christmas market,

Went shopping, which is the real attraction of Bordeaux,

and visited some of the major historical places like la Place de la Bourse.

In the evening we had a crepe at the Christmas market.


So, on to Christmas. We dressed up...

We went to Benedicte's parents house for a Christmas dinner of hors d'oeuvres, seafood soup, turkey, chestnuts, green beans with bacon, potato galettes, salad, and cheese. We went to mass at a church with a really high tech nativity scene,

and then went back to the house for yule log and presents.

I finally crashed around 3 in the morning, only to get up at 10 to open the presents sent to me and my host family by my parents and friends.

Thank you all!!! <3

So, the next few days of my vacation have passed in a haze of family time, homework, a relapse into a more violent cold than the original, and watching movies and TV shows with my family. For the New Year I'm going to Michela's house with Alice and another AFS friend--should be fun!!! In the meantime, happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally a post...

Hi people,

So first off let me present my apologies for the long delay between posts. I was feeling too down last weekend to post anything, and of course during the week it's very hard to find the time. Please accept this plate of virtual homemade cookies as an apology?

No? Well, it was worth a try, anyway...

So, what have I been up to? Last Sunday was Saint Alice day, so we went to the cinema and saw "Populaire"--I would highly recommend, if it comes out in theaters in the states. Then we went to Alice's grandparents' house for St. Alice day crepes and some little presents.

And speaking of presents, I'm finally all sorted out for my host family for Christmas. The presents are all wrapped and hidden away.

I also made and ate cookies :)

So...this was the last week of school before the holidays. I had a nice lunch the other day with some of my lovely international friends and two French people (one of whom was taking the photo).

Today was the last day of school before the break. Special features included a flashmob featuring my host sister Alice (third from the left) with choreography by this ninth grader dance prodigy kid (first from the left) who apparently is on TV in dancing competitions and stuff.

We also had a fancy Christmas lunch, finished off by a slice of "buche de Noel"

Sadly, after the holidays we will be two less in number--Julia is transferring to a different region and Julietta is headed back to Argentina after a year here. We had lunch all together today, and then watched a video that Moani had made with lots of our photos all together--many tears were shed.

We'll miss our friends!