Bonjour à tous!
I'm getting fat -__-
Well, life has been interesting to say the least in these last couple weeks here in March, particularly in school.
So lets start with classes. One of my personal favorite things that I like to talk about is my lack Spanish the last two months. I have has exactly One Spanish class from mid February until now. The teacher hasn't been there for various reasons including illness and TPE and other fun things, which is honestly a pain because believe it or not, I do actually want to try to learn Spanish... Even if I understand nothing or next to nothing.
But the last class of the week, we were informed that we would have a new teacher as a replacement until our actual teacher returned. I may finally start to learn some Spanish!
French is still hard (the class that is). We just finished the series of poems entitled "Les Fleurs du Mal" which I loved, but it was really difficult! *Side note* I have decided that if the French school system with the whole L, S, and ES was in the U.S, I would most definitely be in L, or Literature. But now that we have finished "Les Fleurs du Mal", we are moving on to the theatre unit and have started reading the play, "Antigone" which as stated by one of my French friends is <<Genial>>.
History is still really hard but I really like the subjects and the teacher, who talks really fast. I'm up to understanding 40-50% if everything she says. I call that progress. At least I can still take notes.
We have just finished WW2 and are moving into the Cold War, which I know next to nothing about so I am really excited to learn about it!
English is still easy, and math nonexistent.
So now that I have laid down the news for school, which I really do love because of friends and actually feel like I am learning stuff instead of just not understanding, time to move on!
I have been pretty busy as of late! For the last month and a half, I have had something to do almost every weekend, whether that's just for one day or the whole weekend.
So the first weekend of craziness was in Normandy. My host parents and I went to Normandy for the weekend for their friends birthday, so naturally when they asked me if I wanted to go, I said yes! We drove about four hours to southern Normandy, over Le Point de Normandie, and through Honfleurs and other towns until we arrived! We got there earlier than the party started so we went for lunch at a crêperie which was quite good (I ordered a crêpe with salmon and crème fresque [i think it's spelled like that]) which was really good, and I also eavesdropped on a pair of elderly British ladies who sure had some VERY interesting and rather amusing things to say to each other! Afterwards, I bought my dad some chocolate stuff for his birthday. Please keep your fingers crossed that customs didn't seize it!!!
After shopping, we went for a really nice walk on the beach. It was one of those days when you have a coat on, you're too hot, but take it off, and you're too cold. But I really enjoyed myself. I absolutely love the beach!
That night at the party, we arrived at about 7:30 and neither I nor my host parents really knew anyone, which was a little weird. At about 10:15, we were finally asked to sit down for the first course. I was SO hungry! That night there were six courses total, with the last one being served at 12:45. And I normally don't consider coffee a course! So I was exhausted and ready to sleep for about a week.
The next day, host parents took me to the beach again for another walk, something I was completely ok with! After our walk, we went for lunch with the party goers from the night before. I was still dead tired, and I think my host parents were too, as we left pretty quick, only after about an hour.
The following weekend was for AFS. We were asked to make something from our home country for the other students and volunteers. My original plan was to make my moms baked beans which I think are amazing, but I couldn't convince host mom I would be able to make it because she was convinced I wouldn't be able to find one of the beans, not even in a can which is what the recipe calls for. So a little frustrated with that, I moved on to Plan B, a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing!
So I stayed at Isabelle's (temp host mom from back in November) for the weekend. So Friday night I took the train and headed to Lille! Saturday morning, I made the cake, which didn't turn out perfect like I would have liked, but it was still fine. Once I was finished with that, Isabelle took me to the Palais du Beaux Arts in Lille to get my dad the final part of his B-Day present (he's turning 50 on the 18th... The old fart!) and she surprisingly bought him one too! I have no idea what it is, but I just thought that that was extremely kind of her and unnecessary, but I thanked her so much in the attempted gratitude of me, and both of my parents.
The AFS day went great! The foods from the other countries were really mostly different cakes with some AMAZING Finnish boulettes (meatballs, but different), real Chinese food that was perfect, and a few French quiches. My personal favorite thing was the German cake. It was with strawberries and white and milk chocolate and it was a bright rainbow of colors! I asked for the recipe because I liked it so much!
Then last weekend, my host family surprised me (and pretty much everyone) by taking us to Dunkerque for the day. So with my host family, and my host families best friends family, we all went up to Dunkerque for the day! I got to spend a perfect hour on the beach, laying on the sand, playing with the other children (yes, that is how I would describe it) and even braving the ocean waters. I'll be honest, The Colorado River water from beneath Lake Powell was colder and more numbing.
Afterward, we went and did a little shopping and exploring of the town while Laura, my host sister, had an appointment with a travel person to travel during her Easter and/or Summer vacation, hence, the reason if Dunkerque. I ended up being the best third wheel ever because host parent's friend's daughter brought along her boyfriend, and because host brother wasn't there (sorry for my unnatural lack of specifics) it was just us three at one point, and I can admit I am ready to be crowned the king of awkward situations!
So then this weekend was probably the most busy out of all of them! Friday night, I came back to Lille and stayed at Isabelle's again because there was an event in Belgium between AFS- Nord Flandres and AFS- Belgium. So Friday night I got to Isabelle's and was greeted by Annette, her very awesome (is that proper English?) daughter and a Canadian exchange student who is living there after having problems with her correspondent, as she did an actual exchange program.
That night, she invited (Canadian named Daniella) me to a church for a concert of classical music, which I happily accepted. So we went to the church, speaking mostly French (franglais) to the church for the concert. There weren't many people there, but it was a great orchestra playing music from the Baroque Period also featuring a few singers throughout the performance. I was very impressed and enjoyed myself.
After going home, Annette was watching The Avengers in English with English subtitles to help practice for her semester in Chicago for University. Daniella and I didn't complain that it was in English, and I don't know the last time I laughed that hard at a movie! It helps having other people to laugh with you!
Saturday, we woke up early to heads to Belgium for our rendez-vous. In total, there were three exchange students from our region, Daniella, myself, and Carlotta, a year student from Italy. Along with us, there were two students from a different region in France, both from Bolivia, and an Asian boy (I couldn't understand where he was from) a girl from Russia, and a girl from Romania from the Belgium. It was very interesting as since the French volunteers couldn't speak Flemish, and not all of the Belgium volunteers could speak French, English was used as a medium to speak. This meant, unfortunately, I wasn't speaking French, because I had to speak English.
We walked to a cemetery, which has a strong history with AFS. It was originally set up as a hospital site for the American Field Service in World War 1. Those who died at the hospital, were buried at this cemetery. AFS Nord Flandres laid flowers on one of the deceased's grave and said a few words. I also forgot to mention that a news crew was there for France 3, so I had a few moments where I could be seen on TV! Isabelle and Daniella both had interviews and were featured in those, which was really cool!
That afternoon, we had a picnic and Isabelle bought us Belge Fries, which are "better" than normal fries. I thought they were really good, but not the best fries I've had. After that, we did some walking through the town and a scenic route through Belgium before returning home.
I was pretty tired when I got home, but still found the energy to go out to dinner with Daniella and another American, Allegra for sushi!
They also convinced me to go to McDonalds for the first time while I was in France. I ended up getting a raspberry milk shake, which was pretty good. I ONLY WENT THERE BECAUSE EVERYWHERE ELSE WAS CLOSED!
And then today, Monday, along with my music class, we went to Paris! It wasn't a lot of visiting, but that's ok because I have already done that! It was a small performance by a full orchestra as well as a panel of composers who talked and answered the other students questions. There were around 300-400 students at the theatre for the presentations! I had a really great day!
And now, here I am, finished with, essentially, my weekend and I am exhausted. Sorry, but no pictures in this post. I'll put one up this week of just pictures for you to enjoy! Sorry for the lack of color!!!
But Until Then,
P.S, I smell like cigarettes because so many young people smoke and I hate that the smell is clinging to me!
P.P.S. Please do NOT under ANY circumstances remind me that I have 90 days left, or any amount of time left. I already know. And if you do, I shall smite thee.
That is all. Love you all!!!