It rained this morning for the first time, but unlike Seattle it stopped after an hour. The daughter, Anne-Soizic, came home from Belgium this morning to visit for the weekend. She's really nice and smart. She is a speech therapist and is still studying in Belgium. I wish she could stay here longer so I could have a host sister, but she will leave in a couple of days. Morgan is going to leave for college soon :P But it's okay. My family is really really nice and they're going to take me to a lot of places. We visited our neighbor, Sophie, this morning. She's two years younger than me and also goes to Saint Luc. We're going to carpool together. She wants to be a veterinarian and showed us her two adorable guinea pigs and bird who likes to play hide-and-seek and eat chess pieces. After that, I went with Anne-Soizic and Morgan into Cambrai while they got their hair cut. It was fun walking around Cambrai a little bit and reading French magazine in the waiting area. American culture is everywhere here. On the car ride over to the haircut place Anne-Soizic played some of her American songs and I realized that Katy Perry is extremely popular here.
Later Marie-Armelle, Anne-Soizic, and I went on a little self-guided tour of Cambrai. Ohmygoodness it was so amazing. The town is much bigger than I thought. First we went to the enormous cathedral that tourists sometimes come to see. When I was eight, I went to Paris and saw cathedrals like Notre Dame, but I had forgotten how beautiful there are. It was so enormous and gorgeous on the inside and outside. I was so busy taking pictures that I didn't really understand Marie-Armelle's complicated explanations for all the statues and different religious monuments inside. I really don't know anything about Christianity because I'm not a Christian... or a Catholic person, but I still loved the architecture inside like the organs, statues, pews, and huge stained glass windows. It was almost completely empty inside, unlike the cathedrals in Paris which are always packed with tourists. There was a very serene and peaceful air to the place. I felt like a total tourist when I kept asking Marie-Armelle to take pictures of me in front of stuff. Also, during our little outing I got to know Anne-Soizic some more. She's superrr nice and seems like a real sister at times. I wish she could stay with us longer. The three of us visited some cute French stores and looked at clothes, jewelry, etc. Cambrai was busy in the evening and a lot of fun. :)
After we got home, Morgan's friend Simon came over. He's 19 and is Sophie's brother, therefore our neighbor. At first it was a little awkward, but after we got talking about music it became easier and really fun. He's super nice and really into heavy metal. It was kind of funny because I hardly listen to it, but I actually knew some of the bands that he talked about. He showed me all of his heavy metal songs on his phone and got really into it. I could actually talk to him in French. Nothing feels better than when people understand your French and laugh when you say something funny. It's a great feeling :) The dinner was the best so far because there were more people at the table: Marie-Armelle, Xavier, Anne-Soizic, Morgan, Simon, and me. It felt like a legit family dinner with everyone talking at once and passing food around. For some reason, everyone thinks that the weather is nice on the West coast of America so I have to tell them how cold and rainy it is in Washington where I live. After dinner, Simon and I went up to the computer and listened to different heavy metal bands for two hours. I actually sort of liked metal at the end ;)
All in all, it was a super great day and tomorrow I will meet the other exchange students in my district in Lille. I'm really excited.
Some things I've noticed here (culture-wise):
The curbs are sloped so people can park their cars on the sidewalk. The streets are too narrow for people to simple pull off to the side of the road.
People eat everything on their plates. It's rude if you don't finish everything. I haven't tried to break the social-norm and I don't plan to.
People have dessert after every meal whether it be cake or just fruit.
A lot of the houses are made of red bricks.
My host brother pours salt on everything and puts Grenadine ( a sugary liquid ) in every glass of water.
All the teens I've seen are really skinny! And they eat a lot.
I freaked out when I saw that the speed limit on the freeway was 130, but then I realized it's 130kmp (kilometers per hours) not 130mph (miles per hour). The metric system conversion thing still trips me up daily.