August 25, 2011

Round Two

This is only my second day, but already I feel like I've been here forever. Maybe it's because I'm still extremely exhausted and I can't really understand everything, but all the same it's been a crazy day. I woke up at 7:30, which by the way never happens back home in America, but I was too excited to start the day to keep sleeping. After eating a fabulous pear for breakfast and getting a huge stomachache, Marie-Armelle and I went to get my school supplies. It was the most incredible supermarket experience that I've ever had. It was so much fun and completely unexpected. I was sad when we had to leave. For one, it was enormous. I wasn't expecting it to be so big because everything in France is generally smaller than stuff in America. The cultural shock hit me a bit when I heard people talking in French everywhere we went. It was like a giant Costco dressed up as a nice Safeway, if that makes sense. All the stuff, though, was different in not-so subtle ways. For one, the paper is different. Instead of wide lines, there are tons of compact tiny ones with squares like graph paper. Also, the clothing department had tons of leather jackets... In a supermarket! But it was the food part that blew my mind. There were so many varieties of the same thing. For example, there were three aisles with just yogurt and another five with just wine. There were special areas just for fish or bread or pastries etc. I was in the middle of taking tons of pictures when Mr. Fish-Shop guy told me that it was forbidden to take pictures there for security reasons. Oops. But I had to take pictures, it was just too interesting and cool to avoid it. There were some strange things there too like horse meat and huge ham legs (half the size of me!). Also, when you take a shopping cart you have to insert a token to make it move. All in all, if you're in France, go to a huge supermarket. You won't regret it :)

After the amazing grocery and school supply trip, we went back home and ate lunch. Morgan was just waking up after we got back at noon. ;) Normally, that would be me back home. He showed me a bunch of YouTube videos in French which I actually understood and could laugh at them. They were really funny and it was a good icebreaker. We left again and drove into Cambrai's main square. I loveee the buildings and monuments and stores and people here. It's so pretty and different. There are so many boutiques and cute specialty stores. I had to go to the bank to exchange my money, but it was really confusing because I don't have a French bank account. We have to go back tomorrow and make one. Marie-Armelle had to explain what the problem was and it sort of made my head hurt. It's confusing since Cambrai is sort of small and there's no place to simply exchange the money like there would be in places like Lille or Paris.

But the adventure didn't stop there. After the bank we drove back to the house, then walked to my second host family's house: the Robalos. They are also very nice and live near a really pretty canal. They have two daughters and one son. One daughter is my age but she goes to a different school and the other is twelve. The younger one is an amazing artist :) The son, Gregoire, is autistic and he's really nice and likes animated movies. They have a huge backyard and I have a sink in my room. Pretty cool, right? We ate some cake and I nodded my head along to their very fast French that perhaps was directed at me. It's so hard to talk when you're completely jet lagged. After our visit we walked back to the house, then headed out again on foot to go to some lady's house to sing songs to her. I didn't quite understand why we were there, but it was fun. There were some other younger kids and the Robalos. We sang church songs, but for some reason they kept stopping and restarting and stopping and talking and stopping. Eventually, I just spaced out. I couldn't keep up with their strange program. I think they just wanted to perfect the song since no one was very good at singing. I've never sung a church song before because I'm not Catholic or very religious, so it was an interesting experience especially in French :) We're going to practice singing some more in our 7 hour car ride to l'île de Ré on Monday. L'île de Ré is way west of Cambrai and the Raux family has a second house there. It's on the beach so I'm really excited to see what it's like.

We had salmon for dinner haha. I told them that salmon is the regional specialty in Washington so they bought some. After that, Xavier gave me Edern's phone. I was really surprised that I didn't have to buy one myself. They are giving me minutes and unlimited texts as a gift! :) The phone is nicer than the one I have back at home haha. Since Edern is in Taiwon, I'm getting a lot of his stuff like his room, his phone, his closet, etc. The family is so nice. I wish I could be more animated and talkative but I'm so, so, so tired. I will post pictures tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, the daughter Anne-Soizic will come home from her college in Belgium to stay with us. Then I will give them all the gifts that I bought in the US. Overall, I'm exhausted and the day was fabulous. Good night.


  1. That sounds like so much fun! I hope I can see you when I possibly go to Spain! :) Take tons of pictures!

  2. I can just picture you singing church songs the the ladies:) After the jet lag you'll sing much better:)

    Love you