November 25, 2011

3 Months In

I hit the three month anniversary mark of being in France last week! It's incredible how fast time flies. I know I've said that before countless times, but it really surprises me when I look back and try to pick up all my memories that have all been crammed into three months. My three month anniversary day was actually the same day as Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for. Where do I start? Well, this amazing opportunity to come to France; with all the good and all the bad. My friends; the new and the old. My family; my real one and my host one(s). My home; on both sides of this world. Everyone's support. That I have a school to go to. That I have a future to look forward to. That I have people around me that I love oh so very much. That you're reading this blog. ;)
I'm not a huge Thanksgiving/turkey person but I do believe that it's a day where one can at least think about what they're thankful for. So I want to give a huge THANK YOU and a MERCI to everyone whose helped me along the way! Really, I don't know how I could have gotten this far alone.

As for the actual day of Thanksgiving, I had a really fun morning. We had our TPE presentation thing then. I didn't really know what it was or what to expect, but it turned out to be a blast. All of the students in the première (junior) class (over one hundred of us!) were in the same building (the same one I had my concert in!) and everyone presented their project to the sophomore class that walked through (so crowded!) Then I realized that it was a competition to get the most votes. Everyone started out explaining their projects in detail to people that stopped by, but in the end it was purely a competition to get the sophomores to vote. People were clever. I had joked about bringing candy to the event the other day, but almost every single table had some type of food to lure the sophomores over. I had changed groups because my other one had issues deciding on a topic... so now we're studying (it's kind of complicated, but basically...) peace and love. We're going to analyze two songs that were written in times of war and sought to bring peace, love, etc. So the girls had already made a giant hot pink poster and we had speakers to play the songs. Unfortunately, the other tables around us had music too so no one heard us. But it was like a dance party :) I found some candy and had the idea to cut up pieces of paper with "Peace and Love" written on them to hand out. We didn't do so bad with the votes. 30 something :D Because we were motivated and knew how to play the game. The other girls in our class only got like 5 votes because they just sat there expecting people to come over and ask about their historic-literary-content of their project. Um... no. Those kids wanted candy. The whole thing was kind of a mess. Animals were everywhere. Someone had brought a hamster, some mice, and grasshoppers. I think they lost the grasshoppers in the end. I really hate it when people walk up to you with a mouse in their hand and grasshoppers on their arm. But yeah, my group was L2 and we were literally screaming "L2, L2, L2!!!" to everyone. One time I shouted "Hey come here, I'm the American!" and they actually came over. Haha. We were all dying of laughter. Team power. Domination.

And also for Thanksgiving, my English teacher had asked me to make a PowerPoint about its history and traditions. I made it, but I had no idea how many times I would have to present it! Throughout the week, I presented it to my première L class, the terminale ESA class, the première ESA class, the terminale ESB class, and the seconde F class. Phew! And I still have some more presentations next week... Luckily, they all basically understood (I talked in English) and they all laughed when I talked about the presidential turkey pardoning and turkey bowling(<-- look it up). I got to meet some new people and now know quite a bit about Thanksgiving. I think I could give that presentation by heart.

On a last note about Thanksgiving, I had the big dinner last night with all the other exchange students in Valenciennes. We had been planning it for a long time and it turned out pretty good. Most of us got there four hours beforehand to help decorate. The room looked ridiculous with red, white, and blue everywhere. It was more like a Fourth of July room gone bad with balloons and sparkles covering the tables. French people don't know much about Thanksgiving and we couldn't exactly counter the Rotary president's orders so... yeah... It was fun talking with everyone and catching up. The food was yummy, except for the turkey which was sort of like dried rubber. I loved the pies for dessert and the stuffing. Usually I hate stuffing, so that's saying something. Also, all the Americans had to make a little speech thing about Thanksgiving. I don't have much stage fright nowadays :) Here's what went down on Saturday:
That's all of us :)
Fourth of July?

French Candy boat. Hello pimples.
Appetizers :) Yum. Salmon on toasties

With Japanese exchange student :) Peace.
Brownies, American apple pie, and some ice cream. We like to eat in France.
Speaking of the food... the Americans were in charge of the cooking. I had to make brownies, apple sauce, two apple tarts, and mashed potatoes. Each dish for ten people. :O Solution? I called Marie-Michelle for help. She and I stayed up until three in the morning the night before in the kitchen cooking, singing, dancing, and jamming out to music. It was so much fun and our food turned out good, except for the mashed potatoes. The potatoes weren't cooked well enough so there were clumps of raw potatoes in the mashed parts. We tried to fix it, but in the end my host mom came to the rescue... and it turned out to be mediocre. Oh well. Not all of us can be great chefs at two in the morning. Still, everyone loved our brownies and tarts.
Yes, we drew a face on that potato.

Mashed potatoes and brownies :)

Makin' brownies
What we do at one in the morning... those are potatoes. And he's a potato pimp.

Umm.... as for the rest of last week, there wasn't anything particularly special except for that I had lunch at the Damelincourts one day and it was really nice. Their mom is an amazing cook and their house is very pretty. I had the impression that all French houses were similar to mine, but they're really not. Mine is more classic and theirs is more modern. Way more modern. So we ate French onion soup, a leek tart, and a legit blueberry pie. So so so good. And their mom gave me an enormous bag of candy. It has a million tiny bags of gummies that I've been snacking on way too much for my own good. People keep giving me candy and I keep eating it <--- problem.

Oh yeah, and Sunday I went out to a town near Lille with the Rotary. It was supposed to be super cool with other exchange students from England, but it turned out to be very different than I thought... I ended up having lunch in this museum that used to be a fancy swimming pool called "La Piscine" (which means swimming pool... huge surprise there). There were a bunch of Rotarians there from the Netherlands and Germany which was cool, but not many people my age. I ate a lasagne dish and a specialty waffle thing for dessert that was amazing. Then we went on a three-hour-something tour of the museum. I hung out with my Rotary president's son the whole time. It was kind of fun, but still a disappointment for what I had been expecting.

So I'm very tired now. Good night all. It's almost December which means it's almost vacation time which means it's almost Christmas which means it's almost a new year which means it's almost time to switch host families which means that there's a lot of stuff that's going to change really soon! A bientôt et bisous :)

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