January 1, 2012

Bref

I've started watching this new French T.V. mini-series called Bref. It's about some guy who talks super fast about his day with lots of insignificant details and then sums it up with... Bref– then he adds a statement. Here's the link to the show. Watch an episode or too (they're really short) and you'll see what I'm talking about. You won't understand anything, but it's just to get an idea of the show.

http://www.canalplus.fr/c-divertissement/pid3848-c-bref.html

I was really surprised the first time that I watched it because I understood everything that he said. Although he speaks incredibly fast, he speaks very clearly so it's actually way easier to understand than the Simpsons– that show on the other hand is very hard to understand.

So why am I talking about Bref?

Because I am going to imitate his style in an attempt to catch you all up on what I've been doing for the last month and a half or so. It might turn out really well or might just fail. While you're reading, please imagine that I'm saying all of this in a very fast voice like one of those commercials that have way too much to say to fit into a thirty second time frame. All right, let's try this. And......... go!

Bref. I haven't written a new blog for a long time. But I've done a lot of things in the meantime. Lots of adventures. Change. Sleeping. Eating. Friends. School. Outings. Trains. After Thanksgiving I had a sleepover with Manon and Sophie at my house. We were planning on watching a lot of chick flicks. We only got through one because we were too busy laughing and talking. Ever since then Sophie and I have hung out a lot. I've slept over. She's slept over. We baked. We Skyped– yeah, I know we're neighbors. We climbed some fences. We danced. We sang. We talked. We laughed like fools. We ate. We baked some more. Good times. I went to a gorgeous cathedral and a Marché de Noël with my three host families. We took the Taiwanese exchange student along with us. We ate churros and wore Santa hats. Then Christmas vacation finally came around. I slept over at Sophie's. I slept without socks on. I caught a cold over the night. Merde. Then I slept over at the Damelincourts for two nights. I love that family. They are so so so nice. Their mom is an amazing cook and wanted me to taste classic French dishes. So guess what I ate. ESCARGOT!!! Snails! And then frog legs! Mmm. The snail garlic sauce is really good. The texture of a frog is in between a fish and a chicken. The next day their mom wanted us to eat out in town at the local friterie (the French fry shack). French fries are a specialty in the North. Bienvenvue Chez les Ch'tis. We had "L'américaine" (the American). Why is it called that? It's a huge steak sandwich covered, bathed, smothered, blanketed, drowned in French fries. I like to eat French fries– but not three pounds of French fries. The grease went everywhere. It's not something you can eat with class. I wanted to give the leftovers to a homeless person. The girls laughed. Apparently the homeless people of Cambrai aren't nice. They just want cigarettes and booze. Sad. A lot of French fries went to waste. But it was a necessary dining experience. Then Céline and I met with Bettina and Clémence in town. Such sweet girls. We talked, laughed, window-shopped, tried on expensive perfumes, and drank hot chocolate. The time passed way too fast. Early the next morning I hit the road with the Raux for our Christmas destination: Clermont-Ferrand. The capital of Michelin tyres. It's somewhere in the middle of France. We stayed with their friends for four days. It was an amazing Christmas. It's incredible how close you can get to people that you've only known for a couple of days. We ate an enormous fish on Christmas Eve and opened presents at midnight. And then we played a whole lot of Just Dance on the Wii. I was really bad at first, but then I dominated after four hours of constant boogieing. We stayed up until five in the morning. On Christmas day, we ate. We ate foie gras, salmon, turkey, cakes, potatoes, brownies, etc. We ate and ate and ate and didn't do much of anything else. Amen. I had made a joke saying that we had to climb a mountain the next day to work off all the weight that we had probably gained. I didn't think anyone would take me seriously. But my joke hadn't been a joke in their ears. When they had said that we were going on a "walk" I had pictured a little stroll into town to look at the pretty Christmas lights. Nope. We climbed a mountain. That had a pathway covered in ice. But it was so beautiful at the top, it was totally worth it. The clouds hung over the valley and the sun was in the middle of setting behind the mountains. It was so gorgeous; it took my breath away. But I was also feeling asthmatic at that point so feeling breathless was quite easy. Going down was harder than going up. We were in the dark. And there was ice. Not a great combination. But we made it down safely and had lots of good laughs along the way. At one point I was on all four clinging to a rock and Xavier's hand. So much for the "good boots" I had worn. This journey bonded us all in a way. Sometimes you just have to climb a mountain with someone to get to know them. We returned home the next day. We dropped Anne-Soizic off at the train station. She took the TGV. I had heard stories about that crazy fast train, but never expected it to be SO incredible fast. It's pretty scary to watch something the length of the Empire State Building fly past you in six seconds flat. Heaven forbidden that a squirrel runs in front of it... The next day Sophie came over to the house. She helped me pack my things for my next host family. Yep it's that time already. FOUR MONTHS. Time has flown by like no other. We had a lot of trouble packing. A lot of trouble. I came to France with two large suitcases. I moved to my next host family with two bulging, overstuffed suitcases and five million other bags, shoes, coats, and purses all over the place. Light packing for light shopping? I wonder how many bags I'll be carrying back with me to Seattle. So then the next day... I changed host families. Part two. Chapter two. My time with the Raux was really wonderful. Yeah we had our ups and downs, but overall I feel so lucky to have spent time with them. They gave me so much and we have lots of great memories. It was sad saying good-bye but this is just a new page. A new adventure! A new family! I have siblings now :) And a very large bed and a sink in my room. Sinks in bedrooms are quite practical, you know. So after getting used to everything and all... New Year's came around. C'est la fête! :D It was a really fun night. Good memories. I was at Marie-Michelle's house with her friends and Clothilde. We danced the night away. We ate crêpes. We blew off firecrackers. We frolicked around in the haylofts at midnight. We were young and wild :) We slept for two hours. Here's to 2012!!! :D 

Bref. I love France.

I hope you succeeded reading that Bref-style. For some thoughts... it was kind of strange to be away from my family for the holidays. But I didn't feel sad because there were so many wonderful people and opportunities around me. It just felt different like I had stepped into a different place by accident. I didn't know any of the people that I had been with before and since Christmas is usually spent with family, it was quite a change. And then again, I imagine it's even harder for the Raux's son in Taiwan because they don't even have Christmas over there! It's crazy how different cultures are across the oceans.

So to sum up, I'm going to make 2012 fabulous and unforgettable. I wish the same to all of you. A bientôt, much love, bisous.

Camera, lights.... PICTURES!


At Amiens cathedral



I can be quite saintly if I want to ;)

Churros!! 
Making brownies :)
Cookies Sophie and I made

Yeah we melt gummy bears by candle light. It's what the cool kids do ;)

ESCARGOT!!!

SNAILS!!!

Looking cool. With Céline.
Yep, there is a sandwich buried somewhere under there...

Cambrai's local Christmas reindeer.

Christmas!! :) Ho ho ho

Christmas cheese. Ahhhh
The hiking crew


So pretty <3

Monument at the top

When the sun had almost set

When the sky is on fire

Christmas Market/decoration center plaza

Christmas 2011 group!

Allé! Chez les Robalos!

New Years :) In the haystack... I'm on the ladder.

2012!!!!