Now we can officially say that I’ve been here for longer than a month. Actually, tomorrow it’ll be the same amount of time I was away when I went to Quebec. During the time that I’ve been here, I haven’t went a day without making my bed, I haven’t worn a shirt more than once, I haven’t had a sip of pop, I’ve had about six chips, and I’ve had one fry. Literally. Everyone knows that my one weakness is chocolate, but it’s recommended to have chocolate once a day so I’m completely fine. Anyway, I think that no matter how much bread and cheese I eat here, it’s safe to say I’m eating a lot better than I was in Quebec (chocolate filled croissants everyday for breakfast, poutine once a day, pop every meal, etc.). On Tuesday, I went shopping with Adriana and her friend that she met at church, Alena. We went to Saint Quentin, which had quite a lot of stores compared to all the other little towns close by. I ended up making a few purchases at H&M and now every time I shop for clothes, I make sure I buy something that I normally wouldn’t buy so that’s exactly what I did. We also went to Sephora and there’s a hand wash with a scent that I absolutely love, called Ananas Grenadine so I think I’m going to have to go back and buy some soon.
The rest of the week was just as every week is: look after the kids, school, housework, sleep, and eat. On Thursday, Adriana and I went into Saint Quentin again but because neither of us was in the mood to actually buy anything, we just spent most of our time wandering around. Friday was school, with a new addition to our class. Not the male au pair, but another girl named Alice, from Oxford, England and she’s 18. The mom that Helena’s staying with had a baby Monday morning (six weeks early!) so she’s been playing “mom” all week. After school, I picked up Julien and looked after him until about 8:30. We even started to watch Horton Hears A Who and I’m so proud that he’s able to understand what’s happening, considering he didn’t know a word of English when I first came. He and I are a good team; I teach him a little bit of English, he teaches me a little bit of French, it works out well. And Alexia’s really been improving as well; I remember the first day I came, I asked her how school was and she had no idea what I said and now, she can just talk and talk. I’m supposed to read to Julien every night but Alexia asked her mom if she could get two nights just to visit with me for fifteen minutes. Well on Wednesday, fifteen minutes ended up turning into an hour and fifteen minutes and Laurent had to come in and tell Alexia it was time for bed. I love being with the kids, even though it can be hectic at times.
On Saturday morning, I showed Alexia how to play Speed but it makes it a lot harder to try to win when the cards are V, D, and R instead of the usual J, Q, and K. We had tacos for lunch and it was the first time the family’s had them. Therefore, I had to show them how to put them together. It was kind of funny seeing them try to eat the tacos without making a mess; clean plates definitely didn’t exist by the end of the meal. In the afternoon, Julien and I ended up making an apple cake, which was fun. We took it to their friends’ dinner party (at Baptiste’s house). We sat down at 7:15 and didn’t finish dessert until 9:45. For supper, we had regular meat lasagna, and then because I was feeling adventurous, I tried the salmon lasagna. It wasn’t even that bad, quite good actually. Also, I had salad for the first time since I’ve come here. For dessert, I didn’t even have the cake cause there were so many other choices. I ended up having to leave at 11:15 so that I could get a good night’s rest for the next day. And wow, sitting through French dinner parties can definitely tire you out. By 10:20, I stopped trying to understand everything because sitting through three hours of nonstop French makes it hard for me to think anymore.
Sunday morning, I left the house at 8:45 and met Adriana on the train. I got to the Châtelet stop at around 10:15 and then tried to find my way to the Théâtre du Châtelet. I finally found it, bought a ticket for 12€ and found a seat to watch the Concert du Dimanche Matin which in this case was Jean-Guihen Queyras playing the cello (or violencelle) and Alexandre Tharaud playing the piano. It was so nice to be able to go to a concert and listen to some classical music. Also, I love how the French use the Do, Ré, Mi system; it makes me feel so Sound of Music! I really enjoyed the Sonate by Debussy, but my favourite was the first movement of Johannes Brahms’ Sonate pour vioncelle et piano n°1 en mi mineur opus 38; they played it beautifully. After the concert, I was planning to go to church but it was so nice outside so I ended up walking along the Seine instead. I then made my way to the Islands and started my Island tour, where Paris was founded. I stopped by the Conciergerie (to the left), a prison where Marie Antoinette was held and then I went to the Marché aux Fleurs, which was really neat. It was basically an outdoor flower store and pet shop. There were so many birds, fish, hamsters, chipmunks, everything. It was so nice! Afterwards, I went to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (to the right), but I didn’t get to go inside because Adriana called and asked to meet up with her and Helena. The three of us went to the Moulin Rouge (just for you, Laura), and then we were going to try to go to the Sacré Coeur. However, things didn’t go as planned. We ended up going into a HUGE cemetery and getting lost, thanks to my book and me. We were probably in the cemetery for about 30-45 minutes and by the time we got out, we were too tired to keep walking. We stopped for much-needed drinks (guess how much my milkshake cost.. 6.50€!! That’s $9.75!!), and then tried to find a crêperie, but we were unsuccessful. We then took the train home (Helena lives in Rambouillet so she’s one stop after Adriana and me), got talking to some guys who live close by (Oh, you’re from Canada?? So do you live really close to Alaska?), and I finally got home at 9.
Today, I went to the atelier, which was independent grammar study, and it was très très boring. Now, I’m back at home but I have lots of stuff that I need to get done. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend, with lots of family time and yummy food! Don’t forget to stop at the Christmas Craft Fair this week if you have nothing to do! Love always
Sunday Best – Augustana