Hello! Sorry I haven’t written anything all week, I’ve been super busy but I have some time today and wanted to write a post about my host family’s house. It’s not exactly a town house, but it’s not in a neighborhood either. I’ll post some pictures of it at the end of the post. Anyways, it’s super nice and really big, with lots of windows and a nice yard and a park with a pond behind it. The park is really nice and not that big with a playground and basketball hoops and a trail that I go running on. However, there are ducks in the pond that constantly make noise which can occasionally be a tad annoying, but other than that I love having it right there, even though I have to run around to get to it and can’t access it right from the backyard. The garden is pretty too, lots of fruit trees (pears, peaches, etc) and vegetables too.
The kitchen is the room I saw first, it’s really nice with redish walls and a wooden table and old fireplace, plus the windows on the whole wall facing outside and the door is usually open a little to let the fresh air in. There is a separate faucet for the water you wash things with and the water you drink.
The food is good, we definitely eat a lot later (dinner at 7 or 8) and the portions are smaller as well. Today we had vegetable lasagna made with homemade pasta which was delicious. There is a constant supply of bread, so constant in fact that I think it must be accessible from a certain setting on the kitchen faucet because there is always one or two baguettes in the kitchen and I don’t know where they come from half of the time. The bread is good though, eaten with butter or cheese or to mop up remaining sauces on your plate. On weekend mornings we have chocolate croissants, or “petite pan” (little bread) as they are called here. Also, a lot of people from Northern Africa come to France as my host mother explained, especially this area so there is some influence in our food from that. Our school cafeteria often serves couscous with different spicyish sauces that kind of taste like curry, so maybe there’s an Indian influence as well. In the nearby farmers market I went to yesterday, there were a lot of African spices and my host mom bought some to use in her cooking, and fabrics as well which is not what you would expect to see in France but it was cool.
Sorry this doesn’t have to do with the house but I went to the grocery store the other day, and it was very interesting and different and I want to write about it. Maybe it was just the one I went to, but it wasn’t as nice as Wegman’s or Giant or Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a crime that their grocery stores don’t have what my mom calls “romantic lighting” (see Wegman’s produce section) or the murals that decorate the walls of Trader Joe’s, but I do miss buying cereal in a place that’s as nice as our state capital building. They have a lot of Kinder products (chocolate) all of which I intend on trying, including the infamous kinder egg that is illegal in the US because the plastic toy inside touches the chocolate egg surrounding it. A lot of their snacks are sweet, I haven’t seen a lot of kids eating chips but many bring individualy wrapped packs of cookies or these little waffles to school. Also here they usually keep the fish whole and sell them with the heads and everything unlike how we can just buy the filet? I don’t know if that’s the right term. Also, maybelline here is crazy expensive. I don’t know why because in America it’s like a high-end drugstore makeup, and don’t get me wrong I love maybelline, but not for 18 euros which is actually how much their foundation is here. It’s $10 or less in the us. Crazy! There were maybe about five little jif peanut butter jars in the midst of countless types of hazelnut/chocolate nutella like spreads and speckaloo, which is kind of like liquid cookie spread that tastes a little like gingerbread. I think that you can get it at Wegman’s in the foreign food aisle, it’s definitely worth trying. Also the nutella jars here are HUGE, and I think that it’s a lot less expensive as well.
The downstairs bathroom in our house is normal. But the upstairs one is different, the toilet is by itself in a little room and maybe 10 or 15 ft away is the bathroom with the shower and sink. Other than that it’s normal, except that it doesn’t contain any dental floss, which they don’t really use here apparently.
My room is really cool! It has these reddish-pinkish walls that kind of have paint strokes on them which is cool. My comforter is the African-ish geometric print, and I have these two really nice carved wooden dresser/wardrobe things. The wardrobe does not lead to Narnia unfortunately, it just leads to this random parking lot behind a Dunkin’ Donuts. Disappointing, I know. Also, I have these two awesome glass and metal lantern lights that cast really beautiful shadows at night, I am told they are from Spain.
All in all I am happy to be here, my host family is very nice and so are my friends. I went shopping which was fun and I am little by little catching on to the language, but I have a ways to go before I am fluent. Hope all is well where you are,