Mediterranean? wait, how do you spell it?

Friday I went to La Rochelle with Mère to pick up host sister, B., from school. It is a two-hour drive to the seaside there, and thankfully it was a very sunny drive (it rained all week in Poitiers). Anyways, we stopped by the side of the road to use the “toilettes”–and they were Turkish-stye toilets, (in layman’s terms, separate stalls with holes in the ground). There was a giant handwashing trough outside with soap, though, which is more than I can say for some gas stations.

Blurry picture of the harbor in La Rochelle (although I like to think of it as photographic Impressionism).

In fact, the Mediterranean theme continued this weekend, although markedly improved: on Saturday at the market, we ordered *delicious* kebaps (lamb kebab sandwiches with vegetables and spicy yogurt sauce) from the Turkish people my host family knows, and at another Turkish vendor, we ordered börek, which is similar to pastry-thin pita-bread rolled out like a giant crêpe, then filled with vegetables. That was lunch.

After Mediterranean-themed lunch, I went to the university library to work on my “figurines in the Mediterranean found in places you can’t locate on ancient French maps” paper. It turns out “five to ten pages” essentially means TEN to TWENTY because they don’t double-space papers here. I am allowed to turn it in hand-written, but I can’t do that because I have really big handwriting so I don’t think that would go over well. So far I have a smidge over a page (not double-spaced) written. Goal: to have it done (sans grammar check) in two weeks, before I leave for vacation in Milan, Italy at the end of October! I can almost remember how to say “I’m lost” in Italian already . . . What? You don’t spend your vacation with your dad’s boss’ family in Italy? You must be French. (My host family find my vacation plan strange. Imagine that)!

No daily homework ever, but it’s a lot of independent projects and studying. I gave a 20-minute presentation today (went well, whew) complete with powerpoint, at 8H30 in the morning to an all-French class. Now, between four and nine non-double-spaced pages await, plus two short books to read for literature, three movies to watch to compare to the books, and 40 photos to take that have complementary colors. Then contrôles (exams designed to show you how much you don’t know, so I’m told) in December and the “real” exams in January (but both of them count, so . . .) See?? It’s not all five hours filled with homemade pâte à choux, crème anglaise, ice cream, tripe, blanquette de veau, sparkling wine, guests that invite you and C. to their country home 10km outside of Poitiers, five types of cheese, ham, saucisson, more wine, and bread over here (that was yesterday, because we celebrated C.’s birthday)! But when it is, I don’t complain.

It’s still raining here and the streets are starting to fill up with water, so it’s a good thing C. (host sister in Poitiers) and I invested in some serious high-quality, still-good-looking leather boots. Just in time! Cobblestones are slick enough without rain, especially when you have a 20-minute walk uphill to school. It’s starting to get cold here, but the weather is not very consistent.

In other news, I’m making French friends that really like to cook homemade meals for me and send me texts like “Do you like duck? Or chicken? And chocolate cake” (translation, but still. What American student texts *that*)? Last Thursday (student night), we had Bretagne-style crepes and chocolate cake made “in-appartement”, then went out for Canadian beer (beer with maple syrup in it), where we met some other friends and saw some cool synchronized dancers (they were synchronized because they all stumbled at one point or another).

In other observations, when my brother J. went to Paris for work training “back in the day”, this was apparently the “it” song (Najoua Belyzel, “Gabriel”, released in 2005):

The current “it” song/singer of 2012, however, is Khaled:

I’m not responsible for getting the tune stuck in your head …I really can’t believe this is on MTV France, either. ‘a ‘a!


6 thoughts on “Mediterranean? wait, how do you spell it?

  1. Josh says:

    “Controles”…yeah, we had those with Schlumberger. After one in particular, I confronted my uber-French training director and told him that I felt that he was testing what we didn’t know, rather than what we did. He responded with, “ZJosh, your bhrain…eets not nohrmale…” complete with dual reverse upright pincer grasps and disapproving head movements.

    Sticking with the Franco-Morrocan theme, the last time I was over there, this was the “it” song:

  2. Jeremy says:

    Khaled looks like the older male lead in every novela on Univision. It sounds like you’ve made some awesome friends if they’re cooking you meals and baking cakes. I’m jealous.

  3. quoide9euf says:

    He’s a keeper, right? Hahaha.

    Yeah, they’re pretty great! You wouldn’t be jealous of the assignments here, though :) yikesss.

  4. Jeremy says:

    So, where should I meet you next spring? I’ll have an extra week of vacation next year to go with my passport. I’m out of excuses.


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