- I went to shopping with my host sister in Valence which was really fun but the euro, dollar conversion is simply too high for me to justify buying anything for myself.
- I had another sleepover with my friends at school that included French karaoke, wii, movies, and really really good crepes (both sucre and salee)
- Picture day was this week at school, it reminded me of the class pictures in elementary school back home: four steps and a row of chairs in the front. We all squished together and took one normal picture and one silly one, which people came prepared for with silly hats and sunglasses.
- An article I wrote for the newspaper at my school in Maryland came out! Last year, I organized with the journalism academy for me to be a sort of foreign correspondent, and now I write articles about school and life here (kind of like a shortened blog post!)
- I’ve been going to math tutoring on Wednesday afternoons. Not necessarily because math here is particularly hard, but rather because my teacher goes very fast and a number of things are different in French, so having an extra hour every week to go over everything has been really good for me, both to better understand and to build confidence in a subject that is quite intimidating to me.
- Winter has arrived here on the Rhone, which means it’s absolutely freezing and I am finding myself completely dependent on my winter coat, boots and scarves for survival.
- It’s Friday, which means, VACATION! I’m going to Spain with my host family and am really excited, but I am actually really going to miss school and my friends for the week!
- In my "one month abroad" post I mentioned that this month is supposed to bring "fatigue, homesickness, and settling in." Well, it's almost the end of the month and I can't say I feel any significant advancement in any of these three areas. I was homesick for a few days, but over all I'm just very happy here. My favorite thing is being at school, which is something I couldn't say back home. But here it's the time that I get to spend with my friends whom I love!
- One of whom is having a dress up halloween party that I unfortunately won't be here for, but thought it was worth mentioning.
- And to finish this off, a short story about cheesecake:
On Friday morning while I was getting ready for school my host mom came in and suggested that I make a dessert for that night. My first thought was “there is no way I am capable of baking in a kitchen where I don’t know where anything is” but I decided to take on the challenge and make a cheesecake, since it’s American and a personal favorite, not that I really need any justification to make a cheesecake.
During a free hour at school I went to the library and found a recipe, which I later realized I should have looked for with metric measurements because that would have made life a lot simpler. But no, didn’t think of that, so with my allrecipes.com recipe I was off to the grocery store on the hunt for an essential ingredient in cheesecake: cream cheese.
My friend guaranteed me that not only cream cheese, but Philadelphia cream cheese (!) is available in town. However, after 30 minutes in the cheese aisle, asking two completely unhelpful employees, and getting very frustrated, I decided she was wrong and texted her. I owe her a big thank you for she answered right away and told me the name of another brand of cream cheese (and the only one to be found in the grocery store) so I loaded my basket up with them.
On the way home I was feeling very efficient and lost in my own thoughts when a car pulled over and asked me where the McDonalds is. After describing the route I laughed to myself about how being asked how to get to a McDonalds could mean both, being mistaken for a native, as well as being painfully seen as an American. We’re going to go with the former however, because I was also asked for directions to la gare the other day.
Once home, I turned on some Jack Johnson and started the baking process.
My friend from Connecticut, who is also here with AFS and goes to the same school as me, dropped by on the way to an activity that she does in town and we arranged with our host parents for her to sleepover that night. We’ve become really good friends because we have so much in common, and although any two people from the same country who find themselves in a foreign country together would say that, we really do have a freakish about in common. Take for example the fact that our grandmothers live in the same town.
Everything went as planned and she came back for dinner and cheesecake.
Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending because the cheesecake was a pretty big failure; it had a funny taste, which we are going to attribute to the fact that cream cheese here is simply not the same as cream cheese in Maryland.