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Published: June 26th 2005
(Sorry this took me so long to get onto the site. I wrote it a few weeks ago but just now had the time to get it online. AND my computer is really slow putting pics up, so that might be later still! Hope you enjoy reading of my final adventures in Bordeaux, though!)
I hate good-byes.
When I parted with Virginie (my pen pal) on the train platform this morning, I wished I didn't have to go. Strangely, although we've known each other for years, I feel I really know her now, and it's like I've met my long lost sister. We got along so well, it is now no wonder we wrote to each other for so long.
This was the perfect end to my semester abroad, and I look forward to returning to Bordeaux sometime soon. So-- my adventures! Well, let me back track a little first, 'cause I was kind of in a hurry the last time I wrote:
Dinner at Virginie's cousin's house was great. Before we chowed down, we went to a (European) football game to watch her cousin's boyfriend play. Afterward, they ate and drank in the parking lot, and
I got a good taste of some more French daily life. Everyone was very nice and tried to speak some English to me (this was a fun and recurring theme in the trip), mainly "hello" or "good-bye" and "thank you" or "you're welcome." We went back to the cousin's house after that. Sinner was great-- the cousin (Angelique) has a daughter (Lindsay) who is utterly adorable! AND they have a brand new kitten that I got to feed! Nini (Virginie's nickname) acted as a translator for the most part, but also I just listened (or found other things of interest, like French music videos). In fact, one of the coolest parts was the drive home-- Nini and I listened to Madonna ("Like a Virgin" included) and sang along together. Now, never in my WILDEST dreams did I ever imagine that Virginie and I would be doing THAT one day. But we did, and it almost made my entire week!
On our bike ride the following day, I rented a bike and Virginie showed me all the landmarks and sites of Bordeaux, including the river, the St. Pierre Bridge, a gorgeous church, and all the splendid streets. Plus, watching DIRTY
At the fete
Fete de la Morue, near Bordeaux, France
DANCING was an experience. We watched it en anglais with French subtitles. Later I watched FRIENDS in French-- it's still very entertaining.) Ah, sharing cultural experiences!
Dinner at her parents' house was fabulous. They were so nice and hospitable! Her sister Isabel came, too. She lives nearby and works at a vineyard (Virginie works at a maternity ward, her dad is a chef, and her step-dad, who was at dinner that night, works at a vineyard as well). For dinner we had duck, duck liver (a specialty in that part of France, or so they told me), zucchini (it was fun teaching them that word in English!), a salad, bread & cheese, and pistachio and raspberry cake for dessert. I also got my first tastes of Frnech wine-- a glass of white wine, one of rose wine, and a taste of the rouge ;-) Virginie again acted as a translator (so did her sister!).
The following morning, Virginie has to work, and I woke up to fresh orange juice, a fresh crossaint, pain chocolat, and a canele (another Bordeaux specialty). Nini went out early and bought all the fresh stuff for me! How sweet is that? (I notice I'm talking a lot about food, but I guess I see so much culture in that... and I love good food!) After a slow morning, I finally hopped on Nini's bike and headed into town. I went first to the train station to buy my ticket to Paris, and I was able to order the whole thing in French (they didn't really speak much English in the station). Anyway, I realized this while I was waiting to get my ticket in the station, and spent like 20 minutes teaching myself how to request the right ticket in French. I was so nervous when I finally got called to the counter my hands were shaking, but I managed the words okay (it helped that the ticket agent was was quite lovely and encouraging about it). I was so proud of myself when I was done and had successfully bought my ticket!
After that triumph, I wandered through the city some more, walking down the pedestrian street/mall and only getting lost once! That night, Nini took me to the Fete de la Morue (a festival of cod near Bordeaux) with Isabel, a co-worker of Isabel named Florence, and Florence's three daughters (Marika, Leah-- and the third one's name I can't remember! Sorry!). It was a really cool festival. It was much like a fair (without the rides), but it was so much more because it seemed very centered on people and community more than amusement. It was quite a celebration, though, and again everyone was very generous to me (bought me wine-- there was a lot of it there, though I must say it's not true that all the French do is drink wine with every meal and such-- and bought my dinner-- how sweet!)
The daughters (and the others, too) enjoyed trying to talk to me in English and using Virginie again and again as translator. They were all charming and a joy to talk to, especially Leah (14 yrs.) who seemed very advanced in English for her age. I also got a chance to talk to Isabel more-- I can see why she and Nini are so close-- she's terrific and has a wonderful sense of humor!
The party lasted into the night, and Nini and I didn't get home until 2AM or so (the party was just beginning when we left). Nini said last year she went to this fete and went straight to work afterward (at 4AM went home, showered, left for work at 6:30 or so). How crazy is that? Yet, it was so lively there, I could believe it!
Okay, this is long enough... more later!
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