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Published: January 13th 2010
What is a raclette, you may ask? Well, it's a type of cheese, and it's also the name of the get together that happens when people gather to melt this cheese and eat it atop of many delicious things! The raclette was set for tonight, and Regane and I were supposed to see a movie before. I was set to meet Christine at 4:45, because she kindly offered to drive me to the supermarket to buy some food. And I was set to meet Regane at her house at 5:45 to see the movie at 6:00. I thought the store would be close, and that we could get it and out in half an hour because I didn't need much. At 5:00, Christine arrived, and though she knew of my plans, we lingered and waited for a friend of hers that wanted to accompany us there. Anyways, it was 5:20 when we reached the store.
Christine and her friend, Joachime, were wonderfully helpful and recommended certain food items. I learned that milk is sold in packages of 6 quart-size containers that are not refrigerated (not sure how that's possible). The packaging itself also resembles American bleach bottles, interestingly enough. I bought other food items, such as hot coca mix, pasta, nutella, and cereal to get me through the week. In the aisles, Regane called me. Its was already 6pm! I felt horrible, because when I thought I might be late, I should have called her. I was frustrated with myself for not being precise with Christine about how urgent it was for me to get back. And I felt really bad for standing Regane up after she had been so kind to me! Above all, I felt that the problem was communication. Here, it is sometimes hard for me to feel like I am being completely understood/that I completely understand some things. Even though my French is strong, get the point across is still a challenge.
So after wards I went to Regane's for the raclette and apoligized. I think she was ok with it.
The dinner itself was awesome! Regane, Delphine, Hocine, his sister, and me sat around the table where there were plates of ham and steamed potatoes, and a big plate of raclette. In the center was a four de raclette (used for melting), which is basically a circular griddle. One lays thick slices of cheese on and waits for it to bubble and melt. Then you scrape it off with small wooden spoons onto the potatoes and ham. We ate it with mini pickles and jarred vidalia onions. YUM!
I had brought a bottle of wine, because it seemed like a good idea to bring something to contribute. But when I got there, it turns out her and sister don't drink, and Hocine and his sister are Muslim, so they dont' drink either. "Ok, back in the sack," I said, putting it in my purse. So much for the stereotype that the French are all big drinkers!
The dinner conversation was interesting: somehow 9/11 came up. I am really reluctant to get into political conversations with europeans, because it's the sort of situation that can really put people on edge and offend. however, it was really interesting to see the point of view of several europeans, and to share mine also.
Tomorrow I have orientation, and I am looking forward to meeting the other study abroad students!
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