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Published: July 18th 2013
Let the Vacations Begin!
It’s been awhile since I’ve written something, so I thought I’d go ahead and word-vomit forth a series of words, hoping they land in a way than can be interpreted as intelligent thought. Last time I wrote something we were on the ferry returning from England (wow that seems like such a long time ago!) The two weeks after that went by relatively smoothly. I cut my haircut for the first time in another country/language and that was a bit interesting. I walked in, told them I wanted a haircut and the first thing they do is send me back to wash/condition my hair (uncommon for males), which was quickly followed by a head massage. Now I was kind of nervous walking into this situation, I had no idea about the kind of vocabulary I’d need (I don’t like to prepare too much for this sort of thing) and typically, when asked what I want in the states, I’ll just tell the hairdresser that they’re the one who went to school and therefore know better than I do. I tried conveying this mentality to the woman doing my hair, but my brand of humor
seems lost on the French. After being ushered to my seat, I was promptly offered a coffee/tea (also uncommon for males) and that’s when I saw it. The woman, whom before I’d thought to be a very stereotypically attractive French woman, had part of her hair nice, long, and beautiful, whereas the other half of her head was shaved jarhead short. The haircut turned out fine, though a bit short, but either way she didn’t end up giving me her take on hair beauty.
Shortly after we went to Avignon, which is a city in the south of France close to the coast. We stayed with Laure’s sister, Céline, who ended up being really nice, though a bit mentally stranded from time to time. Staying with her kind of threw us through a funk for a bit due to a few reasons: we’re used to a 65 degree Dieppe and were then in 85-95 degree Avignon, she insisted that we speak English the whole time so she could practice (her English was great!), the diet was very light due to the climate. However, even with our funk disheveled, we had a great time. Our first day there
we actually went to Gordes and Roussillon, as well as an abbey with a big field of lavender. My personal favorite was Gordes, while the town itself wasn’t too much, I could easily be content with just sitting on one of the neighboring cliffs and looking out down upon the town. The picture I have for it is beautiful, but doesn’t quite seem to capture how this town seems to be clutching the side of the mountain.
Overall, it was nice to have quiet time all the time (Céline is single, has no kids, and works 8-7 all week.) I actually finished 4 350 page books in our 6 days there. One more great thing, Céline works for the company that makes orangina, which also makes my favorite French beverage Schweppes: Agrum
, which is a light carbonated drink with a mix of a bunch of citrus fruits, perfect for the climate. Needless to say, this delicious drink was had aplenty.
We left Avignon on Friday and went to Paris to finish up our vacation. Guillaume was supposed to actually meet us at the train station and give us the keys to the apartment, but when we
got there he wasn’t there. Our only thought was that we must have messed up somewhere in the French and he was waiting for us at his office. This string of thought then led us into the awkward situation of us, two Americans dressed in American casual (yes there is a difference), walking into a 12 story office building asking for Guillaume. We didn’t realize what we were getting into, but we’re pretty sure everyone in that building was judging us as idiot American tourists who lack a proper suit and tie (especially when we were escorted into the waiting room where the company’s clients, also waiting for their big league meetings, stared us up and down.) The situation got resolved of course; Guillaume had simply forgotten us and his super nice secretary had us hang out in a park for a couple hours while he drove into Paris.
Sunday came and we went back to Dieppe, where a large BBQ was to be had. I probably had the second best steak I’ve ever tasted (you just can’t beat Mike’s cooking on the grill.) There’s some kind of butter you can buy here that’s mixed with Basil and Parsley.
The BBQ was with Samuel, Alyne (sp?), and their kids, who are all incredibly nice. However, after the BBQ, both Rachel and myself agreed that we’re starting to feel really at home with this second family as well. Samuel is actually a science fiction fan, too, so after discovering that we had a good bit to talk about. We actually did a second BBQ 4 days later at their house. This house is not only huge, but also beautiful and placed in the middle of a flax farm. The reason I bring up this trip is because, not only was it a great time, but it also showed us some linguistic development. In the beginning and middle of our trip there have been big meals with lots of French being spoken, the first one was kind of lost on us, whereas the second showed progression, but ultimately exhausted us by the end. This one though, while definitely fatigued us, had solid comprehension through and through. Score 1 for the Americans!
So that’s that, our life here in France. We’re both definitely ready to go back, tired of not having our complete independence, but making it work. We’re
heading to the Jura tomorrow morning, so we’re ready to see what’s waiting for us there. My new obsession has been trying to overcome the Chinese language, a much more successful attempt compared to last time(我是美国人和我说中文!)One more random thing, because I can’t find anywhere else that it fits in this jumble of text, is that I really feel that I’m starting to learn how to eat properly. I don’t mean eating my vegetables (though I’ve definitely picked that up, and you’ll see why in this next part.) I mean quantity-wise, I’m really seeing how things should be done. We don’t want to appear as the Americans who eat half the table, especially since the kid’s diets are very strict, so we typically eat (nearly) the same portions as everyone else. Well, this has been kind of difficult, as they eat like birds. So much so that I’ve actually lost 20 pounds in the last two months. One more month to go, I’m hoping for another 10 pounds to put me at a nice, lean 185lb. I’m hoping that I can maintain these eating habits at home, but only time will tell. Alrighty though, that’s all I’ve got and if I
word vomit anymore I feel like I’ll be unhealthily skinny, so… Je vous laisse!
Thanks for reading!
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