Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Comme d'Habitude"

Christmas in Saint Etienne! a phrase I first learned while studying abroad that means "as usual". It hit me the other day that things are finally becoming habitual and normal for me.... I mostly know what to expect from each day I teach, whether online or in class, and what to expect from my au pair position each morning and night. I mostly understand how the public transit, banks, post offices, and schools work and I know my way around my suburb and city, finally. And even better, I have a favorite bakery (one for bread and one for pain au chocolat), restaurants I love, bars I prefer, and I know where to find the best crêpes... and I'm the first to admit that I take advantage of that way more than I should. People at these places have begun to recognize me and greet me with such warmth and curiosity that I often end up talking to them long after I have made my purchase.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving en France

When I asked my students what they thought Thanksgiving was, most replied that it was a fête for Christmas and we ate turkey... Well, they got it half right at least! I spent the majority of my lessons over the last two weeks discussing the history and traditions of Thanksgiving and teaching any relevant vocabulary or phrases... and the more I talked about it, the more I realized how sad I really was not to be home for it. 

Luckily, I wasn't alone in feeling this way so a bunch of my friends got together for a Francegiving chez Maria's! This was surprisingly hard to pull off, for a few reasons...
1. Food-- most of what we are accustomed to eating for Thanksgiving is not readily available. Turkey? Not until closer to Christmas, so 3 rotisserie chickens took its place. Pumpkin/Cranberry in any form? Nada, so we did without. Pies? Nope,so we got an apple tart and some cookies.
2. Cooking-- not only had none of us ever done Thanksgiving on our own... none of us had an oven at our disposal!
3. Timing-- well, it's not a holiday here, so we had to work the Thursday of, so we switched our Francegiving feast to Friday.