Thursday, January 20, 2011

My host family

So far my host family has been a great experience, and I’m really happy I chose this living situation. I think you learn a lot more about the culture. My host mom is a great cook and I’ve already been introduced to many regional dishes. In the past few days I’ve eaten things I have never eaten before in my entire life-duck, rabbit, and pate! My host dad likes to tell me a lot about the history of the region and France in general…and of course wine.

I arrived at their place on Saturday night and we had a big dinner with their two kids. Their daughter is 23 and their son is 18. The daughter Lives in her own apartment not too far away and comes over for dinner, and the son is only home on the weekends because he goes to a school about 2 hours away. He is studying to be a chef! Every dinner I’ve had has been wonderful, and I could go on and on about each one, so I’ll just go into detail about my first dinner. First we had appetizers of cocktail hotdogs, gruyere cheese, and some beverages from the region. Then we had homemade pizza and duck. In France, they don’t cook their meat as much as they do in the states; in fact it’s practically raw. The daughter told this is because you can taste the natural flavor of the meat better and it’s tenderer. After the two entrées we had a gallette des rois, which is puff pastry filled with frangipane. It’s a dessert served around Mardi gras and Easter and in it there is a little figurine baked in and one person gets. For example, that night my host dad got the little surprise and it was a little figurine of the Easter bunny.

My host family lives out in the suburbs, so commuting to the city and to the school by bus takes awhile.
This was taken on top of the Arche de Triomphe in town...we live in the suburb by that weird looking tower. So, you can see it is far away!

Here is a not zoomed in picture from on top of the arch where you can barely even see that tower (it's on the left). Living this far away also makes doing activities at night with friends hard because the buses stop running at midnight and it’s a big city like Minneapolis, so I don’t want to travel around at night by myself. They have two cars and drive to the city for work, so sometimes I ride in with them. Their house is a lot bigger than I expected it would be. They have a cute fenced in yard with an olive tree and a small pool! In spring, they said they get a lot of bunnies, hedgehogs, squirrels, and frogs in their yard.

That's my room! My bead is 100 years old!

View of the large dinning room from the living room.

Communicating with my family and people in town hasn’t been too bad. I can usually understand what they are saying and can hold a conversation with them. My host dad said he was shocked at how much I already knew. Before me they had an exchange student from Switzerland and one from Belgium and they didn’t know as much as I do. What is still very hard though is using the metric system and Celsius. I have to learn those asap.

Well that’s all for now! I don’t start classes until Monday and am still in the registration process, so I’ll probably do a post on that soon…registering for classes here is a lot different!

Oh I almost forgot about Uki, my host dog. He is some sort of hunting dog and is very very nice.