Greetings, friends, family, etc!
If you didn’t get the first epic french email, don’t be sad. I couldn’t find
my email address list, and it wasn’t a very epic email anyway. This one has
all the good details, per various requests.
I’ve just finished the second week of my intensive french course, which means
I get to move from 5 hours of classroom work on grammar, pronunciation, etc
to 6 hours a day of hands-on culture and exploration. I’m VERY excited. I
learned a helluva lot from that class, but it was BORING. I’m also pretty glad
it’s friday. My body is starting to reject the idea of getting up at 7:30
AM. Must be getting over my jetlag finally, hm?
My host family: I’m living with a single woman whose name is Marie-T (short
for Therese). She is in her 60s and is currently unemployed. I don’t know
what happened to her husband, and don’t feel comfortable asking, but she had a
grown up son and daughter whom I’ve met. They live elsewhere in Besancon
with their significant others. Marie-T is a die hard sports fanatic. Within
the first half hour I’d been placed in her care, I found myself whisked away to
a women’s handball match. Marie-T used to play handball – for thirteen
years, I think – so she is the team’s number one supporter. She sells raffle
tickets before the game, so she smuggles me in to save us seats. I’ve been to two
games so far, and I rather enjoy them, actually. I’ve even gotten pretty
good at figuring out why fouls are called… Hehe. When Marie-T’s not actually
out doing yoga, playing tennis, or doing “gymnastique” (I think it might be
aerobics) she’s got the latest soccer game on the TV. Whoosh. She watches a
lot of TV. And she thinks it’s pretty fabulous that I have siblings who play
And then there’s dinner. Heh heh heh. What an adventure. First of all, the
soup. There is a different soup every single day. I don’t know how she does
it. It’s amazing. One night’s soup is usually the last night’s leftovers.
You have no idea how she could possibly make a soup out of what you’re
eating, but somehow she manages. The first night I had some kind of “potage de
legumes.” It didn’t kill me so I didn’t ask. The next night I had pumpkin and
potato soup. I shouldn’t have asked, but it was actually pretty good. That
lasted for three nights. Then there was pork and lentil soup. Yikes. Then
there was what I could have sworn was chicken noodle soup, but it tasted kind
of funny. Again, I shouldn’t have asked. It was celery and rudabega soup,
left over from the melange of strage things we’d eaten the night before. I
think the meat might have been liver, so I decided I would definitely not ask.
The next night, was what I like to call broccoli-colliflower-casserole soup.
It was not good. The last three nights have been
pepper-radish-potato-andwhoknowswhatelse green soup. I actually like it rather a lot.
And then there are the salads… *sigh* Nothing much special about them,
but boy I don’t like eating them…
Somewhere in the four or so course meals we eat nightly, there is always a
soup, a main dish, a salad, the cheese platter, and desert. I think between
the two of us, we make more dirty dishes than my whole family does at
Thanksgiving. All in all, Marie-T is a very good cook, and I’m eating well. The only
thing that will save me from looking like a waterbuffalo (Heather’s term!)
when I come home is the million miles of walking I do every day.
The city itself is just as gorgeous as I remember it. I walk through Centre
Ville every day, which is a melange of variously old buildings with plenty of
pedestrian “only” streets. (I say only because I such things as sidewalks,
crosswalks, and pedestrian-only streets seem to be an optional courtesy rather
than an actual rule.)
I don’t have any real plans yet for the weekend, but right now I’m going to
head out and meet a couple of friends (of varied national origin, but mostly
Spanish) at a local cafe. I feel terribly European. Hehe. I’m happy to
provide more details if you write back to me (heh heh), and in the meanwhile, I
pass on much love. Talk to you soon.