17 September 2010

Between the wild black berry picking, long walks and picnics, and the lack of easily accessible internet access my life is becoming increasingly like a Jane Austen novel.

Last Friday I moved to my new home, it’s located in Pessac, about a ten minute walk from my old building, and the area of the university where I will be taking my classes. Though it’s a bit far from downtown Bordeaux, I’ve decided I prefer this set up to living in the city and having a 50 minute commute before morning classes. There are two parks within a couple blocks of the house, one of them quite large. On the other side of the smaller of the parks is Pessac town center, which boasts, among other things, a train station, a movie theatre (with free WiFi, which is cool, if a bit nonsensical), and a Carrefour (a grocery store chain). It’s also about 8 minutes away from the nearest, most practical tram stop, which makes getting downtown only a matter of sitting (or standing, as has become more common recently, do to the inexplicable Bordeaux population boom i.e. everyone came back from vacation) on the tram for 25 minutes or so. So all in all, it’s a fairly convenient location. The house itself it is pretty cute, it’s a split level kind of thing, with a bonus second floor. My room and bathroom are right at the entrance, the next kind of level features the laundry room, office, living room, dining room, and eat-in kitchen, the final kind of level has the master bedroom. The second floor has another bedroom, bathroom, and a game room. They have an awesome dog named Cali, and their/(my?) neighbor has a horse. There is nothing more foreign than hearing a horse whinny while eating your breakfast of corn flakes and non-refrigerated milk.

Yes folks, that IS a toilet seat. Obviously my bathroom is quite the luxury suite :)
Though, admittedly, the water pressure leaves quite a lot to be desired
You can't see anything in this picture? That's the POINT. Isn't it glorious? They have these fantastic thing in france called "le voile" or something like that, it's like outdoor blinds, and this is the effect they have. This photo was taken, by the way, at 8:30 am. Granted it was raining this day, but I promise that when I woke at 10 am the day before (which was sunny) I could hardly believe it was that late and still this dark
These, as we call them, "bomb shelter blinds" can also double as a full length mirror when you turn on the light
This is a picture they have of Cali in their kitchen. Their last exchange student was also from San Diego, so she's with a sign that says: San Diego Si Vous Plait
This is a statue in the smaller of the two parks
And this is the park
On Sunday, my family took me back to the Bay of Arcachon (where the oyster place, the big pile of sand, and beach are located) in order to walk and picnic. It’s my understanding that they do something like this every Sunday. Their youngest son (21) came down from wherever he goes to school and joined us for the day. Up until this point I understood more or less everything my host family said, however, the conversations of the three of them were considerably more difficult to follow. I ended up tuning out for most of the ride there, because I’m not so interested in apartments in Paris as to try to follow their conversation. Cali came with us and she seemed to really love running about. We walked on a trail along the side of the bay (this bay has an incredibly large tide, that is, the water goes WAY out, so we were pretty far from the water most of the time). Looking across the bay, though, feels very similar to looking across mission bay from the Sea World parking lot. Then we picnicked in a nice field, under some trees. My host mothers cooking is fantastic, and her meals are always multiple courses. This picnic began with rice/vegetable dish with tomatoes (have I mentioned that tomatoes are all super fantastic here?), palm shoots (the family held a little conference to determine the English word for what we were eating because I didn’t know the French one, it was hilarious), and maybe something else. Then we ate something that was kind of like a pizza, but with a sweeter crust, and possibly egg, I have no idea what it was, but it was pretty decent. Then we had cheese, meat, and bread. Then these things that kind of looked like miny rice cakes, but were the texture of cheese, I think. We finished the picnic with a delicious desert of grilled chocolate and peach sandwiches. They were delicious. All the meals we eat here are like this, although dessert is usually yogurt (I usually take their homemade (!) plain yogurt, with apple & some foreign fruit stuff in it. It’s pretty fantastic, and the homemade yogurt is more creamy and less sour than regular plain yogurt). On the way back, we had some trouble getting back to the trail, but we ended up finding it. And we stopped along the way to pick wild black berries (!), which my host mother later made into jam. They were incredibly sweet. All in all, we were out picnicking for 6 hours, and when we got back my host mother had crepes with sugar and or honey prepared for a snack. Their son begged is mother for some of his favorite jams and “comptes”, and teased is mother about being short (which I thought was a bit funny, as I’m a bit taller than he is), and then he headed back out. It was quite a pleasant day.
And I’ve managed to do fairly well with the internet issue. Kindles make awesome email writing devices. :)

1 comment:

  1. Those blinds are SO COOL. LOVE.
    The food sounds yummmmmmmmy. I hope you often wear your giraffe dress because otherwise shame is to be had.


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