Monday, October 11, 2010

More Strikes and Lots of Fog!

You would not believe the amount of fog there is in the mountains!

Every morning I look out my sunroof window and all I see is white! Then I sit up and still see white, then I really look out the window and I finally see the town, covered by a thick layer of clouds.  All throughout the day and into the afternoon the mountain-tops are in the clouds.  Sometimes in the late afternoon around four or five o'clock the clouds clear out, but the usual fall day-so far- has been cloud covered town and mountains and an average of 11C.  That is not bad for the autumn in the mountains, but as Adélie said, it is not going to stay this way for long, they call for a snowy winter this year, YAY!

That doesn't mean there will be snow days, because there are not many snow days here, you get to school when you get to school.  The same thing goes all year long with the teachers, there are no substitute teachers.  If a teacher is absent or on strike, well good for you because you will not have their class.  Tomorrow there is another strike and I have Math from 10am to 11am, then I have "études"-their version of study hall or free time- until 3pm when I have an hour of History and Geography!
We have already had 4 days of "grève", and I have come to like the striking ways of the French :).
I found an Asian food store! It had a full aisle of different flavored Ramen and even had fish sauce!

On the other hand, there was a blocus at the high school on Friday morning.  The essential layout of a blocus is an organized manifestation of the students blocking the entrance of the school.  This is their way of "striking" if you will, because they litterally blocked the other students from entering the school.  In this case, there were ways to get through the sea of people, but they were packed tight.  Around 8:30 the students were able to enter the building, but there was a maximum of 6 people in all of my classes.

We got our Maths Spé test back and I got a 17/20, which made me very happy and we are going to take another Math test on Friday on percentages and factoring.  I better watch out for my periods and commas and show all my work, I should ace-oh wait I can't use that word because you can't get an A in France- so I should 20 this test!

This weekend we returned to Benoît's parents' house in Sothonod in the Juras to finish picking the ripe fruits and nuts.  This time we picked the rest of the blackberries, little kiwis and the beginning of the nuts.  We have to come back in a month or so to finish the nuts.  We brought a little picnic of leftover broccolli and beef tart with fresh bread, grapes and pastries.

On our way back to Bonneville, we had to drive through a cloud!  The whole mountain top was inside the cloud and at one point we could see no further than a meter in front of the car!  The trees were all surrounded by the cloud and the fields with the cows, you could barely see the cows. 
These are photos of the view in front of the car on our way down the mountain.  It took us about twice as long as before because of the fog and clouds, but we finally came out of the cloud and listened to classic French songs on the way home.  It felt weird, because these were songs like "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Can't Buy Me Love" and "American Pie" that everybody knows!  I was the only one in the car not singing along to every single one of them!  But no worries, because Adélie is going to pound them into me until I know them all by heart too and can play them all on the piano :).

So, about those little kiwis that we picked at Sothonod...
They are absolutely deliscious! They taste like fuzzy kiwis but minus the fuzz and are about the size of the top of your thumb and are slightly sweeter.  Tonight we had them for dessert and we finished the whole medium-sized-colander full of them!  Good thing we have another box-full in the basement :)!

This was my plate tonight after dessert, the only reason that I left the two is that one fell on the floor and the other one was not in the prettiest shape. :(

I am off to bed early tonight, since I start at ten tomorrow I can sleep in!!

I will study hard for my next tests and I will update soon, we have close family friends coming over this weekend and then next weekend is vacances de Toussain!
I will certainly have lots of stories to tell so tune in next time!

Ciao and Bisous!

-I am finally getting used to the bise every time I say hello to someone! For those who don't know a thing about the French culture, the bise is the custom greeting of friends when they see each other for the first time in the day, it is one kiss on each cheek- more of a cheek touch and a kissing sound, but you know what I mean- for two girls and a guy and a girl, and more often nowadays, the boys give a firm handshake to each other.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

AFS Weekend

My first AFS weekend was this weekend, and it was so much fun!

It was so nice to be able to talk and connect with people who are experiencing the same thing as I am. Also, we spoke French only when necessary, during the group activities and the group meetings, but the rest of the time we spoke English.  It was a little bit weird at first, because after talking for fifteen minutes, I realized that that was the most fluently paced English that I had spoken in a month!

 One of the activities we did was musical chairs, but the only source of music that we had was Marshall's ukulele and Emily's voice.  There was a group of students from the Student Ambassadors program at the castle with us, below is not the castle that we stayed in, but the castle at the top of the hill that we were on and visited Sunday afternoon.

The Student Ambassadors were going to New Zealand, Marshall's homeland, and the United States for two weeks later in the year.  They talked to us a little bit about our experiences in France and then played games with us.

We spent most of Saturday and Sunday in Isère with AFS, but there was not a lot of time acutally spent doing AFS activities. We had a two hour activity period with samll groups both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, but the rest of the time we had to ourselves and the other AFSers. 
 Above are the three Americans, Ashley-Marie on the far left is from Austin, Emily is from Connecticut and me, well I am from beloved Massachusetts.

When Ashley and I took a couple of minutes to check out the property, I looked down and saw a bunch of dandelions.  I know I was stupid, but I seriously thought there were only dandelions in the US and Canada, I am not kidding.  So when I saw them all on the grass leading up to the parking lot I had to have a picture with them!

Nikita-German, Marshall-Kiwi, and me-you all should know.

Another one of the activities that AFS had us do was to draw a little flag of our home country and on the other side write our name and then place it on the map of Rhône-Alps.  There were so many people clustered in Lyon and St-Etienne, but then there was only me and a girl from Paraguay in the North East near Geneva!

Once we got to the top of the mountain that we stayed at over the weekend, this was the view and there was a map at the top of what cities were where and what you could see.  The castle was all closed off though so we could only look and enjoy the view.  It was also so windy at the top, we all felt like we were going to get knocked over!  It was fun to be with people from around the world and share our experiences that are so similar, yet so different. 

In this last picutre, there is Marina-all the way at the top- from Brazil, Nina-to the right- from Australia, and Jacob-on the bottom- from Denmark.  The mix of people was really amazing, and it was so fun to hang out with them and learn about what their lives were like at home, and to hear the different languages.  Jacob's accent in English is so great, and when he rapped in Danish we could not stop laughing!

This week is/has been/is going to be my hardest week so far, because I have so many exams! I got my math test from last week back and I got a 16/20.  I am very happy with the grade, but I have to remember that they don't use the quadratic formula here and that I have to use a comma instead of a period!  I have already made that mistake so many times!

I am off to study for the many more exams I have this week and to read some more of L'Etranger by Albert Camus for French class.
Until next time!
A Bientot!