Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Nice Weekend

This weekend we went to Sothonod again with the family and some family friends.

We spent nearly the whole day there, very relaxing, we ate a nice lunch, you know the classic French lunch.  The apéro, with two different kinds of wine, and juice for the young ones, then the appetizer consisting of a green salad (enormous leaves that you have to cut, even though it is normally impolite to cut your salad) and a potato salad (with a mustard sauce, very good).  Then came the real deal, the roasted pork and mashed pumpkin (yes, mashed pumpkin, if you remember correctly this is the same HUGE pumpkin that we ate in November). Next came the cheese, a couple different variteies, but we didn't go crazy (when the French have invitees, don't eat too much of the main course because there is always a large selection of cheese 20 minutes later).  Then came the dessert (a simple but very good chocolate cake made by the family friends, but there were also fresh cherries which were AMAZING!).

After lunch we relaxed for a while and then Adélie, Joelle and I (and one of Joelle's friends) went to a really pretty waterfall.  We had to walk a little bit in the water around big rocks and everything before getting to the real thing, but it was amazing and I didn't get too wet :)

I think that French cherries are the some of the best cherries that I have ever tasted, today Adélie and I had to pick fresh raspberries from the garden and cherries from the tree a little ways down in the yard.  I can tell you that all of the ripe cherries were all the way at the top of the tree, but the few that were low enough to pick were absolutely amazing.  I couldn't help myself, I just had to taste a couple of them before coming back into the house.  The rest weren't quite ripe yet, so we are going to have to wait about a week or so I think.

That was this afternoon, but at noon, my host mom made a dish with shark in it!

My delicious asparagus
I have never tasted shark before, and it wasn't half bad.  The texture was special, somewhere in between salmon and swordfish, it was thicker than a fish, but softer than a steak (like swordfish).  She made it in a lime sauce that I liked, and on the side I had made some asparagus à l'Américaine, the way that my parents do it at home.  It was delicious, but I think that I put a little too much olive oil on it, oops. I'll have to remember to measure it the next time.

Another food that I have been introduced to in France is the artichoke, the whole thing, not just the heart.  Infact we eat the "meat" on the leaves and then throw them out.  We work our way around the artichoke to the heart, which is the best part.  They normally put a little bit of lemon mayo on the leaves to soften the taste, I tasted it two times and I really like it :)

The other night Adélie and I watched Beauty and the Beast in French, it was amazing!

Until next time!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A very musical vacation

My last week in France was the most musical and relaxing of all.

The first week was spent at a music "camp" at Sallanches, a town 45 minutes from Bonneville.  It was one week of pure music, at least five hours of music each day.  Students from all over the Faucigny province were invited to the "camp".  There were 87 students this year, ranging from 12 years old to 18 years old.

Even in one week, I have made a whole group of amazing friends that I will be able to see again at the Music Festival at the end of June.  When I arrived, I knew only the kids from my Harmonie, but that first day I made new friends who I shared the dorm room with.  There were other activities, like a karaoke night during the week, but most of the time we were either singing or playing music.

The group of girls in my dorm room and I
We had only one week to put together a concert with songs that we weren't familiar with and that were not easy.  There were six songs and one week to master them, this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life and it has improved my saxophone skills.  I will never be able to forget the friendships that I have made and the amazing experiences that I have had so far this year.

The group of people from the music "camp"
The week after my musical "camp", Adélie and I spent a week in Montpellier with her grandmother.  We spent the week relaxing, shopping and walking the three dogs that were staying with her grandmother.  Her other grandmother lives at Montpellier also, and she gave us a long historic tour on the old Montpellier.

Sadly, the end of the school year is near, it is hard to believe that I have been in France for eight months and that in two months I will be back in the United States.

Me in front of the Aqueduc des Arceaux at Montpellier
Today I received my dates and my numbers for the Bac.  I am going to be passing the written portion of the French bac on June 20th and the oral portion on July 4th.  I am going to pass the science bac on June 22nd.  I am nervous about the exams, but I know that it will go well.

It has been such a long time since I have spoken English, and I feel like I am sort of forgetting it.  It'll come back to me after a day or so in the US, but for the moment I much prefer speaking French and there are some expressions that I want to put in my posts, but they don't exist in English!

I'll update again soon, maybe next time I will write more in French :)