I’ve been here at my host family’s for less than a week, so I’m still learning how things work. Sundays, I found out, are very chill. 🙂
I woke up this morning and went downstairs at about ten, figuring everyone would be finishing up breakfast or maybe at church (wasn’t sure if they attended). Turns out I was the second person up, after my 10-year-old sister who I joined on the couch to watch some Disney-ish French show about teenage surfers with perfect hair.
My host parents said good morning a little bit later, asking me if I slept well and remarking that I woke up early. 10 am is early? I could get used to this.
We moved everything out to the patio and had a typical French breakfast: lots of warm bread, good butter, homemade confiture, big cups of tea. They also fried one egg just for me, sunny-side-up, which was really sweet (the gesture, not the egg). Turns out eggs are not a breakfast food in France: something I hadn’t realized.
After we ate, the girls wanted to throw around the football I brought as a très américain gift. I’m trying to teach them how to throw a spiral, though I barely know what I’m doing. Oh well. Ça va. The little sister, M, especially loves the football, which is really cute.
The older sister, 13, L, brought the family laptop outside so we could listen to some music while we played. Turns out we’re both fans of catchy Rihanna songs (and Calvin Harris, and that Pink & Nate Ruess duet, and…). Who would’ve known “Pon de Replay” would cross a language barrier.
A little bit later, we all hopped in the Range Rover for a picnic. They had asked me if I wanted to go, and of course I said bien sûr, but I wasn’t quite clear on where we were actually going. I thought we would drive for 10 minutes or so, end up at a park, but it turned out to be over an hour. Wait, where are we going? I think a big part of living with a family who speaks a language that is still very foreign to me is just learning to go with the flow. There’s kind of no other option. It just means I’m surprised a lot, so luckily I like surprises. 😉
And gooooodness gracious was the drive worth it. The French campagne might be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Seriously.
I had my head out the car window like a happy labrador retriever, unable to fully comprehend that we’d driven into a postcard.And my pictures don’t capture it: just how many rolling hills there are, or the largeness of the sky, or the smell of honeysuckle as we raced around hairpin turns, warm wind in our hair, or the tiny bright red wildflowers dotting the roadside.
I’ve never been so happy just to look out a window.
Then, of course, we arrived at our destination. Because my grasp of complicated French proper nouns is a little…lacking, here’s a picture of the brochure from the area. We ate our picnic in a grassy field nearby. (By the way, does one eat a picnic or just have a picnic. Does eating a picnic imply a Beowulf-esque act of malice, consuming the table, basket, and red-and-white-checked blanket with gluttonous vigor?)
People sold fresh chèvre from goats we saw grazing as we drove up. There was wine, and spices, and stained glass. There was a quirky little band playing, and I do mean quirky: stuffed animals adorned the instruments and the musicians wore crazy hats as they played polka-esque tunes. We saw the man who works at the charcuterie my family frequents: not just a butcher, it turns out he makes ornate paper cards as well.
Then we went to another little shop, inside. Enjoying the cool air from the heavy stone walls, I didn’t really pay attention to what was inside until I was instructed to try an unfamiliar greenish drink in a tiny cup. It was like someone poured liquid fire down my throat. I coughed and waved my hands around like a panicked seal as tears streamed out of my eyes and I wondered if the end was near.
Not fearing for my life, everyone laughed. A lot. And then I realized the Chartreuse liqueur actually has a nice lasting mint-ish burn that I rather enjoyed. Those monks and their plants. (drunk as a monk?)
There were bunnies of all sizes and colors and even a chubby, curious guinea pig. There were baby bunnies, huge mama bunnies…there was a lot of squealing going on, and not from the guinea pig.We’re going to ignore the fact that rabbits are seen as a delicious culinary option in France for the sake of this heartwarming moment.
After seeing the animals, we got drinks and took the same beautiful route back home. It was a good day.
J’aime la campagne!