Oct 14, 2009

Alpes, anniversaire, and another blog update!

I've had quite a few things happen since my last post! Actually, it's really only been two major things...But none the less they have been major (for me)!

The first of the two was first trip to the Alpes (yes, in French Alps is spelled with an E). Last Friday I packed a bag and headed to my host family's chalet with my host parents and one of my host brothers (Antoine). My other host brother (Christophe) stayed home because he had too much work. After 2 hours in the car, we arrived in the town of Sainte-Gervais in the mountains. The chalet was actually up higher than the rest of the town, so I got a very nice scenic view while we drove to the house. When we arrived, there was no one else there. Soon after though a second family arrived with a younger daughter and two sons around my age (I think one was the same age, one possibly a year older). We all ate dinner, and then all of us kids headed off to play a rousing game of Harry Potter Uno. The next day dawned cold and rainy. There were times where all you could see out the windows was a white cloud that enveloped the chalet!

Living in a cloud

Another family arrived in the morning. This family had a very little boy and two daughters who I think were just slightly younger than me. After a lunch together, all the parents left for a hike in the mountains. After a bit of homework, all of us at the house chilled out. We watched two movies (A French movie, Cyprien, and an American movie dubbed in French, Hitch), played a round of HP Uno, and played around on the keyboard. Later in the evening the parents returned, and after dinner everyone left for a hike in the night to hear the mating call of a deer (although that may very well not have been the purpose. I didn't really understand what they were saying, haha). But what ever we were searching for didn't show, and one again the kids headed back to the house while the parents enjoyed the outdoors. Although it was very dark, slightly chilly, and there were hidden puddles everywhere, there was a break in the clouds and the night sky was stunning. It was very close, if not equal to, the sky in the BWCA of Minnesota. I think we managed to hike above the light pollution, which was incredible. You could see thousands of stars!! Once we made it back to the house, all the kids headed up to the little loft to play a game called "Service Compris!". It entertained us until midnight!

Sunday proved to be stunning!

Although the weather was still a little nippy, the sun was shining and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

The weather on Sunday

After breakfast, the parents announced they were going to do another hike. All of the other kids stayed back, claiming schoolwork, but I decided to go. I'm pretty sure that was the right choice!! The hike was long and challenging, it's true, but it was worth it! 3-4 hours of hiking uphill in the French Alpes brings absolutely stunning views! We hiked above all the clouds of the towns below, ate wild blueberries, saw the sun hit snow capped mountains, and if I ware a little bit taller I think I could have touched the sky! After 3 hours of upward motion, we went down a huge hill and then it only too 1.5 hours to go back! (When we got home I found out that "homework" consisted of a little actual work, a movie, and some games.)

At the top

Heading home

The second major thing to happen was my birthday!! On Tuesday I turned 16, and I must say the birthday was fantastic (and totally different form any other birthday I've ever had). It started off by my waking up too early due to that sense of birthday jitters (I was quite excited! Sweet 16!!!!). To pass time I listened to the excellent mix CD some of my friends sent me for my birthday, read and re-read the birthday cards I had gotten in the mail, and dove into the world of magic at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (aka read Harry Potter). Finally, it was time to get ready for school. After a few little happy birthdays from my host family, I headed off to school. In my excitement for my birthday, I apparently ended up alerting half my class that today was my anniversaire, so in school I had a warm welcome! I'm not sure whether I got more wishes in French or English (many people in my class are very excited at the chance to parle anglais). To save time (and because you probably don't want a super detailed play by play of my school day) here are some of the highlights of the journey:
  • My friends alerted the Vie Scolaire that it was my birthday, so a birthday announcement got put up on the TVs in the hallway.

  • I got happy birthday (in English) sung to me 5 times, two of which got cut short due to a teacher saying they were singing too loudly in the halls
  • School started at 1 PM! My only morning class (chemistry) didn't happen due to the prof being absent, so my classes started after lunch. And I only had two classes: Bio and music!
  • The cantine had Fries and "steak" (a hamburger w/o the bun). I like to think they did it because it was the American's birthday
I got finished at 6, and around 7:30 my host mom called us down for dinner. Guess what we had


I had mentioned once that I loved it, and my host mom actually went and bought sushi for my birthday dinner!! It was the first time either she or my one host brother who was there that evening (Christophe) had ever had it. They thought it was highly amusing that I ate it all with chopsticks, but I thought it even funnier that they ate it with a knife and fork! After a very satisfying dinner, my host mom said there was a little dessert, but before that she had a surprise for me. She said (in French) that since I was turning.... (16, I replied) ... that she had 16 little gifts for me (to which I replied, .........!!!!!). Some of them were like a bookmark or a pen, but I got the new Mika CD, a cookbook of brownies, and quite a few other lovely things! It was really fun, and all I could do was smile broadly and say over and over again Merci beaucoup!. After the gifts she brought out a little chocolate cake. In France you blow out the candles, but there isn't a song that goes with it. Well, the cake was amazing, but we learned something very important: Blowing out candles on a cake covered in cocoa powder= showering the table with cocoa powder!! It was incredibly fun, and an amazing sweet 16.

In other news, I am officially (assuming my visa and what not allows it) going to London in November! My friends are also going, so it should be super fun! I also had to ask for help in English today (to top it off I had to ask the kid the teacher put next to me in hopes that I could help)! But it was translating the English document into French, so I think it was justified.

I think that really about covers it. I hope everyone is doing well!



  1. Hope it's not creepy that i'm following your blog religiously, but i'm really enjoying it! =) It's really helping with the application process. I keep thinking - remember, it's FRANCE, remember, it's FRANCE - and this blog totally helps. Oh, and love the new Mika CD! C'est tres bien.

  2. deer have mating calls??

    anyway, good post.

  3. soooo....how would you say mating call in french? i'm really curious.


    and the hiking sounds beautiful!

    happy very belated birthday!

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