Feb 13, 2010

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important update!

I'm really, really sorry that I haven't updated. It's been crazy for me here (in the best possible way), and I haven't really had the time to write a lot. (To be honest, I've even neglected the journal I keep every day!) But I fully intend to write about everything I've been up to right now, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Evénement numéro 1: Noël

Christmas was insanely fun! Although I had a lot of trouble trying to decide what gifts to get my host family, everything finally came together. I got my host mom a cute little oil dispenser from a store she likes that makes funky house hold supplies (Pylones, in case you were wondering). My host dad was a little harder, because I only see him on the weekends. I decided to get him a nice box of chocolates from a shop that has quite a reputation (Voisin). Personally, though, I found the gifts for my host brothers the most challenging. Neither were very willing to help when I asked what they wanted, saying "I don't know", "A surprise",etc. In the I was left with the reposes "A car" from one brother and "Friendship and love" from the other. So what did I do? I went and bought the closest thing I could find on my budget: A little hot-wheels for the one and a playmobil person for the other! I also gave them some DVDs, because I'm a nice person =). (Although I've noticed that Antoine plays with his toy car more than he watches the movies!!)

The gifts were finished and under the tree the 23rd, and the real party started Christmas Eve. After going to the movies in the afternoon with my host mom, brothers, and one of their friends (each of us seeing a different film), we returned to the house to find that the family had already arrived. My host uncle, aunt, and cousins awaited us, and before long we were all seated in the salon enjoying fois gras, escargots, and other french appetizers. We then ate dinner, dessert, and papillotes until we could eat no more. Then the kids all went upstairs and played card games and board games, attempted to solve brain teasers, and listened to some of Baltimore's 24 hour Christmas station thanks to the wonders of live radio through the Internet. We finally decided it was time to stop when we noticed that we were falling asleep, which was around 2 or 3 in the morning.

Christmas morning greeted us with sunshine. In the morning we... did nothing special! No rush for the (non existent) stocking, no ripping open presents, no attempting to wake up sleeping siblings!!!! But it wasn't bad at all. I helped my host mom get the food prepared, I set and decorated the tables, and early in the afternoon the whole family showed up. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, oh my! We all stood around and chatted for a little bit before sitting down to Christmas dinner (the kids at one table, the adults at another). The food was, according to my host mom, the classic french Christmas dinner: Fois gras and salmon, then a meat (I'm pretty sure it was quail and venison)(When I didn't understand the french word for venison everyone helpfully tried to explain. I figured it out when they started talking about Bambi). It was all quite tasty, and for the second day in a row I ate way too much. It was then the most anticipated moment of the day: PRESENTS!! Unlike at home where we're always forced to wait as everyone opens the presents one by one in order of age, here they counted to three and everyone opened them all together. I got (-along with other things) some new books (in french and in English/french), a new CD (BB Brunes), some new sheet music, tickets to see Mika in concert (!!!!!!), and ...... (drum roll) a potato! Apparently, Antoine decided to give everyone a potato. With a face drawn on it in marker. No lie. After dinner we all played a game (Wanted) and tried to solve some enigmas from the new book a cousin got. It was all together a very fun holiday.

Evénement numéro 2: Ski

The day after Christmas my host dad, brothers, and I loaded into the station wagon and headed off to the Alpes (only to get stuck in HORRIBLE traffic on the way). We arrived in the night, and right away went to sleep. The next day Antoine and my host dad left early to ski, but I stayed with Christophe at the chalet and worked on homework (oh, how studious of me!). Afterwords we played a sort of "Name that Tune" because Christophe got a CD of film music for Christmas. Later in the afternoon, when Antoine and my host dad returned, I was informed that tomorrow I would be getting a ski lesson in the morning (because I'm an awful skier) and that we needed to go rent me skis. We ended up not getting the skis due to a confusion at the store, but I was getting more and more excited for my ski adventure.

Well, the day of my ski adventure arrived and I was out the door by 8:30. We rented the skiis, drove to the slopes, and before I knew it I was being introduced to Antoine, my ski instructor. (Oddly enough, it was Antoine (my host brother) who helped my fine Antoine (my ski instructor)). Now this is where my skiing becomes completely new for me. At home I ski on a nice little mountain with fake snow. Here I was in the Alpes. With real snow swirling around often making it completely white. And I swear the ride up took like 1725639192.3726 million hours. Not even kidding. (Ok, maybe I am kidding. Just a little. But anyways, continuing with the story...). But you know what? My skiing wasn't too horrible! Antoine took me on the easy slopes, and I was able to steer and control my speed and all that jazz (and I only fell like 4 times, which is pretty phenomenal for me). The three hours of lesson passed quickly, and afterwords I met up with my host family for lunch. After eating I was planning on going back out and skiing with Antoine (my host brother) and my host dad, but that's when my problems started. On the J-bar up to the slope we were going to take disaster struck! Well, not really disaster, but one of my skis popped off. So I had to get off the lift to save my ski, and that's where my break down occurred. I'm not really going to go into detail about it in an attempt to preserve my image, but I will say that it involved my trying to ski down a slope that was too hard for me, exhaustion, getting a jet-ski called to take me back to the lodge, and the end of skiing for me for he day. But you know what, it wasn't all that bad! I had already warned my family of my lack of ski experience (3-4 times in my life), and that evening I went home and watched a nice movie with my host mom called La Première étoile which made me feel better about my skiing =)

The next day the rain arrived, so skiing was not really possible. The day was spent inside playing board games and doing enigmas, and in the evening we went to a friend's chalet for dinner. There were a couple families there, meaning that there were enough people to do a kids table and an adults table. So, since we finished eating first, all of the teenagers left to go to a bar in town (all the teenagers being me, my 2 host brothers, and 3 other guys that were there).It was really nice to just be able to chill with people, and even though I didn't know the other guys I was able to have a great time! (to the surprise of my host mom. She called at the end and was all worried that I'd just been left in the corner all night).

Evénement numéro 3: Nouvel An

The day after I got back from the Alpes was New Year's Eve. While my host brothers had a massive party at the house, I was invited to a friend's place for a fiesta of smaller size. 4 people, to be exact, me included. It was with my copines, the 3 girls I hang out most with at school. I t was really fun! We did the typical sleep over things (little games, gossip, music, movies), and ended up staying up until 6 or 7 just talking. So, there's proof: French teens and American teens really aren't that different!!

Evénement numéro 4: Grève

My teachers went on strike. Again. Two Thursdays in a row. Meaning the first week I had a couple hours in the afternoon and the second week I had no class at all. Meaning, naturally, going with all my friends to McDo and then to the magasins. As a matter of fact, I've missed class a lot lately due to things relatively outside my control! Take a look, I've had:
  • A field trip with Escalade that took an afternoon
  • A teachers conference that gave us a morning
  • A day of planning for next year that I was allowed to skip, giving me an afternoon
  • A thing with Music that took everyday last week from 11-1
  • Snow, that keeps some of my teachers at home, giving us an hour or two
  • Snow, that stops the buses, giving us a day and a half
  • And, best of all, a 2 week ski break going on right now

Evénement numéro 5: Vacances

This week and next week make up our February break! This week we stay at home, but on Friday we head back up to the mountains for a week of skiing! (I'm gonna stick to the easy slopes this time). So far the break has gone well! Yesterday I went to the movies (Sherlock Holmes) with my host mom and Christophe, played soccer (in the snow) with Antoine, and played badminton (in the snow) with Christophe.

Evénement numéro 6: Cooking

So, I've made a few little thing for my host family. I made a massive lasagna, which, thanks to teenage host brothers, was gone in 2 or 3 days. Sunday I made some Valentine's Day brownies. And today I attempt an real, American pizza! Wish me luck!

Evénement numéro 7: Notes
I've been getting some good grades here! I got a 16.5 /20 in Geography (good), a 14/20 in History (good), an 18.5/20 in Chemistry (excellent), and, best of all

11.5/20 in English
Which, by the way, is not good. In fact, for a native English speaker, it's awful. But, in my defense, it was new for me. I have no clue what les modaux are. And, in the fill in the blank part, all my answers were correct. They just weren't what she was looking for. (But I think it's terrific. It's boring to always have 20/20 =D )(Also, I now have a smattering of people offering me English lessons. The kid next to me got a 13 and spent the entire class telling me that it would be smart to take notes and that maybe I should listen more closely to the teacher. I think he was enjoying himself)

So, that about covers my last 2 months. I've been having a terrific time, and I still highly recommend France for people trying to decide which country to come to! If you have any questions or comments or complaints or ideas or proclamations of love for the blog or what not, feel free to say something! I'll try my best to keep updating more frequently!

A bientot, Sophia


  1. It's amazing how good your English still is! You're a great blog-writer!


    ...okay, actually reading it now. :)

  3. bahahaha an 11.5 in english! it IS way more exciting than a 20, i agree. and also more amusing.... :D
    also, can i just say that i find it totally impressive that you've been immersed in french for, what, 6 months? and can still remember how to spell skiing. a major feat!especially since some of us...ahem....have issues with that word even when it's in our everyday language....;)
    and break downs while skiing are fully acceptable. i'm curious, though...how did oyu ski down the slope with only one ski?

  4. I'm sad that the post is already over! I'm also confused as to why you got a low english score, because from what I can tell, you are very well spoken in english....oh well!

  5. What I appreciate with American is that they can be so positive. Spend one year far from home at such a young age can be difficult and confusing. Sophia seems optimistic with everything, even strike or bad marks......
    I live in France and I am the AFS host mother of an European student. My husband and I try our best to please her, but after 6 months, she cannot stop critizing us. We try to forgive her because she is a child and we are responsible for her, but it's tiring, I sometimes think that a student coming from America where parents have little free time for their kids can be more tolerant !....

  6. yayayayayayayayay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    skiing and potatoes sound like so much fun :)

    and missing school isn't so bad either...

    the 11.5 in english is my favorite

    miss you a ton!!! LYLAS

    <3 christy

  7. Hi!
    So I don't know you, but I'm planning on going to France next year, saw your blog on the AFS website and decided to check it out. It's really encouraging--I was starting to get kinda nervous...