For those who don’t speak French fluently, which I feel can safely assume is the majority of the people who read this blog, “encore” in French sort of means again in English. So, Thanksgiving Again, because I am writing this in the last minutes of my Thanksgiving day. Although, it may be posted later…
I just got back from my Thanksgiving dinner put on by the French American organization here in Caen. It was a wonderfully super-filling meal that wasn’t quite traditional American thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving meal all the same. It was served in a typical French style which meant we started with les apéritifs, which was crackers and punch or kir. Kir is a fruit juice mixed with white wine, I tried it at the French family’s house about two weeks ago. But, I had the punch (with rum) instead. After that we were served a pumpkin soup. I would really like to have the recipe for the soup. It was very delicious and slightly filling which didn’t help matters with the large amount of turkey that the next course provided. The main dish was turkey (obviously) which was served with a tomato and potatoes au gratin (I think). After that we had an interesting salad with Camembert (cheese) and apples. It wasn’t my favorite, but delicious all the same. Then the desert was something like whipped cream with lemon-y things. I’m not describing it that well, but was very delicious. Although, I wasn’t able to finish about half my meal because I was so full. It was definitely not what I would have eaten at home. I missed my mashed potatoes and apple pie and pumpkin pie, but I was glad to have the company on this thanksgiving away from home.
I sat next to my friend Riitta (from Finland) am a elderly French man who used to be a doctor. He was very friendly and showed me a video of two turkeys “dancing the tango” numerous times. He told me about how he met President Obama when he (Obama) came to Normandie for the D-Day memorial. June 6, 1944 is a day that everyone here in Normandie remembers and is taught about. All the people I have talked to her are so thankful for the help of the British, Canadian, and American soldiers that gave up their lives of that day. They thank me and the other Americans here for helping them, even though we did not have relatives who participated. It’s quite humbling to think about how honored they are to be able to celebrate that day in France, while in the United States hardly anything is done to show what happened. I have learned more about D-Day (J-Jour) here than I have learned in the United States in all my history classes. I hope to go to the memorial on June 6th at the American Cemetery. The man who was seated across from me was 84 years old and had lived through World War II. He was and still is involved in American French relations in Caen. He set up the sister city of Alexandria, Virginia. I was also able to talk to his wife who spoke very highly of her friends in the United States who were willing to lend her a hand when she was in need of some help. It was amazing to see how involved and knowledgable the French were about the United States. Even though both these men were involved in French-American relations, everyone I have met here is more intelligent about the United States than I am about France.
The two boys, Arno and Clement, that are in my French family are learning more about the US at the ages of 5 and 6 than 75% of adults know about France. They can tell me who the President is and what our flag looks like. They know some English words and sayings. They know that there is an election that is coming up. In the United States you could ask most adult who the President of France was and they would just shrug their shoulders (it’s Nicolas Sarkozy) and I’m sure most people wouldn’t be able to draw the flag (vertical stripes of blue, white, and red respectively). The election is France is most likely not getting that much attention either. It really shows how the rest of the world thinks of the US while we don’t necessarily think of the rest of the world. Arno and Clement amaze me with what they learn at school. They are lucky enough to still have a focus on art and know more about art than the average American teenager. But, this may also be due to to the fact that their dad studies art… They are both learning English and like learning new words. I still am a bit surprised whenever they speak English. It’s interesting to hear someone learn your native language.
Now I want to mention more things (and possibly repeat a few things) that I am thankful for, as it is….the day after thanksgiving!
7 Well, I think I was at seven…. Anyways, I am thankful for all my friends back in the states/Australia/anywhere else in the world. All my friends have been such influential parts of my life. I know I could not be where I am today without the helps of my friends and family. I has been so blessed to have an amazing friend since 1st grade, Becca, who I still go to school with. In fact, this is our first year we haven’t been at the same school since we were 6. That’s 12 years of growing up together, nothing to really laugh at! Of course, she is just one of my many close friends that I have made over my lifetime. I am privileged enough to say that I have some of the same friends since elementary and middle school. I have grown up with some really amazing people! I have also met really awesome people in high school and university. They are really awesome too 🙂
8 I am thankful for skype, so thankful for skype. I love being able to see that low quality video of my family and ocean and a country away. It is so nice to see the familiar faces and hear the familiar voices. I think this year would be so much hard if I wasn’t able to talk to my family and Nick on skype as much as I do. That (almost) instant connection between the two computers thousands of miles away is amazing. Really, whoever invented skype/video chatting was a genius.
9 I am thankful for all the decisions that I made that have led me to where I am today. I did not always make the best decisions in high school. I didn’t study nearly as much as I should have and didn’t enjoy homework that much. But, because of even the stupid decisions that I made, I currently am living in France, being supported by my amazing family, friends, and my fantastic boyfriend. I am learning to live for myself and learning a new language. I am learning cultural difference and becoming a more well-rounded, worldly learner. I may not be happy with the decisions I made, and wish I could change quite a few of them, but in the end I am in a wonderful state of being. I am happy to have lived through some of the experiences I’ve had. I feel like I am a better person because of what I have gone through. And this leads me to:
10 I am so thankful for the relationship I have with my parents. In high school my mom and I didn’t generally get along. I wasn’t living up to the potential I could have by not doing homework and not caring about school. We got in fights a ton. It was not a good relationship and my dad sometimes (often) had to play peacemaker. Now, I feel as though I can consider my mom one of the closest friends and confidantes. I know I can tell her anythings and she will be more than willing to give me advice. She helps me grow as a person and realize things about myself that I don’t really like. Sure, we still fight occasionally, but they are a lot better than when I was in high school. My daddy is also amazing. I am lucky enough to have the best dad in the world. Although he may not be very talkative, I know that I can always go to him and he will comfort me. He never fails to call me beautiful and tell me that he is proud of me. He does so much for me without question and I treasure all the time I have with him. He has taught me, more than anyone else, what it means to accept people and love them for who they are. He has aught me not to judge other people and tolerance. I loved growing up in my house and am so thankful for all my parents did for me. They taught me how to live and live.
11 My sister is also really awesome. We do get in arguments quite often, but no matter what happens we will always love each other. I love telling people how amazing my sister is. Nearly all my memories of growing up involve her. We used to play with our American Girl dolls, beanie babies, or other dolls for hours. We made tons of forts with our couch cushions and blankets. She played with me for a while after she had outgrown dolls and toys, just to make me happy. She included me with her friends and is the best big sister anyone could ever ask for. Even if there was a time in high school she enjoyed making car rides to and from church slightly miserable…
12 SLEEP! I am so thankful for being able to sleep in tomorrow! It is currently two minutes till one in the morning. I drank a cafe before I left the restaurant (for Thanksgiving) so I am awake (but finally starting to get tired!). I am so glad that I don’t have any classes tomorrow and will be able to get a good night sleep tonight…which will be starting soon 🙂
I would like to apologize if any of this blog makes no sense. My ability to write English has gone slightly downhill since I’ve been in France. Well, that’s what I am going to blame in on at least 🙂 Honestly, the ability to write well have never been my forte, I leave that to my sister and mom. I would take a math class over an English class any day.
Good night blog world!