Age de Glace: Hugo got all the Ice Age movies on DVD for Christmas and we watched them three nights in a row. Scrat needs no translation. It was nice to laugh.
Belote: It's a card game that my host family plays all the time. I played a lot of it in Corsica. ("Let's go for a hike!" "It's raining." "Never mind. Belote, then?") It's the most ridiculously complicated game ever--a nine is worth more than a king but only sometimes, etc.--but now that I've got the hang of it, I like it.
Corsica: We spent the second week of vacation en Corse. It was beautiful--the landscapes reminded me a little of the Texas hill country, with the obvious exception of la mer Mediterranée. As alluded to in B, it rained almost all the time, but it was still warmer than it is here, so that was nice.
Driving: I don't even want to know how many hours we spent in the car.
Eating: I don't even want to know how many hours we spent at the table. The food was always really good (with one notable exception) but even I, gourmande that I am, could only stand so much before I never wanted to eat again. My longest meal was the family Christmas meal in the North of France, I think: We started our apéro at 11:30 a.m. and had dessert at nine p.m.
France: In spite of what AFS says about culture shock, I'm still madly in love with France (if somewhat critical of the school system). Or more accurately, I love the people around me. They're French; ipso facto I love France.
Grenoble: I spent two days in Grenoble with my host dad's parents on the way to Corsica. It was...an interesting experience.
Homesickness: Surprisingly enough, I didn't get very homesick. I felt happy and secure with my host family, and while I thought about my US family a lot, I was content to love them from a different continent.
Introspection: I've had time to think about myself and what I really want this year. The result-- my life goals are slowly but surely shifting away from overachieving and towards the pursuit of happiness. (Sorry. Getting back to more factual/interesting information...)
Jésus: is the reason for the season. (Nothing else starts with J.)
Kids: We accidentally went to the kid-friendly Christmas Eve church service. The whole thing about French kids being better-behaved than their American counterparts? False.
Livres: I got five books for Christmas, plus peanut butter and wool socks. People have me figured out.
Marrons grillés: I ate roasted chestnuts for the first time on a street in Grenoble. Talk about picture-perfect memories...
No limeet: The motto my host family adopted for Christmas break to avoid conflicts, with the idea that no one would refuse something to someone else if he could help it. It was in English, because English is the Cool Language in France (a lot of ads and stuff are partly in English, with a French translation in a footnote), but "limit" was pronounced "limeet," à la française.
Old: My (American) LITTLE brother turned thirteen. That makes me old. I don't know whether I want to grow up or not, but I'm leaning more towards Not. Oh well.
Puy-en-Velay: I went to Le Puy-en-Velay (a town in the Massif Central) during vacation, too. I visited a cathedral where they had all the bishops' names listed since before 800 AD. I continue to be amazed by how old things can be in France.
Quaint: I got to see the little village where my host mom grew up.
Raclette: It's a traditional winter dish. You melt cheese in a cheese-melter thing and then spread it on potatoes and charcuterie. I liked it (it's essentially just a plateful of animal fat and potatoes) but it's kind of heavy, to say the least. I'm not enthusiastic about having it again because I ended up eating it three times in one week (it's the sort of thing you eat at a Convivial Family Gathering, and if you have three different CFGs all in a row,then too bad for you).
School: Not having to go to school was kind of a relief. I was happier just being with my host family, and there were two other sixteen-year-olds to keep me company (my host brother and his cousine).
Tempête: We took a ferry to Corsica, and it was fine. It took about six hours. We took a ferry back from Corsica, and it was NOT fine. There was a tempête the night we were supposed to leave, so the ferry delayed its departure until the next morning. We had nowhere else to go, though, so we had to sleep in the cabins on the ferry anyway (boarding time: 21h00). It was awfully rocking-y on the boat, even in the port. We left the port at 11 the next morning, and the seas just got rougher and rougher, to the point that the ferry captain opted to take a longer route that was safer because it stayed closer to the coast. So instead of getting to Toulon at 17h00, we got there at 20h00, twenty-three hours after we had gotten on the ferry. It was horrible--the first time I had experienced motion sickness since...since ever, really. Oh well.
Umbrella: (This one's for you, Daddy.) Hervé got one for Christmas and opened it to try it out while we were inside. But no bad luck was forthcoming.
Voeux: The French (or my family anyway) make New Year's wishes in addition to resolutions. I decided I like that tradition better, so this year I just made wishes. (They're secret.)
Writing: I wrote in my journal every day, comme d'hab.
eXtraordinary: It was an eXtraordinary vacation in an eXtraordinary year for an ordinary but eXtraordinarily grateful girl.
Yule log: (bûche de Noël but I've already used B and N) The traditional Christmas dessert in France is a cake decorated to look like a log. I know the history but it's not that interesting so I'll skip it. I think I ate de la bûche de Noël on four separate occasions? Yes, four. We had a lot of people to celebrate Christmas with.
Zig: I played Scrabble in French with both grandmothers, one of whom is a serious internet Scrabble player. ZIG is an accepted word, as is WU. I'll never use them in conversation, but they're worth lots of points in Scrabble, so they're useful acquisitions. I guess.