Brrrrrr! Welp- time seems to be speeding up, I can’t believe it’s already December. It still feels like I arrived only a month ago but I’m excited to be home in two weeks for Christmas…just hoping the weather in Dallas won’t be so wintry by the time I get there!
The week leading up to Thanksgiving was pretty uneventful because I was sick, I spent the days either in my bed or at school. It was so weird to work on Thanksgiving Day and for it to be just another Thursday here. I did teach the same Thanksgiving lesson about 10 times but it was definitely difficult to go through it that day because I was missing everything at home! I skyped with the whole fam in Milwaukee which was nice but I missed the football and the annual movie we watch afterwards and of course all the food! So we celebrated at an assistant’s apartment on Saturday. It was a large group of all the assistants including the Germans, some Spanish, Canadians, and the Brits, and of course we invited our French friends. I was sufficiently stuffed that night and it was nice to share our holiday with so many people from around the world; as Obama said in this year’s Turkey Pardoning (which I watched at least 5 times in class…the French students thought it was weird and learned what turkey’s actually look like), Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday. There was plenty of wine and good conversation and some dancing before we went to the bars. I had so much fun but I really missed the atmosphere at home with preparing the food all day and eating and watching football/a movie and falling asleep! I missed the comforts of Thanksgiving at home and of course my family but I’m grateful that I have friends who hunt down turkeys at every butcher in the Nantes area and know how to cook it too!
For about the last month, the issue of racism has been a hot topic in France because of this incident. Basically a picture of Christiane Taubira, the French Minister of Justice who is black and born in French Guinea, and a proponent for gay rights, was published in a right-wing magazine next to a picture of a monkey with the caption “clever as a monkey”. This has rightly caused an uproar throughout France and I think shocked a lot of the population because the extreme right-wingers have been seen publicly yelling insults at her at rallies and supporting the magazine and what not. So on my way to the grocery store Saturday, I saw the March against Racism that was organized in Nantes which I knew was happening because there was a sign posted in my school. The issue is obviously something the majority of French people are pretty passionate about; unlike the US and the UK, France does not have a free speech policy in order to prevent things like this. I think this editorial from a French journalist for CNN summarizes the French opinion well. But, the French version of Elle has named her Woman of the Year!
I spent my day off last week shopping (finally!) and wandering around Nantes, trying to get lost. I feel like my entire world here revolves around Place du Commerce because it’s the city center and I live right here so it was nice to walk even just a little further than the true center and see what else is near by. On this walk I found the town hall and a park right next to it guarded by these lion statues.
Of course, I went to weekly trivia on Thursday at Dave’s, Vanessa’s and Tristan’s place. We started a little earlier than normal this week so we didn’t have to rush to catch the last tram so we spent the last 20 minutes with people playing the guitar and harmonicas (!) and having a sing along…nothing makes me more sentimental than a sing along! And it just made me feel really lucky to be here with all these other people who are just as passionate about the French language and culture 🙂
This weekend I went to Manchester to see Grams and my dad who was visiting for the week! It was such a short trip but I’m so happy I went. It was nice to speak English in public for a little bit though I did say one or two “merci”s at the airport. We put up Grams’ tree on Saturday and headed to the Christmas Markets at night. Manchester is supposed to have one of the best German Christmas Markets outside of Germany and we’ve never been since we always arrive on Boxing day and are too late for them. I found a cute winter hat and scarf and we drank gluwein and ate bratwurst and had a crepe (not up to the French standard) for dessert! I’ve come back to Nantes with a few Christmas decorations from Grams and plenty of British treats to get me through the next couple months!