Welp, I clearly have not been doing that great of a job keeping up with the blog but I’ve been busy! I’m in the midst of applying to grad schools/jobs and preparing lessons and spending time with my friends here! But because I havn’t posted in a while, it’s difficult to remember everything I wanted to write about but here are the highlights:
The first weekend of February Anna’s sister Mary to came to visit and we had a nice dinner at Jeanne’s with our French friends! They did a great job cooking dinner and we tried a gateau nantaise! The next day I got to meet Josephine’s grandparent’s puppy Ipswich (so cute) and she and Jeanne introduced me to Bottereaux which are pretty similar to donuts but deff better.
One Saturday here there was this animal rights demonstration right in the middle of Place Commerce. There was a huge crowd just watching these humans with pig and rabbit masks on, have “dinner” which consisted of a human head. There was also red corn syrup splattered on the ground…it was a bit intense.
We celebrated La Chandeleur on Feb. 2nd (also Groundhog day) which is a French holiday with Catholic origins celebrating the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, where you make crepes and try to flip them in the pan while holding a coin in your other hand. If you can do it, you’re supposed to have a prosperous upcoming year. There’s also some kind of indication of how long winter will last like Groundhog day. So we all went over to Jack and Sarah’s to make some crepes. They were a lot better than the ones I made when I was home which might be because we used just a regular frying pan or because Josephine recommended putting rum in the batter…La Chandeleur always reminds me of French Club at Greenhill when Madame made like 100 crepes for Bagel Break! I was able to flip the crepe and hold the coin so hopefully there’s some extra money heading my way!
I spent last weekend with Grams in Manchester!! We did a bit of shopping and watched a little of the Olympics and drank plenty of tea and did lots of laundry! She also taught me how to make pancakes for Candlemas/Pancake day which is the UK’s equivalent La Chandeleur but celebrated on Mardi Gras.
The day I left Nantes, there were some strikes going on that would effect the bus schedules. My bus line to school wasn’t effected but the airport bus was working on a different schedule and there were people “protesting” in the street. I havn’t really been effected by strikes while I’ve been here so far but I’ve read about a couple of them and I find it funny that they plan a strike and everyone knows about it and they figure out alternative ways to compensate for the workers on strike…like it’s just so weird to me that they can all just agree to not go to work and everyone just works around them.
On that note, since my classes have still been talking about the French bashing that occurred in that Newsweek article I posted in my last blog entry, I encountered a real-life example of someone taking advantage of the “nanny” state: We met this guy who paints houses for a living but is unemployed right now and he was telling us that he missed an interview for a job earlier that week and we asked why and he said he makes more money off of the unemployment benefits than he would working that job…Also, I’m sure if you’re in the US you’ve seen this, but my parents sent me this funny commercial which pokes some fun at the French! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGJSI48gkFc&feature=youtu.be
We went to our first English night since we’ve been back in Nantes this past Wednesday. Our French friends were a bit drunker than usual so we had a lot of fun. It included an impromptu musical session outside the bar and a macarena line…
I’ve also joined a French acting class with the woman I’m going to the Alps with in a couple weeks. Last week, I survived an improv scene in French, quite the victory since I was never a skilled improv-er and it was in French! I’m working on a scene from Antigone (pronounced Anti-gone in French) which seems fitting because it is such a classic and I’ve worked on it multiple times in English.
I also had a great Valentine’s day filled with good French food and even better French wine with great friends! It’s definitely not as big of a deal here though as it is in the US.
Steph and I have officially booked our tickets to go backpacking this summer…if anyone’s planning on being in Europe, let me know!