Monday, February 7, 2011

there's nothing quite like nutella and peanut butter.

well hello there!
oh, what’s that you ask? how was my weekend?
nothing special, just FREAKIN’ AWESOME.
let me recount...
saturdays are beautiful things. this past one was exceptionally lovely! i woke up fairly early to have a skype date, which i enjoyed immensely. i’ve ALMOST gotten over the sinking sadness that distance brings upon me every time i talk with loved ones back home. now, it’s just fun to talk and hear the latest news. so, i skyped from about 8am – 9:30am (1am-2:30am at home). my intention had been to meet with some friends at 10:30am to go to an open-air market in town, but when i got off skype, i was feeling a little under the weather. i decided that sleep was my friend, and opted to visit the market next weekend. good choice – i slept until about 1pm, and woke up feeling very refreshed! i stayed in my room for the afternoon, (finally) putting together my budget for the semester and doing some homework. around 7pm, i got ready to go out. we weren’t meeting until 8:45, but i wanted to go sit in the kitchen with some friends and hang out while they ate dinner.
around 8:40, i headed out to the bus stop to meet with my little group for the evening. my french guardian angel djamel had invited a few of us to a chandeleur party. for the record, the chandeleur holiday is celebrated about 40 days after christmas, usually on february 2nd. in france, everyone (literally, everyone) eats crepes on chandeleur. even more than normal! it is absolutely necessary. so, we went to a chandeleur party, hosted by a classmate of djamel’s. his apartment was fairly close to campus, on our side of the river (as opposed to the centre-ville side). his flat was pretty spacious, with a sitting room, small kitchen, entryway, and bedroom. the decor was chic but minimal, but there were plenty of seats. :) the group consisted of myself, djamel, danielle, claire, and newton. we mingled with about 15 of djamel’s classmates, who were all welcoming and easy to talk to. it was a great evening, full of laughs and stories. best of all, i spoke french the WHOLE night. i ended up sitting next to this girl aline, who is in the process of completing her second master’s. wow. she and i talked about SO MUCH stuff, from language difficulties to traveling to long distance relationships. after eating the crepes, we were joined by a few more girls, and we proceeded to have girl talk. in french. it was soooo fun! haha. one girl told the story about how SHE went to london to propose to her boyfriend while he was studying abroad!! it was a fabulously adorable story, and a wonderful moment for me as a french learner. i felt right at home with the nuances of the language. the best part was the fact that cutesy romantic stories are awesome in every culture. around 11:15, claire and i made motions to leave in order to catch the bus, but aline entreated us to stay a while longer in exchange for her giving us a ride back to campus. seriously, french people are so great. instead of riding the nasty bus for 20 minutes, we got to ride in a sweet little ford fiesta for about 5 minutes. awesome. i got back and intended to go to bed, but ended up skyping for a little while. again.. no complaints there. ;)
sunday was another lovely day. i woke up around 11am and lounged around for a while before getting dressed. a group of friends had made plans to go ice skating downtown this afternoon, and seeing as i hadn’t gone in years, i was stoked. we met at the bus stop at 2:30 and headed into town. some people were coming from other places, but after everyone got there, we were about 12 people. the cost wasn’t too bad, just under 5 euro for entry and skate rentals. we all got in and exchanged shoes for skates, stowed our bags in lockers, and hit the ice. it took me a few turns around the rink to get my ice legs back, but after a few minutes, i was very comfortable. the group experience ranged from very skilled (an ex-hockey player and a canadian) to moderate (skated more than a few times) to beginner (clutching hands and the boards). i would say that within 20 minutes though, even the beginners had enough confidence to skate without help. after about an hour of skating, we took a little pit stop in the rink’s snack lounge and got drinks. i ordered my absolute favourite – at home, it’s called french soda (haha) but here, it’s a ‘diabolo’. basically, it’s carbonated water with fruity syrup in it (i always get raspberry). OH MY GOSH, it is to die for. everyone else ordered beers to warm up. around 4:30, i left the group because i needed to run some errand and be back to campus by 6. i was going to grab a bus to the market about a mile away, but when i stepped outside.. hello sunshine!! i was overjoyed. so i walked all the way down the main street and around the corner to one of two stores open on sundays. it’s an italian company called ‘spar’. i picked up a few things for our special dinner (and a baguette) and hopped on the bus back to school. (the baguette was gone not too long afterwards).
my hope had been to be back in time to catch the online broadcast of the 11am (TN time) service of rolling hills, my church at home. i was logged on and everything at 6pm (france time), but the internet streaming speed was so slow that i could only get a few words at a time. after 10 minutes, i was so frustrated that i just gave up. the sermons are archived on the website, so hopefully i’ll be able to pull today’s message up tomorrow and let it load before watching it. i was pretty bummed out about not being able to participate in church, since today was the start of a new series that i really am interested in. but oh well.
at 7:30, i headed into the kitchen. all week, jessie and i had been planning on making mexican food tonight. my taste buds had been cruelly teased on wednesday at that restaurant.. so i’d been gathering up the necessary ingredients all week. here is what i provided: homemade guacamole (avocado/cream cheese/garlic powder/salt/lemon juice/cayenne), tortillas, spinach, cheese, and fajita spices and sauce. jessie contributed the george foreman grill (crucial!), some red bell peppers, more cheese, and spices. natalie joined in with chicken, lettuce, and an onion, and andrea brought potatoes to fry up as a side. oh my word, it was absolutely the best dinner i’ve had here so far. and i’m not just saying that because i’m sick of pasta. it was AWESOME. we cooked the chicken and peppers with the fajita seasoning, and then made quesadillas with our desired fillings. i made my mom’s guacamole, which everyone pretty much loved. i’m going to be making that more often. we all couldn’t believe how delicious the meal was.
but get this; for dessert, we had no plans. but then shane suggested we grill bananas on the foreman. i had two bananas that were going to go bad before i got around to eating them, so we sliced those long-ways, slathered peanut butter on one side and nutella on the other, sandwiched them, and popped those suckers on the grill. can you say DELICIOUS? but wait, there’s more!! natalie sliced up some apples into thin slices and then cooked them in the wok with butter, sugar, and cinnamon – which essentially resulted in apple pie filling. talk about going from nothing to awesomeness with a few fruits and some ingenuity! it was wonderful.
and now, i’m gearing up for another week of classes. i’ve gotten most of my homework finished so it shouldn’t be too stressful of a week, i hope! i’m excited to see what my professors have in store for me this week.
i hope everything is well with you!

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