Sunday, December 18, 2011

Catchin' Up

Okay, so I know I haven't posted in a really long time so sorry about that, I've just been really busy. So last weekend, we had the Christmas AFS reunion. We were asked to bring a traditional dessert and because there was nothing American I really felt like making, I made Spitzbuebe. They're Swiss cookies, basically shortbread cookies with jam in-between and little faces on top. I got the recipe from my mom and started the morning of with Aurélien as my sous-chef. I had made the dough the night before, but I'm pretty sure I did something wrong because when I took them out of the fridge the next day the dough was not right. My brilliant solution was to microwave the dough, which basically liquified it. Didn't help at all. So I just went ahead and rolled it out, cut out the circles and passed them to Aurélien, who arranged them on the cookie sheet and punched the holes in. We cooked them lightly, just 7 or 8 minutes, is what my mom said. Evidently that changes with each batch... They came out good-looking but weren't cooked all the way through, as I found out later when everyone in AFS tried them! I thought they were still pretty good but the next time I make them, I'll cook them a little longer! 

Final product cookies: they do look a little blond, besides the sprinkled sugar!

That evening we went to an abbey in some little village about an hour from Mûrs and in the main hall, we had a giant dinner. The other thing they had asked us to prepare was a little speech about our country/traditions/customs. I wrote some stuff about what I do in American around winter holidays, for Thanksgiving and Christmas but it turned out we could present in pairs and Ivy (a Rhode Islander) and I talked about New England: snow storms, beach coasts and mass lobster exportation. I'm just happy we went then and not after because the next was a girl from Thailand who walked in wearing a traditional dress, did a traditional dance and then sang a song, effectively kicking everyone else's a**! So it went on like that for a while with interludes of appetizers and the main course. For dessert, everyone had brought their dishes so there was tons of awesome stuff, from ambrosia salad from New Zealand (google it!) to malted milk/chocolate balls from Brazil to German chocolate cake. It was awesome! Oh yeah, it was a sleepover too, so all the parents went home then! Unfortunately so did most of the kids, but me and all my favorite AFSers stayed over night. We were up 'til 4 AM raiding the kitchen for leftover cake, exploring the grounds and in general, creating chaos and having a good time. Malheureusement, c'était aussi le dernier orientation pour les deux Australiens, so I'm gonna have to try to meet up with them in Angers before they head home. 
Another cool surprsise was the following Monday: Répas de Noël au lycée! Which meant that waiting in line was double as long and annoying but the lunch was great! I had a special paté and a salad followed by boudin noir (white blood sausage, actually not so great but ça va) with a mushroom sauce and something else I'm forgetting right now. For dessert, I had a tart fruit and they had sodas which like, in America, you never ever find in school. Except for Christmas. Followed by a Lindt truffle. Needless to say, it was probably the greatest school lunch I've ever had! 
Vendredi était la dernier jour de lycée pour tout l'année! En fait, je suis en vacance jusqu'à le troisième de  janvier. To celebrate, Gabe slept over Friday night and we hung out with friends are Mûrs until midnight. Then Saturday après-midi we went into town and did a little Christmas shopping although I didn't find anything I was looking for so I guess I'll be heading back soon. It was fun though and we met up with Siiri (the Finnish exchange student) and hung out for a couple hours. For the rest of the vacation, we've got some plans: for Christmas eve and a couple days after we're going to Nantes, chez les grand-parents and then after we might go to Paris, not sure. For New Year's Eve, we'll be back in Mûrs and Guillaume and I are going to a friend's party for the night. So excited, ça sera énorme! 
Oh yeah, I also got my first report card. If you didn't already know, in France they grade by 20 as maximum but no one gets a 20 in all classes, it's more or less impossible! 10 is an average, 14 to 16 is pretty good and anything above 17 is more or less amazing. My average was 10.32, a very average-y average. But it would've been a hell of a lot worse if my grades for Math, and Histoire-Géo were added in. (In those two classes, I just haven't been getting notes on my controles (tests) but the second trimester I'm going to start getting real notes: AAGH!). In French I had 11.something which is pretty good but would have been better if I hadn't gotten a 3 on the last controle because before that I had 13, 14 and 14! In SVT (biology), I got a 6.64, pretty horrible, but science is freakin hard in French! For the second trimester I'm going to have someone to help me understand the questions and answer them adequately so that should help a lot. Plus we've moved on to what they call geology but is really more a study of tectonic plates and the formation of the earth. Actually that might be what geology always is, I thought it was something with rocks and minerals. In any case, I understand stand more now so I'm hoping SVT will get better.  My grade in Physiques-Chimie is 6.33 and honestly, I don't care too much about that class, which sounds bad but AFS said to make a couple classes priority and work extra hard. I'm making this class my not-priority! Then in  English I have a 16.7: hold on, let me explain. 1.) The teacher is absolutely crazy, as you already know. I have a test a while back where she took points off because we were supposed to circle the boxes, not check them. Who the hell circles boxes?!? 2.) The last control was over irregular verb conjugations. She gave us 150 verbs to study, then quizzed us over 20 of them!! Also, the quiz was a list of 20 verbs, in French, where we had to translate and conjugate them. I didn't know all of the verbs in French so I lost a couple points there and got away with 7 out of 10- sometimes they just grade out of 10 or 15 for smaller controles. In German, they forgot to mark it on my bulletin so I just don't have a grade there, which works fine for me because it wouldn't have helped me anyway! In EPS (gym) I had a 10, which I don't understand because I always try my hardest and run and whatever, I just don't understand all the rules, obviously, and this was for handball which everyone else had been play since elementary school! (I don't think I've told you but in EPS we've now moved on to badminton: out of the frying pan and into the fire. Everyone was shocked to hear that we never play badminton in gym class in America, or at least not in my schools. Of course, I suck at it and they play with all these super-advanced tactics and special moves and whatnot. It's really intense!) So hopefully my gym grade will get better with increased French comprehension. I think that's all my grades but in general, it's an OK report card. When you just look at the average. Also, they decided to add AP Physiques-Chimie à mon emploi du temps donc j'ai perdu un autre période du perm et j'ai reçu une heure par semaine avec un prof que j'aime pas beaucoup. C'est chiant, mais j'ai pas un choix! 
Besides that, it been pretty chill here. Literally. It's gotten a lot LOT colder lately and the river at the end of the street has risen so much that it's about 1 meter from the street. Apparently, later on, we won't be able to pass by the little street that runs along the river, very elevated from the bank, because even that will be covered! And if it's especially bad, we'll have to go stay with our grandparents on the other side of Ponts-de-Cé because the bridges and streets may be flooded! That's what they get here instead of snow! Apparently back in Maine they've already gotten some snow which means going up to Shawnee Peak every weekend, sleeping over at the hut and skiing all day and night! That's definitely something I'm gonna, and already do miss. 
Joyeux Noël à tout le monde, si je ne fait pas un autre poste du blog avant!

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