Je vous présente ma famille d’accueil…

Translation: I present to you: my host family!

I was going to make this a post all about my life here in Grenoble, but I figured that it could get pretty long, so I am going to split it into two parts! Part one: introduce my host family. Part two: a day in the life of Marie!

Well, I am currently living with my host parents: Bernadette and Jean-Claude. (I know, so French!!) It is just us most of the time, but at the beginning of the school year their youngest son, Luic was staying with us. He is a police man, or “flic,” in a different town further up in the mountains. They have on other son, Nicolas, and a daughter Elise….but I am not sure who is oldest…sorry. We haven’t really discussed that yet. Oops. Elise is the only one who is married, and she has two kids: Laure (4) and Damien (1).

I got to meet Elise and her husband (Nicolas…same name as her brother, yes) and their two kids last week because Laure was going to stay with us for the week! French schools had last week off, so Bernadette and Jean-Claude babysat while Laure didn’t have preschool. She was soooo cute. All week, she would come into my room and just sit and watch me do homework. After a while, I showed her how to use “Paint” on my laptop…which was probably not the best thing to do. all week, she would come and ask if I wanted to draw on my “ralateur” which is not even a word… “ordinateur” is the word for computer in french, she just preferred to call it a “ralateur.” So. Cute.

She also has the best glasses ever.

Sporting some Harry Potter-esque glasses :)

 

Concentrating really hard on getting her stars right!

At the end of the week, I got to go to Elise’s house with Bernadette to drop Laure off! We left on Friday morning and came back Saturday afternoon from their miniscule mountain village. I am talking 20 houses maximum and a small gathering of market-type stores. It. Was. So. Gorgeous.

Too bad I was too distracted by the cute kids to take any pictures. (*GASP*)  I know…I am mad too. Anyways…that is the general information about my host family…now for more specifics on my life with my host parents!

First, they spoil me. It is true. They let me eat more meals with them than I am supposed to, Bernadette does my laundry every Monday, and all of my clothes get ironed…even my pajama pants. Technically I am supposed to only eat breakfast and four dinners a week with them, but after Bernadette told me that they preferred that I eat with them, I decided it was okay…still not sure how to tell her that I don’t need my pajama pants ironed, but oh well. Bernadette also sets out my breakfast every morning: a bowl of coffee (Yes! French people use bowls instead of mugs…) orange juice, bread, and nutella:

My breakfast du jour!

 
We live in an apartment outside of centre-ville. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one water closet, a living room, a kitchen, and an office. Here’s my quarters:
 

Yay, it's my bedroom!

 

My awesome shoe rack from IKEA...my host mom bought it for me after she saw how many shoes I brought :)

 

Here's where all of the studying gets done :)

 

It's my bathroom! Where is the toilet? In the water closet down the hall...

 
Now you have a better idea of where I live! Isn’t it great??
 
I feel like I should tell you a bit more about my host parents…so here is what I know so far!
 
Bernadette: She is an amazing seamstress! She is currently working on making towel/ponchos for her grandchildren and great-nieces and nephews. They are really cute. She is also working on a duvet cover for her niece and a doll dress for Laure. One of her other hobbies is to go hiking, either with Jean-Claude or with our neighbor. So far, she has been hiking at least twice a week every week that I have been here. Which is pretty cool.
 
Jean-Claude: He is the chef in the household. And just ask my parents, he makes delicious food every night. They get to hear about it all the time when we are chatting on Skype. All of our meals are served in courses, the first of which is soup 50% of the time. Maybe even more. The surprising thing is that  we have not yet had the same kind of soup! Yeah, he is a very talented cook.  Another one of his hobbies is Bowling! He actually just got back from Paris for the national bowling championship tournament! His team got fifth place!!
 
Well, I hope you have enjoyed getting to know my host family a little bit! Keep an eye out for “a day in the life of Marie.” It should be preeeetttty interesting :)
 
Happy Halloween!
 
Bien à vous,
 
Marie
 
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Seulement en France: Partie Deux…

Translation: Only in France: Part Two.

Alright, here I go: the marathon of posts. After this post, there will hopefully be two more to follow! For anyone who hasn’t read the first “Only in France” post, you should probably go back and read that first so you get the full explanation. Here are the new observations that I have made, the second installment of “Only in France:”

1. Professors answer their phones during class…and have an actual conversation! This has actually happened to me three times so far. Twice in my translation class (my professor actually made plans with someone both times!) and once in my grammar class. I was so surprised!

2. Billboards with adds that tell you not to pee in the street. Yes, seriously. I even took a picture to prove it. I don’t really think that it is a huge problem in Grenoble, but I know that when I was in Paris, there was suspicious puddles on the sidewalks early in the morning…  (Translation of the billboard: Impossible at your house? It’s the same in the street.)

3. It’s not the Italian cars that people ask you about, but American cars. I had about a one hour conversation with my host parent’s son-in-law the other day about Mustangs and some sort of Chevrolet…He said that they were the coolest cars he had ever seen. When I told him that a lot of Americans think that Ferraris are pretty cool, he looked at me like I was crazy! (I know what you are thinking, mom and dad, “how did that conversation last an hour?” lets just say that he did most of the talking…I said a lot of “oui” and “d’accord,” which is “okay” but that is about it…)

4. Professors ask the students if they know what the french word for something is. Wow, that is a confusing statement…my translation professor knew a word in English that she didn’t know in French. And she is French. I am pretty sure the whole class just stared at her until she realized that we weren’t her French students, but the students who were taking French.

5. People don’t know what Banana Bread is. I know, what a shock! I was eating breakfast with my host family, when my host dad said “Oh, too bad! This banana is rotten…looks like we will have to throw it away.” Right away, I asked them if they knew they could use it for banana bread, and they game me the most confused expressions. I had to explain what it was, and when I was finished, they insisted that I make it for them that weekend!

They loved it. I am making more tomorrow :)

Banana bread recipe...in French and Metric!

 
Bien à vous,
 
Marie

Seulement en France…

Translation: Only in France…

I have decided to add a regular….series, if you will, to my blog. It is going to note some of the things I have seen, learned, or become accustomed to throughout my time in france. They may be things I see on the street, traditions that my host family partakes in, or things that occur in my everyday life! (Note: I am not saying that these are the things I dislike about France! Just some cultural differences that I either find refreshing, or hilarious.) Here is the first installment of “Only in France”:

#1. Dinners that start at nine thirty and last up to three hours long. I definitely need to get used to this…by seven thirty I am usually starving…but I actually really like how long it takes them to eat! There is a lot more conversation and interaction, which is probably why it lasts so much longer.

#2. Wine as the after-church refreshmant…not during communion, but after the service is done.

#3. Shiny mannequins in boxer briefs…with bow ties and suspenders…we saw this in a store that was equivalent to Macys, if you can believe it. I couldn’t resist taking a picture because it was so funny.

Yes....this was really in a store.

#4. Men who (for lack of a more appropriate word) pass gas on you when you don’t sign their petition. Yes. This actually happened. We were waiting in line for a sandwich, when a man asked us to sign his petition. We had absolutely no idea what the petition was for, so we simply said “non merci” which usually dismisses people…not so with this guy. He started to take the arm of my friend, Travis, and when he said no again, the man walked away. As he was doing this, he passed gas…and very audibly. What?

#5. Bathrooms with no toilet. This is slightly inconvenient, but I am getting used to it.

#6. No screens in windows. No, this is not because there are less bugs. There are bugs…I have the mosquito bites to prove it.

Well, that is enough for now!

Bien à vous, 

Marie