What a week. Although it’s been (for me), a normal, more taking care of business week, for you all back home, anything I do is unusual and different. So… I will share some of my highlights…or rather… more memorable moments with you.
There are many things I am discovering that are the same here as they are in America. There are also things that are different. And then, there’s the things that may be slightly different in every culture, but all in all, the wanted result is universal. For instance: Flirting. In the U.S., the way men get a womans attention is to whistle. Two notes that slide up and down and we females know… Some male, somewhere, thinks we are attractive and wants us to know it. A friend of mine who is Latino has taught me that in the Latin American culture, they also have a very specific call. Instead of a whistle, theirs isn’t quite as bold. It’s more mysterious and secretive, but just as forward. When in passing, a man will watch you and signal a “ch ch” sound. Now you know, if you ever hear it… Well… in France, they have a similar one. It was a beautiful sunny morning and Renaud (my host father) and some of the other men from the village, including the shoe cobbler, were working on building a car port outside the house. After I had awakened and was ready for the day, Renaud asked me if I would mind walking into the village to the Boulangerie (Bakery) to get some bread for lunch. I was very timid and hesitant because of my beginner knowledge of French, but accepted anyway. As I walked into town, the road curved to the right and infront of me was the Inn. L’Auberge de la Tour. Although I had been in town before and had seen most of the buildings, I still admired how old and unique they looked. As I came up on the Inn, I glanced up when I heard a strange sound. It was coming from the upper window of the Inn. I later found out that it was an apartment on the top floor. I thought it was someone working or maybe even a bird, but when I glanced up, I saw a man staring down at me. It took me a second to realize that he had been watching me as I came down the hill and now that I was near, thought obligated to let me know he was watching me… When I met his eyes, he gave a “ttss ttss”. I slightly shook my head, looked away and kept walking. I thought in my head, “thank you… but no way.” Men… sometimes you just weird us out when you try to get out attention. Especially when you hard core stare at us and then proceed with a mating call… It’s just not attractive.
I later met that man and discovered he’s a very sly, creepy, I’m-looking-at-you-like-I-want-to-eat-you, my-creeper-radar-is-spiking, kind of man… He asked me to come to his apartment to have dinner with him and his girlfriend and said he would invite two other guys and it would be fun. Then after dinner we would drive to the nearest “big little” town to go dancing. Ha! You’re funny… there’s no way. I was grateful when my host father (who isn’t much older than me) expressed his concern at the idea. I knew God put me with this couple for a reason… They’re really looking out for me.
My next memorable moment is probably my favorite. The longer I am here the closer I am getting to the girls. Even though I can barely communicate with the 5 year old, I still find ways to build our relationship. Margaux, the 2 year old, and I are becoming the best of friends. We’re pretty much on the same level of French. 🙂 As I sat in my room, my door closed, I hear the handle trying to be pushed down and opened. When the door finally relases and begins to crack open, a little voice emerges from the other side. “Ana… Ana!” She called. “Oui?” (yes?) I replied. A little, precious, smiling face pops out from the door and comes towards me. “Leesiou.” She said. “Leesiou?” I asked. “Oui.” She replied. I gave her a confused look. “Quoi?” (What?) I quesioned. “Leesiou!!! Leesiou!!” She yelled. “Oh!!” I finally thought I understood… “Besious?” (Kiss?) I asked, hoping that’s what it was, otherwise, it was hopeless… “Oui!!” She replied and brought her face very close to mine. I gave her several kisses and she ran away, giggling. She struggled to close the door behind her, standing on her tip toes. Moments later, she came in yelling the same thing. “Leesiou! Leesiou!” I smiled. She came and kissed my cheek and ran away. She did this quite a few times…. Just like me, she’s a very affectionate snuggle bunny. I love it…..
Finally… the perks having a chef as your host father… Renaud had spend a couple days in Aurillac (the little big town that’s 25 minutes away), studying desserts for his restaurant. As a chef, he wasn’t too familiar in the sweet and savory section. Before his restaurant opens in 14 days, he is making tons of white chocolate pillows that white chocolate eggs will sit on. He asked me if I wanted to help mold them and I eagerly agreed. He taught me that the chocolate had to be melted at a certain temperature, then once melted, heated at a higher temperature, and then cooled at a lower one, but still enough to be melted. Once it was at a perfect 30 degrees celcius, we got started. He showed me how to fill the molds and let them drain so that all that was left was a layer of white chocolate making a thin shell. I gently scrapped off the excess chocolate without touching the inside of the mold. I was terrified of ruining any of them, but he was very pleased with my work, telling me that I was doing them perfectly. He told me I should study the making of chocolate. The last mold we filled was a bigger half pillow. We had rubbed the mold in red the night before so that when the chocolate was put in, it would absorb the colored texture. Hey… if all else fails in life, I have a very promising future of opening up a Chocolaterie (Chocolate shop) in downtown RVA. 😉