Monthly Archives: December 2011

Round Up

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Greetings from sunny California. And I mean sunny. Seriously, I wore shorts yesterday and it’s DECEMBER. I suppose it’s appropriate that I live in California, since it pretty much does as it pleases, as do I. I have officially been home for a week, which feels both long and short. It has been great catching up with people and discussing my time abroad. Although in all honesty, this must be how it feels to be pregnant. EVERYONE asks how your trip was and by the fourth or sixteenth conversation, you’ve got it down pat. Before I tell you my thoughts on this year (2011), I will entertain with you with one of my personal favorites…the countdown. Here are some things that I have noticed/enjoyed since being home:

1. I can now talk at normal decibel levels. I have been so used to whisper-talking in English, so as not to let any Parisians know my true identity. The other day I went grocery shopping with my mother and I realized that if I felt like it, I could yell “MOM!” really obnoxiously to get her attention. I also realized as I was speaking to her, that I was talking so quietly because I was so used to these hushed public conversations.

2. This one is a given, but really, god bless America for having public restrooms. I no longer have to purposely dehydrate myself or plan outings accordingly. I still don’t understand how the Parisians do it. Maybe it is the permanent chunk of baguette resting at the bottom of their stomachs that instantly soaks up any liquid. I just don’t understand.

3. Being able to order substitutions, or asking to get a meal without an item. This just doesn’t happen in Paris. You order, you receive your meal, and you better damn well eat it and enjoy it. There is no such thing as, “excuse me, but could I please have the dressing on the salad? And could I get extra ice please (this would never happen because in Paris ICE DOESN’T EXIST.)” Seriously, I think I have ordered really pickily (yes, this is a word I’ve made up) the past few times I have gone out, just because I can. Exercising my right to be particular.

4. Not paying in exact change!!! Oh hallelujah, so glad to be done with that. Each time I would have to pay for something in Paris, if I didn’t have exact change, I either had to apologize profusely or have a mini anxiety attack, looking frantically for the exact coinage. But back here in California? “My total is .77 you say? Here’s a $20”

5. This is a personal perk, but since I have been home, I have been able to wear my more summery clothes and sandals. Why is this spectacular? Because by the end of my trip, I literally wanted to set fire to my suitcase and never look at any of those clothes ever again. I can’t tell you how sick of your clothes you get. Especially when the weather is extremely cold, so you are limited to wearing either A. your peacoat B. your other peacoat C. choose one of the above. Only downside of it being extremely warm? Well my legs may resemble the color of snow, but it’s just because I’m in the holiday spirit!

Seeing my family and being home for the holidays has been truly wonderful. I know that my experience has changed me, but it is great to see how my parents have grown since Dill and I leaving (LIES, THEY ARE EMPTY INSIDE WITHOUT US) and I have really enjoyed seeing how much Dill has grown (both in body stature and personal being). Although I must admit, I’m glad that some things haven’t changed. Such as tag teaming with Dill and my dad to poke fun at my dear, sweet mother (Mom, I love you).

Side note: family, let me get real with you. Since being home, I have been lazy. There’s no other way to say it. Which means that I still haven’t mailed you your goodies. But I promise you will get them eventually.

I have also had some time to reflect on the future of this blog. Obviously I have grown quite attached to it, seeing as how it offers me the opportunity to say whatever I think to a captive audience. It also helps me to keep my family updated; ironically, I have never felt closer to some of you and I think that’s because you get to hear how my everyday life is, rather than a big conversation every so often. Also, I have been able to hear about YOUR travel experiences (and have received numerous e-mails from Opa and Grandpa regarding their opinions of my blog. Must be a grandfather thing.). So my hope is to keep this little blog alive. I’m not sure how it will transform in the new year. Not sure if my life is all that entertaining at school, but I’m sure I’ll find a way. I also want to post recipes and more photos (now that I have wi-fi once again!).

Anyways, I hope you have a fantastic New Year’s and reflect on just how much you have done as well. Talk to you soon!

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Traveling in Style: Rainboots edition.

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Hello again! I am officially back in California, where I have already indulged in a burger, baking, driving (Dad, I know you’ve been driving Gomez because you changed all of my radio stations…), grocery shopping, crossfitting (went 3 hours after I got off the plane), and have worn several sweatpants.

Let me first discuss my flight from Bordeaux to Paris. Tati Kiki, Mamy, Em and I headed to Bordeaux with my two very large suitcases, ginormous carry on and bulging backpack. Of course one of my bags was totally overweight. Thankfully, Emilie is a packing champ and helped me to move some things around. Which meant that I had to spend my next two days traveling in rainboots, wearing two sweatshirts and carrying two jackets. Did I mention that I was also carrying a huge poster that I got for my cousin Sam? Yes, I looked ridiculous. When I put my huge carry-on (which was filled with presents), the security looked at me like I was crazy. And then asked me if that was a metal elephant in my bag… Eventually I made it to Paris, where I then had to waddle in my rainboots to get to the hotel shuttle. I, being the bright person that I am, decided to just carry all of my stuff to the shuttle pick-up instead of putting it on one of those push carts that the airport provides. Not one of my smartest moments. That night I headed into Paris for one last night, where I walked by the Luxembourg gardens, strolled past Saint Sulpice, picked up a box of macarons for my mother (and myself…), and said au revoir to Paris.

The next day went A LOT better. Finally, after 4 months of packing, traveling, strikes, and transportation, the travel gods smiled upon me. First of all I made a conscious decision that if I was going to have to wear my huge rainboots, then by golly I was going to wear sweats, trendy Parisians be damned. Might as well be comfortable if I’m going to look like a sherpa. The shuttle dropped me off at a random point at the airport, they don’t drop you off at your terminal, that would be too un-Parisian of them. This time I grabbed a push cart right away. Let me just say that every time I use one of those, I feel like I’m headed to Hogwarts and am tempted to run straight at a wall and catch the train with Harry Potter. The airport was of course packed, but I made my way (about 3 miles because the Charles de Gaulle airport layout MAKES NO SENSE). Finally I arrived to check in, where I had to laugh because this elderly man next to me also had a pushcart, but only had a tiny carry-on on it in comparison to my monstrosity of luggage. Also, unlike at LAX, everyone continues to keep their luggage on their pushcart in line, instead of taking it off before getting in line. So all of us are waiting in line with huge push carts. I get to the check in desk and apparently they were weighing the carry ons. Of course. My carry on weighed 4 kilos over (of course), so I took some more things out. After I made the weight (felt like my bags were on Biggest Loser), I took my carry on back, discreetly put the things back in and continued onto my gate.

I think that Air Tahiti Nui is a fantastic airline, a hidden gem. There were plenty of vacant seats on the plane, so I took a whole back row to myself and spread my belongings out. I strategically sat myself in the back, so I could be close to the bathroom, my tiny bladder was very happy about this. It was delightful. Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to culture myself by watching Monte Carlo, Cars 2, Chicken Little, and Rise of Planet of the Apes. I made friends with a flight attendant, who was the sweetest man ever. We landed after a longgg ride. I waddled to customs, grabbed my bags (of course mine was the last one off the conveyor), and pushed my Harry Potter cart out of the airport. Where I saw my family (Dillon is now even huger than before, he is rowing at UCSB and for once in my life, he finally has bigger thighs than me) and my dad was holding a welcome back sign. This sign was hilarious, his balloons he had drawn looked not like balloons. Use your imagination. I greeted my family and we headed back to Simi. My mom had brought me some baked goods (thanks Mom!) and moccasins. My aunt Christa sent me a text, “in sweats yet?” and then “have you eaten lots of goodies?” I’m not predictable whatsoever.

That’s all for now, happy early Christmas everyone and continuing Hanukkah! I will be posting later about the very American things I have been enjoying since I have been home.

“Are You Ready For Some Kelsey?!” (to Monday Night Football Theme music)

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Hi Folks,
Final guest blog from Dad (I was severely squeezed out of the picture by Kelsey and Emilie this past week) with some additional reflections on Kelsey’s journey to and from France.

My question above? I don’t know is the answer…although we have been anticipating the arrival of Kelsey for days and weeks, it hardly seems possible that she will be walking out of Immigration (will she be speaking French as she hands over her passport?)and Customs (will they know what a box of macaroons look like or will they mistake them for tiny whoopie pies?) and into our loving arms and life again. Well, as you know, she has placed high expectations on the type of welcome she expects…and we will do our best (poster – check; food – check; balloons ??; sweats – ok but those will be in the car;) and she forgot tears and cheers, particularly from Dillon (well that may be a stretch, most likely me.)

What I can tell you is it will be a “force” to be reckoned with, like a big wind of energy and excitement. We will all be excited to see how she looks and whether we can see any “change” in our international traveler. I for one will undoubtedly say something “dad-like” which means corney or silly or old-school but it will be heartfelt and loving…

I don’t think we are prepared as we might think we are…Maria needed time off from Dillon being back and so I took him to Denver to give her a much needed break over the weekend. With Kelsey and Dillon both home (and their unique food requirements), we both may need to take some time off. But that will come when she and Dillon head back to their respective UC’s.

Finally, a short list of things I think I’ll miss/not miss about Kelsey’s adventure abroad:

1) French strikes: Either Kelsey has bad timing or Air France workers knowingly picked the time when Kelsey planned to fly to several destinations to make her/my life stressful. I mean really? Not sure if this is a socialist thing but striking at the drop of a hat just doesn’t seem to be effective in getting what they want which is either working less or more money and typically both at the same time.

2) Dinnertime Skype: To be truthful, I don’t think Kelsey embraced the Skype option very much. I think either the timing (usually during her preparation for dinner at 7-8 pm her time) or my demand to see her lovely face via video turned her away from this communication vehicle. I think she much rather converse with her mom via phone or to me via email. I think the technology is the best thing sinced slice bread. I mean come on, you can talk and see each other for free over the internet…who likes typing out your messages, etc. and who likes paying AT&T? I’d much rather talk live…Besides, I still can’t figure out the proper colons and semi-colon sequence to get a “wink” or smiley face in my emails!

3) Europe: It has been fun “viewing” Paris and other cities through Kelsey’s eyes…living vicariously through her descriptions of the people, location, food and day to day stuff has been really cool. I may have to find another travel blog to help “wean” me down from my weekly routine…

4) Gomez: Yes, I have to admit I’ve been driving Kelsey’s Honda Fit around quite a bit. I think he’ll miss me as I’ve tended to pick up my trash and throw it away versus leaving it in the car for anthropological purposes as he has been accustomed to with Kelsey. Plus, we’ve been getting about 32 MPG, better than my 24 MPG in the Beemer!

5) Handstands: What are we, her loyal followers, going to do when she gets back to the US? Will she continue to blog? Will she lose interest in entertaining her minions? How will we wake up each day wondering whether we will get a post or two from Paris? I hope the withdrawal is not as bad as not drinking coffee for a day…that’s just miserable!

So that’s it from me. We love you Nestle and look forward to seeing you back in California where it will be warm and sunny and we won’t judge you if you don’t wear a scarf or if you choose to wear sweats! Dad

French logic.

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One of the best things about being here with Emilie is that I can ask her questions about French culture and understand even more about it. Also, we can discuss the differences, which is always entertaining. I want to share some of the things I have learned during my stay in France.

1. This is a personal favorite of mine. Whenever French people don’t know the answer to something, they make the noise “pfft,” shrug their shoulders, and make a frowny face. My french professor was queen of this one, but it’s a common occurrence. Em and I wanted to do this justice, so I’m including a video that we found online to demonstrate.

2. Florent and Maxime taught us how to signal that someone is drunk. It’s fantastic, I’m bringing it back to America with me. You take your fist, wrap it around your nose and turn it. It looks like you’re opening a doorknob on your nose. Probably not explaining this one well, but it’s hard to do it justice.

3. Also, Louis and Kevin told us how to say that someone is drunk, “Il est roti.” Roti means roasting, but you usually use this word to talk about roasting chicken, it’s a popular meal “poulet roti.” We learned other words too, but basically they all involve food. Ergo, case in point about the French being obsessed with food.

4. When the people here in the South ask me about Paris, they more often than not ask me what I think about the Parisians. I tell them the truth, they aren’t nearly as nice the people here. Evidently, according to Kevin, everyone in France hates Parisians and Parisians hate everyone.

5. Bisous. I could probably write a dissertation on bisous. Some people do actual kisses on the cheek, some just offer you their cheek, some kiss just one side. And you seriously have to do bisous with everyone when you enter a place and when you leave. There is no escaping this. Even the guys at the club greet one another with kisses. Louis and Kevin, who have a bit of a bromance going on as they are roommates in Bordeaux and have known each other a long time, do a whole little handshake into the bisous.

6. This is just a lesson for the Mateu household. Pretty much every meal whatever is left over, I can be counted on to finish. Mamy and Papy just automatically look at me now. However if Tati Kiki comes to eat with you, you must be quick to claim the last bits otherwise she calls dibs. Whoops, lesson learned. Side note: today when I met all of Castelnau (meaning Emilie’s entire family) now included in Tati Kiki’s shpiel about me is the fact that I eat everything. Then they proceed to list each thing I have tried and liked. I’m like the 8th world wonder people.

Ok, now for what Emilie and I call “French logic.” There are a lot of things that French people say or do that to me makes no sense at all. I try to understand some of it, but pfft….

1. As I previously mentioned Florent tried to educate Em and I on the method of drinking a cocktail. Which means using a straw. Because he believes that is a more potent way to drink. To see him fiercely sipping through a straw is just great. Especially because his drink is pink due to the grenadine that they mix with alcohol to cover up the taste, in addition to sprite.

2. According to Tati Kiki, if you eat something warm, it will give you a stomach ache. When we went out Sunday to walk around downtown, Em wanted to get a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) from this place that sells them fresh and hot with the chocolate melting inside (you jealous yet?). When Tati Kiki told Em this piece of wisdom, Em just straight up told her “pour moi, non.”

3. I have heard this one countless times and there probably is some truth to it. NEVER GO OUTSIDE WITH WET HAIR. MON DIEU. This one is a big no-no. You will catch your death (maybe sadfrenchcoatcheck girl went outside too quick right after a shower?).

4. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing just how much material Florent provided me with. Another side note, Kelsey is difficult for French people to pronounce, the l before the s throws them off. Florent called me Kesley and then he, Maxime and Kim just started calling me Nestle. Anyways, Florent told us that if you stand near a heater for too long, it will give you a headache. This one is pure french logic, please explain this to me.

That’s all I’ve got for you now, but I’m sure I’ll think of other ones. Currently I have repacked because really, who doesn’t love packing 4 months worth of stuff TWICE? Mamy just looked at my suitcases and laughed, making the motion of me sitting on them to zip them up. You got that right Mamy. I head to Bordeaux tomorrow and fly back to Paris and then Thursday I fly back to America. Mamy offered to pack me a lunch, which of course I wasn’t going to object to. She asked what I wanted and I told her the whole fridge. Oh Mamy and Papy, how I will miss thee.

I suppose I will write a serious entry about my experience here, but that remains to be seen. Also, parents and Dillon, I expect a welcome home sign, balloons, flowers, food, and sweatpants. Just letting you know my expectations ahead of time.

You ask “Pourquoi?” and we say “Pourquoi pas?!”

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First of all, it is an honor to be guest blogging for Kelsey! I have laughed my way through all of her blog posts, and as my family makes up a good percentage of her core readers, I have a lot to live up to when it comes to writing my blog next semester (for when I am abroad in London).

It has been a really special and unique experience having Kelsey in Marmande, as it is not very often that your best friend is able to make a trip down to the South of France to visit your entire family. As Kelsey said to me when I first got here: “The best advice I can give to someone who is looking to study abroad is to choose a country in which your best friend has family.” Good luck with that one, people.

Mostly, this post will be about our “rendez-vous” last night with two friends of mine, Louis and Kevin. But before I get that, I will quickly talk about what we did today. Kelsey and I woke up on the earlier side this morning in order to accomplish something before lunch, which usually doesn’t happen. We went and walked around the Lac de Beaupuy by my grandparent’s house and then made our way into town to visit one of my dad’s cousins who has a big house en centre ville.

In the afternoon, I took Kelsey to visit the small town of Castelnau, where I also have some family. Basically, she learned that one of my dad’s first cousins is the village butcher, another is a hairdresser, his great aunt has a huge house that takes up most of the village, and a Mateu used to be Mayor…Basically, she learned that la famille Mateu runs the South of France. A highlight of the visit was definitely when we walked in on Alain, the butcher, as he was nonchalantly whacking away at a duck.

But anyways, getting back to our “rendez-vous,” I would have to say that our adventures last night were among the most fun since we have been together. I should preface this by explaining that when I was putting together a mental list of all things I wanted to do with Kelsey, these were the top two items:

1. Help Kelsey experience being on a French date.

2. Make sure she eats Chinese food while in Marmande.

Just kidding, the first item never crossed my mind and the second, well I would have dropped dead before taking Kelsey to Chinese food in Marmande but I really didn’t have a choice!

When Louis and Kevin (we thought more friends would be joining them) came to pick us up at my grandparents, they forgot the house number so they waited creepily in the car. My grandpa saw them through the window and we went outside to greet them. Kelsey and I were secretly laughing at how cute it was that they had both loaded up on cologne and thrown some gel into their hair. Louis even wore his American flag shirt for the occasion.

I should let all of you know that I have a boyfriend, and Kevin (according to Facebook) has a girlfriend. So basically, we were there to support Kelsey and Louis because I knew deep-down that going on a French date was on Kelsey’s bucket list. Check.

So the evening was off to a good (and slightly awkward) start as we began driving around Marmande in Louis’ mom’s minivan. However, problem number one arose when we began noticing that all of the restaurants in Marmande were closed…Marmande is NOT big and the selection is already very limited. Though Louis likes to say Marmande is just a bit bigger than the United States. Anyways, in France, a lot of places are closed on Mondays and yes, they decided to take us out on a Monday. Party foul. We tried a few different locations and looped around Marmande a few times, basically a personal tour of the town.

Last resort, we wound up at the one Chinese restaurant in Marmande after having been given the choice between that or McDonald’s. Yum, our favorite.

I won’t go into too much detail about the buffet-style restaurant because we had a lot of fun, but let’s just say that it was five steps down from Panda Express and about as lively as Hometown Buffet. Louis explained to us that whenever he comes here with Kevin, they have a competition of who can eat the most. I told him they could have their competition if they wanted but he told Kelsey and me that that wasn’t “romantique.”

We proceeded to make our way to a really cute bar in town, which had Kelsey and me wondering why we hadn’t eaten there. It was TWENTY steps up from the Chinese place. Pourquoi? Pourquoi pas?! (Why?…Why not?) That was our motto for the night.

We left the bar when the patrons started stacking chairs and because everything else was closed, Kevin decided it would be fun to hang out a la Place de Beaupuy by his house, outside in the cold. Pourquoi pas?! Basically, we were sitting in a small square in the middle of the town, under a small wooden hut. Kevin joked and told us he built it himself and had even hung the Christmas lights up for our enjoyment. Every time a car would drive by (which was maybe once every half hour), the boys would make a joke that there were SO MANY people around. “Oh my god!” they would say on the rare occasion that a car passed. I guess when you are from a small town you learn to poke fun at the little things.

It wasn’t until this morning that my Mamy told us the wooden hut was a bus stop…

I should also mention that Kelsey has made great progress in French since being here and the boys made some attempts to speak in English. According to Kevin, girls have told him that his French accent is “sexy.” When speaking with each other, our favorite topic of conversation was music. They both started talking about “Kenny” West, which confused us at first but we soon understood that they meant KANYE West. Oh well, good effort boys. Louis also expressed his love for the rapper Notorious B.I.G. and proceeded to give us some gangsta impressions, which consisted of throwing on his hood and flashing peace signs.

All in all, a great night and I am so glad that Kelsey has been able to get to know mes amis en France. I think she’s impressed by how wisely I’ve chosen my friends!

My night at the Jersey Shore.

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Ok, lucky for you people, you will be getting 2 or 3 posts this evening, including one from Ms. EMILIE MATEU, HERSELF! Be excited for that one because she is writing about our French double date last evening. But before I get ahead of myself, I must discuss my first night in Marmande, which is when I was introduced to Marmande’s one and only night club…TNT.

We were going to TNT in honor of Kim, Maxime’s younger sister. It was her birthday and she had turned 16, which is the age that you need to be to get into a club. Before we headed to the club, we went to Maxime and Kim’s house, where I met Florent, Max’s best friend and Emilie’s long time friend as well. We waited for Kim and her two friends to get ready and just chatted downstairs with Max’s mom, Sascha (their younger brother, also a Justin Beiber look alike, who is extremely cute. Hit me up in 10 years Sascha). Once the girls were finally ready and Kim had forced Florent and Maxime to put on nice shirts. We headed over to the bar. Yes, THE bar. According to Tati Kiki, it is the only bar in Marmande. We hung out there for an hour or two, we wanted to wait until the club would be more filled. Maxime and Florent ordered mojitos, which was hilarious. Florent is tall and has lots of scruff/beard/eyebrow piercing and looks very manlike. Both of them were daintily using their straws to crush the mint and mix the sugar. I told them that it was a very masculine drink to order, which Florent thought I was serious about. Florent also explained to Emilie and I later in the evening that he thinks if you drink alcohol through a straw it goes more directly to your head. Um, what? That’s French logic for you.

After chilling at the bar, we went to da club. Oh yes, Dad, that one was for you. A little fiddy cent reference for you. Although last night, Kevin called him “cinquante cent.” Before we could even enter the club, we had to check our coats, which was a mini event of itself. Emilie may have gone ghetto and almost beat up the coat check girl. First of all this girl looked like shit, she just looked like she needed a small coma of a nap. Kim told us to put our two coats together to only pay for one, but of course sadfrenchcoatcheck girl was not having that. Then we tried to get into the club, but they told us Emilie had to check her tiny clutch bag. So we took out all the important stuff and tried to recheck her bag. Sadfrenchcoatcheck girl told us to wait our turn and by the time she finally got to us, Emilie was done with her. Eventually we got inside…where I quickly learned that Marmande is secretly harboring an Italian population. Meaning beaucoup de hair gel, white pants, tight shirts, fitted pants, and tacky outfits.

This also meant that there were lots of people dancing on podiums set up around the room. One of my personal favorites of the night were these two guys wearing tight jeans, tight white long sleeve shirts and scarves (yes, apparently they remain french even in the club). These two guys kept doing little coordinated dances and trying to remain in synch. Pure gold. Also, much like in America, there are little choreographed dances that everyone knows. My favorite was “Moussier tombola” where you pretend to jump rope. Sure, why not? Also the club is filled with a RANDOM ASSORTMENT of ages. Everything from 16 to a few 40 year olds. Random as hell basically.

On Sunday, when Em and I were chatting with some of her friends at their house, he asked us which side of the club we were on, the young or the old. Well, I wasn’t aware that there were two sides. My bad. When we asked how we could tell and one of them said “where you on the side that smelled like vomit or no?” Glad that’s how I can figure that one out.

In between the beginning and the end there was lots of dancing, talking, Em and I making fun of Florent, and a lot of people watching. Needless to say at the end of the night sadfrenchcoatcheck girl was still there, looking even closer to her death. We bid TNT adieu and waited for Papy to pick us up. Yeah, that’s right. Papy came to pick us up at 330 am.

For your viewing pleasure, please imagine this in a club with many, many people.

Let me present: La famille de Mateu.

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Ok, now it’s time for Marmande. I know I miss my family a lot, but I’m sorry, I’M NEVER LEAVING. I have a wonderful huge bed, a hot shower that is bigger than the size of a dog kennel, and best part…FOOD. Ok Mamy may or may not be a secret world class chef. Since being here I have had fois gras, poulet roti (roasted chicken), confit de canard (duck confit), oysters (first time ever!), ceps (mushrooms that Papy forages for), beaucoup de fromage, fresh vegetables, and just a whole bunch of other deliciousyummygoodness. Coco (otherwise known as Mamy) has been feeding me like a queen. The comical part? I am always the one having seconds and thirds, while everyone very daintily only has one. Today at lunch, I had two helpings of the meal and there was still some left in the pot. No one was eating it and Mamy turned to me and asked if I wanted the rest. I said no thank you, which she then looked at me like I was sick. She clearly has learned that I have a big appetite because she did not believe me. Also, she may secretly be Jewish because she is trying to fatten me up and feed me everything. Today I got to pick a cheese at the market and at the end of each meal she looks at me and asks if I want fruit, cheese, fois gras, leftover chicken, etc. Although I think she likes that I’m willing to pretty much try whatever and eat it all.

Papy is adorable. He reminds me of my Grandpa a lot, saying funny little things and joking around with us. He also likes to make fun of when Em and I say “yeah” since it sounds so ridiculous I suppose. Also, he is extremely punctual when it comes to mealtime, a man after my own heart. I can always count on Papy to be ready to eat when I am. Emilie and I brought them macarons from Bordeaux and at the end of each lunch, they eat a couple (we bought a huge box). Papy pretends to pick them randomly, but he only picks the brown ones since he knows that the only flavor options there are chocolate, caramel, or coffee.

Coco is so sweet, she clearly is overjoyed to have Emilie here, which is just so cute. I remember her from when she came to California for Em’s bat mitzvah. She’s adorable too. I know I keep using the world adorable, but there is no other way to explain them. As Tati Kiki said yesterday (Tati Kiki is Em’s aunt, Mickey’s sister), “everything in France is small, like us!” As for Tati Kiki, yesterday I told her she was “la reine de Marmande,” meaning the queen of Marmande. She knows everyone it seems like. Yesterday we walked in the center of town and we kept running into friends of hers. Also, she is sassy as well, which obviously I can appreciate. She pretty much had the shpiel down about me which she would explain to each new person we met. When I first people and they tell them I’m from the US it starts out well. But then when we tell them that I have been in Paris for 4 months, they then of course expect me to speak french. And we all know how well that turns out… Some people I have met speak English with me, but they tell me since I’m in France, I have to speak French.

Ok, I’m going to just post a billion times because I haven’t even gotten to the actual stuff that I have done. Which includes…NIGHT CLUB (where Emilie neglected to warn me that there would be lots of hair gel and white pants aka Jersey Shore), meeting Florent (Max’s best friend, also known as the funniest person ever), going to Kiki’s friends homes, meeting the French man of my dreams (Guillame: Julie, you know what’s up; tell Mickey that he’s going to marry me and not Emilie, break it to him lightly), shopping with Mamy and Papy, and now Em and I are off to hang out with Max and Florent and then going to dinner with her friends Louis and Kevin. Yes Julie, it’s a double date, I am doing speed dating french style. I promise I will post soon!