Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Of literature, letters, and my lack de l'argent

I am feeling rather guilty now that I haven't posted anything for the beginning of December. I've just been so busy with the official arrival of the Christmas season as well as my recent changing of families this past weekend of the 8th and 9th. 
But instead of throwing a pity party and inviting all of my readers to come to this event acknowledging the lack of a recent blog entry, I chose, instead, to write a blog entry.
Just to show everyone that I am still alive, and I am thinking of everyone, with all the other things and people I am already thinking about.
Take this gift I gave my first host family, for example. Because I have no money to buy them an expensive bottle of fancy wine or anything of the sort, I chose instead to buy a picture frame (only 8 euros thankyouverymuch) and frame this drawing I did of them and me. I do believe they like it. It was displayed in the living room on the fireplace last I saw it.

Anyway! In case you didn't already know, most kids who do Rotary exchange get multiple host families. Here in France, the normal number is three, but I only have two. I stayed with the Edwiges from September 1st to December 8th, and now here I am at the Courroux' after having packed up all my stuff on Saturday, and unpacking it again in my new house down the street.

I am sorry if the amount of bags I ended up filling bothers you, mom. 
It has been mentioned in previous entries that I am a city girl, and here I am placed in a town situated so isolated in the countryside that no trains run through it. Well another thing to know about me is that one day I dream of living in a modern house, and here I am living in a house that was built in the 1800s. I am not even joking. That is what my host mom told me.
peering down from the top
It has three floors, and my room is located within another room on the third floor. The room that leads to my room is unoccupied, so essentially the third floor is my corner of the house. I could easily fit 5 people comfortably for a sleepover one of these days. It also has a guitar that used to belong to one of my older host sisters, so I figure I might as well teach myself a tune here and there while I have it at my disposal.
the landing between the second and third floors
All over the place are shelves and shelves of books. A lot of old books, too; for some reason my family has a collection of Montaigne's essays written in 1625. That's a big deal. I HAVE TOUCHED THIS BOOK.
Along with the books, there is the old furniture. My grandma's room has this 200-year-old armoire hand carved in the Normandy region of France, as well as this book shelf from the 1920s that her father used to mark the height growth of her and her siblings (the marks still being there, of course).
Then there is the piano room, which I absolutely adore. For one thing, there is the piano; for another, it reminds me of my piano teacher in Oregon's house, and of course it has all the shelves of old books too. And the sheet music. I am learning a polonaise using sheet music that's about a hundred years old. There is also this old writing desk, among various other antique-like decor.
with Christmas flair!
the piano room (though the piano can't be seen)
the writing desk
this bookshelf goes from floor to ceiling
I live in a bookworm's paradise
one of the smaller bookshelves
Another thing one can find all over the house are old pictures of family members. They're just so fascinating, I don't even know what to say about them other than that. Needless to say, I am going to have a splendid 7 months here. And in that time I probably won't even discover all the knowledge and secrets and mysteries and ooh-romanticism that this house has to offer.
So what did I do my first weekend here?
Okay you probably weren't asking yourself that question, and I just posed it rhetorically assuming you would be interested to know. If you are, great, if you aren't, je m'en fiche.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and it just makes me so happy with all the festivities and celebration and joyful atmosphere. I have not felt homesick spending Christmas here, which is unusual. Perhaps it's because I have already spent Christmas away from where I spent it as a child. Perhaps it's because I can't believe I am spending Christmas in magnificent Europe, and everything just has this glow to it. Either way, who knows when I'll get a Christmas like this again? A Christmas in France! I am not letting feelings of homesickness spoil the wonder this season brings.
One thing that has kept me occupied is the writing of Christmas letters to friends around the world. Like I mentioned earlier, I am too poor to buy those pretty Christmas cards at the store, so instead I just cut out envelope-sized pieces of drawing paper and customized each card depending on its recipient. I had heaps of fun doing it. Here are some samples...
"Merry Christmas from France to India," with a letter for Shank written in the back
Merry Christmas in French, Romanian, and Arabic, going to my Romanian friend Adela and Egyptian friend Klare! 
I got lazy with trying to figure out a drawing design so I just cut out letters on wrapping paper (this is going to my counselor in the Tualatin Rotary Club, Barbara)
There are 7 more that I intend to send, and no two are exactly alike. (Okay, except the other Christmas paper card going to Steve my country officer, but instead of "JOYEUX NOEL" it says, "Joyeux Noel!" Yeah, there is totally a difference.)
By the way, did you know that December 5th was my 100th day in France?
By the way, did you know that I have my next Rotary weekend this weekend and I can barely stand the wait?
I'll have so much to say about it on the 19th. Until then!

No comments:

Post a Comment