I promise I have not forgotten you. I didn’t realize it has been a week since I last wrote, but you didn’t miss much last week. It was slightly uneventful, which is good for me for a change. Before I get to this past weekend, I’ll recap a few highlights of the week.
First, I discovered Goût Pêche (literally translated is “peach taste”), or the French version of Peach-O’s. If you don’t know what Peach O’s are, they are gummy, peach-flavored rings, which are fantastic. I’m chewing on one right now. I highly recommend sampling them. And the best part about les Goût Pêches, they are cheap and they are better than Peach O’s. I never thought I’d find a better brand than Peach O’s, but I have, and I plan on bringing back a few packages in my suitcase when I return to the U.S.
Second, Nicole’s two grandchildren spent the week with us. Maxime is 10 years old and Romane is 7. For the first few days, they were shy and barely talked to us. One night at dinner, I tried to break the silence and failed miserably. I asked Maxime if he liked the movie he was watching earlier (Pocahontas); however, I apparently did not pronounce Pocahontas the same way the French do. He just stared at me. Then Nicole interpreted after a while, and finally he said, “Oui.” Let’s just say I didn’t have much confidence after that incident, but as the week continued the children weren’t as shy. In fact, they came into our rooms each night before they went to sleep so they could kiss and hug us goodnight. They really are quite adorable.
Now, moving on to my weekend.
Friday night, after a day full of reading and studying, I went with Sammi, Nicole, Serge, Maxime and Romane to Nicole’s daughter’s house for a barbecue. A French barbecue is quite similar to the American barbecue, except that the grill was tiny. It was about half of the size of a standard American grill. For dinner, we enjoyed grilled saucisses (sausages), steak and frites (fries). I normally don’t eat sausages, but these were very tasty. The steak was grilled to perfection, and the fries were crispy and soft (the best combination of textures for a fry).
On Saturday, we had another excursion with the group. We met the bus at 9 a.m. to travel to Gordes for the day. Gordes is an old village built into a mountain with valleys and meadows surrounding it. The landscape and village are picturesque and quaint.
We had free time for lunch, so I went exploring with Kim, who took (takes) fantastic photos. We discovered that sandwich prices were a bit too high for us, so we scoped out the markets for fresh fruit. After searching, and realizing we only had 15 minutes left, we bought a 500-gram basket of strawberries and a four-pack of peach yogurt, which we split. I cannot express to you how beautiful the berries were. They were spotless, juicy, full of flavor and lovely pink-red in color.
After meeting the bus, we continued to another village close to Gordes. We sat at a café for about 45 minutes, while I drank my coffee and the others ate, and then explored the narrow, cobble-stone streets. The day ended with a wine-tasting and a tour of La Citadelle winery, which exports a large portion of its wine to the United States. Again, I’m not keen on the taste of wine, but I tried it anyway, just for the fun of it.
Sunday, with my bag of picnic goodies (two baguettes, cheese, cookies and Orangina), I revisited the Île de la Barthelasse with Kim, Alex and Liz. This time was a bit more of an adventure compared to the last time I visited the island. Liz and Alex insisted that we visit their favorite spot on the island. Little did Kim and I know that the spot was a 45-minute trek on a tiny, dirt path. When we finally arrived, I was cranky and tired because I was hungry and I didn’t expect to walk as far as we did. We were going to study for our exams, but eventually we gave up due to exhaustion, and we just sprawled out under the sun and relaxed. After about an hour, Helen and her sister Greta joined us, and we decided to wade in the Rhône. Surprisingly, the water was not very dirty or murky, which helped me get over my initial hesitation of getting in the water.
After the 45-minute walk back through a French jungle (kidding) and returning home, my fun ended. I had to study. Quel dommage! Oh well, the entire purpose of me being in France is to study. I just didn’t expect to have five exams in one week. Thankfully though, I finished my three most difficult exams already (grammaire, Résistance and histoire). I have two left this week, and I can’t really prepare for them, which kind of makes me nervous. But, there’s nothing I can do, so I shouldn’t stress. Anyway, my brain is exhausted from the last few days of testing. I promise I will write again within the week.