Life is beautiful

I am a terrible, terrible blog owner. It’s just been a crazy two weeks.

The weekend before last, the one after I last wrote, I went to Oxford. It was amazing, amazing, amazing! Amazing to see Willa and Debbi and Caitlin, amazing to be in an English-speaking country, amazing to eat good Indian food, amazing to meet all Willa’s friends, amazing to not have to think about what I’m going to say before I say it, amazing to get addicted to English tea and baked beans and fooood, amazing to finally get to see Oxford and fall in love with it enough that I know I’m going to have to go there for grad school. Seriously.

Then I came back to Paris – Dan and I agreed that it was like coming back to the real world, which is a disturbing thought – and had a tea party so everyone could enjoy my crumpets and digestives that I brought back from England. Because, as I said, I’m addicted to English tea now.

And then the next day… my parents came! It’s funny how when you’re on the other side of the world, time seems longer. For example, I didn’t go home last fall until Christmas. But it somehow didn’t feel as long as the last two months or so felt. In terms of seeing family, I mean.

Having parents here is a wonderful thing. You get to go to all those places you’ve been eyeing but have been unable to afford. Consequently, you also eat more. Ah well, it’s good food. But this weekend, finally got to go to Ladurée (which, it turns out, I’ve been to before, my first time in Paris. I recognized it immediately, and I’ve been looking for it every time I go near la Madeleine, but I didn’t realize it was Ladurée), Café Procope (oldest restaurant in Paris! We learned about it in one of my literature classes the other day), Chez Omar (read about it in my True Pleasures book, and had it recommended), and Mariage Frère. Also finally got to appreciate Paris shopping.

The best part, though – aside from just getting to be with my parents, of course – was having my parents come to dinner at the apartment and spend the evening with my host family. I was worried, I confess, because they don’t speak English with me (even though Caroline spent a year in Canada, and I’ve spoken English with Solène, and they’ve been to the US and Canada a few times and I know Hubert speaks some English), so I didn’t know how well they could speak, and I know my parents can understand some French and speak even less. Turns out, I didn’t need to be worried. They got along fabulously! And Patricia claims to not speak English – ha! They all speak very well (excepting Virginie, but she’s never studied it), though Solène was tired and didn’t speak much, and what wasn’t clear, Caroline and I were able to translate. All in all, a really fun, very successful evening.

It also helped me realize, too, how wonderful my host family is. I mean, of course I knew it, and of course I appreciate them so much. But to see them getting along with my real family so well… it just made me realize how much they have become part of my family. How comfortable I feel here, with them, and how much this is a home for me. They told my parents they see me as another daughter, and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. And when I wasn’t around much, they missed me, and I missed them. So I confess, I’m excited to have some time in the next few weeks to get to spend time with them.

Last thing: Wednesday, I started teaching English to my 6th grade boys. Oh this is going to be an adventure. We’ll see how it works out, so I’ll keep you posted. Adventure. ;-)

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