Back in Normandy

I’ve had such a great few days in Normandy; it’s seriously been so wonderful to be back in Caen. I arrived by train on the 4th; my host mom picked me up from the train station and we went directly to the beach. Her brother, who I met the last time I was here, is also staying at their house, in the outdoor studio apartment (which I NEVER knew even existed!) After the beach that first night I mentioned that I haven’t eaten mussels (les moulles) since the last time I was here, so of course on the way home we stopped at a port and bought some for dinner. We ate dinner in the garden that night- les moulles equipped with an aperitif course before hand (hors d’oeuvre), and then a bread and cheese course and dessert course to follow, all with wine.

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Interestingly enough, you eat mussels with your fingers; you take one mussel in your hand and a fork in the other and fork out the first mussel. Then you put the fork down, and transfer the shell into your other hand. Finally you pick up a new shell and use the now empty shell as a clamp to pick out the mussel and eat it. Then that clamp is discarded into the empty bowl on the table and you pull out a new mussel to eat with the new clamp.

Yesterday we went back to the English Channel to have a picnic and swim. We spent the entire afternoon there. The water is so nice. It’s hard to believe that I’m swimming on some of the bloodiest beaches in WWII history! I am sunburned today but it was worth it.

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My host sister Florence had recently gotten married when I arrived in 2010; now she just had a baby! I got to visit Florence and her new son.

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Last night I went out on the town just like old times (felt like undergrad again!) to celebrate my friend Sarah’s «l’Enterrement de vie jeune fille» which translates to “The woman’s funeral” aka her Bachelorette Party! We ate fondue, lots of champagne and Calvados (a Normandy cider) and then just went out for drinks. It was fun and the first time I had spoken English since arriving in France! 🙂

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Not only has my host mom been helping me find lodging in Toulon via calling everyone she knows, the best part is, my host family invited me back for Christmas, which is amazing because I don’t think I will be ready to leave on Monday.

For the record, my French is incredible. My comprehension is so much better and I’m able to speak almost effortlessly, without translating first in my head. it is a seriously incredible feeling and something I hope to continue as I move to toulon and meet other assistants).

As I continue to kiss total and complete strangers upon meeting them I realize I am actually in France. 🙂

Bisous,

Dana

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