Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ceci et Cela

We have another test tomorrow. We have a test every Monday. I think I have to study twice as much as David to do as well as he does on the tests. Not fair. And it turns out we have ended up in the same class--which is good in some ways and challenging in others. I don't mean to be competitive, but I can't help it. Mostly I just want to learn French well, but a teeny tiny part of me wants to learn it BETTER than David. Isn't that sick? You ought to stop right now and pray for me.

And while you're at it, would you pray for the boys, too? Tomorrow I am throwing them to the wolves. Not literally, of course, but figuratively, as tomorrow they begin their journey into the French educational system. I am (as usual) more nervous than they are. Still, neither boy seems excited about the prospect. They are resolved, though not optimistic. We are all confident that God has us in this place for this time, and we trust that He will work all things together for our good and His glory. But at the moment a valley looms long and dark before us. We need an extra awareness of the Good Shepherd's presence as we take these next daunting steps.

Today we went to a church that is walking distance from our apartment. It was a good experience, and I think we will settle in there for the rest of the year. David even stood and introduced us when they asked first-time visitors to do so and then looked pointedly at us. He did it all in French. I was impressed. Then they started asking questions, and he looked like a deer in headlights. He simply apologized for not knowing much French. They were sympathetic and let him sit down. I think that was when we decided we would stay at this church for the rest of the year--because then we will never have to introduce ourselves again! One couple (I think the pastor and his wife, though I am not entirely sure) promised to invite us to their home. Wouldn't that be nice? I hope they do.

I have been enjoying the community choir that I joined. I sit next to a woman with bright orange hair. Her name is Christine, and she is both kind AND uninhibited about correcting my French...which I like. We happen to be working on Handel's Messiah, which is, as you know, in English. Our other piece is in Latin. I hope some day we sing a French song, but I don't think I'll hold my breath. The conductor is a young-ish talented woman who can sing all four parts. I don't know her name. The only down side to the choir is its rehearsal time: 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on Mondays. I can hardly get out of bed on Tuesday mornings, but I think the experience is worth the loss of sleep. I rarely sleep anyways.

David and I got caught in a rainstorm walking home from the boulangerie last Thursday. I thought it was romantic. He thought it was annoying. I had just learned how to say "It's raining" in French, and sang "Je chante sous la pluie!" all the way home. He was not amused. Nevertheless, he managed to keep the bread dry and crispy, which I greatly appreciated. Have I mentioned how much we love the bread? What about the chaussons aux pommes? Have I mentioned the chaussons aux pommes? Literally that means "slippers of apples." At the bakery, chaussons aux pommes are amazing apple filled pastries that are (sort-of) shaped like slippers, thus the name. We love them, rain or shine. No, we adore them. Nous adorons les chaussons aux pommes.

And even though the food is wonderful here, we are starting to miss some things from home. Things like Lucky Charms, JIF peanut butter, and good Mexican food. We have attempted to make nachos, but they aren't the same. The only salsa available is a 3 ounce jar of Old El Paso brand. I'm not kidding. There is no such thing as sour cream here, but crème fraîche is a decent substitute. Jalapenos are completely scarce and you would not believe what I have to pay for cheddar cheese, which is imported from Great Britain. All this to say, I'd kill for a hot, fresh fajita.

Well, I suppose I'd better get back to my past participles and weather-related vocabulary list. I can almost talk about the weather in any season in French. That has to count for something.

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