when did it get to be 20 TWELVE?!
So as those of you who read my blog and take note of my postings realize, I am pretty bad at doing this regularly. I was planning to write one great post about Christmas in France and coming back to the US, one about being home for break, and one about coming back to school. And I'm already back at school!!! How did that happen, and where the heck did the time go? After my program ended on the 21st of December (rather late, but I didn't start until a week into September), I went to Strasbourg, a city right on the border with Germany and renowned for its Christmas markets. I spent a few days there, enjoying the famous astronomical clock in the cathedral, drinking the traditional hot wine, and doing a little last-minute shopping for the holidays. After that, I met my friend Cecile, the French conversation teacher who taught at Oxy last year and who've I mentioned in an earlier post, and spent Christmas with her family. They could not have been more welcoming and gracious to me, and made me feel so at home, even when I tried such customary Christmas-Eve dinner dishes as fish eggs, escargot (snails), raw oysters, and foie-gras (stuffed goose liver). (All of these are delicacies over there, and were actually pretty good!) None of her family members---there were 8, not including Cecile---spoke French, so it was a fulfilling experience to see my much-improved French in action as I ate, opened presents, played games, and just generally hung out with them. On the 26th, it was back to Paris, and on the 27th I was able to meet one of my freshman-year roommates who is originally from Paris and we spent the day at her house, going out to lunch, going to the recently-opened Musée d'Orsay, and getting drinks with some her friends. It was a total blast, and pretty surreal to be with her in that environment. And while all good things must come to an end, I was excited to go home on the 28th. The flights went smoothly, and it was wonderful to hear "Welcome home" from the man at customs (who sweetly attempted, though badly failed, at speaking French to me) and to see my parents' smiling faces. I rang in the new year with close friends from high school, was kidnapped by those same friends for a 3 day get-away in Napa to celebrate my 21st birthday, and then spent the rest of vacation emptying my suitcase, seeing other friends and family friends and relatives and generally trying to get my social life and my lifelife in order. It was fun, but soooo hectic. Now, it's the second day of classes and I already have over 100 pages of reading, and what feels like a million meetings and tasks to get all of my responsibilities underway for the semester. Here's to being busy! Check in soon for more updates. Cheers!