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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Skiing with Pat and other stories

So I've been bad about blogging since the last time I posted , but the holidays happened.
      Christmas: Went to host grandparents house just over yonder in France , where we started eating at 9 pm and didn't stop roughly until 2 am. We all dressed up , which is kind of a doubled edged sword because by the time you're done eating you're practically bursting out of your nicest garments. Circus' are apparently pretty popular here so they televise a lot for the eve , so we ate and watched the Circus festival from Monaco . At midnight we exchanged presents. My host parents got me a really nice pair of earrings , that I saw them buy but that's so they knew what i would like :D. Christmas morning , still stuffed and dazed from all the food , we went home and I gave my host family my presents . I made them cry , i consider that a perfect ten on the scale of gift giving . Especially because one of the gifts was a frame with a few photos of all of us together . Then my host grandparents came to our house and we continued again with the feasting. Plus skyping with family . It wasn't as commercial and blown up as it is in America which is fine but definitively not something i was used to . Nevertheless i was still completely satisfied that i got to spend it with great people.
      New Years: The day before New Year's Eve I changed families. To be honest I really wasn't looking forward to it. A few day's before the switch I was talking with my dad on Skype and he said " I don't know how you can go through all that emotional stress, you finally get settled with a family and you have to leave again." and he was right it is weird. Especially because I have such a strong connection with my first host family. ANYWAY ...New Years , was spent in Brussels with about fifty other exchange students. It was amazing we went clubbing and danced all night. One of my friends who lives right in Brussels had a friend on an exchange in France with her visiting and shes like " We never do this in France, its too strict" and then i gave myself another pat on the back for choosing Belgium. Everyone stayed up all night , the club we went to had a good dj and some live singers and an awesome saxophonist . New Years day I went back to my first host families house just to say hello and spend some time with them .  I do miss them but I'm lucky because I'll be going back to them for my third family !

  SKIING: January 2nd , 4 am ..... 4 AMMM up and attem to go skiing in the alps with my 2nd host family . It was me my host mom , my host brother and his girlfriend. My host sister couldn't come because shes in Uni and her tests start soon. We spent this week Skiing in the French Provence of Haute Savoie , its about 8 hours away and very very very close to Switzerland. The station we skied at was called Praz-de-lys and was 2000m or about a mile and a quarter above sea level... kinda big . I mean they are the Alps , actually the tallest mountain in Europe , Mont Blanc was right next to where we were .Driving up the mountain to get there  it was raining and then the higher you went it turned into snow , SNOWWWWWWW something unfamiliar to belgium . There had to be about 4 feet ! It was amazing , the views of the mountains just outside our apartment window, but the views from the top of the slopes were even better. Now i'm no expert skiier , actually i just started last year... which is kind of ironic because i come from a region of new york with plenty of skiing. But i did pretty well,  i could handle the blue and red slopes . AIN'T NO WAY I WAS TAKING THE EXPERT SLOPES. I know its not "cool" to wear a helmet , but i think its "cool" to have a functioning brain so i wore one. Especially because i'm a little over-confident when i ski. . One slope went from the very summit all the way down, and was considered a blue (intermediate) slope . We took it and it was gorgeous the views were amazing ...but then it got steep and i tried to be careful but then i found a patch of ice and i pulled a yardsale. A Yardsale is ski lingo for when you fall and LOSE EVERYTHING; poles, skis, skis hat, goggles. I wipe out hardcore and its a damn good thing my helmet didn't fall off until i stopped rolling down the slope or else i'm sure i'd be in a hospital eating my meals through a tube. Other than that i didn't take any super big falls, but i have a nack for falling on the easy slope for stupid reasons, or the TELESKI... my sworn enemy . I'm sure they exist in the united states but all the places i've been skiing back home never had them. You put this metal pole with a disk on the end between your legs and it pulls you up the slope, romantic i know. problem is that if you're not paying attention you will fall. a lot . as i did. Your skis can cross or you can hit a gash in the slope where someone fell before you and off you go hobbling down the slope back to the lift like a loser. I fell in the middle of the lift and had to wait for my host brother to come back down to help , and it wasn't easy to wrangle the lift from half way up the slope! One time I fell and it was too steep for me to ski down so I had to walk down carrying my skis and i passed the people going up and they we're all giving me these looks and asking me if i was alright .. Did i mention i looked like a pat. I had to borrow some of my other host families ski stuff because i really wasn't interested in buying a bunch of new ski things for a week. SO in my opinion i looked like a pat. or someone with and indistinguishable gender....no cute snow bunny here. just PAT. but all in all it was an amazing week , I mean i got to ski in the alps , who knows if i'll ever be able to to do that again. 

  UNRELATED CONTENT: So in these past few days I think I've realized i'm not European enough for Europe. Before I left I thought oh I'm going to fit right in , and that never really seemed to pan out. For example: The school system bothers me way too much, you don't get to pick your classes , no extracurriculars, no enrichment . Just school . They don't even have as much homework as Americans do and yet they spend their time after school studying. Sports: There are no sports for girls. we not none but very few. Especially soccer, which is king here . BUT APPARENTLY ITS TABOO FOR THE QUEEN TO PLAY. I miss soccer so so so so much , and I really can't join the boys club. I miss the competitiveness and skill of soccer. I know i'm not here to play but ...MEH , I miss it . Dressing up: everyone here takes pride in their appearance and i like that but sometimes i'm like just SCREW IT wearing jeans and a hoodie.
Although , my host brother and i have been talking a lot about stereotypes , government and politics , and its really interesting to see the differences in opinion . With the stereotypes as well , there is always a little bit of truth behind all of them. Don't get me wrong I love it here but there are some things that I don't think I'll ever come around to liking or understanding. Same with some things in the United States! It's all relative.

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