Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day Ten: Fire Dancers

Jan. 1, 2010

Hello!

I still owe you, my dedicated readers (=P), the rest of the posts leading up to this week.

I’ll start where I left off from the last post; refresh your memory if you need to.

This evening (except it was still 2009 at that point), Dad and I headed over to the Roqui’s for dinner. We have been corresponding with the Roquis since sometime last January. I was supposed to live with them originally, but that didn’t work out as planned. At any rate, they have been tremendously helpful with getting me here to France, particularly with paperwork for both my enrollment in the lycée and to get me the visa to come here.

Dinner was moules (mussels) frites, and appetizers! Jean-Pierre, my friend Angela’s father, said it’s a tradition, though I don’t know if he meant a FRENCH tradition or a family tradition. The frites are eaten dipped in mustard (which in this case was mayonnaise and mustard? Uhh. It came like that in the jar.), which I tried and enjoyed. (I swear it’s better than it sounds…)

Dessert was buche de noël in ice cream form, which I have to say is a completely acceptable way to eat a Yule Log. I had three slices :D


George and Therese(I probably spelled their names wrong) were there, too (my dad’s friend Pierre’s parents; Angela’s mother, Elise, is Pierre’s sister. Got all that? It’s not really that important other than to explain how we know them.); it was nice to see them again. They remember us (or at least my dad) from when we met them during their stay in North Carolina a few years ago. (Though that may have been quite a while ago, like my sixth grade year.)

Dinner was an interesting affair—I think Angela, Alaina (her younger sister), and I were all being awkward and not talking, but our parents were talking. There was a constant mix of English and French, which is always interesting.

After we finished eating, we started watching the French review-of-the-year show (that’s what I think it was), which seemed to consists of things that a group of people sitting around the table thought were funny, if not particularly important. This shows seem quite popular, though, because I swear the Chassons were watching the same type of show the night before.

Finally, after a few pictures with George and Therese, Dad and I headed down to Saint Raphaël-plage to see the annual fireworks spectacle (show). We went expecting something like Fourth of July fireworks… loud, colorful explosions, and not much else.

It was a bit wet and chilly, if my memory serves me correctly, which made waiting a bit uncomfortable, but when the show began and we had a pretty good view, I definitely wasn’t complaining.

I’ll let you see what you can from the pictures, because it was just really awesome and different.

IMG_0491

This was the beginning; dude crouched on a rail looking out over the dark water.

IMG_0498 IMG_0497

IMG_0525 IMG_0526 IMG_0527 IMG_0531 IMG_0532 IMG_0538 IMG_0502 IMG_0503 IMG_0506

Anyway, those aren’t very clear pictures. I’m trying to decide the best way to put more pictures up at least so that you can see pictures I DON’T include on the blog. Not sure how to go about this in a safe way. Let me know what you think (about the idea and any ideas!).

Dad and I decided that was definitely a satisfactory way to bring in the New Year, though technically it ended before the New Year began. Everybody was yelling “BONNE ANNÉE! DEUX MILLE DIX!” (“HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2010!”)… there wasn’t a BIG GRAND FINALE (unlike American fireworks where there must ALWAYS be a Grand Finale). It was cool though. That was much more interesting than watching the ball drop on television. xD

The next morning we slept in until noon, skipped breakfast, and began our quest for Pizza, which ended up taking quite a bit of time as nothing was open. Hence, after we didn’t actually have pizza (we had very large salads. yum.), we immediately had to go to the Bruzzone’s for tea at 2:00 (14h).

I haven’t mentioned the Bruzzones on here before, except in brief passing as the OTHER Nathalie (Rick-with-the-blog’s friends in Fréjus). Nathalie B. works for “Vous Accueil”, which is an organization that welcomes newcomers to the town and provides information. [If I understood that correctly.] She is the one that received Rick’s email and did a lot to help find me another solution of someplace to live before I came here. She doesn’t actually know Nathalie Chasson, but it is partially thanks to Nathalie Bruzzone that we found me a place to stay here.

They invited us for tea so that we could actually meet them: Nathalie, her husband Laurent, and their daughters Fanny (14) and Laure (17; she’s 13 days older than me), and Aurlien, Laure’s boyfriend and Jerome, Laurent’s friend, joined us. Tea actually meant tea for my dad, but I just had fruit juice. With tea, we ate Galette des Rois, which is what you might know as King Cake. It isn’t the same though; king cake to me meant what we eat every year in French class, but this is quite different. (The ones we have in NC are the “Louisiana Style” King Cakes, which are cinnamon rolls with frosting and sugar.)

5078_MEDIUM

(click through to source of picture, since I didn’t actually have a picture; there's a recipe, too, except it's in metric measurements.)

At a later date, I'll post a recipe for Galette des Rois in American measurements; I've asked Nathalie (Chasson) for it, and I'll translate & convert it for you :)

Apparently there’s two types of King Cake, one for Northern France, and another in Southern France. The kind pictured above is typical in Northern France, and it’s particularly delicious served warm. As is typical for king cakes, there is a small baby Jesus inside; when you find it, you get to wear a fake King crown (and be “King” for a day! WHOO!).

The nice thing about my dad’s networking while trying to find me a place to stay is that I now have met more French people that are incredibly kind and welcoming, and want me to have a really great experience here.

(Dinner was that elusive Pizza from this really great Pizza place that was decorated with Pirate-y-ness in Saint Raphaël. I consider that a great success in Pizza-Questing.)

-Aly