Thursday, November 24, 2005

Warning: warm fuzzies below

God bless the French; my professors are on strike today so I don't have to go into work. Instead I can sit here and write my obligatory mushy Thanksgiving Day post. So if you're looking for Mo-style ranting, tune in tomorrow.
We all had Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, actually. They have an oven over at the lycée so Matt managed to cook us an impressive Thanksgiving spread; no turkey, but he did whip up some excellent stuffing, mashed potatoes, apple pie americain, and roast chicken. There were the four Americans--me, Valeria, Matt, and an exchange student, Trevor; Katy the Austrian, Ricardo the Nicaraguan, Kim the Brit, and assorted French professors, including Carol. We congregated in the common room, which, for whatever reason, Matt and Co. had decided to paint pig's-blood-red that morning. So now the room looks like an old set from The Shining, which is actually an improvement over the truly grotesque wallpaper it originally had. They painted the coffee table to match, and it hadn't quite dried all the way, so the bowls and plates of appetizers were permanently stuck. We all talked and drank wine and basked in paint fumes and the glow of tea lights while the chicken baked; there was a moment of traditional Thanksgiving Day panic when my paper plate caught fire from one of the candles (which is just par for the course for me!). They had French pop music playing on the laptop; and they forced me to sing along when I admitted that I still remembered the words to "Aux Champs Elysées" (had to learn it in high school). Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs Elysées! We had some French food as well; paté and caviar (!) and 5,000 kinds of cheese. Matt explained the traditional ritual and we went around the table and counted our blessings in four languages. The French guests were quite moved by the whole thing, which surprised me; apparently they don't really have anything similar (frankly, it was nice to hear something complimentary about my culture, for once. Though even Thanksgiving is problematic; just ask a Native American). I went last, and I said how this was the best Thanksgiving I'd had in a while; and the thing I was most genuinely grateful for was my friends. Clichéd, I guess, but true. I've spent the last few Thanksgivings listening to my relatives make jokes about how we're all going to start marrying our dogs, now that Massachusetts lets queers get hitched. And the last five years have been so unbelievably hard, but I've survived them, and things are finally starting to come together. I'm so grateful for my friends, because I know what it's like not to have any; during the first few years of college I would go entire days without speaking because I didn't have anybody to talk to. So, you all back home, you guys mean the world to me. And I'm starting to make friends here in Europe; Ricardo and I are pretty tight, oddly enough. And the friends I have on the internet are equally important; everybody who bothers to read this silly thing, and even comment, you guys rock my socks off. Thanks.
So, y'all back home, eat some sweet potatoes for me, or some corn bread slathered in butter and honey, or biscuits and gravy, or some blueberry cobbler, god I better stop before I make myself homesick. Mama made me some molasses cookies and they finally arrived today, so I'm going to make some tea and knit and read some Virginia Woolf (to heck with this crap I'm slogging through).


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

As they said in my favorite movie, "No man is a failure who has friends." (I'm not sure if they even meant "man" to include women, but they can be damned!) I'm glad to hear you are doing so well in France and at this point in your life.

PS: You can always just remind the French that they have their own race problems too, and thanks to the riots, everyone has seen their dirty laundry.


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