Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Joyeux Noël!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND FELIZ NAVIDAD AND JOYEUX NOEL FROM THE CANADIAN IN FRANCE TO ALL YOU BLOG READERS! I hope each and every one of you has as amazing a Christmas as I did this year.

I bought a dirt cheap Santa costume way back in November that I ended up having way too much fun with doing a one man photo shoot alone in my bedroom one day that I wasn't at school...  I'll be sprinkling those Santa surprises throughout this post to keep everyone in the proper holiday mood:

One of the biggest things exchange students tend to dread about going on exchange is Christmas.  It's that one time during the year when there's a huge emphasis on family time and being somewhere you love with people you love, and we're warned before exchange that this could be the hardest time of the year for homesickness.  I've been getting pumped about Christmas since before mid-November, but a tiny part of me was still unsure if I'd really enjoy it considering I'm in a different family and different country.  Well that was a load of rubbish and worry for nothing.  My Christmas was FAAAABULOUS!

Back home, Christmas Eve is the day of anticipation and excitement, with the craziness of presents and the big turkey dinner held off until the 25th.  In France, the 24th is the big fête where all the family gets together and dines together, and presents are opened around midnight.  Yesterday Theophane and I decorated the Christmas tree and helped Yann and Marie Jo Christmas-ize the house before the dinner guests arrived.  

In Canada we eat Turkey for our Christmas dinner.  Yesterday we ate goose (first goose eating of my lifetime).  Yann also purchased this specialty Christmas mushroom called a Truffle for FIFTY EURO that he grated up and mixed into the accompanying mashed potatoes.  Yah you heard me... a fifty euro mushroom.  My jaw dropped too. 

goose hangin loose
Marie Jo models the Truffle *oooooooohhhhh*

virtual high five for anyone who spots the girl with the camera 

By the time Marie Jo's mom, and sister and family arrived, the house had transformed into a beautiful French Christmas scene with an ambiance that glowed with festive joy (candles are the KEY to a good ambiance people).

The meal spanned over a couple hours.  There was a tranquil aperitif in the comfy couches, then everyone lazily floated to the dinner table for some foie gras, then a little while later the goose touched down alongside some Truffle potatoe.  The wait in between the main dish and the cheese (DUH we're in France, there's a cheese course) was significantly longer, but sure enough then the cheese plate made it's way around, followed by not only a dark chocolate raspberry mousse log cake, but a vanilla orange ice cream log cake.  And I distinctly remember the presence of some macaroons and boutique chocolates as well.  The stairs became my Mt. Everest trying to go up with my full belly after that meal last night.  No guilt there. Let the Christmas vs. Fighting Off Exchange Weight games begin.

Aperitif! Not sure why I look so ticked off in this photo... I was in really high spirits I swear! 
Siobhan eating Christmas dinner in France whaaat
It really is a beautiful setup for a nice Christmas meal.
Presents were opened after all the eating was finally done, I loved being able to see the magic of Christmas I'm used to with my own family show in another family (okay gotta cool it on the cheesy Christmas lines...).  But for real, it was real nice.  My host mom even got me the most adorable pair of earrings and a cute little clock now sitting in my room, so kind!!

I woke up this morning and had my own little Christmas celly to myself in my bedroom opening up the presents sent to me by family.  I found myself getting just a tad bit emotional too (who AM I?!) because of how apparent the love from all the great people in my life felt as I opened gifts and received messages from friends far and wide (apparently I'm unable to not be a mushy gushy Christmas freak... sorry folks, but THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!) I was able to skype with my family and some of my best friends back home too, and it really didn't feel like I was that far away! So yeah I had a really great Christmas.  And I just want to say thank you to all the awesome people in my life for being awesome and making me feel awesome.  And thanks Rotary for giving me this experience, it's been one big major WOWTHISISGREAT the whole time (by the way we hit 4 months!).  And to my family for letting me go and for being the best support that ever existed.  And to everyone reading my blog, I really love that there's people interested enough in what's going on in my life to keep up with it, you guys are swell and I hope you have a swell Christmas too.


And have a very Merry Christmas :)

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