Ok the title isn’t very creative but that’s exactly what it was, Thanksgiving in France. I have a few things to say on the subject. First of all let me tell you about how the evening actually proceeded:
The event was held at a restaurant that seemed pretty far away for us IES students since it required some tram and bus taking for those that we’re lucky enough to have their host families attending. It was nice though and able to hold all of us (200 I hear). Everyone was decked out for the evening, I personally dug a dress out of my suitcase for the first time all semester (and probably the only time seeing as I have only 18 days left).
We mingled and had drinks for a while then everyone found a seat and we enjoyed a 15 minute welcome speech from Mr. de Beranger, the program director. We had our appetizer of baguette with black olives and roasted red peppers (not all that exciting) then the not-so-American main course of turkey (obviously), cranberry sauce (which was actually sauce), “stuffing” (I will not claim to know what was in this, but I stand by my opinion that it tasted like fish), potatos and some chesnuts and mushrooms. The turkey and its sauce was pretty good, the rest wasn’t too bad either, except that stuffing loaf…
Then we enjoyed some entertainment provided by the IES students, some of my friends played piano or sang and one student did an excellent rendition of La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf. After that came dessert, which unfortunately there are not pictures of. It was pumpkin pie (french style) which had some interesting spices…(if any one can place them please tell me). A lot of students didn’t like it but I didn’t think it was bad. Maybe I’m just missing spices in France and that was helping. We hung out until a bus took us downtown and then I walked home (in the rain at midnight, but I’ll spare you my discontent).
All in all Thanksgiving was a great evening, I think we all had fun. But one of the most interesting parts of the week was talking about it with my host mom. After having over 10 students, I expected her to be a little more caught up on the idea of Thanksgiving but after our conversations it was clear she was still in the dark. I think she had a real disproportionate sense of the importance of Thanksgiving in America. I don’t know about you, but I feel like being in France instead of at home for Thanksgiving wasn’t really a big deal. No matter what historic or spiritual importance we claim it has, I think to most of us its a day around the television or in the kitchen and around the table. It’s a great excuse to get some time off from school and eat a lot of food and spend time with family, sometimes family we don’t see very often, but as far as real significance, the day itself doesn’t really mean much. My host mom on the other hand expected it to be a big party (she compared it to 4th of July) and thought I would be really sad not to be home. Maybe its just me, but I didn’t feel all that homesick, mostly just jealous that I wasn’t kitchen-master for the day.
On Friday we went to a soccer (football) game in Nantes. It was Nantes v. Chateauroux. Nantes plays in the D2 league and neither team was all that great but we had a good time cheering and taking pictures. The game ended 2-2.
On Saturday we had a homework party where I got a decent amount of work done (not nearly enough though). It was cold and rainy so we stayed inside with our laptops and our tea. For dinner we made crepes on my host mom’s crepe machine which was both yummy and fun, we had an expert assembly line going by the end.
I only have a few weeks left in Nantes which is making me really sad. A lot of students have started talking about how much they want to go home but I want to stay. Maybe I’m not average (ok we know that) but I’m not feeling at all homesick. Besides the actually three days surrounding Christmas I could probably stay the year and not even notice. Then again, based on my conversations with other IES students, I have a lot more contact with my parents than most students. We exchange a lot of emails, talk on Skype or the phone occasionally and sometimes instant messenger. I keep up with my friends and my sister on Facebook, which is exactly what I do when I’m at school anyway. Some people said all that contact would just make them more homesick but I think its making me feel connected. In any case, it will all be over in a few weeks. 😦
Lots of homework this week but hopefully lots of fun as well!