On the lighter side

I meant my last post from Nantes to be stereotypically sentimental.  It’s Friday night and I’m sitting in my bedroom in my host family’s house, which won’t be “my” bedroom tomorrow night.  Almost done packing (my backpack looks like I pumped it up with helium and weighs in at a figure which swiftly debunks the helium theory).  Still composing the farewell letter I’m going to leave for my host family…

It was after the first draft of this letter that I realized there was no way I was going to get through good-byes without shedding tears.

So I have forsaken sentiment to tell you about the last few humorous things that have happened in Nantes.

-I’ve been kissed twice in two days by scruffy homeless guys.  The first one asked me my name at a bus stop; when I timidly answered “Marie,” he inclined his head, lifted my hand and kissed it like Sir Galahad while the other soon-to-be passengers looked on in high interest, then informed me his name was Alain and got on the next bus that arrived.  The next day I went to one of the outdoor Christmas markets with another student and had hot chocolate (delicieux), and a mostly-toothless bonhomme started making jokes with us.  He offered us some hot wine from the seller’s stand next to us, but my American friend and I were not sure what the results might be of drinking hot wine with homeless men, so we declined (many times).  When we turned to escape, our would-be comrade said, “Eh bien, on fait une bise, hein?” and kissed us both on the cheek.

-In the courtyard of the Château des ducs de Brétagne, there is a giant inflatable Santa Claus that makes snoring noises.  Also, the day that my friend and I were at the château we decided to go into a café for hot things of goodness.  “Up the stairs and on the right,” the lady on the first floor told us.  Somehow we managed to sit down in room reserved for a party, where the other guests honored us with hostile stares until the waitress appeared and redirected us.

-My host family is pet-sitting a cat which assumes a particularly reverent attitude when they have family prayer time before bed.  Eyes shut, erect, ears down, she perches on the couch beside my host sister, who looks fairly casual by comparison.

Other rib-tickling moments during the semester have included watching my host family trying to open a package that my American family sent (complicated) – the smaller box was stuck inside the bigger box and they had to do a tug-of-war – as well as getting scared out of the bathroom by a giant spider (which you can read about in another post) and helping a class of fifteen-year-olds write scripts for a skit in English set in the Wild West.  The best part was the name they came up with for the town: Springfield Gulch.  There was also the moment the IES program director saw me in my yoga pants.

On that determinedly-not-sentimental note I now turn to writing my farewells to my host family, which is going to be depressing but hopefully less dramatic than if I had written a whole post about how much I’m going to miss them.  Seriously, just about every student I’ve talked to said they’re going to cry when they tell their host families goodbye.

This is not helping…