À Bientôt Tours…

Madame’s taken to disappearing after putting out breakfast in the mornings, which I’m not fond of. Part of my “routine” in the morning is to say goodbye instead of just letting myself out to make sure that I tell her when I think I’m going to be home so I know she’s home to let me in. The tea was on the table at the right time this morning, and I was ready to head out the door at 8:00, but she was in her room… until 8:10! I had to speed walk to l’Institut, but I made it in time to say good morning to Sheila before class, and Mme. Scouten (head honcho for Sweet Briar) came out to tell us she had the housing assignments ready, but they weren’t alphabetized… 

Sheila couldn’t wait any longer to find out where she was living, and had emailed Mme. Parnet a couple days ago to ask when we’d find out our assignments, and she’d read the reply yesterday. Mme. Parnet told her that we’d get the assignments tomorrow (again, this was yesterday), but she told Sheila that I was her roommate as a teaser. Sheila told me this yesterday, and I caused a bit of a scene. I promised her that I’d go out at least half of the time she wanted me to (unless I was waiting out a gluten-bomb). Back to today! We went into Mme. Scouten’s office to try to get our assignments, and the lack of alphabetical order definitely caused some problems. I helped her do some alphabetizing with the pile I’d been handed to look for my name. Sheila and I found our assignments right before we needed to go to class, and I headed up to my classroom to read mine. While I’m in Paris, I’ll be staying with Mme. de LaPisse. She has three daughters who are all independent (I’m lead to believe they’ve all moved out), and she’s a widow. The house is in the 17th arrondissement. Everyone was speaking in English, so when Mme. Geai walked up, I showed her my assignment and told her what was going on. “Ah, so that’s why the whole world speaks English right now…”
We talked a bit more about architecture in class, but it was more along the lines of “what things in your town are pretty or ugly” and the like. I mentioned the Gallo Center for the Arts. We got into the topic of interior design as well, and when I had my apartment at school, I went way into detail with Feng Shui when I placed the furniture in all the rooms (it actually worked, it was always pleasant to be in the house when it was clean), so that was a fun topic to talk about.
We didn’t do any more theatre pieces in Fabian’s class. We did some work on si clauses to describe hypotheses, then we discussed things amongst ourselves like “if you were immortal, what would you do?” I found it amusing that one of the questions was “if you were invisible,” and Fabian called on me and Krystal to discuss this one. Krystal wanted to listen in on conversations about her, and I wanted to sneak into cinemas, museums and things like that. Fabian made a face at me. “Pas la banque?” (Not the bank?) I said no. “Ah, invisible, mais honnête.” (Invisible, but honest/virtuous.) The next person he called on blushed. Her response was that she’d go to the bank…
At lunch, I checked my email. My mom texted me and asked if I’d seen the picture of Noah at my door yet, so I saw it then, in front of all of my friends, and I burst into tears. 
He looks so heartbroken… who WOULDN’T cry?! The tag line my mom put with the photo was “I’m waiting… has it been four months yet?” Someone, go get my dog, and come visit me in Paris. Save my sanity. We did some research, and found out that Kyle lives all of one kilometer away from us in Paris (that’s about a 10 minute walk) so we can hang out all the time (or he and Sheila can meet up to walk to school together), Rouge lives about a 37 minute walk away, Sandra will have to take the metro to visit us, and Suzannah lives around a 45 minute walk away. Our metro ride to the Sweet Briar building in Paris will take 41 minutes (counting the walking from home to the nearest metro station, and from the last metro station to Sweet Briar), and it’ll take me and Joan 37 minutes to get to Paris III. We know that our handbook said to not invite friends over all the time, but with HALF of our friend group living in the same house, we hope our host mother will be open to the idea of having a friend over every once in a while… 
We went to Carrefour again (I take that back, it was only again for me) for lunch, and I bought a microwave meal that was a potato thing with sausages and green beans, and another can of Schwepps Agrum’ (I’m kind of an addict, but I’m limiting myself to a can a day). I nearly cried when I turned around, the gluten-free section at Carrefour is bigger than I thought it was (it’s also spread out everywhere)! Right next to the normal bread, I found pre-cooked baguettes, croissants, and already-cooked bread. HOLY GLUTEN-FREE HEAVEN. Even if I can’t find a health food store that sells gluten-free products close to my house in Paris (it’s in the most affluent district in Paris, how hard could it be?), I can always go to Carrefour!!! The potatoes ended up being delicious. For being just over four euros with the can of soda, that’s cheap. It’s probably not the healthiest thing around, but it was good.
After lunch, Charlotte wanted to go buy a Longchamp bag at a local gallery (grouping of shops kind of like a department store, but the departments are individual brands) so I went with her. I’d never heard of Longchamp bags before, but they’re everywhere here, and they’re apparently everywhere where she goes to college. I personally don’t like how they look, and they don’t have enough pockets for my taste. They’re definitely big enough to carry books, and the kind that everyone seems to have can fold up to fit inside another bag if you need them to. You’ll also apparently have them forever since they’re so well made. These bags go for $120 back in America. Charlotte bought one for 75 euro, and at the current exchange rate, she got the bag for $30 cheaper! All that said and done, I decided not to buy one. I can’t afford to blow through half of my monthly allowance from my Mom with no assurance that I’ll have a job in Paris. If I have to carry a lot of books around for class and I need another bag, and I get a job that means I can afford to blow 60-75 euro on a purse in Paris, sure I’ll get a Longchamp bag. I’ll wait to see if both of those things happen first… Charlotte wanted to stop by H&M to see if she could find a pair of cheap shoes that wouldn’t hurt her feet. Poor girl’s been walking around in flats all this time, and her feet were STILL screaming! She ended up buying a pair of black flats that could stand up to some serious walking, but were nice and soft on the inside. We parted ways after that, and I stopped by the post office on my way home to buy more stamps. I was down to two stamps after my last round of post card sending… I really hope I’ve been addressing them correctly. I think it’s been at least a week since I sent the first batch, I feel like they should have arrived by now!
Once I got home, I wrote Anna’s card, put them in envelopes, and took a little nap. I showered so I could let my hair air-dry for the rest of the night, packed whatever I could (basically anything I didn’t need for tonight or tomorrow morning) and picked up the room. My plan is to get all ready for bed after dinner tonight, then put any night stuff (like my night time medications) in my suitcase, and close it. Tomorrow morning, I’ll get ready, and putting any morning stuff (like makeup and laundry) in my carry on so I’m totally packed when I leave for school. The plan is to go to class, then come home and have Madame put my suitcases in the car, then take me to the place where the buses are leaving. I set out the gifts I have to give Madame and Anna, then relaxed for a bit. I snuck them out to the dining room while Madame was cooking and hid them on chairs that none of us ever sit in or move so they’ll be there at the end of the meal. Madame was in the middle of setting the table (in multiple trips) when I was trying to hide the gifts, so she asked what I was looking for. I wasn’t feeling too clever, so I said I was hiding something. I figured since I said that the jelly beans were a gift for her last night (she asked if she was supposed to keep them), I think she assumed whatever I was hiding was for Anna, which wasn’t entirely incorrect.
Dinner involved some meats and avocado for entrée, some pork and endive for plat principal, the usual cheese and some strawberries with sugar for dessert. Over dinner, I mentioned where I had to be dropped off to go to Paris tomorrow, and asked if it was okay if I came home after classes to pick up my bags. Madame asked if she needed to make me lunch. I said that it wasn’t part of the demi-pension (breakfast and dinner) she was supposed to give me since this was a Friday. She laughed and said “and?” Demi-pension means nothing to her (hello French hospitality that everyone said doesn’t exist). I’m really happy I get to have one more meal with her before I leave! I told her that since I’m in France for three and a half more months, there’s a chance I could come back to visit, and she said she’d really love that, so I think I’m going to make it a point to stop by at least once before I have to go back to America. Believe it or not, Madame actually had no idea what I was hiding despite catching me in the act earlier. She was surprised when I said I had more gifts, as was Anna! They loved the handmade cards most of all! They had a little trouble opening the paint cans of Jelly Belly Sours, but once I showed them how to do it, they did just fine. They liked them. Anna was happy to get more Jelly Bellies (in a sealed box) to take home to Japan with her. Madame thought the Jordan Almonds in the California shaped box was really cool, and she loves the almonds as it is. Jordan Almonds are called amandes dragée in French. Anna likes them too, we all had a taste. I never liked them before, but I do like Blue Diamond’s version of then (and no, I have not been paid to say that). We opened Madame’s can of Toasted Coconut flavored almonds, and she liked those as well (enough to say she’d have to hide them). Anna thought the fact that I gave her Wasabi and Soy Sauce flavored almonds was hilarious. I remembered that I had a couple 100 calorie packs of them in my room, so I told her I could give her a small package of them so she could try that flavor without opening the can. She did, and she loves them, she was actually laughing when she tried them since the wasabi flavor comes through so well and it surprised her. Madame said that getting the card was probably the best part of the gift (despite making only ONE error, I can’t be sauf because I’m a girl… I’m supposed to be sauve, Madame found this hysterical), and she always mentions things like this in her Christmas Letter cookbooks, so this will probably make it into the cookbook (I’m hoping my email correspondence will earn me a spot on the cookbook receiving list, though!). I slipped one of my business cards with my blog address in each of the cards after writing my email address on it, so Madame gave each of us one of her business cards from when she was District Governor of her Inner Wheel club in Rotary. When I told her that my boyfriend’s mother is the current District Governor, Madame handed me another card and I promised to give it to his mom. I still think it’s so cool that I have that Rotary connection with her…
Though I’m ready to go to Paris, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to leave Tours. I love Madame dearly, and I don’t want to leave her, or Anna. I’m definitely happy that I’m going to have two wonderful pen pals (that I get to practice my written French with) that I’ll get to invite to my wedding when the time comes for me to have one, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for both of them. I think what I’m most sad about is that Madame is 84. As strong and dynamic as she is… we haven’t cracked the code on immortality yet. I mentioned in my card that if she happened to come to America, she should tell me so I could introduce her to my mom and to Noah. Her response was “I’m old.” That’s not to say she won’t try. She’s a lot like me. Tell her no, she’ll do it to spite you. But… if I want my mom and Noah to meet Madame, I need to find a way to bring them here, and fast. At any rate… I’m definitely worried that tomorrow (if I don’t come back to visit before I actually leave the country) will be the last day I ever see her, and it breaks my heart. She’s a wonderful woman, and I’m so lucky to have had her in my life for the tragically short time that I’ve stayed with her.
I just wish I spoke better French than I do right now so that I could have told her more things about me, and about my family.

Tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’enfin elle se brise.

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