Monday, November 18, 2013
She's got a ticket to ride
Travel here has been fine, but there always seems to be some little detail that trips me up. You know the only 2 times my credit cards haven't worked here? When I was buying a train ticket back from Geneva 10 minutes before departure, and when I needed gas late at night in the middle of nowhere. Two weeks ago, I was riding an older model of train, and when we stopped I couldn't open the door. There was no one around and we took off before I could open the door, so I took a 90 minute detour to the next stop and back. Things here aren't backwards, but they are different from what I'm used to, and learning the ins and outs is a long and laborious process fraught with mistakes. I leave a lot of margin time on my itinerary when I travel!!
We cleaned out the garage and moved the outdoor furniture and trampoline inside for the winter, as we've just started seeing snow in the mornings (EEEEE). The mountains around us are slowly turning white, and everyone's gearing up for 4 cold cold months. I borrowed a gigantic puffy coat from my host mom that I think is going to save my life. I look like a giant black marshmallow but I love it.
We celebrated Halloween in my village, which was a treat for me. I was shocked by how homesick I got around Halloween, thinking about my traditions like throwing a party with Hannah, going to a big PDX comic scene party, making some elaborate, geeky costume, getting crunkity with my friends on the Saturday before, and handing out candy on Halloween itself to the adorable neighborhood chitlins. In our little French village, Halloween is in the early stages of catching on. We trick-or-treated many houses that did not answer or did not have candy. We received an egg from one house. We trick-or-treated a building I thought was a house that turned out to be an industrial kitchen with several farm hands processing milk late at night. The amazing thing was that the woman who answered the door rushed off to find some candy and returned with a ton of jelly beans! It was a super fun night.
Course de l'Escalade with the mom, who is training for her first full marathon in April! We've gone to run by the river a couple of times while the dad and kids run or play on bikes and roller blades. On December 7 we'll run 4.8km through downtown Geneva with a ton of other people. I've heard the whole city comes out to watch/run/party, and I'm really excited about it. I only wish I'd brought some giant Nike or PDX sweatshirt to rep my hometown!! ;_; I might use face paint to draw an American flag on my cheeks or something...
And lastly, there was this "coq-au-vin" fundraiser for my little girl's school in the next village over. We went to a community center and drank and ate dinner with about a hundred people from the area. It was so fun. It cracked me up that it lasted until 11:30, when the same kind of thing in the US would be over by 7:30! I was amazed how welcome and comfortable I felt. It made me step back and realize that, actually, I know more than a few people here, between waiting for kids at the morning and afternoon bus stops, kid play dates, babysitting for other families, etc...people here are great, and I'm starting to feel a little bit integrated in the community. It's a wonderful feeling.