Trip Start Dec 10, 2008
Trip End Jan 15, 2009

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, December 25, 2008


It was the day before Christmas so I slept in and then went skiing.
Jessica's parents had already gone to work by the time that we woke up, so we ate breakfast and got dressed. I am an early riser; I usually wake up at 8-8:30am, but Jessica prefers to sleep in until 10-10:30. I don't have a key for the apartment upstairs, so I can't help myself to breakfast, but it gives me time to look on my Travelblog, to clean my room, or whatever I want.
We had lunch again at Jessica's grandmother's house. We go there often because she only lives a kilometer or so away. Jessica's other grandmother lives in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, and gets car sick on the winding road to La Rosiere, so I haven't seen her as frequently, though I did stay at her house for three days.
They now lock the cat, Balou, in the bedroom when I come. We ate a big lunch as usual. I m now getting used to the amount of food that we eat in France; I just hope that I don't return home with this huge appetite that I now have. I have no idea how the French people stay so skinny, though, with the amount of cheese and bread that they eat on a daily basis.
Jessica's grandmother drove us to the slopes. In Australia, we usually walk, and here the distance to the slopes is about the same, but here there are a few steep hills to climb to get there. We skied for the whole afternoon. We ventured into Italy, as the snow seems to be better there at the moment. We didn't ski right down to the station, we just kept close to the border. I tackled another black run, and I feel quite good after I have finished. We met one of Jessica's friends at the top of the chairlift, and we talked for awhile. Jessica tells me that quite often she skis alone, but it doesn't seem like it because she meets her friends everywhere.
Martine drove us home when we were finished. We went home and got changed. We were going to have a family Christmas dinner that night.
First, though, we went to a show on the slopes. It was a flare run, like in Australia, but it was beautiful. We didn't ski in it, but 174 other people did. There were even more spectators, maybe 300 or 400 people. First, the children came down with pretty lights in their hands. They were followed by the adults with flares. It was so pretty to watch, as they cut out all the lights, bar one spotlight which was on the sponsor's logo.
They then had a show for us of the ski instructors and "what they can do". I loved it. They had skiers going down the slopes sans skis; the funniest part of that was seeing them going back up the teleski to fetch their skis at the top of the mountain. They either had to sit on the heels, or run up with the teleski on. They had synchronised skiing, with the instructors making zig zag shapes together as they skied down. I loved the way the snow looked, illuminated, as they carved the snow. They had borders and skiers going off the jumps one after the other. They had male skiers going down topless, and as they skied their pants came down! All I could think of was how cold they must've been! They had borders going down on skateboards and so many other tricks. It was the best ski/board show that I have ever seen. It finished on a high note, with a magnificent fireworks display.
It was cold by then, so we returned back to the house. The table was already set, and everyone was there. Both Jessica's grandmothers came, and so did Martine's brother, Patrick. We started by watching the movie that I made Jess of her trip to Australia. Martine and her grandmothers loved the music, though they had all seen it before.
Dinner was nice. I ate more foie grass, though I don't like it as much as before now that I know what it is. For those of you who don't know, foie grass is duck or goose liver, in which the animal is force-fed to make it fatter first. Some countries have banned the practice as they think that it is torture, but the French say that it is their tradition.
We had fun, talking and eating a lot of food. It finished late, so I went to bed. I spoke to my family on webcam as it was already Christmas there, and so I wished them a Merry Christmas.

Today was my first ever white Christmas! I was super excited, and I logged on to my computer. It was only 5:30pm over there, so I got to speak to my family again. Dad sent me a link to a video on youtube that he made. It was a video of pictures of me at all my Christmases from 1992-2008. Then there were messages from my family and people at work saying "Merry Christmas, Amy!" I loved it; it was the best surprise. At time of print, I've watched it four times.
I then opened my present from my family. It has been sitting in my suitcase since I've been here and I've been itching to open it. It was an iPod Touch and it already had all my songs and movies loaded on! It was good. I also got a pendant for my Pandora bracelet, a turtle.
Jessica was still asleep, so I amused myself by entering in contacts and birthdays into my new iPod. Jessica was finally awake at 10:30. She didn't seem to share my enthusiasm for Christmas; apparently New Year's is more her thing. We walked upstairs and I was surprised to find that Martine had already gone to work. Today was just like any other day, I guess. Jessica didn't get any presents from her parents or anyone. Her dad told me that we were going to do it tomorrow night, with the rest of the family. Jessica was pretty disappointed that she wasn't going to receive anything today. I couldn't imagine a Christmas without my sisters and I running to the Christmas tree. I guess I can now. Jess's dad asked what we were going to do today, and Jess said that she didn't know. I looked outside and it was snowing, for the first time that I have been here and awake, it was snowing. I couldn't imagine a more perfect day for it to snow.
We ended up going shopping in the souvenir shops so that Jessica could buy a small present for her friend on exchange for a year in Chile. We went to her grandmother's house for lunch again. I think because she is alone, she likes having us around everyday. It was a big, 5 course meal. There was the entrée of salami and foie grass with bread, then the next course of something that is a cross between herb bread and a quiche, main course of pork with potatoes, the cheese course (which nobody ate) and dessert. It was a big meal, and even with my newly acquired big appetite, I struggled to finish. She was desperate for all the food to be eaten, so I politely ate more potatoes.
We then went out skiing. It was super windy outside, but we went out anyway. It was freezing outside, I was the coldest that I've been here. The skiing wasn't very good as the wind had blown most of the snow away, so it was pretty icy. The wind stung my face as I skied. We stayed out for 45 minutes, before admitting defeat to the weather. We visited Martine at work to warm up, before Roland took us home. Jess and I played a board game to pass time before Martine came home and we went to the bowling alley. Today there were a lot more people, and all the lanes were taken. We watched some people from Roland's work play before we decided to play pool. It was me and Jessica versus Roland and Martine. I was much better at pool this time, and pocketed a few balls. It was a nail-biter of a game, but Jess and I ended up losing to the adults.
Roland and Martine dropped us off to go to the evening mass with Jessica's grandmother. They don't have a church in La Rosiere, so they converted the hall where I went to see the traditional dancing a few nights ago into a Church for the night. The hall was a lot more filled for the Christmas mass than it was for the dancing. The sermon went for 2 hours. One of the Christmas Carols I could sing in English - but sadly not as well in French so at least I got the tune right as I sang! When it was communion time, I was unsure of what to do. As I had not had my First Holy Communion or even Catholic, I didn't take it. Usually at my protestant church, I would take it, but I didn't think that that would grant me permission to take it here. I enjoyed the sermon as it was interesting to see a Catholic Christmas sermon, in French.
At home, we ate dinner. It was frogs legs. They taught me how to properly eat it, as there were many bones, you ate with your hands and peeled the meat off. They joked to me that they would hop around in my stomach after I had finished. It didn't taste so bad, it was just the thought that made me feel ill. I was good and ate all the frog's legs that were served on my plate.
So that was Christmas in France. I get the idea that Christmas is not just one day here, it is over a few days. I look forward to day 2 of Christmas in France tomorrow!
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kovacsfamily on

Merry Christmas
Glad to hear you had a wonderful & perfect white Christmas,a what a special moment seeing the snow fall. You were very good not to open your present before Christmas day. it must have been very tempting sitting there in your suitcase for the past week and a half. It sounds like you are aquiring a taste for different traditional french foods, i too developed a huge appetite after 6 weeks in Europe last, the Europeans definately LOVE their food.
Keep having lots of fun
Love Jodi

joan34 on

Merry Christmas
and it certainly was for us , but, as we missed you, we did all send you a Christmas shout!
Loved reading of all your activities and await with interest to leard how they celebrate new year.
Lots of love.
Nana & Pa

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