La Grave

Trip Start Oct 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 2007

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

La Grave

Sorry for the delay since my last blog post. Be thankful for that, as I was going through a bit of a slump. Between feelings of lack of progress in my French to missing Seth, it was best I didn't write anything. Fortunately it was short lived.

Now, however, I have done a complete 180 degree turn. I spent this past weekend in the mountains, in the little town of La Grave. Actually, I was in the little village just above it, called Les Terrasses. An American friend, Colin, invited me to come for the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with him, his mom, some close family friends, as well as some French friends. It was one of those very special, memorable times in life that happen when you are not expecting it. I knew that I needed to get away from Grenoble for the weekend, but little did I know that it would completely change our winter plans. In between a feast on Saturday night of a 10 lb. duck purchased from Colin's neighbor (which had been beheaded and plucked just days before by one of the dinner guests, Matthieu), a 10 mile pre-dinner run (half the time in 3 - 5 inches of snow), a Frisbee game in the dark in between dinner courses to make room for salad and dessert, and hours of staring at the breathtaking views of the valley, I started thinking about what it would be like to spend a winter here. I also found out that Colin just purchased a little apartment building (signing papers this week!) just below the house he lives in (below meaning down the walkway about 50 feet). As soon as I found this out, my mind started thinking, calculating, hmmmm, should we/could we change our winter plans and stay here instead of going to Châtel? He still has one apartment available, with a view looking directly at La Meije, WOW(see pictures). So I started asking Colin questions. He could tell pretty quickly what I was scheming. To make an even longer story shorter, Seth and I have decided to spend our winter here instead. I believe Seth was using his jedi mind tricks while skiing in Whistler last weekend to secretly implant these ideas in my head, as it didn't take more than about 2 words to convince him. We now both have the anxious, excited butterflies in our stomachs that you get when you're a little kid on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to deliver the goods. This will help us both through the next 19 days until his arrival.

I was very lucky to have been introduced to Les Terrasses/La Grave by Colin, who has been a part of this very real "community" for 8 - 10 years now. It's one of those communities that can be hard to find nowadays, especially in the city, unless you really make the effort. It's too easy to be so caught up in your own life that you don't make the time/effort to get to know your neighbors. I'm guilty of that for sure. In a place like Les Terrasses, a village of about 50 year round residents, it doesn't seem that you have a choice but to get to know your neighbors. Otherwise, what's the point of living there if you're not going to contribute to and be a part of the community? It's nice that way. I think it will set a good standard of how Seth and I would like to lead our lives once back in Seattle.

Other than that, this week I had another French cooking course which I loved just as much as the last one. I also have a new class in school, as the classes change monthly. I can already tell that this month is going to be a lot more challenging, which I'm happy for. Amazingly enough just a little less than half of the students in my class this month are Chinese, instead of 85% like last month. I still haven't quite figured out why so many of them come to Grenoble, though they tell me that it's because in Shanghai, CUEF (the French language school I'm attending) is known as the best place in the world to learn French. I don't know that I believe that to be true, BUT, if that is what they're told, then that's why they're here. Very curious. So we have 6 Chinese, an Italian, a Spaniard, 2 Australians, 2 Iranians, a Mexican, and moi, l'americaine. I'm enjoying the diversity.

Things continue to be great staying with my host family. This morning my host mom took me to a sale at a friend's house. Her friend makes all sorts of things year round, which she then sells just before Christmas. All proceeds benefit an association that does research on Alzheimer's, as her mom lost her life to the disease. I bought an apron for winter, as well as a wood candle holder in the shape of a star. In fact, it's the same shape as the Star of David (not sure if that was on purpose or not), so this year as we celebrate our Hanukmas, or Christmukkah, with our Star of David candle and maybe a Christmas branch, we can light the shamash candle (Peter - did I get that right??), blow it out, repeat, depending on what day of Hanukkah it is.

Ok, that's it for now. I can picture the streets of Seattle right now, covered in snow with holiday decorations everywhere. Lovely!!

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