1. Things are still going fabulously here in Lille. Yes, it’s still cold. But they just lit up our street, so now it says Bienvenue Rue Gambetta, which is so adorable. It makes it so much more Christmas-y, in addition to the Christmas Market that’s already well under way and the Ferris Wheel in the Grand Place. In fact, most of the streets have little Christmas lights strung between the buildings, and they’re all lit up now. I certainly was not expecting this level of cuteness out of Lille, and I am loving it!
2. I ended up having a proper Thanksgiving dinner here in Lille! Sarah, a teacher at my roommate Sarah’s school, invited Sarah (I was her +1) and 6 other teachers to partake in their very first Thanksgiving dinner. Sarah cooked two chickens (since turkeys are nearly impossible to find here, and there’s no way any French-sized oven would fit a turkey us Americans are used to) complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes (they were actually yams but were still to diiiiie for), veggies, and….wait for it…..homemade pumpkin and pecan pies. I almost pooped my pants it was so good.
3. People here in France have been more than obsessed with the American elections. It is a big no-no for teachers to talk about political preferences in school (similar to the United States, but more enforced), but since I’m not technically a teacher I get asked left and right who I voted for and why, and the teachers seem to be perfectly okay with it. I explained the elections and the different sides to my classes, and asked them who they would vote for if they got the chance. My favorite part of learning about the elections, though, was when I sat in on a class that was listening to a recording about the elections. Now keep in mind that this was not a podcast or something the teacher simply found online — this was a CD that came with a certified English workbook that all the teachers at this school use. The great thing about this CD was that it was clearly biased. Some of my favorite quotes: “Tea Partiers have a quasi-religious devotion to the Constitution, although many of them seem to have never even read it.” On Mormonism and polygamy: “Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather had 5 wives. To try to distance himself from polygamy, Romney said, ‘I can’t imagine anything worse’ than polygamy. It was clearly not the most imaginative response.” On healthcare: “Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare, as it is called, if he is elected President. The absurdity in this is that Obamacare was inspired by a healthcare system implemented in Massachusetts by a governor named…….Mitt Romney.” The teacher and I were cracking up, but the rest of the class really didn’t get it. She told me that it’s really hard for French people to be impartial.
4. Sarah’s mom is awesome and sent us a ton of holiday (okay, Christmas) decorations and now our apartment is adorable. We have garland, bows, and even a little Santa to greet us when we come in. We’re still on the hunt for a menorah….only two-ish weeks until Hanukkah!! Speaking of Sarah, I could not have gotten luckier on the roommate front. We have so much in common, and get along really well. Being here in Lille would seriously not even be half as great as it is without Sarah as my partner in crime (assuming dancing Gangnam Style 24/7 is a crime). And now we actually have French friends! Couldn’t have done it without her.
5. Just under one month until I go home for 2 weeks for Christmas vacation. I’m interested to see if I feel ready to go home, if I miss Lille, and how I feel coming back after 2 weeks. It feels like everything’s looking up right now, so fingers crossed it’ll keep on keeping on!
P.S. This week I had my students participate in a spelling bee. It was hilarious.
À bientôt, mes chéris!