10.2.12

La vache qui rit...

I was actually hot last night under the covers with all my layers and hot water bottle. It was delightful. Unfortunately I still didn't sleep well, darn jetlag - and probably some anxiety over what's about to happen, and lack of exercise.

Now I don't have ANY water. So to shower: I layer up inside my room, in full winter gear, head into to the arctic hallway with my shower caddy in tow, and walk to the student wing to a condemned room that has hot water but will never have heat. Or something like that. It's like being back in college, really, only in Alaska instead of Mississippi.

I went to my former host family's house for dinner tonight. She called me and told me to come for dinner to "thaw out". I'd love to! We had real fondue, from the Savoie region of France. It was amazing. Her father is from around there - Italian descendants.

My host family first met me when I was 19, a student studying abroad on the Abbey program. I had a host sister too, Emily, I wonder what's come of her...

I fell in love with them immediately - he is one of the town doctors, very interested in everything, inquisitive, pensive, etc. She is warm (so is he, but she's the mom), loving, kind, an excellent cook. They are both very active and love to travel and explore new places. Their home is very warm and cozy.

When I left after my time as a student, in 2004, the only "French cheese" I could tolerate was La vache qui rit. Anyone who's been to my house has seen a framed vintage print of it hanging by the front door - if you paid attention.

News flash: The Laughing Cow Cheese is not considered a cheese in France. It's what you give children, you know, picky ones who can't handle the real stuff yet. My host parents laughed and laughed when I told them my favorite French cheese was La vache qui rit and from then onward she put a piece, wrapped in it's foil with that grinning cow on the cover, on the cheese plate that emerged after our meals.

When I came back in 2007 they were thrilled. And she remembered. We still chuckle about it. But that year I was ready for the real stuff, and although I relied on bread to accompany the stronger flavors, I ate (and enjoyed) all of it.

In 2010 and 2011 the foil cheese came out a few times, we still chuckle about it to this day, but they were SUCH proud host parents when they saw me go after the stinkiest cheese without any bread to wash it down. I miss cheese when I'm not in France.

There wasn't a cheese plate tonight, not after fondue. But there was soup to start, the fondue, and a home made tarte made from fruit from the garden - cerises blanc (white cherries) or meribel (maybe it's the same in english?), that was the discussion over dessert.

It all ended with a decaf espresso and chatter about my friend Staci coming to visit in EIGHT DAYS! They've invited us to dinner, for un vrai diner fran├žais. He speaks more English than he's willing to admit, and Staci speaks zero French - but neither did my parents when they came in 2007 and it was such fun. We'll see - I told her I'd confirm later this week, after I speak to Staci.

Look at that, it's 11pm again. Off to bed....

1 comment:

  1. How well we remember that first meal with them! It was amazing! Reading your description of the meal has made my mouth water and has given me a craving for wine and cheese, even though it is just 8am! Although I do admit to not being able to handle the stinkiest of the French cheeses. Please tell them that we send our best wishes and thank them for taking such good care of our daughter!

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