Sunday, November 28, 2010

A weekend in the country

This weekend I was invited to the country home of a friend of a friend about 100km from Paris to celebrate Thanksgiving.This is the lovely old farmhouse where we stayed. It was cold and snowy most of the weekend. Vivian, the hostess, who is from Australia but has lived in Paris for thirty years, was delighted by the snow. Kristin (my American friend who had invited me along) and I spent all day Saturday cooking the Thanksgiving feast.We ate turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, home-made biscuits, green beans, potatoes, and pumpkin and pecan pie. Kristin and I made everything except the potatoes and green beans, which were brought by the French guests (alas, the potatoes weren't mashed, it was a "timbale" which looked identical to a gratin to my eyes, but they were still yummy.)

For most of the weekend we spoke almost all French, which was great. Vivian (who works as an interpreter and is therefore fluent, of course) and her French friends laughed a lot at Kristin and me but corrected our mistakes and helped us study for our first French test (which will be tomorrow.) At one point during our feast, Vivian asked me to explain the origins of our Thanksgiving holiday, and in attempting to tell that story, I kept confusing the word for pilgrim (pelerin) with staircase landing (pelier), which everyone found very amusing.On Sunday morning we went for a 6km walk along the nearby canal. It was cold and the ground was really wet, but we were glad to burn off some of Saturday night's dinner before attacking the leftovers for lunch.During our much shorter walk on Saturday night, Lena (the 13 year old guest) was telling Kristin and me various ways to say "I'm stuffed." In addition to the simple but not-really translatable idiom "Je suis calé", there is "J'ai le peau du ventre bien étendu" (my stomach skin is well-stretched) or "J'ai le ventre rond comme un tonneau" (my stomach is as round as a barrel.) Very useful phrases.This was a sweet little chateau nearby.Kristin and me, smiling despite the fact that our feet were completely drenched.One of the few spots of color still left in the woods.The back of the little farmhouse. We were sad to leave...

It wasn't quite like Thanksgiving at home, but it was a nice little escape from the madness of the city!

1 comment:

  1. wonderful post! it's fun to celebrate American holidays in other countries, sometimes...I'm getting very tired of wearing my sling(3 weeks to go) but it did come in handy to disguise my very round belly on thanksgiving!