Sunday, May 18, 2008

An awesome weekend!!

I didn't end up going to the Russian Choral concert on Friday night. My excuses were the 10€ ticket, I was tired, I was preparing my tutoring lesson, it was raining, and I wanted to stay online. Sorry to disapoint you Soleil!

SO. Teh internetz has this thing called torrents. Thanks to Shannon for guiding me through. Basically, this is how I've been entertaining myself online, keeping myself from going entirely insane due to boredom, and looking for fun ways to spice up my lessons. I have all of Sex and the City, Oz, and Clone High, which are all super fun tv shows; a couple of movies; and about 10GB of music. Oh my goodness. Françoise's internet connection is only about 3,294 times better than mine was, so the files come in less than 24 hours at the slowest.

Of course, this comes with surprises. Among my discoveries:
"Asereje" by Las Ketchup
"The Hampsterdance Song"
"Peanut Butter Jelly Time"
among others. I have not yet filtered all 10GB of music. Luckily the Toshiba has 231 GB.

On Saturday, I embarked on the grocery trip odd-yssey. What did I buy?
At the "organic" grocery store: dish soap, rice cakes, crème fraiche (kind of like sour cream and fresh cream), pie dough, crème de marron (spread made from sugared boiled chestnuts)
At Leader Price, the super cheap grocery store: kitchen sponges, mayonnaise, white vinegar
At the market: one kilo of potatos, parsley (I think it was free with purchase!), celery, a cucumber, four peaches, a melon, a barquette of strawberries, two onions, a dozen eggs (they still had feathers on them!)
At the cheese shop: raspberry jam
At the convience store: a new travel-size water bottle and toothpaste
At the bakery: half-loaf of whole wheat bread

When I finally got home, dragging all this stuff with me, I got busy in the kitchen! What did I make?
Tarte au morailles: One of my fifth grade students gave me a block of morailles. This is a super strong soft cheese from the north of France (Soleil and Shannon, do you recognize it?). The thing to do with it is make this pie. So I rolled out the pie crust, placed a layer of the super stinky cheese down, and covered it all with the crème fraiche. Fifteen-ish minutes in the oven and voilà, stinky cheese pie. It's pretty good.
Potato salad: peeled and boiled the potatos to a PERFECT texture, boiled and peeled the eggs (way too fresh), chopped the onions and celery, mix. I was unable to find dill.

Saturday was also my last tutoring session with my student. I have to pass a ton of websites to her! I did get paid for our final four sessions, so yay for cash in hand.

On Saturday evening, the city of Ussel hosted a Nuit au Musée, or Night at the Museum. Yes, Ussel has a museum! In fact, it's a collection of historic buildings with historically significant artifacts from the area, open only in the summer. The exhibition started at the Chapelle des Pénitents with a choral recital by the Cantante 19, the regional choir. It was very nice. The Chapelle has displays of painted wooden saint figures, a horse-drawn hearse complete with a stuffed horse, displays of religious life paraphenalia (baptism dresses, wedding pictures, rosaries, random boxes). As with all of these cultural events in town, I was bound to see students. And guess who showed up - Alexia and Antoine! I love them so much. She is so sweet. I think we could actually be friends in like real life too. After the exhibition at the Chapelle, the whole group walked to the museum downtown where we listened to the Lyre Usselloise, the city band play some embarassingly inappropriate songs (the Bugs Bunny theme?!) and a storyteller tell the French version of Hansel and Gretl, called Jeannette and Jeannot. The storyteller was absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed her. Then we we went to the printing shop that displayed Ussel's printing history, mostly based on music printing. That was pretty cool. The middle school art classes had had a workshop on lithographs and produced a calendar. I'll see if they're not selling it; it looked really cool! So that was a supremely delightful Saturday night!

Wait, why did I make potato salad? Well, Françoise's best friend is Hélène who is the mother of Pierre who is a student at the high school, friends with Daniel, and with whom I have hung out a few times. Hélène invited me to spend Sunday with her. We went to her Equestrian/Tao Chi Center, where a very dynamic lady named Emmanuelle rehabs horses and teaches a type of Chinese meditation called Qi Xong (ah spelling), in addition to chain smoking. (We are in France, after all.) It was pretty cool, even if I am not at all an animal person and horses require a relationship with humans to pretty much function. And guess who else was there? Marie-Claude, the conseillère pédagogique who first greeted me in Brive!! And her crazy daughter Camille. Her husband Olivier showed up too. Basically it was a group riding lesson and meeting for this center's upcoming exhibition. It was pretty cool, honestly. My potato salad was a huge hit, especially when I told them it was a traditional American picnic recipe. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself! Go me. I am not so all about the horses. I'm not scared of them; I just don't know how to communicate with them. I tried leading this one pony around but she just refused to acknowledge me. I am not an animal person, and apparently animals agree. Even Tahini begs to go outside when she's home alone with me.

I just got a phone call from Hélène inviting me to next Sunday's lunch! I'm going to bring dessert. Who wants to see Rose attempt angel food cake for strawberry shortcake? What other options do I have...I do still have two boxes of orange jello and brownie mix, but I was planning on baking for Schools One and Three this week. Hmmm. This will require thought!

I am exhausted from this weekend. I am so looking forward to school this week, too!


shannon said...

Do you mean maroille? That's the stinky cheese that's made around here (or there... I should say since I no longer live in Chauny). I've had a tarte au maroille. The cheese is good (still stinky) as long as it's cooked.

Au Soleil Levant said...

I'm a big stinky cheese fan. Yes, I have had maroilles, and yes, I like it. Cold tarte maroilles is not good, however. Don't buy it from a boulangerie that won't mike it for you. Nuit des Musées sounds super cool, and your horseback riding! I was so horse crazy as a little girl, took lessons and everything. Haven't been on a horse in like eight or nine years though. Maybe I can find something before I leave?