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Host brothers birthday weekend!

Before I continue, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts lately. I haven't been extremely busy or anything, just a little lazy, but I intend to start posting regularly again.

Saturday the 18th
We rented a car this weekend, because Rémi's (my host brother) car wouldn't have been able to comfortably transport all of us there (Saint-Martin-de-Crau) and back. On the way there it was just my host dad, host sister and I in the car, because Rémi and his girlfriend had a rendez-vous in the morning, so they took a train at like 7pm. We arrived in Montélimar just before lunch time, so we (host dad, host sister, their aunt and uncle who I really like) went to 2 different nougat factories! Montélimar is known for their nougat, and the aunt has actually been working at the second factory for 30 years! Nougat is really good. There are so many different flavors and types, so we got a huge bag of individual nougat squares and I tried a few - my favorite was the classic, but the the chocolate orange one was right up there.

After that amazing experience, we had lunch at a buffet wok place. I don't get why they serve french fries and things like that at an Asian restaurant - and why people actually eat it! If you're at a restaurant, get something that you can't get for $1. Anyway, the food was really good there! They had fresh sea food and everything that I ate I really enjoyed.

Then we all went to Salon-de-Provence to meet up with my host mom (it's where she works) and she cut my hair! My hair grows super fast and is annoyingly thick, so whenever it's too long, it's too long and this past week should have been a hat week, but since I go to a private, Christian school, I cannot wear hats inside. SO I was extremely happy to get my hair thinned out and cut - it's much better now.

We walked around a little, and then we went to their grandma's house around 4:50 - perfect timing. I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to watch the Waffsicle livestream for LMT 2, but we got there just in time and I didn't miss it! Was a great livestream, even if it was a little short. I was feeling a little sick, so I stayed in my room for another hour - they were just watching TV downstairs anyway, but since we were at their grandma's house and she has an amazing stove and oven and all of the ingredients I needed, I decided to make spontaneous brownies, because why not? Everyone (yes, all 18 of them...) started arriving around the same time and the kitchen is close to the dining room, so I wasn't being asocial, I was just keeping my distance from the chaos, that is my extended host family.

We were staying up really late, because we were waiting for Rémi and his girlfriend to arrive around 9, which wasn't that great for me because I could feel the sick coming - you know that feeling 1-2 days before you get a cold? You know it's coming, but you can't really do anything to prevent it. I wanted to be ready for the big birthday lunch on Sunday, so I wanted to go to sleep, but I decided to stay up until they arrived and meet his girlfriend (who I really like) and eat some pizza. They ordered 10 different pizzas. Like yes please. They weren't that great though - no crust and a little soggy, but I mean it's pizza so I ate it.

I did go to bed before dessert though, because 1) I was super tired and 2) because I don't like to eat my desserts with people I don't know very well, because their feedback is always positive so as to not hurt my feelings and it's just uncomfortable for me - I'm not great at accepting compliments. I usually just say thanks and blush really hard and wish that I could slip into a black hole - like Aubrey Plaza on Ellen.

Sunday the 19th

The big celebration!

Nothing happened this morning - we packed and loaded up the car, because we were going straight home after the restaurant.

I expected the restaurant to be a fancy place with other people there, in like the middle of the city, but it was a 30 minute drive and in the middle of nowhere, and it turns out, is where my host parents got married! And it turns out it really isn't really a restaurant at all - more of a party hosting place? I don't know - but it was extremely pretty. It was literally in the middle of the Alpilles, I had no service, but it was so pretty and I saw 2 cats - they were huge.

All 18 of us mingled for a while and had drinks and hors d'oeuvres which were really good. My 12 year old host sister, her 14 year old cousin, their grandma and I were the only ones not drinking which started to show by the end of the celebration - there were like 10 bottles of red wine, white wine and rosé on the table and like 4 bottles of champagne for dessert. I had water :D The food came out a little later than I would have liked, but it was worth the wait.

The entrée was an avocado with mayonnaise (I scooped mine off, because gross), shrimp and some couscous, which was fantastic. Then our main course came out, we had a choice between salmon and pork - I choose salmon and it was quite possibly the best salmon I've ever had. I can't even describe it really, there was some kind of sauce that it was drenched in that was just so goood. It was accompanied by potatoes and zucchini in a cream sauce which was fine.

Dessert took like 1h30 to be served what with the cheese course and such, but OH MY GOD. HOW HAVE I NEVER HAD A BAKED ALASKA BEFORE??? IT WAS SO DELICIOUS! I can't even imagine my life before having tried that. That's how I should tell time now: B.B.A and A.B.A. Like what?? It was light, crunchy, cold, creamy, flavorful and all of the flavors lived in harmony - like a utopia on my tongue. Just wow. I'm going to have to try to make that sometime. After dessert, the adults were starting to get a little annoying and obnoxious so I asked my host dad for the car keys and I just sat in the car until everyone was ready - I couldn't have stayed in that room for much longer.

We were at the restaurant place until about 5 or so, and then we (host dad, host sister, host brother and his girlfriend, host aunt and uncle) went back to my host aunt and uncle's place where we talked for like an hour and then ate dinner. I was pretty stuffed already, but I mean it was a birthday weekend, so I ate some more dinner which was also pretty good btw. The only thing that was a little, ok, well a lot awkward, was how much Rémi and his girlfriend were kissing and that's all I'm going to say about that.

We left there at around 7h30, 8h. We dropped his girlfriend off at her house which was a major detour for us, so we got home at 9h30 and I was so tired, I brushed my teeth and fell onto my bed - I didn't even change into my pjs which I know is gross.

I had a pretty successful weekend, even though I did have a pretty emotional time on Saturday night that I didn't really talk about. That seems to happen to me much more often here - I get very stressed out for whatever reason and I just start crying or feel a huge wave of like emotional stress or whatever it's called and it's just the worst and I can't control it - I know what works for me now whenever it happens, which is just be alone and either watch Parks and Rec to improve my mood if it's not too bad, or watch sad videos/listen to sad songs that make me cry, to get everything out of my system. Or go on a long walk and get some fresh air.

I knew that this weekend would be hard for me because there were so many people that I don't know, which is a huge cause of stress for me, so I tried guided meditation, using an app on my phone. It was nice, having 10 minutes completely to myself and trying not to think about anything and concentrating on breathing. I'm going to try to do this every day - maybe it will improve me. I guess we'll see.

Oh, also Ed Sheeran's new album is great.


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