I'm currently reading the first Harry Potter book in French, and although it's good for my vocabulary, I have to say that I'm glad English is my maternal language, because so much of this book is lost in translation. Dommage, but still the translator is admirable.
Two weeks ago, another American WWOOFer, Willa, arrived here. She's 18, from Minneapolis, was born at home, and is going to the French Culinary Institute in New York to learn pâtissière after she spends a year in France. Her French is a little shaky, so I'm speaking a lot more English, but I'm also translating a lot more, which I think is good for my brain. At least, it gives me a headache. Several weeks ago, I thought that long debates in French were difficult. Well, that's nothing compared to trying to translate those long debates for Willa. But since she's arrived, we've eaten dessert pretty much every other day. So that's chouette. And I'm getting nice and plump before my arrival in Paris, where I'll suddenly be a poor student again living on brown rice.
I'm excited for Paris. I miss public transportation, and getting dressed up, and other people, and Indian food and sushi and tofu and miso and going places. And I sort of miss shopping more than I care to admit. Yes, the stars are beautiful, yes, the garden is amazing, yes, I grew up in the middle of nowhere, but I just don't think I could live anywhere but the city. Also (don't remind me of this when I'm stressed out about some essay, it won't make me feel better) I miss school. Not the homework part, but I really love going to class. School starts in a month from yesterday, and I'm definitely terrified, but really I can't wait. Of course, I'm sure saying goodbye to everyone here will be pretty tearful. But I've been invited back for Christmas, and anytime I have a long weekend.
My latest culinary-based foreign relations advancement was the peanut butter and banana sandwich which no one wanted to try at first. But in the end it was a real hit. Willa and I quickly destroyed that advancement when we made zucchini bread. Because baking soda and baking powder don't exist here (instead it's a sort of combination of the two that also has some flour mixed in), and because we don't have American measuring cups, we used a French recipe that we found online. It was just terrible. It tasted vegetably, was kind of slimy, and had the metalic flavor of too much levening. The dogs liked it a lot, but we're still getting teased about it. Kin still scoffs at our idiocy in thinking that you can make vegetables sweet. Maybe we'll skip the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
But our real triumph was making latkes. I called my mom and got the recipe and some tips, and they came out perfectly. We tried to teach everyone the word latke, but settled for calling them galettes de patate. We ate them with crème fraiche instead of sour cream and apple sauce, and I got a real kick out of the culture fusion. Of course, my heart will never be the same, but it was worth it.