Do you want to go to the plage with me? (Just kidding, Crystal Fighters, I already did today)

Good morning French room!!! (From now on, I’m going to precede everything in my possession in France with the word French juste en cas you forget I’m in France) Today was my last day of freedom (even though I’m in the land of freedom and fraternité – not the same kind with red solo cups), so my host mom and sister took me to the beach!

My host sister Marion, who drove to pick me up the bus station yesterday, is an awesome driver, and she also drives manual so I’m constantly super impressed and very confused as to how she knows where all the gears are.

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And here is Lily right before we left the house, taking over my room to make sure I knew who was actually boss.

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And then the beach arrived. Like water to a parched throat. Like food to a hungry stomach. Like sun to a sun-deprived babe. Like, I know I already used this line but I’m an original writer and I have original thoughts that then turn into clichés so I’m going to say it again. If all that glitters is not gold, it’s definitely French water. Or my body having bathed in French water.

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My host mom made a lovely pasta salad with olives, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatos (in the sun!), and cheese, which we brought with some yogurt, slices of homemade apple tartin and peaches and feasted like the champions we are who take selfies together at the end of a sun-bathing session.

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I will save you the pain of having to see my funny tanlines now, but afterwards, we drove back home from La Plage des Lecques, during which I had the hardest time trying to stay awake and not fall asleep to Kygo playing on the French radio. Then I briefly contemplated the act of going for a run and then I thought, hah! The French don’t run, they just smoke. So we decided to compromise and take Lulu for a walk instead.

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After our precisely 35 minute walk around the countryside (“aujourd’hui tu as vu la mer au matin et la compagne à l’aprés-midi!” [today, you saw the ocean in the morning and the countryside in the afternoon!] – my host mom), I helped her make homemade tomato sauce that she saves for the entire winter, next to the gorgeous patio au dehors.

It was actually simpler than I imagined it would be, making tomato sauce, although my cooking skills are nowhere near Catherine’s. The processes of marinating real marinara involve: a lot of olive oil, cooking up some garlics, chopping up onions into the pot, then adding an entire bowl of freshly cut tomatoes into the pot with salt and pepper and some sugar to combat the acidity. (I thought about doing this in Hong Kong, but who am I kidding, where am I going to find tomatoes this fresh and red anywhere in good ol’ polluted HKG?) (Also why would I need to conserve anything for the winter. There is not winter in Hong Kong) (And then I thought about doing this in New Haven) (And that was the end of that thought because I started laughing too much at my lazy college ambitions in the world of culinary desires)

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And while the tomatoes were boiling up, we put five pounds of butter (roughly speaking)  into another pot, put in a whole pig (roughly speaking) and five hundred potatoes (this might be an underestimation), for dinner! And then Lulu accompanied me on the couch as we watched some French television and had rosé as aperitifs before eating some viande et patates.

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And voila! Five hundred potatoes, five pounds of butter, and a pig later, here we are! Dinner for three!

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And then I broke the blinds in my bedroom (because when does Stefani ever go through a day without some semblance of disaster), and had to ask my host mom and sister to fix it, to which Catherine said, I guess you’ll have to sleep for three weeks without blinds until my husband comes back from Malaysia? To which I said, cool, I love the sun. And I do! So it’s all good. Here comes the sun, forreal 7:08 am tomorrow morning. Cannot wait to see it rise and shine and tell me “TIME TO TAKE YOUR FRENCH PROFICIENCY TEST YOU MOFO” and I’ll be like “I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU ALLLLL NIGHT LOOOONG.”

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Basically this is going to be a great first day of school because I’ll have graduated from l’école du soleil before then already. À demain!