July 16, 2010


Something very strange happened today. For starters, it was extraordinarily hot at the beach. This was a welcome change from the gray, overcast skies I was welcomed home with, but nevertheless it was not comfortable. It was sweaty.

Then around 7 o clock, a rainbow appeared in the sky. And not just any appearance of a patch of colors in the sky, but a full-on rainbow. It had the complete arch and all seven colors. There were two pots of gold out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

After dinner, my parents and I took Buster for a walk. About five minutes into it, my dad every so elegantly inquired, “is it raining or did a bird just poop on my head?”

It was raining. I had spotted numerous wet splotches on the asphalt, and I could smell the rain. Then I, too, felt a drop.

I have never experienced warm, summer rain in Southern California. This was a first for me in this location. However, I had already experienced hot summer rain this été. It storms in Lille over the summer, and while I personally didn’t experience any orage (thunderstorms), just rain, I did observed one from afar. On our last skype date, FBF had his computer webcam facing the window, and I saw éclair (lightening) light up the sky.

I’m starting to miss France, and although I prefer Southern California weather to that of the Nord, it was nice being able to pretend I was back in France, even if it was only for a moment.

That said, I would appreciate it if the weather would cooperate with my preconceived notions of being home for the summer in Southern California.

July 8, 2010

Mon Chien à Brugges

After enjoying delicious and strong Belgian beer at ‘T Brugs Beertje, FBF and I went out to do some more exploring. Since he was driving us home that night, we decided to have mid-afternoon beer so he’d be completely sober by the time we went home. There is something about day drinking that I think makes one more drunk without the ability to realize just how much effect the alcohol has had. I was in such a case.

My Barbar, while delicious and honey filled, was not only strong in flavor, but also alcohol content. My 33cl bottle contained 8% alcohol per volume. I was not alone in my enjoyment of a rather potent Belgian beer. FBF ordered a Malheur, which contains 10% alcohol per volume. Needless to say, we were feeling the effects of the alcohol, even if we thought we weren’t.

FBF's Malheur.

We were walking the streets enjoying the general splendor of ancient Belgian buildings, when I saw a man walking a dog. It wasn’t just any dog, however. It was a pug dog. My family has a pug, named Buster, and one of the things I missed from home was my dog. Naturally, I got excited to see another one of his kind walking about in Brugge.

Before I knew it, I had gotten out my camera and had started talking to the man.

“Excusez-moi monsieur? Est-ce que je peux prendre une photo de votre chien?” (Excuse me sir? Can I take a picture of your dog?) I asked.

“Oui! Biensûr,” (Yes! Of course) he replied.

“Oh merci! J’ai un chien comme ça aussi chez moi, et il me manqué trop! Ils sont trop mimis les chiens comme ça!” (Oh thank you! I have a dog like this one at my house and I miss him! Dogs like them are really adorable!)

Like all good pugs, this one was a poser as well, and looked at me ready for his picture to be taken. I took the picture, thanked the man again, and was suddenly surprised at the ease of which French had fallen out of my mouth to grant me permission to take a picture of a French Belgian pug dog.

Les Deux Chiens: Buster and his Belgian cousin!

My new Belgian friend.

Buster!! The cutest pug in the world!! (Apparently the first picture wasn't cute enough)

I’d like to thank liquid courage, as well as Buster, for giving me the opportunity to speak French to strangers and making me feel French, even if I happened to be in Belgium at the time.

July 7, 2010

Chez Moi

I have been back in sunny California for a week, and have been greeted with overcast and foggy weather. In leaving Lille, I was hoping to enjoy nice, sunny, beach filled days. Alas, the weather is finally nice in the North, and I am 6,000 miles away, stuck with grey skies.

So far I have enjoyed being back home. I missed it here, even if I can’t seem to get any of that sunshine California is known for.

I drove for the first time in 8 months four days after my arrival. It felt weird to finally be behind the wheel again, but it also felt completely natural. I think it’s like riding a bike. Once you learn how to do it, you never forget. I only stalled out once!

My mom and I were getting in my brother’s Camri, which does not have automatic locks. As the driver, I unlocked my door and then leaned over to unlock hers. After settling in her seat, my mom said to me, “I love how compact this car! It’s so small you can just reach over and unlock all the doors!”

I started laughing. Although I knew by American standards my brother’s car is indeed small, having four doors would qualify it as large by French standards. We were leaving a Costco, and I quickly took inventory of the other cars in the parking lot. I realized that I had not seen so many SUVs, or quatre quatre as the French say, since I’d been in France.

I haven’t experienced reverse culture shock yet, but everything does seem a lot bigger to me now.
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