My first birthday in France was formidable! I am so lucky to have formed some great friendships and work with such wonderful students and teachers. One of my students in English Club figured out that I had a February birthday from something I’d said and got me to tell her the exact day. She adorably had her class sing “Happy Birthday” to me and gave me a lemon and chocolate tartlette. Have I mentioned my students are adorable and wonderful and that I love them?
That night, I was supposed to lead the discussion on joy in the gospels at the aumônerie. As I’d proposed the topic, I got stuck with leading the discussion. As I had just led the discussion the last time, presenting on my experience at the Rencontre Européenne I’d jokingly complained I shouldn’t have to lead the discussion on my birthday. Well, they remembered. After Christelle’s yummy Martinique dinner, they “surprised” me with a cake complete with a singing candle and accompanied by some sort of delicious white wine. I must admit I had some suspicions when I was not allowed to help clean up after dinner and was left alone at the table with the priest while everyone else was in the kitchen (Cyril forcibly taking the plates out of my hands) ; ) They sang happy birthday to me in at least four different languages. The language geek inside me was rejoicing. While the aumônerie here isn’t as large as the aumônerie I was part of in Nantes and not always as dynamic or progressive, I am so incredibly lucky that it has helped form the majority of my friendships and the student group in a way has become like an international family to me.
Another night the week of my birthday, I had a little birthday bash at my place and finally got to make great use of my terrace! Yes, it was warm enough to be out on a terrace on a February evening. I made everyone cider floats and apple cider fudge. This means that I got to introduce these culinary creations to my French and Italian friends. They kept calling the fudge a gâteau and I had to explain, nope, FUDGE, no flour involved. It was really fun!
Another night that week, my landlords’ daughter knocked at my door inviting me to come to her birthday party. After changing out of my pajama pants, I headed down to join them. It was really nice meeting my landlords’ daughter and her friends! I think I can truly say I made the correct decision in moving. That little star I wished upon in the dust of my old apartment on the eve of my move really did answer my wishes : )