Thursday, January 15, 2009

bonjour tout le monde

I made it! From Paris, France through Belgium, Holland, Germany and back to France again. I finally met my French host family last night... they're great and I think I may have gotten lucky for the third time :). As for getting to know my new host city, Strasbourg, I have yet to become familiar, I'm spending the next few days in orientation meetings and walking tours. So excited, pretty soon I'll feel like I have four homes!
But let's backtrack a little. This is a picture of the boy and I... or rather the best boyfriend of 2008 and I :). We were planning on spending New Years together for a while but without any concrete plans until the eve of it seemed impossible, we were experiencing a horrible snow storm and we live about an hour apart. So, we both went to our separate fiestas with friends. Then, upon the 11th hour, he left his friend's house to drive down to see me... and was turning the corner to where I was just as the clock struck twelve. Gosh, I miss him so much. Any long-distance relationships out there? It's the most difficult and most wonderful experience to be with the perfect guy that lives time zones away. I'm optimistic though, we made it through 6 months apart already, 4 months should be a piece of cake... I miss him so much.
Ha! I think not. As for food photos, my selection is limited. I forgot my USB cord at my new French home this morning... sorry :/. I can share my last home-cooked meal though! Courtesy of my gracious mother who made sure to make a large and very special lunch for my family and I the day before I left. Here's the dining room table with the place settings and food before myself, my parents, or my siblings got a hold of it ;).
Beginning on the left we had Pillsbury Crescents. Embarrassing to display in the foodie and health-conscious blogosphere? A bit. Did I eat and enjoy the buttery (probably chemically-laden) roll anyway? Yes. French bread is still a million times more amazing though, promise :)
Then we had a mixed green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Now this was the good stuff. I know I've said it before but eating lettuce salads made 9 times out of 10 with iceberg lettuce makes me appreciate all the other greens there are out there. I had seconds and thirds!
The highlight for me was the Stuffed Peppers. For years, I was turned off by the messy and odd-looking dish until my senior year in high school... and I've got to say it has become one of my favorite dishes. She mixes lean ground beef with chopped onions, tomatoes, and an ingenious combination of spices and places it into a green pepper topped with mozzarella cheese and homemade tomato sauce. Divine.
As for my brother and sister who have yet to convert (and my father who just eats a lot) we also had pasta and meatballs.
I was incredibly pleased with the meal, as I'm sure most people would be :). Thanks Mom! What is your favorite parent-made dish? I've got to say I've got quite a few... and I only realized how great they really were when I went away to college. Living only four hours away though allowed for me to freeze soups and a few things and bring them with me. Now I must simply wait until my return.
I know it'll be worth it though. I've been absolutely loving Europe already and I have so many exciting classes and trips up ahead to look forward to. Not to mention reuniting with my best friend in the whole-wide world! She lived with me for 6 months during my senior year of high school and I couldn't have asked for a better exchange student to share my room with me. We became as close as sisters and still do a pretty good job at keeping in touch. With our equally busy lives lately, however, it's been tough. Fortunately for me, now I'm living only 4 hours from her home outside of Paris :). I will be back tomorrow with pictures of food from Paris, Bruges, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Cologne, Bonn and my first few meals in Strasbourg. I hope you're all ready for another whirlwind semester of traveling and eating... and exercising soon too, I miss yoga and running. Stay tuned my dears!

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