France #8: Très Bien!

Gracie ’25, recounts a fun day learning new things, trying new foods, and meeting new people.

Today started out with cereal, orange juice and a banana, and a little behind schedule because Emilie, (a member of my host family who works at the school we attend called Arles à la carte,) forgot her phone. Once there, we all split up into our normal two groups we have for French class, and in my group we spent twenty minutes preparing and learning things for the marché, market, we would attend just after. Things such as how to order and to always say “bonjour,” at the start. We then were each assigned a “challenge,” – something to buy at the market, as well as something to ask the seller. I was assigned fougasse aux olives, and first had to ask what a fougasse is, and how much it cost. I learned it is a type of bread special to Arles and costs 1,6 euros. However, I don’t like olives and there was one other option, fougasse aux grattons. Did I know what grattons were? No. Did I think anything would be better than olives? Yes. Turns out I was right! Gratton is a form of pork, and although at first that sounded a little weird, it was actually very good. After all the challenges were complete, we went back to Arles à la carte where the other group was, who had completed the same challenges, and we all had a mini feast full of bread, cheese, strawberries, apricots, cherries and mangos. It quite possibly was the best part of the day.

After that, we all went to Lycée Pasquet, the local school of Arles where we got a tour from a professor of philosophy there, and two students, Mariam et Carel. We compared their end of school year dance to prom, their office of school life to the Student Life Office at Deerfield, their class sizes of 33 to Deerfield’s of about 10 and got to see their cafeteria and classrooms!
Afterwards, we had our daily linguistic lunches and Mr. Romick, Emilie, and Carel joined our group! I spoke mainly with Elizabeth, Toler, Carel and Emilie as we discussed shows we watched as kids, whether we were team Peeta or Gale in the Hunger Games, and debated different foods and flavors of ice cream. I ate Daube de Taureau, a form of beef special to Arles and then had Nutella and Oreo tiramisu for dessert. It was incredible!

To wrap up the day with Arles à la carte, we had a tour by Guillaume, who has studied Arles architecture and ancient Roman history, of two theaters in Arles from the Roman Empire. The first was the Roman Theatre, where I was distracted by all the information he was sharing because there was a dance performance at the stage with a lot of little kids that was really cute. I did catch though, that this theater was used for performances during the Roman Empire. The next was the Arles Amphitheatre where bullfighting takes place! We climbed up to the top and saw really pretty views looking over Arles and sat in the arena and learned about Gladiators in the Roman Empire and graffiti from the Roman Empire, in the shapes of boats or people.
I then was picked up by my host mom, Kinga, who took me to the post office where I bought a stamp and then mailed a postcard! I then had a snack with Kinga and Mathilde, the other kid in my host family. We had melon and bread with Nutella and kinder bars. Très bien. I then hung out with Bernard, my host dad, and Emilie as we watched funny videos of Emilie and Mathilde when they were young. For dinner, we did a “make you own” Raclette-style of different forms of meat with potatoes and cheese. Afterwards, Mathilde and I played ping pong and now we’re all watching Friends, (but in French of course haha.)

It was a tiring day with a lot of things to do, but it was all really interesting and fun to learn new things, try new foods, and meet new people!