J'ai dormi une bonne! ( I slept well)
Hey hey heyyyy!!!
So today is day two of my actual time here in Martinique, yesterday was craziness! They have a celebration here called l'epiphane des rois. This celebration is supposidly from what I could gather in French of the day when the three wise men came to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. So yesterday was spent celebrating that day.
The host father's parents were having a party for this celebration. The party started around noon, but before we could go to the party we had to pic up our host mother's cousin. In my preparation for the party I attempted to take a shower. At the house that we are staying at, the shower head is not attached to the wall (in my bathroom at least) therefore I needed to hold the shower head and just spray myself off while attempting to watch my body and my hair (this was extremely interesting as I was placing the shower head on the floor to try to reach up onto the top shelf of the shower to grab my body wash and shampoo and conditioner). Not only was that difficult, but I couldn't figure out how to make the water hott, sooo I ended up taking a cold shower. Later on while we were at the party I explained in the best french possible to my host mom that the water was cold and she felt sooooo bad and said she would show me later. Hopefully I will be able to figure out how to use it today (we're going on an excursion with the rest of the group - which I haven't seen since we departed from the airport).
The cousin that we picked up on our way to the party spoke a good amount of English, supposidly she studied for 3 months in an English speaking country and she told us that if we want to learn as much as possible, we should ONLY speak in english, even me and my roommate. Yea right, if I need to say something to Margaux (my roommate on the trip that goes to UD as well) and I can't explain it in french, I will resort to english. This is a difficult enough experience in and of itself and if I cannot communicate with anyone and she's the only person I can, I'm not going to sit there like a small child with nothing to say, but unfortunately that's what happened at the party anyway. After the cousin kind of let us know how she felt about us talking in english to each other we both tried to start talking french, but we don't know enough to hold full blown out conversations.
Streets in Martinique are worse than New Jersey, talk about crazy drivers!!!! As we were on our way to the party, I noticed how ridiculous the roads were. Since Martinque is an island with mountains and volcanoes you're constantly either going up or down very steep hills and New Jersey circles are evvvvvvverywhere!!!! Definitive lines for the cars don't seem to be exact, driving on the right side of the road seems like just an option. There are tons of motorcycles out here and people whipping around on them everywhere. With how windey these streets are I would not feel safe riding motorcycle or "moto" in French lol.
After the crazy road experience and traveling across the island and seeing the ocean and the houses scattered across the hilltops, we arrived at our destination. The house that the party was held at was beautiful, you could definitely tell the people had money. A beautiful canopy reached out across a pool and overlooked the ocean, similar to what you see in movies with celebrities or on "Cribs". We had a long day ahead of us as far as this party was concerned, you could tell that Margaux and I were both a little unsure of how to act while we were there. Were we supposed to try to communicate with people? Were they going to laugh at us if we couldn't say certain words? So many different thoughts were running through our heads and when people tried to talk to us and we didn't understand, we just smiled and said "Oui?" lol. It was so sweet, everyone there was extremely nice and the French tradition of kissing people on each cheek as opposed to the American handshake was used with every person we met. This was a bit difficult for me when we first started being introduced to new people. One minute you're kissing grandpa on both cheeks then you're kissing a kid, it's odd and in American culture there would be some underlying thing as to why you were kissing each other on the cheek, obviously this would mean you were interested in this person in some sentimental/love way, but here it is just like a handshake, so yeaaaaa still adjusting.
The party was legit alllllllllll day long like people were just sitting around and chatting and drinking and eating and that was it. In America that would be considered a waste of time. Spending an ENTIRE day just lounging around...people even went off to take "une petite ciest" aka a "nap"....seriously you just looked around the party and people were just sleeping right next to someone else who was having a conversation, it was realllly different lol. For this celebration they eat "galette des rois". I don't believe we have a food like this in the United States, but it is sort of like a pie with a thin layer of lemon in it. It is extremely tastey though
I want to start off this next section with letting you know that I am extremely tired so I'm not going to go into a lot of details, although I wish I could One of the interesting things about the host family that Margaux and I are staying with is that they have a modern day maid that cooks and cleans the house for them. This morning when I woke up there was a woman in the kitchen making the quiche that we were going to eat for dinner. At the table there were two placemats set out nicely with a plate, cup, fork, knife, spoon, and napkin on a tray, almost as if we were royalty. This is a common occurance at this house during the week and on the weekend, but I don't believe the maid works on the weekends, unless they are asked to...but unfortunately I don't know how to get that across that question in french to my host family. Again this morning I had "pomplemousse" i think that's how you spell it...it's grapefruit. Mom, you would absolutely LOVE it! The fruit is sooooo fresh with the stems still in them right off the trees (I don't know how to say sugar yet, so I wasn't able to put any on top of the grapefruit like we do back home...crazy how that food made me feel at home, almost like mashed potatoes .
Our host mom was gone this morning and didn't arrive back at the house until around 11:45 We were supposed to meet the rest of the students a le pont de bateaux dans le Fort de France a vais les trois ilets a 12h. In english that means we were supposed to meet at the place of the boats in Fort de France (the capitol of Martinique) to go to the three islands at 12:00. We were late, but that's typical here in Martinique, allllllll the time. Nothing is ever on time and usually you have no idea what's going on either. Everything is extremely laid back which I enjoy, but being an American, I feel I should not waste time and that there's always something to do ( I may have said that already, sorry for repeating myself if I did lol). Once we got there we had a tour guide show us a few places in the capitol that were important, I couldn't really understand him and it doesn't help that I don't typically enjoy guided tours (I would prefer to explore on my own and see what I wanted to see - my attention span is not very long). I took a lot of pictures sooooo just wait for those to be uploaded!!!
We went to a sandwich shop in Fort de France where our Prof. told us it was a good idea for us to get lunch here or something. It was really cool to order in French and speak to native people. I was so proud of myself when I successfully order mon sandwhiche de jambon, fromage, et la salade (ham sandwhich with cheese and lettuce...they didn' thave tomato...I asked Then we did the tour that I didn't understand (I got the events mixed up as to what went when.) Following the tour we walked around the town a little bit but quickly headed over to the pier where the boat was going to pick us up and take us to the island.
This was a view of the fort where the military stayed (I don't know exactly what was going on in that part of the tour, but the beach was pretty and the water was beautiful!!!)
Here is a view of Fort de France from the boat, it was pretty awesome to have such a wonderful view. Once we got to the island we tried some local ice cream...mint chocolate chip tastes reallllly good in Martinique. After the ice cream we went over to a private beach for a little while, but I forgot my bathing suit (as I said communication is extremely bad here so I didn't even know we were going to a beach) Anyway even though I didn' thave my bathing suit, I still got sunburn, but hopefully tomorrow we will go to the beach after class!!
Alrighty, enough with all of that. Tonight was awesome, our host family had two friends over for dinner and Margaux and I spoke in French almost the entire time, it was really fun because they also wanted to know words in english like how to say 100 and 101 lol. I still can't believe I am here, I am so lucky to be enjoying an experience like this, but for those of you who know me...we all know that if I set my heart on anything I will get it. Traveling the world is a passion of mine and this is only the beginning. Who knows where the wind will take me...I think it would be pretty neat to just throw a backpack on my bag and fly to Europe and just wander like a nomad and stay in hostiles and just explore everything. Society portrays a certain image that you have to live your life a certain way or you're not living your life the right way. In America if you don't have the white picket fence and the dog and the "right job" and the kids, then in some way you're a failure...whelp I've got news...who cares. Each and every person has the right to decide how they are going to live their life and whatever one person does is not necessarily the right thing for the next person. To be honest, I never thought much about my future except that I knew I needed to go to college and get a degree and that everything else would kind of just fall into place. As I got older and went through more years in school I started to worry about what kind of job I was going to get and if I was going to have enough money to keep up with the Jones's, but now I'm growing further away from those worries and trying to live my life and just enjoy eating, breathing, and socializing.
Ok enough of the sentimental stuff. I hope that was some food for thought for all of you! Follow your dreams because there is nothing holding you back except for yourself. If you ever need advice I'm great at listening and helping other people on their journeys