Right now, I'm smiling like a kid who was given two scoops of ice cream when she was only supposed to get one. Except wait. I am that kid? Fact.
The gelato guy in St. Malo said he liked my smile, and boy did he get a kick out of the mega-watt grin on my face when I received the double scoop salted caramel / cookie gelato pictured. Charm, it seems, is a universal language.
It's strange the difference a week makes. Last week Sunday, I was slightly stressed about nothing in particular and everything in general. But as pals K and E reminded me, "Girlfriend, you're in France. It's gonna be ok." Aside from the holy-tits-i-broke-my-family's-oven moment earlier today, all is better than well.
I bonded with my host dad this week, discussing why he believes in using organic/local ingredients at home and in his restaurant. We spent around 30 minutes talking about the importance of wine as a cultural symbol of France. Food is his jam, and it's no surprise to me now that he was on the French version of Top Chef because he's a bo$$ like that. Dang Papa, we're going to be fast friends.
I finally found a class at the university that I really enjoy and later stumbled into a wonderful conversation with some exchange students. One, a computer science major, uttered the words "Mountain View," and I almost lost my marbles with excitement.
Rockclimbing class and Argentinian tango lessons found their way onto my schedule. Beyond that, I befriended my surrogate host sister. To end the week, I also ate a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) that definitely maybe changed my life. Yeah, please check my sanity at the door. We have a whole situation going on here.
Rhythm found its way into the end of this week, and it's more than welcome to the party.
I spent most of Saturday with the other IES students at Mont St. Michel -- an island town and abbey -- and while I'd been before with my family, the place was still breathtaking. The monastery itself is magical in all of its ancient glory, perched upon a huge hill of the island.
We explored St. Malo for the second half of the afternoon, as I treasured the aforementioned double scoop of gelato and chatted with pals like it was 1989. I almost asked whether Willy Wonka was the mayor of the town because the entire place was filled with candy, chocolate, crepe, pastry, and gelato shops. Now I understand why people put their children on leashes. Except not. Because that is and will forever be bonkers ridiculous.
Because here, wine is the only natural and necessary vehicle for rhythm.
Or so says my host dad.