So it is Sunday afternoon and I should probably be doing my homework but I have so much to write that I just need to get it all out before I can even concentrate. Today I am rather tired because the last few days have been really long and exhausting but fun all the same.
This year I had a very non-traditional Thanksgiving. I went to school (that was a first however, do to the fact that we did not have science, I only had three hours of class. To fill up the time between classes, we had a picnic where we ate cake and we made PB and J sandwiches! I was anxious to see my classmate’s reactions to the odd combination and I was pleased to see that almost everyone thought it was rather yummy. We used American style bread to make it all the more authentic.
Thursday evening we went to Fontevraud-L’Abbaye where we ate in a chapel (another first). We ate so much good food that we had to spread it all out and we stayed until a little bit after midnight.
*Just as a refresher, Thursday was the day that we kicked off the big conference of neurologists that Richard hosted.
Needless to say we were a bit tired…
After lunch the doctors went back to the conference and Marie and I had the afternoon to ourselves. So we went to the mall and then to town to do some shopping. I regret not taking pictures but I was very happy to see that the mall was all decorated for Christmas with tress, Santa displays and lights. They seem to be on the same schedule that we are on in the U.S. That is to say that they start decorating around Thanksgiving time (even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving).
In the evening we got all dressed up and everyone from the conference took a bus to our dinner location which was at a Rotarian’s house, who happens to be a wine maker.
The dinner was filled with lots of food, wine and singing. Let me just say that these people have perfected the “eat, drink and be merry” technique. Anyway, after dinner there was the traditional “enterrement” which literally translates to burial… and just to be clear, no one died. What I learned is that an “enterrement” is a sort of rite of passage for medical students at the end of their studies but not everyone is “lucky” enough to get a chance to do it. So every year at this conference Richard (my host dad) chooses one of his colleagues to “bury”. Speaking in general terms, what this really means is that the chosen person sits up on a sort of “throne” and then various people come to the microphone and speak about him. They summarize his life on many fronts, his successes, his “failures”, his love life, his school days, his political adventures… and on and on. At the end he must respond to all that and “defend” himself. I realize that it may sound mean but I assure you that it was all in good fun and everyone was laughing hysterically for almost two hours.
Dr. Cormier on the hot seat 🙂
After all that we arrived home around three in the morning completely exhausted. It was quite a night.
One of the big cultural differences that I have noticed in the time that I have been here is that when you are invited to someone’s house you stay for five, six or seven hours… sometimes even more. You take your time and you enjoy each other’s company. I find that this can be very fun and relaxing but also very tiring. Afterwards it is always nice to just go home and lay low, which is exactly what I am doing today.