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June 21, 2010

Saturday morning Daniele took me to the market to buy groceries for next week. We had a cup of coffee before leaving, and agreed to have brunch when we got home. I walk through a different market a few days a week for school, but this one was huge! My favorite part was when we bought some fennel from a family farm, and a father and son were working together, bickering about the weight and price of a certain bunch of radishes. Regardless of language, people are the same all over the world. Even though I could only catch a few words, I could fill in the narrative pretty well from similar scenes back home. Once they settled their debate, it was our turn to pay, and the father wanted to thank us for waiting for a long time, so he gave us bag of cherries for free! He said to Daniele, for the pretty girl! How kind. My least favorite part… the butcher stands. I even told Daniele the night before that I was ready to try some meat in July, but I was not prepared to see the butcher cutting off chicken heads and feet for everyone to see – how can one get used to the sound?! We wandered around until our basket was full, and even managed to pick up the last strawberries of the season. How sad! After we left, we ate a wonderful French brunch. First we had some sort of smoked fish, which Daniele cooked in milk to mute some of the smoky flavor. Next we had cucumbers and yogurt. Then, we had a French specialty, oeuf a la coque. This link is in French, but they are really really simple to make. You put eggs in cold water, and bring them to a boil. Once the water is boiling, immediately remove the eggs. Once they cool a bit, you cut off the top, like in the picture, and dip bits of bread in the yolk. After that, you use a spoon to scoop out the rest of the egg white from the shell. It was harder than I anticipated to get everything! Lastly, we had fromage blanc with raspberries. What a treat.

The afternoon was gloomy, so we couldn’t go to the beach. Instead, I met up with a few girl friends and we went window shopping. Of course I found something to buy at H&M, a pack of earrings for just 3 euros. Totally worth it. I didn’t care for one set of earrings in the pack, so I switched them out with a different pair of another set. No harm, no foul, right? The other girls got a few things as well, we all paid, and left for some more shopping. “Excuse moi, Mademoiselle,” I heard a deep voice behind me say. We all turned around. I guess over the camera he saw me switch out the earrings, and thought I stole something. Luckily Caitie was there to speak eloquent French with him, and explain that I only changed the earings, I didn’t take any. I was quite impressed to understand everything he was saying, but in the heat of the moment I could not find the words to communicate well. I was mixing up the words for ‘why’ and ‘because,’ so every time I tried to explain myself I was saying,”Why? I switched them?” instead of, “Because I switched them.” So each time he answered me with, “Because you took them!” We could all see he was frustrated, as was I. If I could explain myself in French I would have asked him, “Why I would steal something worth less than a euro, especially since I bought a pack of 4 of the same earrings!” I offered for him to search my bag, but the police had to come to do a search, he could not search them himself. “Ok, fine,” I said. I had nothing to hide, and I really wanted him to see I didn’t take anything. But when I got so upset I think he realized I didn’t take anything, and he let us go without any problems. What a mess! Afterwords, we went to Monoprix to see if we needed anything there. I decided I really needed some red nail polish to paint my nails and feel better about the afternoon. Once I was home, and I had red nails, I felt much better!

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