Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Surprises

Salut mes amis!

Joyeux Noël!  Merry Christmas! Hodel and I had a fabulous holiday together. On Christmas Eve, we decided to write letters to Père Noël asking for donations to charities instead of toys. Per usual, Hodel asked for a donation to an animal rescue. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to ask for in my letter, eventually deciding on donations for needy children in France.

When we finished our letters, we cuddled with our Uglydolls underneath the sapin de Noël and looked for a Christmas movie to watch.

We were able to watch the first of many A Christmas Story viewings on TNT - hooray! Somehow it doesn't quite seem like Christmas unless you share it with Ralphie.

Hodel's parents made us go to bed when the movie finished, but shhh! We actually ended up giggling for hours. I don't think we got much sleep at all. We were much too excited about the day ahead of us!

Sleep or no sleep, we still managed to wake up early on Christmas morning. We showered and dressed quickly, anxious to open our presents. Even though we'd asked Santa not to give us presents, Hodel's parents had given us a few things to open.

Don't we look nice? We tried to look pretty and cool, considering it was 60 degrees outside! I think Hodel was smart not to wear stockings.

Since Hodel and I got all of the same presents, we decided to unwrap everything at the same time. What did we get?

We received mystery Playmobil figurines (I got a cute old lady, while Hodel got a smart-looking flight attendant) and Disney squinkies . . .

. . . but our favorite presents by far were the baby dinosaur toys nestled in plastic eggs! We pretended to be world-famous paleontologists for hours! In a few days, we are going to see The Good Dinosaur, which we are both so excited for.

Did you have a nice holiday season? What did you do? Who did you celebrate with? What presents did you receive?

Ton amie,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sophie: Live from Cincinnati!

Salut mes amis!

I'm sorry that it has been so long since my last update. There's really no good excuse. Lately, depression and anxiety have hit me hard, and between that and keeping up with my schoolwork, I've neglected my blog. There have been many days where I've not wanted to get dressed, let alone go out for adventures.

In early December, things started looking up. My classes were finishing for the semester, and who isn't thrilled about that? I'd also received an email from my friend Hodel, asking me if I'd like to visit. Hodel and I have been pen-pals for a long time, but we've never formally met! She was actually the last traveling guest my old school in America hosted, but I was out on travel adventures of my own at the time. So, of course, I said YES! I would be happy to visit. It didn't take me long to pack a few belongings in my bag and reserve a plane ticket. I think Juliette was a little sad that I was leaving again, especially since it meant that we wouldn't be celebrating our special Polish-French Christmas together. However, I was itching to be rid of this foggy, depressive stupor I'd been in for the past few months, so I really couldn't consider my sister's feelings at the moment. I had to take care of myself. I had to go see the world, meet new people, and have an adventure . . . because that is what Sophie does best!

My anxiety kicked in on the plane ride and wouldn't go away even as I was knocking on my friend's front door. I hadn't traveled solo since 2011, when I went on a cruise to Alaska with my friend Marsali. Four years have passed, and a lot has happened. When I got home from Alaska, I wasn't sure I wanted to travel ever again. I certainly didn't want to travel for two years without coming home in between. That was fun while it lasted, but was way too much hassle in the process. But as I heard the familiar scuffling of feet rushing to open the door, all of my anxiety turned into excitement! I was finally going to meet another long-time friend, and what could be scary about that?

The door opened, and Hodel stood before me. "Salut!" I waved excitedly. Stepping inside of the house, I immediately ran up and gave my friend a hug. If I was nervous before, I certainly wasn't now!

We sat down and talked about some of our favorite things and pastimes. We talked about Hodel's love of acting and all of our favorite shows. I'm no actress, but I love watching a good performance! Hodel also loves anthropology, dinosaurs, and most importantly, traveling! She had just gotten home from a trip to Disney World, so of course I had to ask if she'd gotten to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna!

Since Hodel is Jewish, I wanted to bring her a little gift for Hanukkah. Unfortunately, I arrived after Hanukkah was over, but it's the thought that counts . . . right?

I think she liked what I picked out for her. I helped her name the little duck "Fransisco", a name we found too funny not to laugh at! I also gave her two of my favorite card games: UNO and Apples to Apples. Hodel saw these and dared to ask whether I'd played Cards Against Humanity. I blushed, but admitted that I hadn't! I have, however, played Fantastic Storytelling, a new game along the lines of Cards Against Humanity. I suggest you check it out if you like that sort of thing. Mike Jeavons will thank you. It's fun, addicting, and you get to create unique laugh-out-loud stories!

Anyway, it's late . . . and already Christmas Eve! I better get to bed. Although Hodel is Jewish, her family is interfaith, meaning that they will make an extra effort to celebrate Christmas with me this year. So . . . we have a lot of plans, which I can't wait to share with you! Stay tuned!

If I don't write an entry beforehand, Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas! What are your plans for Christmas this year? If you don't celebrate Christmas, what do you celebrate instead?

Ton amie,

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ma fête d'anniversaire avec ma famille!

Salut mes amis!

Le 9 août a été mon anniversaire! Je suis 14 ans maintenant. Cette journée, Juliette a eu une surprise pour moi: elle a préparé ma nourriture préférée! Elle a invité ma meilleure amie, Maëlys, à partager cette fête avec nous  . . .

It was my 14th birthday on August 9th! Juliette surprised me with a special feast full of my favorite treats. And, if that wasn't enough of a present, she invited ma meilleure amie, my very best friend, to join us! Now, I know what you're thinking. Doesn't Nathalie Thibodeau have the honor of being my best friend? Sure, she is . . . en Amérique! Nathalie and I have had the pleasure of knowing each other since I first started studying abroad, but there is one girl who has known me my entire life. That is Maëlys Marie Lefèvre!

Like me and Juliette, Maëlys (pronounced "MY-elise") lives right here in Montmartre. She attends our school, Collège Antoine Coysevox, and has been in many of my classes since only the beginning of time. Isn't she gorgeous? Her mother immigrated from Haiti to study in Paris, only to meet and fall in love with a very handsome Frenchman. After opening une boulangerie-pâtisserie, a bakery/pastry shop, together, they had Maëlys and lived happily ever after. Maëlys likes to bake with her parents and produces the best macarons I've ever tasted, sure, but baking is a mere hobby for her. Her real passion is music. She's a devoted cellist and is determined to pursue a professional career in music one day. She's enamored with the idea of attending The Juilliard School in New York City and the idea of visiting America in general. She's like I was several years ago - she's never stepped out of France and has a natural curiosity for the world. I'm sure she will go far in life, but for now, I'm just happy goofing off with her as I celebrate my birthday!

After Maëlys and I greeted each other, we sat down to enjoy the meal that Juliette had worked so hard to prepare. We sampled fresh bread and cheese, candied fruit, fruit tarts, and chocolate-covered strawberries. There was a bottle of sparkling water to wash everything down with - yum! For dessert, Maman had ordered a chocolate truffle cake, which smelled wonderful. I couldn't wait to try a bite.

I felt like a queen sitting at the head of the table. I certainly looked the part! Juliette had dressed me in one of my finest dresses: a blue frilly frock loaded with sequins! Juliette chose a coordinating dress in pink for herself.

Here's a close up of our food. Doesn't everything look delectable?

Maëlys really enjoyed the chocolate-covered strawberries! 

When we'd finished our main course, Maëlys and Juliette sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I made the best wish I could think of and proceeded to blow the candles out. Er, right. I pretended to blow the candles out. In her haste, Juliette had neglected to put candles on the cake, but I turned a blind eye. She'd gone through so much trouble to arrange this little fête that candles didn't really matter at all!

Once our bellies were full from the chocolaty deliciousness, we decided to open presents. Maëlys eagerly pushed hers forward first. It wasn't wrapped, but I didn't care. She had given me a whole box of macarons!


I couldn't wait! I untied the ribbon and pushed my way through the delicate wrapping paper, trying to pick a flavor to try first. I knew I couldn't go wrong with pistachio, my favorite. I savored each dainty bite, trying to make the macaron last as long as possible. If there's one thing that I dislike about macarons, it's that they aren't big enough! At least I had a whole box to myself . . .

Before I could devour another macaron, Juliette pushed her present towards me. She'd wrapped it in a shiny silver box adorned with a gold bow. What had she given me?

When I took off the lid of the box, I found the contents as shiny as the wrapping. Of course! My sister always outdoes herself when it comes to presents. She'd given me a gorgeous pair of gold and crystal earrings. How elegant! She said that they were swarowski crystals and that the earrings had been custom made just for me. Won't I be the belle of the ball when I wear these? 

She also gave me a matching earring and bracelet set, made with dainty pink and white beads:

The next present was sent all the way from Canada! Nathalie would never forget my birthday, but I think that she and Juliette were in cahoots when it came to selecting my presents. She sent me another pair of earrings! These were silver and in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.  I smiled, remembering how much I'd complained to Nathalie about Grace Thomas' exclusive earring set and how much I wanted them for myself. She is so thoughtful!

There were two more presents left, one from my American host sister and one from my parents. I decided to open the one from my host sister, Maura.  She'd packaged it in a huge gift bag filled with white tissue paper. What could it be? Reaching deep inside the bag, I pulled out a thick booklet of stationary. Cool! Merci beaucoup, Maura! I'll take this as a hint that I need to write a letter to you, right?

Maman, who had been hovering nearby with camera in hand, handed me the present from her and my father. It was wrapped in a familiar-looking burgundy bag, which meant that I had been saving the best present for last. I had dropped several hints about what I wanted throughout the summer. Were they listening?

Yes! My parents bought me Grace's City Outfit from American Girl! Hooray! I have been wanting this red sweater since it debuted in January, and the shorts are really cute, too. I can't wait to wear this outfit to school this year. Merci, Maman et Papa! 

So, here's my entire present haul. I think I made out pretty well this year! I got a new outfit, a stationary set, three pairs of earrings, a bracelet, and a whole box of macarons

 We concluded the birthday fête with a few more photos. First, here's one of me with both Juliette and Maëlys:

Then we took individual portraits: 

 Finally, Maëlys and I took a photo together:

Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me! Tell me, what was your birthday like this year? What presents did you get? If your birthday hasn't come yet, what do you want to do to celebrate?

Ton amie,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Allons-y à La Pâtisserie!

Salut mes amis,

J'avais une vie occupée cette année! Je suis désolée que je n'avais pas écrit pour un bon moment. J'habite avec ma famille dans Paris maintenant parce que Juliette m'a manqué. Je t'ai manqué mon école. Je t'ai manqué ma vie française!

I have had a busy life this year! I'm sorry that I haven't written in a while. I am currently living with my family in Paris because I missed my sister Juliette so much. I missed my school. Frankly, I missed my French life, as much as it's been fun exploring les États-Unis

Before flying out of Boston's Logan Airport, I was able to meet up with Miss Grace Thomas, Girl of the Year for 2015. Her pastry shop, La Påtisserie de Grace, opened nearby, and I wanted to verify its "French-ness", if you will . . . which is my way of saying that I wanted to check the place out before I left for my world of true Parisian pâtisseries and boulangeries.

I really like the red and blue color scheme of La Pâtisserie de Grace; it's a refreshing change from the horridly overused shade of pink everyone is so fond of! The take-out window is a neat idea, for those of us who crave un croissant daily yet always seem to be late for school. I shall have to suggest this idea to my best friend Maëlys' parents as they own a boulangerie-pâtisserie right in Montmartre.

Grace herself is a lovely girl, albeit a girl so enthused with showing off her meager knowledge of the French language that she makes careless grammatical mistakes. But, I'll fault her not. I'll give her credit where credit is due; she does try. It's not like I haven't made grammatical errors en anglais because I most certainly have.

. . . she does seem to have a knack of changing her wardrobe quite rapidly, I might add. I don't know how she does it! She was wearing her apron when I first walked in and had changed into this Chanel-like number by the time I had found my table. Greeting me politely, she took my drink order and handed me a menu to peruse.

Once I had my drink in hand (my typical l'eau gazeuse au citron), I ordered a warm croissant, a slice of brie, and a mixture of blackberries and raspberries - my favorite! I figured that I needed to get something into my stomach before braving plane food for the umpteenth time. Ewww!

Once I'd finished my meal and had paid, Grace and I took an obligatory #selfie, but not before she could grab her red shrug and heart-shaped sunglasses! I didn't have the heart (no pun intended!) to tell her that those sunglasses looked straight from the 1990s.

With a full belly and time to kill before boarding my plane, I decided to venture into the American Girl store for a change. I don't go often, you know. I wasn't meeting up with anyone, unfortunately, but I love meeting new friends in the store regardless.

First, I decided to help this pretty redhead care for her horses. I loved this brown and white foal! I thought of Anya, my horse-obsessed classmate at Fair Hollow School for Girls, and tried to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill over. I had made so many friends and memories at Fair Hollow, as much as I couldn't wait to get back to the Parisian life! It would be hard not to miss them.

I really liked the color scheme of Julie Albright's revised bed and bedding. The purple bed as paired with the floral blanket is so groovy! Rock on, man!

I . . . sort of . . . fell asleep curled up on Julie's bed and had to primp myself up afterwards using Julie's new vanity. I liked the yellow color, but the stool was way too small for my butt! Ugh. The owl clock was adorable, though . . . in a tacky sort of way. I guess that's what you Americans call "kitsch", non?

I'll tell you what I really loved: Julie's egg chair! I loved it so much that I kicked Julie out of it and claimed it as my own! It was so comfy, and I loved the idea of listening to my own tunes through the chair's built-in speakers. Now that's radical! Somehow I don't think Maman would be too thrilled if I shipped this thing all the way to France, though . . . she had enough of the 1970s when she lived through them! An egg chair in my room would not go over well. 

After messing around with the horses and teasing Julie, I started to get hungry again. When I saw a sign for Tyson's Ice Cream Parlor, I decided to stop in and grab a chair at the bar. A petite brunette in a pink dress waited on me; I think her name was Samantha (which made me laugh as the only other "Samantha" I've known is Maëlys' Yorkshire terrier, haha). Anyway, I ordered pink peppermint ice cream on her recommendation, and it was so delicious! I think I have a new favorite ice cream flavor.

Samantha was even kind enough to let me get my own seconds! It was so neat to be able to work the old-fashioned soda fountain myself.

As I was eating the last dregs of my ice cream, I watched Samantha serve a peculiar-looking customer who was dressed in a nightgown! It was so difficult to keep from laughing. I mean, who goes to an ice cream parlor dressed like that?!

When the scantily-clad customer had departed, I helped Samantha count up that day's earnings and lock up the cash register. To thank me for my kindness, she invited me to a garden party. After she put on her pink coat and hat (man, that girl is obsessed with pink!), we walked to a nearby park that had a gorgeous gazebo. It was so refreshing to sit under the shade of the gazebo on such a hot day, and I loved just staring up at the lanterns and decorations someone had hung from it. At some point, Samantha introduced me to the party hostess, a girl who looked like a clone of Samantha herself (alas, I forget her name!). At least this girl had a better sense of fashion - I much preferred this green dress to the pink one Samantha was wearing!

When I'd said my goodbyes to Samantha and her clone, I started to make my way back to the American Girl store. On the way back, I met up with Kaya'aton'my, a 21st century Nez Perce girl. She'd set up her teepee as part of a Native American artifacts display. She permitted me to crawl into the teepee, and I had fun imagining how much fun it would've been to live in one back in the 1700s. When I realized that I wouldn't have had television or the internet, that's when I crawled out of the teepee and went on my way! 

I also met this girl named Addy Walker. Her dress reminded me so much of the dress I received last Christmas. I wonder if we got our dresses from the same store? I thought that it suited her much better than it suited me, though. I was literally enchanted with her beauty and asked to take a photo with her. I think she was a little taken aback by my abruptness, but she humored me anyway . . .

. . . isn't her hairstyle gorgeous, too? If only I had her long, thick hair!

 Back at the American Girl store, I snapped some photos of displays I really liked. I couldn't stop fawning over Rebecca Rubin's revised bed! I love the new color and definitely need to get this bed for myself.

Her new toys were really cute, too! I liked her matryoshka dolls and set of dominoes . . . 

I just hope Rebecca learns to take better care of her belongings because her kittens were already starting to play with it all!

I felt so sad for Ida Bean. She'd fallen over in her display, and I couldn't even fix her since she was behind glass!

Caroline Abbott's party treats looked so tantalizing, but I was actually glad these were behind glass. I was too full already!

I loved Addy's painted lunch tin and bird-shaped pin cushion. Too cute!

]I thought this illustration of Addy was really lovely as was her new nightgown. The matching ribbons tied in her hair were darling.

I sneaked a peek at the back of Rebecca's postcard to Uncle Max. Shhh, don't tell!

Samantha's basket of flowers for Grandmary was so lovely! I wonder if Sam grew them herself?

I felt so proud of Kit Kittredge when I saw that she finally had an article published in the Cincinnati Register!

I recognized my writing desk in Kit's display. How did that get there?!

I drooled over the doll in the blue dress. I want her in my collection! Perhaps I'll buy her for my friend Maëlys? Then I won't feel so bad spending the money because I'll show what a generous girl I am? I also really liked Rebecca Rubin's costume chest. The flapperesque costume inside would be perfect for my own "Gatsby" party!

I thought Caroline embroidered her map beautifully. It's a shame that a girl with such talent with a needle and thread is to be archived. Au revoir, Caroline! We'll miss you.

I didn't know Samantha had a green thumb! She has flowers everywhere, even in her bike basket.

I couldn't leave the store without finding some dance costumes. My sister Juliette loves looking at these! I was glad to see a plain black leotard; that's a staple for every fledgling ballerina!

This red sparkly jazz costume was quite the stunner! It almost made me reconsider taking up my own dance lessons again . . . I said almost!

Finally, it was time for me to head to Logan Airport to catch my flight to Paris. So, I grabbed my car keys and zoomed away! Oh, wait? I don't have a driver's license, you say? What is this craziness you speak of? Of course I do!

Mais oui, tu es correcte. I cannot legally drive yet, not even in les États-Unis where the the legal driving age is sixteen (as opposed to eighteen in France!) . . . which is why I took mass transit to the airport. I just couldn't resist sitting in the driver's seat of this VW Beetle on display at the mall. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

So . . . what's your dream car? Let me know in the comments! 

À bientôt,


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