“Bonjour, Sabrina!” exclaimed Chole, my youngest host sister. My eyes fluttered open and I immediately put all my concentration into paying attention to every syllable that came out Chole’s mouth. She was the only person in the house I could speak fluently with. I asked Chole if she was hungry, as she nodded yes, her dark brown bowl hair cut went wild. I went to the bathroom but Katiana, my eight year old host sister turned me straight toward the kitchen.
We laughed our way to our seats and Peterson, my seven year old host brother stuck his tongue out at me as Chole danced into the kitchen with arms full of water toys. I asked Elizabeth, my host mother, what we were doing for the day, she smiled sweetly and said “ok!”. I turned, puzzled, to my host father, James. He picked up his coffee and his bread, and winked. The room was quickly filled with French that I didn’t understand. In a whirl, the children were gone. Suddenly my beach bag landed on me. I turned around and asked James what all the commotion was about. “Zabreena, zou don’t know what zee beach is?” We were going on a day trip to the Mediterranean Sea.
The children and I packed the car. Before Elizabeth and James were even outside, Katiana, Peterson, Chole and I were buckled in. When we got to the sand, I took my flip-flops off, the sand was burning hot, but I didn’t care. It was more important to feel that European sand between my toes than to worry about comfort. The almost unbearable heat, the sweet odor of salt water, the blinding sun, the white and yellow sand – it was all so memorizing! I hesitantly put one foot in the ocean. I expected it to be freezing just like Lake Michigan, but to my utter enjoyment it was incredibly warm. I walked as far as I could with Chloe in my arms, but she got afraid due to Peterson splashing her. The sun was starting to set. We were all visibly upset when it was time to leave, so they promised us a treat. Right before bed, a family assembly line was formed at the kitchen counter. James was getting the stove ready, Katiana was helping Chloe with a spoon and chocolate, Peterson was reaching for a pancake like batter. It hit me like a brick. They were making crepes! The process is a fascinating, and delicious one. I was served first, like always. Minding my manners, I cut a perfect square off the side, holding my fork as politely as I could, I raised that warm morsel of golden brown goodness to my mouth. The chocolate nearly exploded!
I said good night to all my host family members. I was so exhausted I practically went to sleep while collapsing on my bed. As I shut my eyes the light flashed on. Chloe was standing there, wearing her favorite pajamas, and her usual adorable grin. I sat up and smiled. She handed me a book. My Dog Spot . The children’s book I brought her from America because it was my favorite book when I was little. I put my arm around her and read her the entire thing. Twice. She let out a little yawn, hugged her book, thanked me, quickly pecked my cheek, and cuddled up next to me for bed. I sighed and leaned to turn off the light, but by the time I leaned back, she was dead asleep. C’est la vie.
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