Saturday, July 30, 2011

A visitor from France: All about Thibaud Real (our new French speaking friend)

So for about 3 weeks we had an extra member of our family. Thibaud Real came to stay with us on June 19th and left July 9th. He is a kind, considerate and intelligent young man. We learned a lot from him and enjoyed having him with us for those 3 weeks.

The funniest things happened when a language barrier arose. He was only supposed to speak English, but sometimes that was hard. I can only imagine it’s not fun finding the words you really want to say when you have a limited vocabulary. But he got way better at it as the weeks passed by. He had to think less before speaking and had gained some new vocabulary (some of it compliments of our family’s usage of words like “Weird!” and “Seriously?!) But here are some fun, and funny, things we experienced while he was here. They are forever saved in our memory files, but here are ones that were fun but no one took pictures of but we hope to always remember.


So one of the first nights, Paul and Thibaud decided to download Starcraft. It was a 24 hour download. The next day, when they checked it…lo and behold they had downloaded the entire thing in Dutch, a language neither of them spoke. Nice guys. Nice. We kept joking that we should find the Dutch versions of things since they had apparently become quickly fluent in it.

Hands on

So we were told French people eat very little with their hands. It’s true. I watched him eat a sandwich wrap with a knife and fork. I mean, who wants to get their hands dirty any way? But this translated into not also wanting to get to much food on his hands. Enter buckeye candy making. You must use your hands to mix the sugary peanut buttery dough. And we let Thibaud go first. See attached picture. He took the candies home to his family.

You First

Paul and Thibaud are both nice guys. As a result they spent a lot of time trying not to be rude which sometimes ended up just silly. They would come to a door and both try and open it first to let the other go and then stand their insisting the other go for like a minute. I finally joked with them to figure it out or I’d have them count off and have them take turns. Also, Thibaud did not want to be an inconvenience and Paul was trying to let him have space, so for the first week or so they would spend their days while I was at work apart…Thibaud upstairs in his room, Paul on the computer. I can only imagine they were bored out of their skulls. I finally sat them down and pointed out it was okay to make requests (Thibaud) and offer ideas (Paul). It got much better after that.

Crazy Cakes
One of the biggest jokes were American styled decorated cakes. He always called them “crazy”. No one slathers fat and sugar on top of stuff like Americans can baby! We went to a bakery and showed him the tools of the trade and explained some of how it was done. “So its like an art form?” he asked. Yes! It really is an art form. He was surprised to find out big fancy cakes cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. The fascination continued all the way through the visit. Hence the picture of the Meijer bakery. He forgot his camera and needed something to show the people at home.

Wheat and Huit

So we introduced him to 2 new games; Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. We played them a lot. The first time we played settlers, there was a particular number that when rolled, half the people got wheat. They would call out the name of their prize as the die fell where they may. It was coming up a lot. And it took a few times for me to realize that everytime someone yelled “Wheat”, Thibaud was taking ore from his tile with and “8” proudly displayed in the middle. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Well, they keep saying huit.” I smiled and laughed, pointing at the grain tile. “This kind of wheat. Not the number!” It continued to be a joke throughout all the times we played.


For some reason I had the darndest time getting any pictures of him. He hated having his picture taken. Finally, at 577 Foundation he was hopelessly trapped in a hammock. Ah-ha!

Great places

Here’s what they got to do for those weeks; lunch at Chipotle (compliments of the manager!),farmer’s market, zoo, art museum (tour and dinner!), Fort Meigs, Library, 577 Foundation, Air and Space Museum, Neil Armstrong Museum, Bisseggars, Country Fest, Cars 2, Transformers, Perrysburgers, Fireworks for the 4th, Hannahs Socks Library Handout, Game night at the Yosts, Sauder Village, Cedar Point, Family Weekend and big BBQ on the 4th (With ribs and chicken and homemade root beer!), Cracker Barrel, and lots of movies at home, games at the table and dinners together.

All in all, I would say it was a great 3 weeks!

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Thibaud's Visit: Mudhens Game

One of our favorite outings was a MudHens game. Someone who is in our ward played shortstop for the team (he's since been moved teams) and got a ball signed by all the players. Thibaud had never seen a baseball game before, and it was a ton of fun. Even though there was a foul ball that bounced off the railing and almost hit Thibaud in the face.

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Thibaud's Visit: Art Museum

We went to the Toledo Museum of Art the night before he left. We ate dinner there as well, and really enjoyed walking around and seeing the great stuff there. The cafe is fantastic by the way! I used a cool new app on my phone to capture and edit the pics to make them fancy.
Outside the museum
(The pic fix is called "So Emo". I love the feeling it gives the whole thing!)
The Glass Pavilion. This is Thibaud through one of the glass cases holding glass items including the walking sticks you see in the foreground.

This is an exhibit of Irregular Polygons by Frank Stella. They have space for the kids to draw and their own shapes and use geometric magnets to manipulate and create even more patterns and possibilities.
I love how in this picture, the floors are so shiny they reflect the art. Amazing atmosphere.

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Reading in the middle

So I'm in the mood and mindframe to blog. So there will be many in short succession about varied things. Don't worry. Since I'm not a huge fan of typing, I'm sure I'll just hit the high spots and there will be lots of pictures.

But first, and moment of self discovery.

And a confession.

My name is Chiara Cameron, and I have never actually read a book from cover to cover.

Okay..not a novel. I read If you Give a Mouse a Cookie all the time from front to back. But its the long ones without pictures that get me. Which is probably why my 2 favorite types of books are cookbooks and psychological mumbo jumbo books (NOT textbooks) because you can start anywhere in the book and still get something out of it. I read the first 3 or 4 chapters and the last 2 or 3 chapters and then I bounce around the middle as I please.

My friends are baffled by this. They want to know how I can miss out on the excitement, the build up, the anticipation of not knowing what happens.

I think I know why. I don't like not knowing everything is going to turn out okay. I have to know how it ends so I can leisurely browse the middle with assurance that all things will turn out just swell. There is enough in my life I am unsure of, and quite frankly I need less excitement, build up and anticipation in my life. I'm swimming in it it would seem. I'm waiting to find out how my story will turn out, and its driving me nuts. If I knew, somehow, how it would all end, I could happily paddle around the middle and wait.

But tonight I realized the middle is kind of the point. By bouncing around the middle and picking up only random pieces of information I miss a lot. Like I missed the whole Bella and Jacob kiss on the mountain in Eclipse. I missed Katniss and Peeta finally joining forces in Hunger Games. I missed key points and moments because I already knew the ending and thought I got it and understood the whole thing. But I didn't. I knew where the characters were, but had no idea how they got there. I missed the character development.

And there it was...the explanation for my own middle story. If I knew how it ended, I would quit trying and just wait. I'd bounce around and miss a bunch of important stuff. I would fail to develop my own character. And even when I got to my ending, I wouldn't truly get it without experiencing all of the stuff in the middle.

So here's to the middle! Not saying I'll start reading books like a normal person...

Quotes of the Day

  • I was looking at a list of school supplies printed off Maryn's Junior High website and noticed a course offering I found interesting. So I pointed it out to my daughter. "Are you going to take Exploratory French?" Maryn: "Nah. Science isn't really my thing." LOL.
  • Conner and I were sitting outside together on the lawn while he was eating Laffy Taffy his grandma sent him. He shared something he remembered. I was surprised he could recall it and I told him so. He pointed to his head, "I have a big brain in here. Its full of memories." I smiled and said. "Its too bad that big brain couldn't do a little better in school." He quickly replied, "It's because its too busy with the memories."
  • Maryn was lamenting the start of her new Junior High journey. She complains about it regularly actually. One morning Ashlyn had had enough. "Come on Maryn! It can't be as bad as getting married!" I chuckled and asked her why that was so. She looked at me like I was crazy and replied, "Because when you get married, you have to kiss a boy. Duh."