Quarantine love letters volume 2

Part deux

It is the last Monday in March now, March 30th. This weekend we watched an old school James bond movie with Sean Connery. The french dubbing wasn’t even that bad and I like old school movies. I helped Madeleine make a pineapple upside down cake yesterday too. 
For the first time on the weekend, Christopher seriously mentioned the potential of me going home. Now, I know that would be so utterly disappointing because I have tried my absolute best to stay here as long as possible, but I forgot I could be a realist sometimes too. So I called and cancelled the wifi in my apartment for the rest of the year. The nice lady on the phone asked me where I was from and said “good luck” before hanging up. I’m going to need it. I know I am welcome to stay here but really if school is cancelled I am out of a job and then what. Live off of my 3 pairs of pants in the French countryside for however long? 
The thing is, the last thing I want to do is go home. The stress of packing up my tiny box room, finding a flight that’s direct and doesn’t have stops as most connecting flights are being cancelled so the chances of me getting stuck somewhere are high. What scares me is the loose ends. The souvenirs I didn’t buy, Henri’s birthday that I’ll miss. The bucket lists I didn’t finish. European friends I won’t see for ages. I don’t like leaving things undone. 
But a part of me also misses home. I miss the dumb boys and the stupid activities we’d do for fun like go for a drive or a group hangout in someone’s basement when their parents weren’t home. I miss the streets that I know too well and driving and the cozy smell of my house and my bedroom and my cat and dog. I miss my mother’s arms and my old friends and my brother getting on my nerves and my dad’s annoying jokes. I miss the butterflies I still get driving past my old schools because despite all the stress they gave me, at the core I loved it. I loved having a safe space to learn and play and see my friends everyday. I might even miss the sticky spring snow. I never gave myself time to think about home in such a positive light because I had no intentions of returning soon. So instead I fostered the brain power into planning trips and hitting more countries and seeing more of this big beautiful world. One thing this year has taught me is how to travel cheaply, but also the importance of home. No matter how much I don’t like being there sometimes it is a part of who I am. I can’t deny the relief I feel when I get there. The comfort in familiarity. 

I had a hard morning / afternoon. Being sad when it’s sunny is the worst kind of sad. I forced myself to take a quick nap while listening to the feels kind of music in an attempt to wake up feeling less anxious. But then the afternoon ended up being better. When I went down to grab an apple the two older girls (Quinn and Pyper) were in the kitchen. We started having a discussion about school and style and clothes which I found really interesting to hear their take on things. They ended up having a mild sister fight in the middle because they go to the same school but are very, very different. Quinn thinks Pyper tries to be like what I assumed were popular girls in her grade even though their friends and Quinn blamed it on being young and impressionable when you’re 14. I saw where she was coming from but I took Pyper’s side mentally in the argument because it seemed like Quinn, who’s 2 years older, is very judgemental. She said Pyper tries to act older than she is which I don’t think she does at all. She just likes to have a social life. I relate more to Pyper. Quinn is a rule follower, goody two shoes I think, and while yes I was that, I still had fun and didn’t judge other people’s clothes and stayed out late partying sometimes. It’s about balance. Quinn left mid convo because she had an online class starting but Pyper and I kept talking for a bit. She ranted about Quinn, her main argument being that she was like the sneery modest grandparents that think crop tops are vulgar. I laughed at that.

 She told me something very intriguing towards the end of the convo. She said that there are these social groups in Paris and other major cities around France called “rallye” where the concept is essentially to be a part of this group of kids whose families have similar interests, like religion or job or status or something. And then from the time you’re a kid to when you’re older you have these gatherings twice a month with your group where you learn how to dance, like rock and swing dancing and partner stuff, then as you get older the parties get more intense and turn into full blown nights out that last till 3am and such. I found the conversation totally fascinating because it really sounded like a breeding centre for privileged families to network in a small circle of people that are exactly like them. I would have never expected something like that to be real. In a country that worked so hard to rid the monarchy system, it seems like the premises of hierarchy are still so present today. My mind was blown. I would so like to go to one just to say I was a player in a real life game of natural selection. Anyways, Pyper was saying how she didn’t like her rallye group because none of her friends were in it so she’s trying to shuffle around to one that her cousin is in. 
Before I went to bed today I did a workout and then joined in a group face-time on House Party with five of my friends around the world. 5 countries, 4 different time zones, 3 different continents, 2 different days. 
It’s really crazy how technology works sometimes. As an early 2000's baby, I have to remind myself that I didn't grow up with an iPad and PG Netflix as a kid. I had a littlest pet shop tamagotchi on my school backpack and considered that to be an earth-shattering technological revolution. And don't even get me started on DSI's. Nothing will match playing Mario kart on my hot pink one.

It’s Wednesday so I haven’t told you about yesterday yet. Really it wasn’t too eventful. I decided to not waste my time applying to a dance program that is only ballet, modern and something called body movements class and instead focus on finding a company that is more well rounded discipline wise and that includes tap and jazz. Then I went for a run. I went down this path I’d never been before and ran on and on until I hit this little village behind the property. My host families previous au pair texted me on Monday asking how things were going with the virus and such and she told me there was this road by the sheep’s field that leads to a village with a cool abandoned church. I didn’t see any churches but it was still nice to see something new out here. I went about halfway down this path but then I saw a bunch of sticks piled up by what must have been a person that gave me an eerie feeling, causing me to turn around and head back. I’ll try to look for the church again today maybe. Lunch and dinner were good yesterday and I felt full for really the first time since I’ve been here. We had homemade burgers (I don’t eat meat a lot but when they’re eating meat I do) and then a kind of curry with fish for dinner. Christopher asked for permission to eat his burger with his hands which I thought was so funny, the level of class they have even applies to eating burgers with a fork and knife and not handheld. After dinner we played cards. I had told them I knew how to play a french card game called le President, but the decks ended up not being sorted so we played another game they’d told me about called tarot. I didn’t know how to play, so it ended up being really stressful and intimidating. Christopher explained it to me at the start but he is very competitive and questioning at cards like my grandma, but if my grandma told me I made a dumb move I wouldn’t take it personally like I did with him. However for the last round, I had figured out how to play and actually had a good hand of cards so I took leadership for the round and ended up winning. A nice comeback I suppose. I had a shower / bath (I say both because the showers don’t have shower curtains here so if I don’t want to flood my bathroom I have to sit in the tub and hold the shower nozzle) and then stayed up till 4am watching the movie “talented Mr. Ripley” with Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow. I hated the movie. I mean the acting was formidable and the directing and shooting and everything was superb. But the plot was so sad and had such a tragic ending that it resulted in me hating it. Like the guy didn’t have a single break the whole movie. Ok, I know he was a murderer and psychopath, but he liked the guy so much at the end and still had to kill him. If you haven’t seen the movie watch it it’s on Netflix and tell me your thoughts in the comments, I hope I didn't spoil the end oops.
This morning I went down for breakfast a bit earlier than normal because I saw Madeleine take out pain au chocolats for breakfast last night and I wanted to make sure I got one before the kids devoured them aha. Since then I’ve been in my room journaling and writing. I’m in February 2019 now for my journal recap, it’s going steadily. 

Well, this afternoon was more eventful and productive than I thought it would be. During lunch my host parents got into an argument which was the first time I’d witnessed something severe like that between them. Again, it’s still strange for me to see normal things happening amongst them, parents fighting is so regular but so peculiar coming from them. Henri was really cute after though, there was a silence and then he goes (in french obviously but I translated) “Dad, I think you were a bit harsh with mom. She must be sad now.” Besides his mini homework tantrums sometimes he really is the sweetest little 8 year old. Then this afternoon I was filming a dance video submission in my room when Quinn came and knocked on my door asking me if I wanted to go for a walk. I was so happy she’d invited me to do something that I changed quickly and went to join her. Just as we were leaving the gate, we spotted the horses on the wrong side of their enclosure and before we knew it Lune de Miel who’s the biggest horse (her name means Honeymoon in English) was jumping over the white fence leaving it completely broken with bits of wood everywhere. The other three horses joined her after that, and since then they’ve been roaming the fields. Quinn apologized and said I suppose our walk isn’t happening now. When I went to get nails to repair the fence with Henri, I looked through some boxes that were open on the floor of the garage. Piles and piles of magazines, books, art. To be fair most of it was junk that would probably be used for fire kindle, but it was fun to see some old school french papers. I’d love to pick one out as a souvenir. I helped her and her Uncle fix the gate for a bit but once I realized I wasn’t really needed and was just standing around I went for a stroll through the forest, came back to the house, made myself a coffee and completed my computer work with emails and universities for the day. I just got off the phone with Leonie (german bff.) Then I went to the sitting room for a bit before retreating to my room once I realized the wifi wasn’t working in the sitting room anyways. This month the game will be called “how long will Avery’s 4G last.” As soon as I got to my room Kate called (Irish bff) and we had a nice update convo on what books we’ve been reading, the situation of me going home or not, (it’s a no for now) how Ireland went into a lockdown like France. We also talked about random things like how would you get an abortion right now in the time of corona and the guys we used to have things with that are hitting us up right now out of sheer boredom probably. I'd like to think guys are using this time for reflection, but I know they’re probably playing Xbox in a basement with the bros ignoring social distancing while shotgunning. Maybe I’m stereotyping, but also speaking a certain truth aha. 

We had a late dinner but a lively one. My host mom wasn’t present which made me think about the quarrel from early on and I’m writing this now just after 11am on Thursday and I still haven’t seen her since lunch yesterday. My host mom’s brother who lives down the street came over for dinner with his wife and he is really funny but in one of those ways that you’re more laughing at him than with him. He said at the beginning of dinner that he was going to speak English for the whole meal but then my host dad said “you know Avery speaks French” which I thought was very nice because his English was awful to be honest. So the running joke throughout dinner was that whenever he would try to speak english my host dad would say “Avery is French, Avery is French” to say that he would rather us speak French right now because his English was painful to listen to. After discussing one of his business plans that we all frankly said we wouldn’t invest in, we retired to the sitting room for a game of tarot, the card game I learned the night before. We played with 6 so the game was a bit slower but I did well despite having mediocre cards for most of the rounds. For the last round Quinn went to finish some last minute homework so we played with 5 and I got lucky and won with Christopher and I being teammates at the end. Maybe I get lucky for the last rounds of games, like my track finishes that I won in the last 100m of the race. Hmmm. I don’t really believe in luck but I think there must be meaning in frequently recurring patterns.
Around midnight we said goodnight and went to our rooms when the oddest thing happened. I was plugging my phone in getting ready to sleep when my host mom’s brother, the funny bad english speaker… slid into my dm’s. How he found my Instagram is a good question as I doubt he even knows my last name but nonetheless he said “good job” about my final cards win then proceeded to ask me some trivial questions like “do I miss Canada” or “tell me about your life” to which I responded briefly and with lengthy pauses in between answers hoping he would go to sleep. There’s some more details that I’ll spare you but it sort of awkward but I also appreciated the check-in.  
Thursday morning and I slept in, really in. Till 10 which is a long lie in for me. I grabbed an apple and pain au chocolat for breakfast, said hello to Henri who was being mischievous and hiding behind the curtains as per usual and now I am here writing. It was the most chill, perfect countryside morning. The wifi is working again and the house has been quiet. Lunch was rice and stuffed tomatoes / zucchini. The older girls had to leave the table a bit early for online classes and Madeleine and Zoey weren’t present, I think they were at the grandparents across the street. I had a coffee outside with the parents which was nice because it’s quite warm out despite the clouds. Since then I have been playing around with Henri and getting my emails done for the day. My host moms brother joined us for coffee outside which I found a little uncomfortable given our dumb conversation last night. Thursday night was calm and pleasant. Quinn asked me if I wanted to go for that walk that we hadn’t been able to the day before and we walked down the path I had been running on a few days ago, but we went further down into the woods. She was telling me how last summer her and Pyper had a photoshoot in this bright yellow canola field near their property and that sadly, since farmers change their crops every year, the field wasn’t there anymore. Well, flash forward to when we were turning around to head back to the chateau, there was the sunny yellow canola field just at the bottom of the tree line. It was so picturesque and made me miss home. 
This time of year everywhere you look there’s a canola field in a full, buttery bloom in Alberta. They stretch on for miles.
On Thursday night we had dinner in the sitting room. Dinner was crepes and cider, which my host dad explained to me was a traditional meal for french people that are from the coastal Brittany region. We watched a movie called “chez les françaises” which was satirical but I also found it quite funny. My host dad’s sister made banana bread and told me jokingly not to critique it so harshly as I had told her I like to make banana bread last week. However, whenever banana bread is made I entirely forget that I am allergic to bananas. So I had a stomach ache all night. Honestly it was quite rude of the universe to make me allergic to bananas because some of my favourite health foods involve bananas. The frozen bananas I use to make smoothie bowls with an ice cream consistency, the banana oat pancakes I make. Banana muffins. The list goes on. 

Friday. Zoey and Henri both came up to my room to ask me to go outside and play with them, which I found very cute and obviously went. Zoey and her cousin that’s my age wanted to show me the ponies across the street that are actually part of Zoey’s Normandy horse club, and Henri’s little cousin had taken his hammer and lost it in the field so we went to go look. Turns out he hadn’t moved it at all. I was with three of the kids in the field and they were really adorable. I found some shells in the grass and we spent 20 minutes collecting them and then they told me to take them as a souvenir. Apart from that I spent my morning journaling and then Quinn and I went on another walk but this time we brought one of the ponies along who has weight issues which is putting too much pressure on his legs. It was nice, the day was warm. We had the latest dinner yet, we finished up at half past 11pm. I was in a sleepy trance for most of it. My host mom's brother and his wife brought dinner over and I just listened to their funny stories and snuck up to my room once we ended. I could not have sat in the sitting room without falling asleep. I did a half an hour stretch / workout then climbed into bed and started watching a movie called vanity fair with Reese Witherspoon before falling asleep. It’s Saturday morning now, I showered and grabbed an apple for breakfast. I’ll probably see what the kids are up to outside or make a coffee and read.
I feel like I am a pawn in the middle of an episode of the crown. I stepped into a spin-off fairy tale version of aristocracy and lineage feuds. My host mom and Zoey completely moved in with the grandparents in the house across from the Chateau. Pyper lost her phone in the grass so we spent the afternoon searching for it. Her grandma told us a cute story about how when she was younger her friend dropped his car keys in the sea and she reached her hand down and grabbed them right at the bottom of the water underneath a rock. And then Quinn followed it by a story about her mom who drew a voodoo doll on a piece of paper in school and thought about a girl in her class she really didn’t like. She stabbed a pencil in the teeth of the voodoo doll and a few minutes later, the girl went to the teacher saying she had a toothache. They joked about being sorceresses. I found the phone in the grass behind a tree that Pyper swore she didn’t pass. Maybe I’m a sorceress too.Their grandma also gave us some snacks and suggested we had a picnic in the grass tomorrow as it is meant to be 20 degrees. I am looking forward to that. 
I went for another pony walk with Quinn as the sunset was starting. On the back we ran into the same farmer in his tractor that we saw on one of our other walks. He was smoking a cigarette and said “bonjour” to me as I passed. Quinn said once we were a distance away from him that she should have said “bonsoir” to him instead, but I reassured her by saying that he had said “bonjour” to me first. Good to know that even french people doubt their choice of words sometimes. 
Overall Saturday was relaxed and peaceful. It was warm and felt like summer. I tanned. I bonded with the girls and read in the pony field for ages. I’ve had dirt under my nails that doesn’t seem to go away and a burn on my wrist from taking a tray out of the oven. 
We played cards to end the night and my host dad asked me how I was doing. It was nice of him to check in on me. He laughed and said when Avery was coming she was like, “if it gets too long there’s a train back to Paris right?” Oh how the tables have turned.  He also asked about arranging a flight for me to Canada. I thought it was kind but he really must not know that that is basically impossible as of now. Nonetheless I really appreciated it, at least I know now it’s something they would do. I said something like “well it’s cold there” and they laughed and we shifted our focus back to the cards.

Sunday. The best day yet. I woke up at 7am to face-time my dance friends, Lauren, Anna, Stacie and Alyssa. Sam fell asleep and missed the call but we’ve arranged to make it a weekly thing. I really miss them, everytime we catch up it’s like we never stopped talking and like we still see each other everyday after school at dance. I also face-timed Kate after breakfast which was really good to catch up with her too. I went into the sitting room and my host dad told me I could make myself a coffee so I went to the kitchen. I grabbed an apple and then his sister came in and offered me a croissant. I went back to the sitting room where they were watching Sunday mass on the ipad and after a while I went to finish my coffee in the dining room, to be honest church music and church in general is not the ambiance I prefer to enjoy my coffee. After that Quinn, Pyper, and I got the picnic stuff together and headed into the field at the back of the house near the piece d’eau. It was a gorgeous sunny day, 22 degrees. I have tan lines on my arms now from basking in the sun all afternoon. Quinn left before dessert to join a group call with her friends but Pyper and I stayed on the blanket talking about tv shows and eating dessert. My host mom came and asked for her help with the goats so I packed up the picnic and brought it inside. I was heading back to the blanket to read when Pyper came and asked if I wanted to go through the wardrobe near my room to hunt for some clothes. We found a dior scarf and a lexus engineer jumpsuit. A blue turtleneck that had a little teddy bear on it and a red pull with a horse embroidered in the corner. So many cute basic sweaters and shirts. It was really fun. After that I went with Quinn back to the picnic blanket for "goûter," which means snack time in french. Then we got a text from her Uncle saying they needed help with the wood in the forest at the front of the property, so we headed down to help out. I spent the afternoon riding on the back of a dump truck, hauling logs and stacking wood, getting some sunshine and drinking a Heineken. 

I’ve had worse Sunday afternoons. On the way back with the kids they were all trying to balance in the centre of the truck without falling over like they were playing subway surfers. There’s another beautiful canola field that we passed, with a light pink sunset to compliment it. I saw some wild pheasants which I'd never seen before and a big rat-like thing that also kind of looked like an otter slithering into a marsh. I really bonded with the girls yesterday and feel close to them now. Pyper chased after me through the house and Quinn and I did gymnastics on the grass. That night we had a late dinner (although they’ve all been late) that consisted of saint moret (like light cream cheese) on bread, lentils, and cheese. I’ve never seen so much cheese be consumed in my life. We watched a movie while we ate called “bienvenue chez les chti’s” which I actually watched in french class in high school. I already knew the plot line, but felt like I understood the whole film and all the jokes way better since I know the geography of France and the stereotypes about the different regions more now. I filmed my day yesterday randomly and it ended up being so perfect I’m happy I did. It will probably go up soon! So stay tuned for that. 

Another week has come and went, we’re on day 22. 
3 weeks down who knows how long to go. 
The kids have a two week vacation now, so I’m expecting my week to be spent outside helping around the property and bonding with them. 
Hope you’re all safe and healthy. Part 3 (and I hope it's the last part) will be up sometime this month too.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this.
    I felt like I was there myself... very good descriptive writing;)
    Details, especially fine details like the way you describe the wardrobe items make writing interesting and allows people to feel like they are living the text themselves.
    Good job:)))

  2. Prost to you and your beautiful writing! Hang in there!


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