Monthly Archives: August 2014

24S - Thanksgiving

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

During the first year I was with my husband in Reunion, I really wanted to celebrate all of the American holidays. Looking back I guess I was a little homesick, but also I really wanted to share these cultural traditions with him. We had hot dogs and s'mores for the 4th of July, a big costume party for Halloween, and when November came along, I decided to host Thanksgiving dinner.

In the US, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge responsibility. I believe it is the only day of the year where Americans eat like the French, and we aren't used to preparing such a giant feast! Over there, in true American style, you can buy most of the Thanksgiving essentials already prepared or at least half prepared. You throw the store-bought turkey in the oven, mix the rest of the stuff out of their easy-to-make boxes, and voilà! Thanksgiving dinner in just a few hours.

In Reunion, things are a little different.

Thankfully I had the help of one of my girlfriends and her mother. We woke up very early and went to the butcher to pick up the turkey. We had to order a turkey in advance, since it isn't something the butcher usually has in stock. This already was a shock for me, but when we arrived and he asked if I wanted him to chop the head off or if I would do it myself...I almost fainted. It was the first time I realized how far removed we are from our food in the US, (and it was also the start of why I became a vegetarian!!)

Then we started cooking. EVERYTHING had to be made from scratch. Normal Thanksgiving foods include: stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, a baked green bean casserole with fried onions, and cranberries. Ingredients that were so easily available in the US; like canned mushroom soup and fried onions for the green beans, were now things I had to look up separately and figure out how to make myself. And of course, things like stuffing mix, cranberries, and yams don't even exist here. We somehow found a jar of something resembling cranberries, and we used sweet potatoes for the yams. So in the end, everything worked out...especially the home-made pumpkin pie!!!

Everyone arrived and I played some Youtube recordings of things we usually watch on TV; the epic Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and of course, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. I tried to explain the meaning behind Thanksgiving; the history between the British settlers and the Native American Indians...but it didn't seem to translate as easily as I thought it would. Above all, I explained, Thanksgiving is a day where we give thanks for what we have in our lives. Traditionally, each person around the dinner table says what they are most thankful for. Everyone was happy to play along and we had some great laughs.

They were all quite confused, however, when I put all of the food down on the table. To my surprise, they were expecting the usual number of courses during the meal...something I was not used to! I explained that we don't really have courses, and that we eat everything together. Befuddled, they helped me bring the food to the table, including the pumpkin pie. Laughing, I told them that we DO at least wait to have dessert until after dinner!

Reunionais Thanksgiving turned out to be the best tasting Thanksgiving of my life!! I was really amazed at what a difference everything makes when it's made from scratch. I ended up going to the US a week later, just in time again for American Thanksgiving with my Dad...and so I saw the huge difference between what we did in Reunion and what store-bought American Thanksgiving tastes like.

It was a great day...but that was the last time I tried to host Thanksgiving. Eventually I learned that if I was going to be happy here, I had to stop trying to make Reunion into America. Things just aren't the same, and I shouldn't resist the fact that life has changed. Instead, I've learned to embrace the unique and special things that Reunion has to offer, live in the present moment, and let the past rest happily in the past.

Vocabulary

Holidays (US) - Jours fériés (UK- Bank Holiday)

S’mores - Sandwich sucré fait avec de crackers

Feast - Festin

Stuff - Des choses

Butcher - Boucher

Chop the head off - décapiter

To faint - s’évanouir

From scratch - de A à Z

Stuffing - la farce

Mashed potatoes - Purée de pommes de terre

Yam - Ignames

Cranberries - Canneberges

Canned - en boîte de conserve

Figure out - calculer

Jar - pot en verre

Pumpkin - citrouille

Settlers - colons

Seem to - semble 

A good laugh - rigolade

Courses - plats (entrée, plat principal, dessert)

Befuddled - confus

Store-bought - acheté tout prêt

Instead - Au lieu de

00:0000:00

24N - Thanksgiving

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

During the first year I was with my husband in Reunion, I really wanted to celebrate all of the American holidays. Looking back I guess I was a little homesick, but also I really wanted to share these cultural traditions with him. We had hot dogs and s'mores for the 4th of July, a big costume party for Halloween, and when November came along, I decided to host Thanksgiving dinner.

In the US, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge responsibility. I believe it is the only day of the year where Americans eat like the French, and we aren't used to preparing such a giant feast! Over there, in true American style, you can buy most of the Thanksgiving essentials already prepared or at least half prepared. You throw the store-bought turkey in the oven, mix the rest of the stuff out of their easy-to-make boxes, and voilà! Thanksgiving dinner in just a few hours.

In Reunion, things are a little different.

Thankfully I had the help of one of my girlfriends and her mother. We woke up very early and went to the butcher to pick up the turkey. We had to order a turkey in advance, since it isn't something the butcher usually has in stock. This already was a shock for me, but when we arrived and he asked if I wanted him to chop the head off or if I would do it myself...I almost fainted. It was the first time I realized how far removed we are from our food in the US, (and it was also the start of why I became a vegetarian!!)

Then we started cooking. EVERYTHING had to be made from scratch. Normal Thanksgiving foods include: stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, a baked green bean casserole with fried onions, and cranberries. Ingredients that were so easily available in the US; like canned mushroom soup and fried onions for the green beans, were now things I had to look up separately and figure out how to make myself. And of course, things like stuffing mix, cranberries, and yams don't even exist here. We somehow found a jar of something resembling cranberries, and we used sweet potatoes for the yams. So in the end, everything worked out...especially the home-made pumpkin pie!!!

Everyone arrived and I played some Youtube recordings of things we usually watch on TV; the epic Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and of course, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. I tried to explain the meaning behind Thanksgiving; the history between the British settlers and the Native American Indians...but it didn't seem to translate as easily as I thought it would. Above all, I explained, Thanksgiving is a day where we give thanks for what we have in our lives. Traditionally, each person around the dinner table says what they are most thankful for. Everyone was happy to play along and we had some great laughs.

They were all quite confused, however, when I put all of the food down on the table. To my surprise, they were expecting the usual number of courses during the meal...something I was not used to! I explained that we don't really have courses, and that we eat everything together. Befuddled, they helped me bring the food to the table, including the pumpkin pie. Laughing, I told them that we DO at least wait to have dessert until after dinner!

Reunionais Thanksgiving turned out to be the best tasting Thanksgiving of my life!! I was really amazed at what a difference everything makes when it's made from scratch. I ended up going to the US a week later, just in time again for American Thanksgiving with my Dad...and so I saw the huge difference between what we did in Reunion and what store-bought American Thanksgiving tastes like.

It was a great day...but that was the last time I tried to host Thanksgiving. Eventually I learned that if I was going to be happy here, I had to stop trying to make Reunion into America. Things just aren't the same, and I shouldn't resist the fact that life has changed. Instead, I've learned to embrace the unique and special things that Reunion has to offer, live in the present moment, and let the past rest happily in the past.

Vocabulary

Holidays (US) - Jours fériés (UK- Bank Holiday)

S’mores - Sandwich sucré fait avec de crackers

Feast - Festin

Stuff - Des choses

Butcher - Boucher

Chop the head off - décapiter

To faint - s’évanouir

From scratch - de A à Z

Stuffing - la farce

Mashed potatoes - Purée de pommes de terre

Yam - Ignames

Cranberries - Canneberges

Canned - en boîte de conserve

Figure out - calculer

Jar - pot en verre

Pumpkin - citrouille

Settlers - colons

Seem to - semble 

A good laugh - rigolade

Courses - plats (entrée, plat principal, dessert)

Befuddled - confus

Store-bought - acheté tout prêt

Instead - Au lieu de

00:0000:00

23S - Journey to the Centre of the Volcano

Visit www.anglais.re for more!


The billboards read ‘July 5, are you ready?’. Well, we were all ready on July 5, everyone except for the mayor of Tampon. One month late the Cité du Volcan finally opened it’s doors.


Our adventure started on Sunday. My wife, Stephanie, invited her parents, aunties, uncles and cousins to spend the afternoon in La Plaine des Cafres, to have a great lunch and to visit Reunion’s newest tourist attraction. Along with my daughters, there were twelve of us in the group. Quite a tribe! We ate at ‘Ti Resto Lontan’. A local restaurant serving the finest of Reunionese cuisine. As a rougail saucisse connoisseur, I can tell you it was very tasty. I’m glad we’d booked a table, because the restaurant staff were constantly sending away waves of tourists looking for a bite to eat before exploring the new museum.

 

At two we arrived at the museum, and face to face with a massive queue. There were at least a hundred people in front of us. A hoard of locals and tourists reaching from the main entrance, through the car-park, and arriving at the road. To queue or not to queue, that is the question.

 

After two hours, we made it inside. The lobby was spacious, modern and clean,albeit packed full of people. Looking around, I saw the gift shop and varioussignage for the souvenirs, all translated into English. Brilliant, I only found one translation mistake!

 

The museum itself was just great. My eldest daughter is 7, she had a great time playing with the numerous touch-screen games and activities. Stephanie’s cousins are teenagers, and they enjoyed reading about how the two volcanoes formed our island all those years ago. There were local fables, a 270° cinema, samples of lava rock, quizzes. The staff were friendly, informative and helpful. Even the security guards. I’ve heard the Cité du Volcan being compared to Futuroscope in France, I have to say that’s not true. Futuroscope doesn’t have Gran Mèr Kal.

 

The cherry on top had to be the 4D cinema. Now I’ve seen 3D movies before, and haven’t been all that impressed. The cinema at Cité du Volcan, however, was a marvel. You go into a small cinema, with maybe 30 seats, put on your 3D glasses and experience the film. I won’t spoil the surprises that the film has up it’s sleeve, but they are sure to make you jump!

 

So, was it worth it? Ninety minutes’ drive, two hours’ queue for one hours’ visit? Yes it was. I highly recommend the Cité du Volcan. Even to locals. Now everyone can journey into the centre of the volcano!


Vocabulary

 

Billboard - Panneau publicitaire

 

Tasty - gouteux

 

Lobby - la billeterie

 

Albeit - bien que

 

Signage - panneaux

 

The cherry on top - la cerise sur le gateau

 

To have something up ones sleeve - avoir des surprises en réserve

 

It is worth it - ça vaut la peine


Journey - voyage


00:0000:00

23N - Journey to the Centre of the Volcano

Visit www.anglais.re for more!


The billboards read ‘July 5, are you ready?’. Well, we were all ready on July 5, everyone except for the mayor of Tampon. One month late the Cité du Volcan finally opened it’s doors.


Our adventure started on Sunday. My wife, Stephanie, invited her parents, aunties, uncles and cousins to spend the afternoon in La Plaine des Cafres, to have a great lunch and to visit Reunion’s newest tourist attraction. Along with my daughters, there were twelve of us in the group. Quite a tribe! We ate at ‘Ti Resto Lontan’. A local restaurant serving the finest of Reunionese cuisine. As a rougail saucisse connoisseur, I can tell you it was very tasty. I’m glad we’d booked a table, because the restaurant staff were constantly sending away waves of tourists looking for a bite to eat before exploring the new museum.

 

At two we arrived at the museum, and face to face with a massive queue. There were at least a hundred people in front of us. A hoard of locals and tourists reaching from the main entrance, through the car-park, and arriving at the road. To queue or not to queue, that is the question.

 

After two hours, we made it inside. The lobby was spacious, modern and clean, albeit packed full of people. Looking around, I saw the gift shop and various signage for the souvenirs, all translated into English. Brilliant, I only found one translation mistake!

 

The museum itself was just great. My eldest daughter is 7, she had a great time playing with the numerous touch-screen games and activities. Stephanie’s cousins are teenagers, and they enjoyed reading about how the two volcanoes formed our island all those years ago. There were local fables, a 270° cinema, samples of lava rock, quizzes. The staff were friendly, informative and helpful. Even the security guards. I’ve heard the Cité du Volcan being compared to Futuroscope in France, I have to say that’s not true. Futuroscope doesn’t have Gran Mèr Kal.

 

The cherry on top had to be the 4D cinema. Now I’ve seen 3D movies before, and haven’t been all that impressed. The cinema at Cité du Volcan, however, was a marvel. You go into a small cinema, with maybe 30 seats, put on your 3D glasses and experience the film. I won’t spoil the surprises that the film has up it’s sleeve, but they are sure to make you jump!

 

So, was it worth it? Ninety minutes’ drive, two hours’ queue for one hours’ visit? Yes it was. I highly recommend the Cité du Volcan. Even to locals. Now everyone can journey into the centre of the volcano!


Vocabulary

 

Billboard - Panneau publicitaire

 

Tasty - gouteux

 

Lobby - la billeterie

 

Albeit - bien que

 

Signage - panneaux

 

The cherry on top - la cerise sur le gateau

 

To have something up ones sleeve - avoir des surprises en réserve

 

It is worth it - ça vaut la peine


Journey - voyage


00:0000:00

22S - Meet the Parents: Creole Style!

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

My husband Richard has deep roots in his hometown, Le Tampon. For generations, the family business was fruit farming, so this means that Richard spent much of his childhood outside on the land. When he was a kid, Richard would go out with his dad to hunt wasps for dinner. The taste of wasp brings back memories of bonding with his father, and to this day, the whole family goes crazy for a big plate of wasp larva.

 

When we first started dating, Richard invited me to meet his parents for the first time over lunch at their house in Le Tampon. I was kind of nervous because my French at the time was pretty horrible and they didn't speak any English. Well actually, they didn't really speak French either, but a mix of French and Creole. I remember being quite lost and pretty embarrassed, but we all got along just fine. That's when I asked what was for lunch...and Richard and his dad exchanged a secretive glance. “Come on,” Dad said, “Let's show her.”

 

So we went outside to the small kiosk in the back of the garden, where a large black skillet was slowly cooking over the fire. Dad handed me a giant spoon and invited me to stir. Inside were these little blackened white balls of something...

 

“It's wasp larva!” Richard told me, like it was normal, and I almost dropped the skillet! “You're joking.” “No no no no, it's our FAVORITE plate. Some wasp, some rice, a little tomato salsa...and a GREAT red wine...and voilà, you have the BEST. MEAL. EVER!” Richard said. I gulped. I couldn't be rude and refuse...it was my first time meeting the family, and I really wanted to make a good impression...

 

Later, we sat down to the table. They all thought it was hilarious to see an American with a plate of wasp. Thankfully, they let me pick out the wasps that had already developed legs and wings! I loaded up my fork with a LOT of rice, some salsa, and a few wasp larva...

 

Actually, it wasn't so bad!! (Much better than the wormy zandettes, but that's another story.) But I certainly didn't eat anymore that day. Now, almost three years later, wasp night at the in-law’s has become a monthly occurrence. We had them again last weekend, and everyone laughed and laughed as I served myself a heaping spoonful of wasp. Funny how things change...

 

When I have visitors from the US, I always make sure that their trip includes a wasp dinner night at my in-laws. It's certainly a great way to make memories!


Vocabulary

 

Wasp - Guêpe

 

Larva - Larve

 

Dating - Sortir ensemble

 

Pretty horrible - Assez horrible

 

To get along - s’entendre

 

Glance - Coup d’oeil

 

Skillet - Poêle

 

To hand - Passer (qq chose)

 

Spoon - Cuillère

 

To stir - Remurer

 

To gulp - Déglutir

 

Rude - Mal poli

 

The in-law’s - Chez les beaux parents

00:0000:00

22N - Meet the Parents: Creole Style!

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

My husband Richard has deep roots in his hometown, Le Tampon. For generations, the family business was fruit farming, so this means that Richard spent much of his childhood outside on the land. When he was a kid, Richard would go out with his dad to hunt wasps for dinner. The taste of wasp brings back memories of bonding with his father, and to this day, the whole family goes crazy for a big plate of wasp larva.

 

When we first started dating, Richard invited me to meet his parents for the first time over lunch at their house in Le Tampon. I was kind of nervous because my French at the time was pretty horrible and they didn't speak any English. Well actually, they didn't really speak French either, but a mix of French and Creole. I remember being quite lost and pretty embarrassed, but we all got along just fine. That's when I asked what was for lunch...and Richard and his dad exchanged a secretive glance. “Come on,” Dad said, “Let's show her.”

 

So we went outside to the small kiosk in the back of the garden, where a large black skillet was slowly cooking over the fire. Dad handed me a giant spoon and invited me to stir. Inside were these little blackened white balls of something...

 

“It's wasp larva!” Richard told me, like it was normal, and I almost dropped the skillet! “You're joking.” “No no no no, it's our FAVORITE plate. Some wasp, some rice, a little tomato salsa...and a GREAT red wine...and voilà, you have the BEST. MEAL. EVER!” Richard said. I gulped. I couldn't be rude and refuse...it was my first time meeting the family, and I really wanted to make a good impression...

 

Later, we sat down to the table. They all thought it was hilarious to see an American with a plate of wasp. Thankfully, they let me pick out the wasps that had already developed legs and wings! I loaded up my fork with a LOT of rice, some salsa, and a few wasp larva...

 

Actually, it wasn't so bad!! (Much better than the wormy zandettes, but that's another story.) But I certainly didn't eat anymore that day. Now, almost three years later, wasp night at the in-law’s has become a monthly occurrence. We had them again last weekend, and everyone laughed and laughed as I served myself a heaping spoonful of wasp. Funny how things change...

 

When I have visitors from the US, I always make sure that their trip includes a wasp dinner night at my in-laws. It's certainly a great way to make memories!


Vocabulary

 

Wasp - Guêpe

 

Larva - Larve

 

Dating - Sortir ensemble

 

Pretty horrible - Assez horrible

 

To get along - s’entendre

 

Glance - Coup d’oeil

 

Skillet - Poêle

 

To hand - Passer (qq chose)

 

Spoon - Cuillère

 

To stir - Remurer

 

To gulp - Déglutir

 

Rude - Mal poli

 

The in-law’s - Chez les beaux parents

00:0000:00

21S - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reunion

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

Would you let a complete stranger into your car? I do it regularly, and picking up hitchhikers has allowed me to meet some very interesting people. 

 

My first year in Reunion, I didn't have a car and I remember how frustrating and difficult it was. Now, I always try to stop if I see someone with their thumb up on the side of the road.

 

There was the retired hotel manager who told me about his invention. He'd designed an eco-friendlycar part that would allow cars to run on sea water rather than petrol.

 

And once there were two teenage girls who I picked up just as my young son was getting tired andgrumpy in the back seat. All three of us ended up singing a mix of English, Créole and French songs for the entire ride to St Denis until my son feel asleep.

 

One of the first times I ever picked up a hitchhiker, we ended up having a fascinating discussion about world politics, green versus red hot chillies, and which English accent is the most difficult to understand (to be diplomatic, I won't say which one we decided on).

 

After dropping the man off at his destination, I realised I'd just spend half an hour chatting to one of Reunion’s most famous Maloya artists. I can't wait to see which interesting person I meet next on the side of the road!


Vocabulary

Hitchhiker - Autostoppeur

Thumb - Pouce

Retired - A la retraite

Eco-friendly - Ecologique

Part - pièce détachée

To run - Faire fonctionner

Rather than - plutôt que

Teenage - Adolescent

Pick up - Recouperez

Grumpy - Grognon

Chilli - Piment

To drop off - Déposer

To realise - Se rendre compte


00:0000:00

21N - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reunion

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

Would you let a complete stranger into your car? I do it regularly, and picking up hitchhikers has allowed me to meet some very interesting people. 

 

My first year in Reunion, I didn't have a car and I remember how frustrating and difficult it was. Now, I always try to stop if I see someone with their thumb up on the side of the road.

 

There was the retired hotel manager who told me about his invention. He'd designed an eco-friendly car part that would allow cars to run on sea water rather than petrol.

 

And once there were two teenage girls who I picked up just as my young son was getting tired and grumpy in the back seat. All three of us ended up singing a mix of English, Créole and French songs for the entire ride to St Denis until my son feel asleep.

 

One of the first times I ever picked up a hitchhiker, we ended up having a fascinating discussion about world politics, green versus red hot chillies, and which English accent is the most difficult to understand (to be diplomatic, I won't say which one we decided on).

 

After dropping the man off at his destination, I realised I'd just spend half an hour chatting to one of Reunion’s most famous Maloya artists. I can't wait to see which interesting person I meet next on the side of the road!


Vocabulary

Hitchhiker - Autostoppeur

Thumb - Pouce

Retired - A la retraite

Eco-friendly - Ecologique

Part - pièce détachée

To run - Faire fonctionner

Rather than - plutôt que

Teenage - Adolescent

Pick up - Recouperez

Grumpy - Grognon

Chilli - Piment

To drop off - Déposer

To realise - Se rendre compte


00:0000:00