Noel, Sex Tape, & Disguised Diseases …

I spent Noel (Christmas in France) about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Paris, in lower Normandy, in a small town called Ivry-la-Bataille. It was pretty classic – cold weather, good food (and lots of it), gifts exchanged and plenty of relaxing over 4 days.

Christmas Dinner Table

It was nice being away from the mayhem of Paris and spending some time with good people and with my feet up in front of a wood-burning fireplace.

But perhaps the most important development over these few days in the countryside was the introduction of what will surely become a new Christmas tradition – slap fighting. We were looking for games to play during some down time so everyone asked me to propose some American games. After blowing through thumb wrestling and finding Heads-Up 7-Up too onerous, I suggested a good old-fashioned slap fight … and it took. I can’t tell you how much we all laughed at the simple act of being fast enough to slap our opponents hands until they were glowing red.

New Christmas Tradition - Slapfighting

For those of you who don’t know what slap fighting is, it’s a schoolyard game that we used to play where one kid puts his hands together and extends them forward, and his opponent puts both of his hands behind his back. The kid with his hands behind his back has to bring his hands out and slap his opponent’s hands before his opponent can get them out of the way. Of course the game involves throwing in some good fake moves so your opponent doesn’t know when the slap is coming. I tried to find some video online to display slap fighting but nowadays it seems slap fighting involves actually slapping your opponents face!

I came across a great political sex scandal story this week. It involves the same elements that most political sex scandals do – a politician, multiple lovers and a sex tape. The only thing that makes this one special is that the politician is 86 years old! Must be the masala. Read about it HERE.

There is a strange French tradition that I noticed this week. There are certain “diseases” in French that have nothing to do with what they’re called. One of these that confused me for a while is “mal au coeur”, which translates roughly to having a “hurt heart”. Turns out that this really means feeling queasy or nauseous in English … nothing at all to do with the heart. Another I just learned is a “crise de foie” or a “crisis of the liver”, which really is a small rebellion by the gall bladder in reaction to eating too much fatty food. I imagine we have some of these in English but couldn’t think of any “off the top of my head”. We do learn things “by heart”, which never made sense to me.

Some photos of the week …

Perfect Christmas Gift - Vegetable Boots

Chocolate Fountain

Bagels - Little American Bread

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