The past 24 hours have been a mini adventure. I started the day by watching the movie "Coraline," a claymation movie made in Portland that came about I think about two Halloweens ago (yes, I just dated the movie using my second favorite national holiday... after my birthday). It was pretty good and I think it will be an annual film for me during the Halloween season.
Around 2:30 Kathi, her visiting friend Julianne, and I went to Auxerre to have dinner at a teacher's house. The plan wasn't clearly laid out for me in advance, so I was surprised when Regine (the teacher) said we would go wine tasting right away and save tea for later! This was only my second time actually going to wine cellars to in France. Regine drove us out to two little towns, St. Buis and then Irancy, and both were so cool. The first cellar, St. Buis (said "sahn bwee"), was actually built by monks underneath their monastery across from a church that was next to a castle (all about 500 years old). The caves were awesome. The wine, however, was not but more out of personal preference than quality. Their wine was all Sauvignon Blanc which I think is the only wine that gives me a head and stomach ache BEFORE feeling the fun effects. But the man who owned the cellar gave us a lot of info about wine making in the region and I actually learned a lot. We took a little tour of the town before heading to Irancy to taste some red wine. It also was a nice little village and while the atmosphere wasn't as awesome in the cellar, the wine was so good. Pretty much all red wine from Burgundy is Pinot Noir which is a nice reminder of Oregon. I even talked to the lady giving us the tasting about Oregon and she said in the past couple years she has been impressed with Oregon Pinot Noir and there is quite a bit of exchange among Burgundian and Oregonian wine makers. I ended up buying just one bottle of Pinot Noir from Irancy, a 2005, for 11 euros. This was actually the second most expensive bottle after a 13 euro 2003. The average price of the bottles at both cellars were between 7 and 8 euros, which is such a great price compared to wine from the Willamette Valley. But as Caitlin pointed out, it all makes perfect sense when you consider Oregonian vineyards really didn't start making respectable wine until a couple years ago and are still paying off start-up costs, whereas these cellars have a couple centuries under their belts already. The wine tasting was great, oh and I forgot to mention the best part... it was free! 11 euros is steep for a French wine but I got to visit two really interesting cellars with 1000 years of history between them and try 10 different wines, which when put that way it was completely worth it.
After wine tasting we came back to Regine's house in Auxerre and had tea with some homemade poppy seed cake. Then Kathi, Julianne, and I walked around the shops while Regine prepared dinner, returning around 7 because of the rain. The food was absolutely delicious, in fact, I honestly think all French meals prepared at home are just incredible and what I've been having is not good luck, but a normal nutritional experience. Even though I ate probably my body weight in food and we were at the table until almost midnight, it was all in all a great day.
Last night/this morning is another story however. There was a windstorm to end all windstorms and Pierre Larousse high school is not the most weather resistant of buildings. From about 6 AM-9 AM it sounded like the wind was ripping through the halls of the school itself! My door was pounding against its frame so hard that I got up and slammed it shut with a sock in between the door and frame for sound proofing. I maybe got 5 hours of sleep last night. Then, when I woke up this morning I looked out my window and saw the trees whipping around like crazy. One of the rooftops visible from my bedroom window was even missing shingles! I also saw a huge tree fall down in front of my building. I took pictures of the roof with missing shingles and the tree after it fell, which are in the new album. It's a lot more calm now, but I was watching TV and they said winds got up to almost 100 miles an hour. It was somewhat frightening and extremely poorly timed (for my sleep cycle purposes). This storm followed by news of the horrible earthquake in Chile really does make it feel like the end of days. What if the Mayans are right...?
But no use worrying about that now, tomorrow starts another school week, and only three weeks until Nathan gets here. Just enjoy the little things.