So this is going to be a bit of a mishmash post, but I have a few little things to share.
1) I have found a really effective way to take cough syrup (normally it makes me gag). Instead of doing 3 spoonfuls, chased one at a time by OJ, I just poured 3 spoonfuls into my OJ and downed it. Worked like a charm. It's nearing cough and cold season, so you should all keep this in mind.
2) Read this blog: Crunchy Betty. This woman does incredible things in the way of beauty products and household cleaners using fruits, veggies, vinegar, stuff like that, and posts all of her recipes. I'm thinking of switching to homemade deodorant.
3) I have the greatest CouchSurfing host <<ever>> right now. She found me housing (see 3a), introduced me to a ton of really cool people in the Valenciennes CouchSurfing community, and is even letting me crash at her place for an extra night so I don't have to go to a hotel. Fabulous.
3a) I don't want to get super excited about this yet, as it is not set in stone, but it looks like I finally have housing!! When I arrived at Emilie's (my current host), on Wednesday, I mentioned sometime within the first 20 minutes of conversation that I was desperately looking for housing. And she says, "Oh, my friend Joel is looking for a roommate." Well, as it turns out, Joel had posted an ad on "Appartager," which is a French housing website where you can look for roommates or people who need them, etc. I had replied to this ad that very same morning, before I came to Emilie's. However, Joel had been unable to reply to my ad because neither of us are paid members of Appartager (which is of course how they always get you). So I talked to Joel on the phone and later that night met him and Laura, who will be another housemate. We all hit it off and I guess they like me, because now the posted ad has my name in it too :-). Joel is French and Laura is British, and both are also involved in CoushSurfing (how they met Emilie, of course), so now we are looking for a 4th roommate who is male and from a non-English-speaking country so that we have a good balance. Joel and Laura have found a 4 bedroom house which they tell me is huge and amazing (I would live in a cardboard box right now if I could call it my own, so I'm trusting them for the moment), and as far as I know, it's ours as soon as I get my paperwork in, which will be on Tuesday when I get my bank account. Even though we don't have a 4th housemate yet, the house is cheap enough that we can afford it split between 3, which is good. I say that all of this is not set in stone, because there is a small chance that if someone came in with all the appropriate paperwork and money and wanted the house, the agency could give it to them, but from what I understand, it is kind of "on hold" for us, though not in any kind of legally binding way. So fingers crossed and prayers said that all of this works out!
4) I had a really wonderful time last night. Emilie hosted a potluck dinner for the Valenciennes CS community last night in her apartment. I helped her get ready and made some food to contribute, and as we were sitting on the couch waiting for guests to arrive, she told me she thought seven or eight people would come. The first guests arrived around 8pm (including Joel and Laura, which was great), and by 9:30 there were 20 of us crammed into Emilie's small-ish living room. But it was great! There were Americans (yes, plural, there were 2 of us!), French, Spanish, Italians, Brits, and even a guy from Tunisia and one from Colombia. Everyone brought great food and (of course) alcohol, and we all just sat around and chatted in a variety of languages until almost 2am. SUCH a good time. Joel and Laura and I have decided that the next CS party is going to be at our house :-).
So that's the weekend update. Emilie is off to a wedding, and I'm off to the kitchen to munch on some leftovers from last night, and to enjoy the fact that I'm not spending $70 on a hotel right now. Woohoo!