Meet our exchange student, Lucile.

Isn’t she adorable?

She arrived last night, swirly-eyed and seemingly in shock after a very long day of travel that included and excruciatingly long lay over in Houston, of all God-awful places. Of course, if you have to go to Houston, the airport is probably your safest bet.

We took Lucile for a quick dinner, brought her home, let her shower and sent her to bed. Today, I initiated her with a quick zip through the hallowed halls of Target because I absolutely had to go there. And I will say, she looked completely freaked out when she stammered, we don’t have anysing so beeg like thees!

Just wait ’til the child sees Costco.

I got her the hell out of there, and took her to an independent grocery where I let her pick out some things for the house. We also ordered deli sandwiches to take with us to the beach. And while Target presented to my new daughter-like person the quintessential gluttonous America, Windmill Farms offered authentic American hospitality when the guy behind the sandwich counter announced to everyone in the general area that it was Lucile’s first! Day! In! America!

His patriotism overfloweth.

“She’s here from France!” he said. (It’s my fault; I’d told him this after having to explain mayonnaise to Lucile while he watched in amazement). We giggled as I tried to steer her away from the bent-over, curmudgeonly lunchtime shoppers who were beginning to surround us, enamored as they were by the novelty of Lucile. “My son just got back from France!” yelled a little old Jewish lady in our direction as we made a bee line for the check out. They were all staring, moving toward us like the un-dead. I thought we might be eaten alive. Or, at the very least, I thought they might try to pet the poor girl. Again, we had to make our escape.

After we dropped the groceries at home (Lucile helped carry the bags into the house without me asking; dear lord, her parents raised her right!), we met my friends and the student they are hosting for an afternoon in Coronado, a place that Lucile said matched her imaginings of Southern California exactly. What didn’t match was the water temperature. At 61 degrees, this is not her Mediterranean Sea. Still, she seemed very relaxed and happy.