The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Cribs or Crêpes? French House Says Bonjour

While other off-campus houses are infamous for their wild parties, ridiculous traditions and burning couches, French House is still struggling with some of the smaller things of life at 1019 Park Street.

Kathlyn Cabrera '14 and Remi Studer were two of the French House residents who sat down with the S&B. Photograph by Johanna Silverman.

“The refrigerator is a mess,” said Rémi Studer, the house’s Language Assistant.

“The fridge is just overflowing,” corrected Lexy Greenwell ’14. “Everyone needs to use it, so the food is bubbling over.”

Since the start of school, French House has had difficulty getting the kitchen in cooking condition–surprising, given the country’s strong culinary reputation. For weeks, the kitchen went unwashed, forcing inhabitants of the home to clean and mop it on their own. This was an important event, because the kitchen serves as the heart of the home, with the fridge not only stuffed, but also covered with French words and phrases. One magnet of an actor is labeled with the word amour, or love. The kitchen also serves as an important gathering place for the housemates.

“We all eat together on Fridays and on special occasions,” said resident Kathlyn Cabrera ’14.

Their love of French food encourages residents to surrender their obligations and submit to a blitzkrieg of culinary enjoyment. Every other Friday night, they plan to host French-themed events.

“A couple weeks ago we had Ratatouille Night, when we cooked ratatouille and then watched the movie,” Studer said. “This Friday night is Crêpes Night. I’m going to be making dough from scratch.”

That kind of effort should be enough to earn him a place of honor in the French House, on a special purple poster hung on the wall in the corner of the living room, next to the paper used to denote anniversaries, or birthdays.

“It’s an ‘awesomeness rater.’ If you do something important for the house, you get a star on the board,” explained Struder.
Because the house is a comparatively long walk from campus, a strong sense of community has developed between the inhabitants. Studer says that he enjoys bonding with the others while helping them study French for class and Greenwell has already made plans to visit Studer when she studies abroad next year. Unsurprisingly, many of the residents plan to study abroad, with trips that will take them to France and beyond. For example, Charlotte Hechler ’14 is considering expanding her horizons to England.

“We’re becoming friends fast because it’s such a close space,” Cabrera said.

Eight of the house’s nine tenants are second year-women, excluding Studer, who is the equivalent of a fourth year and used to live in Versailles, France. Despite these similarities, most of these Francophiles were no more than acquaintances before being stuffed in one home.

“I affectionately call our home ‘Blue House,’” said Studer. “Baby Blue House.”

While slightly bland in English, this simple phrase translates into Maison Bleu, which in French is both whimsical and fanciful. This is a fitting translation, as the residents of French House work to have a delightful school year, with or without an overflowing refrigerator.

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