As you may have noticed, it has been two weeks since I have last posted. I didn’t feel that enough happened last week to merit an entire post, so today’s update is going to focus on this week with a little bit of last week as needed. Without further ado:
I had my first two tests last week in my classes! They both went really well and they made me think a lot about what I’ve learned so far in being here over a month and speaking French every single day. I am really starting to notice how much easier it’s getting to have a conversation or to tell my host mom about my day. Philomena’s daughter got here to Paris last night from Belgium, and she is really nice! I think she was raised here, but since my host mom is Irish, she knows both English and French. It was funny to listen to them talking last night because one would say something in English and then the other would say something in French and then they would switch. We ate dinner together and spoke French, probably for my benefit, but nevertheless fine by me. Her daughter will be with us for three weeks I think.
I also went with my host mom and some of her friends last week to a museum near the Eiffel Tower, called the Musee du Quai Branly. It is fairly new museum (it has only been open ten years or so) and it has lots of artifacts from all over the world. There were a lot of interesting things to see, and I enjoyed the museum. (And I also may or may not have discretely followed a couple for fifteen minutes through the exhibition who were speaking Italian. First it sounded like Spanish, then French, then a mix, and it made me want to learn Italian! Maybe someday.)
It was also one of my friends’ birthdays the other day, so a group of us went to dinner in Paris to celebrate. We went to a little bistro, which was so good!
This past weekend was wonderful; my program had an excursion to the Loire Valley, which is about about three hours southwest of Paris and has many castles. There were 50 students, and we got carted around on a big coach bus. Kind of conspicuous, but what can you do I suppose. We got to tour two castles and walk around a third.
The first one was called Chenonceau, and it’s a chateau that is built across the Cher River and is breathtaking. Chances you’ve seen a picture of it before, since it’s on many brochures and book covers about this particular area of France.
We also toured the Chateau d’Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life and was buried. It isn’t out in the country, but rather close to the river and in a little town. It has been around for a long time, and a lot of the original castle is gone, but it was still so beautiful.
The last one was Chambord, which we didn’t go inside, but walking around the grounds was great. This chateau is absolutely massive, it has something like four hundred rooms inside. It’s also one of the most well known chateaus, and even has a liqueur that is made there by the same name.
The weekend also included a tour and lunch at a winery and a boat ride on the Loire river in old fashioned boats. It was a little windy, but the sky was blue, so what more could we ask for! A couple pictures of cool people:
That’s all I have! I hope you enjoyed all of the pictures, I’m trying to get better at taking more of them. I miss you all!