I have been in Toulouse, named the pink city for it’s faded red brick buildings, since Wednesday night. I was met at the airport by one of the four program assistants, Emilie. And perhaps that is where I should start this post, discussing the reason I am in France (I’m sorry for the tedious nature of this post, we have to get the boring stuff out of the way first).
I started looking for a summer internship this past September and stumbled upon a Cornell program where I could take French classes at a university in southern France, then intern with a winery in France for a summer. I could also stay for the fall semester and lengthen my internship by a month and in October and November study at different universities in the north of France. How could I pass up such an opportunity? So here I am in France with a return flight ticket to the US not valid until 2012…
After a long night in the airport in JFK (my plane was scheduled to leave at 11 pm, it didn’t take off until closer to 1:30 am), I landed in the Heathrow, London airport. If you have never been to the Heathrow airport, try to avoid it. Like any major airport it takes an hour of walking and two buses just to get to your next gate. Unlike other major airports, it is inhabited by strange children who will walk up to you and ask “Have you seen a paper ’round love?”. I’m not sure what kind of school they are sending four year olds to in England these days.
Once Emilie picked me up at the airport we headed to the residence, where I will be living for June. It is sort of like the dorms at any American university except with better security and your own bathroom in each room. I live in a flat with six other students and we all start school on Monday at Purpan, only a ten minute walk away.
My first night here, the four program assistants welcomed me with friendly conversation and a dinner of red wine, toast, and duck pate. If this is any indication of what my diet will consist of for the next seven months, I’m hooked. Pate is a french favorite, made from a few different meats like duck or pork.
The next night, Emilie and I went to downtown Toulouse and waited at the train station for two more students to arrive. Their train was delayed for some time however, giving us a chance to run over to a local creperie and have dinner. Creperies sell salty or sweet crepes (basically dinner or desert crepes) and are the size of a medium dinner plate. I had the special, which included a dinner and desert crepe and a glass of hard cidre (apple cider) all for only 11 euros. Because the place was a local favorite and had probably never seen an American, I put my French to the test and chatted with the waiter. Turns out I have quite the American accent… even when speaking French.
This weekend, all the other students from different Universities in the US will arrive and we will start classes early Monday morning. Pictures soon!