Saturday, June 27, 2015

France: Chapter 5

The first four weeks are finished. It is hard to believe that it has gone by this fast and it is kind of saddening. People have already begun packing and shipping off for their internships, and there is a lot of downtime for me. My internship will be here in Toulouse. I will be doing research in a lab at the same university that I have been studying at during my time here. My tutor that I will be doing research under is Dr. Alban Jacques. I checked out his Facebook page and he seems like a very interesting man. My only hopes are that our personalities work together and he speaks English better than I speak French. I do know that he is a biochemist and biologist (very similar to what I am studying) and that he is very into music (his Facebook said he used to be an independent artist musician improviser). For the details about what research I will actually be doing, I have none. So tomorrow, I will be checking out of my flat at two in the afternoon and moving half a mile down the road to a small apartment building that is right at the front gate of campus. It will be me and two others from this program living there. If this place has AC, I will be in heaven. 

The last seven days have been very eventful. Saturday evening of the free weekend, a large group of us were going to go to the last day of the Rio Loco music festival. Me and three others decided we had enough music the previous three days and we were not really interested in the genre of music being played that day (it was occitaine). So instead of going to Rio Loco, we decided to go out to a bar. We ended up making friends with three older French girls that night, and the following morning one of the girls took me to the St. Aubin market, which is comparable to an American farmers market. I was planning on going to the market anyways but having a local show me around made the experience even better. I believe everything at the market was organic and fresh. There was cheese, fish, bread, pastries, all kinds of meat, plants, cacti, and many other things. While at the market, we ran into one of the program assistants. I felt kind of awkward in the moment because I was with a girl that I had just met the previous night. It was kind of like the feeling you get when you are embarrassed after being caught doing something you should not have been doing. She likes to tease me now about being with the French girl at the market. I think it's funny every time she brings it up. But anyways, later on in the day, there was fête de la musique. Which is a festival of music all over France in celebration of the summer solstice. A lot of us went downtown and there was music literally being played everywhere. And if you weren't playing music, you were dancing. It was one of the coolest cultural experiences I have had. People of all ages were out and about celebrating. Everyone was involved. Monday, we had our French language evaluations. It was a lot easier than I expected it to be. Which was very nice. One of the other guys from Purdue had his 21st birthday that day, so about 20 of us went out that night. I didn't drink hardly anything because it was a Monday night and I was exhausted from the weekend still. But some people drank. A lot. Two events happened that night that will definitely be a sort of black mark on this trip. People left the bar at different times so we didn't return in a group, so I wasn't a witness. But the guy who turned 21 ended up falling and breaking is arm. He needed surgery to put everything back into the right place. I wish I could say that was the worst thing that happened that night. But there was another guy from Missouri, that was super drunk, and was locked out of his flat. He thought he could get into his flat through the balcony so he attempted to climb up to the balcony, but he failed. He ended up falling about 25-30 feet. His jaw and wrist were broken and he had some misalignment to his spin. He was very fortunate that he wasn't paralyzed. Also, his father was in Brussels at this time so he had someone that could get to him fast. He obviously won't get to do his internship and I believe he will be leaving for the US today or tomorrow. On Tuesday, we had a day full of cooking French cuisine! It was a gastronomy workshop where we had chefs guide us in cooking a full meal. I wish I knew the names of the food that we prepared but they were very different. The worst thing that I tasted was a dish that looked like a cupcake, but replacing the icing was a duck liver paste. Absolutely disgusting. Luckily we finished with fruit kebabs and banana mousse. It was a good day. Wednesday afternoon the viticulture option group visited Château Plaissance for a tour of the vineyard and winery. We finished the tour with a wine tasting. Then, Thursday was spent all day in Bordeaux at Château Mèmoires. We finished that tour with a wine tasting. Yesterday was the last day of classes, and there could not have been a better finish. We finished with a wine tasting in the morning and a somewhat easy exam in the afternoon. It has been a very busy week. Then tomorrow, I am meeting a Canadian girl in the morning and I will be giving her a tour of Toulouse. How this came about was very random but I just went with it. One of the guys on the trip, his name is Rob, had started talking to the Candian girl on Tinder. She is here in France with an exchange program as well. Anyways, she does not speak any French and she is by herself. She had asked Rob if he could give her a tour of Toulouse but Rob has to leave this weekend for his internship. So he asked me to give her a tour and I said why not. So I will be giving her a tour of Toulouse tomorrow. I have seen a picture of her and she seems kind of cute. Maybe I can make another friend. 

Anyways, I'll have more free time probably once my internship starts so hopefully I can post more than once a week. Au revoir. 

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