Sunday, July 19, 2015

France: Chapter 9

First off, I must confirm that their is going to be a wine and cheese night. As to when it will be, I think that is still up in the air. I only have a few days left so hopefully it works out. There has also been some speculation that the wine and cheese night may turn into a small party; I guess we will find out when the time comes. Tuesday was Bastille Day, Le 14 Juillet, FĂȘte Nationale. Whatever you would like to call it. It is the French equivalent of the Fourth of July back home. Almost everything closes for this special celebration of liberty. Don't worry, fireworks are a thing in France, too. So on Tuesday, I head downtown around 6:30 in the evening to the Prairie des Filtres. When I arrived, there were already hundreds of people enjoying the day. It wasn't the concerts lined up that attracted the people to Prairie des Filtres, It was the prime viewing for the feu d'artifice (artificial fire, a.k.a fireworks) because Prairie des Filtres was right next to the Garonne River where the fireworks were set up. There was a twenty-minute fireworks display set to go off at 10:45 in sync with music from Harry Potter, Star Wars, the James Bond films, and other well known film scores. But before I get to the fireworks, I must touch a little bit on the concert. The concert was performed by Cats On Trees, I duo formed right here in Toulouse. There were also some special guests performing along with them, such as Ayo and Emji. None these sound familiar, I know. But I must say that the concert was very entertaining, nonetheless. Most of the concert was performed in English which was quite the surprise. Cats On Trees did a few covers of songs that I had already known so I was elated when I actually was able to sing along. Also, I must note that when I arrived to the Prairie des Filtres I said there were hundreds of people. But by the time the concert got going, there were THOUSANDS of people and I could not find any open space. Times got rough when I had to pee. Luckily I could hold it. Some highlight songs from the concert were "Jimmy","Wichita", and a cover of "Bittersweet Symphony" performed by Cats On Trees and "Fire" performed by Ayo. It was some great music, for sure. The excitement started to build up inside of me the closer it got to the fireworks show. I haven't been to a Thunder of Louisville since I started my time at Purdue so I was eager to get a refresher of the experience. It was also nice since I didn't get to celebrate Fourth of July fireworks. Here are just a few of the moments from the show, I didn't take to many pictures because I just wanted to enjoy the moment. But, all in all, it was very sufficient when it came to saturating my thirst for explosions.

Nothing else interesting happened during the week, but this past weekend (my last weekend in Toulouse) was pretty good. One of the other students doing the program (Rob) had finished his internship early because his family was going on vacation, so they were wanting to get him to another internship for the short time that we had left. He had been in Toulouse for a few days and was staying at one of the program assistant's (Anais) apartment with her and her boyfriend (Thomas) until Rob was able to leave for the next internship. Well, he was supposed to be picked up at 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday from my place by his new host family. I had to make sure I was there to let him in and he told me he would be there at 4. It was a strange turn of events because the host family arrived at 4 and he arrived at 4:30. The new host family couldn't wait for him so he missed out on the second host family. He wasn't sure what to do so he contacted the program director and waited for a response. In the meantime, I had originally planned on going to O The Divin, the tea place I have been going to, so I invited Rob to join me. We arrived an hour and a half before it closed and ordered what we wanted. I ordered a milkshake and he ordered a cold chai tea. We sat there and talked until closing and had some really good conversations about past, current, and future events. It was probably one of the best conversations I have had. He made the point to note that he believes that some things are fated and that maybe he was meant to miss the host family so we could be at the tea place having the conversations that we did. We finished up and went on our way to Thomas' apartment since Rob had no other place to go. On the walk there, he had asked if I wanted to catch some dinner with him since he hadn't eaten all day. I agreed, but first he needed to drop some stuff off at the apartment. When we got there, Thomas and I got acquainted and Rob and I then invited him to join us for dinner. He quickly turned it around and said that we could join him for dinner at the apartment and he would cook for us. All we needed to was go pick up some pasta and a six pack. We agreed and went to go pick up the required items. Thomas ended up making us a wonderful dinner following all the French traditions. Entree (appetizer), plat principal (main dish), bread and cheese, and then dessert. For the entree, Thomas had prepared a tomato and onion salad with an olive oil dressing. It was delicious. For the main course, we had sour cream pasta with sausage. We had Camembert and fresh cow cheese (don't know the actual name) and then finished the meal off with some chocolates. Of course there was some wine and a beer thrown in there. It was a fulfilling meal. Afterwards, the three of us sat around outside and talked while we watched one of the first thunderstorms in weeks start up. It was beautiful (I forgot to mention that his apartment was six stories up and had a balcony). Rob at brought some hydromel (meade) as a gift for Thomas and we opened it up and tried it. I had never had meade before. It was very good. The bottle said that it is best mixed with one part whiskey, two parts meade so I tried that mixture, as well. It tasted really good. The atmosphere that night was great. We didn't drink fast enough to get drunk but it definitely helped relax the night. It started raining heavenly and was apprehensive about going back. I was wanting to leave so I could go to the market early in the morning the next day. Thomas offered that I stayed and slept on his futon that he had so I didn't have to return back to my place in the storm. He also made the point that the market was about five minutes from his place. He won the argument very easily so I stayed the night. The next morning, the three of us went to the market. I ended up finding a white hat that I wanted so I bought it. Other than that, my last St. Aubin market wasn't too spectacular. Thomas bought some saucisson (dried sausage) because I had never tried it and he ended up inviting Rob and me to lunch at his place. All we had to do was buy some baguettes for the meal. I kind felt that I kept on intruding but Thomas was a great man and a great host. He was very social and welcoming. After the lunch, Thomas decided to take a nap, Rob needed to journal, and I decided to head back to my place. I didn't do much after that but mentally prepare for the final week ahead. Three days of internship left. I wonder how it will go.

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