Adapting Abroad

I will admit, I was feeling lukewarm about coming to Paris. I was still in love with Tours and worried about my host family. Not to mention the mega-anxiety I was feeling any time I thought about courses and such. So, as we rolled through the grand boulevards of Paris on my bus, Paris, the city that normally fills me with ardor and excitement was nul.

I blame it on the exhaustion – I was up until 1am and got up at 7. And the fear that I wouldn’t get along with my host family. Oh, and then the fact that Tours stole my heart. My Continue reading

Farewell à Tours!

Our last days in Tours were lovely and leisurely. A part of me feels like I should have done something grand – like visit all the museums or bike out to the Chateau de Villandry, but I didn’t really feel like it. (Nor did I feel especially like doing my homework, but I was better about that.) I’m not usually very apathetic, but in the end, I decided that I wanted my connection with Tours to be a more habitual one, and that’s what it became.

Every afternoon, I wandered to my favorite café at Place Plumereau and ordered a café Continue reading

Dégustation

On Tuesday I participated in another great group activity at the institute (again, food related). This time it was…a wine tasting! (A dégustation du vin, if you will.) I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this, but it was actually really cool and a lot of fun. Signing up for wine tastings isn’t really the sort of thing I usually do (especially since I’m never really in vineyard land) so this was a small step outside my normal box, and it was well worth it.

Our guide/instructor was wonderful. He explained to us that he used to be a sommelier
and now works as a caviste (a wine seller). Apparently, he pretty much travels around Continue reading

Cours de Cuisine!!

During our stay in Tours we were allowed to sign up for several different extracurricular cultural courses, and one of the most popular was the “Cours de Cuisine” (cooking class). Well, it certainly was with me. I feel like I need to take as many cooking courses in Paris as possible. It’s an odd sort of obligation, but when else will I be in a country so preoccupied with food and cooking? Not to mention the fact that I totally want to channel Julia Child. And I feel like it’d be great to go home and make Mom a feast of fine French food. So, Continue reading

Luncheon

Every day begs a very important question: “What will I eat for lunch today?”

Because we generally have classes during the day, we have to take care of ourselves for lunch. Honestly, I love this freedom. It’s the perfect way for me to satisfy any random cravings while allowing me some extra interactions with French people.

Now, a quick note about money. I try, generally, to be a frugal person. Especially when it Continue reading

Chez moi

I’ve been delaying writing this post all week. And, it would seem that the delay has been a good thing, as I keep discovering new additions to make to it.

This will be the first post about French food. In fact, I have thought of so many different things to say about food, that this will be the first in a mini-series of Tours food posts. I think that it will be better than throwing a crazy long post at you where I summarize everything. Continue reading

Un petit bonheur

I’ve now been in Tours for over a week and finished my first week of classes. This means, of course, that my time in the Loire Valley is quickly drawing to a close (we leave Friday), but it also means that I’ve begun to develop a routine and have come to appreciate “la vie quotidienne” here. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite things about Tours with you.

Life moves a lot slower here, and it’s very much about les petits bonheurs. Café culture is a perfect example of that. Continue reading

Toujours à Tours

I am falling in love with this town. While I am so excited for Paris I will be sad to leave. My host mom is wonderful, classes are going well, and I feel very happily settle here. I have also caught myself thinking that maybe I should just come back here and explore more over breaks from Paris. Well done Sweet Briar, I am in love with another town in France.

The best part about Tours is its size. Not too big, not too small. Just big enough not to get too claustrophobic or bored, but small enough to get almost anywhere on foot. Continue reading

First day of school!

Well…sort of. Kind of. By which I mean, this post will be summary of the first few days of classes here in Tours. I think I mentioned this, but we have 2 weeks of light coursework before we get to Paris. Basically it’s the program’s safety net, insuring that we won’t flunk out of the Parisian universities, and it’s designed to build our French back up after the long summer (during which most of us didn’t speak/read/write/study French). We all have 2 classes: Continue reading

Chateaux Saturday

The first day was pretty casual. We had the morning off, so I slept in before enjoying a lovely breakfast. After freshening up a bit, my roommate and I decided to venture down into town. We were lucky that we left early, because we got a bit lost on the way. I have since realized that our host meant it when she said to go straight down the hill, but no matter. We found our way eventually. The day was spent in a small orientation, some shopping and a Continue reading