On Thursday, Emily and I went to the mall in the morning to get food for dinner for the weekend. I walked through downtown to the theater to pick up tickets for a show. It was 74° and sunny, so I sat by the river and worked on homework. It’s crazy how many people are still wearing winter coats, scarves, and gloves.
I walked to class, realizing the school was farther away than I thought, so I started walking faster and sweating more. I walked to the classroom and one of my classmates in the hallway told me there was a sign on the door saying the class was cancelled. I decided to walk to a nearby park to finish my homework. The park is right behind a college-level art school. It felt like I had gone back in time or was inside a movie because I didn’t see anyone on their phone—people were sitting in circles talking to each other, working on projects, or playing soccer. But it also felt like going back in time because of everyone smoking in public.
After dinner, Emily and I went to the theater for the show. I was expecting it to be more fast-paced, but it was really unique and interesting. There were some acrobatics, dancing, acting, and a little bit of singing, but aside from the singing, the six performers were silent.
On Friday (31st), we went to class and as we left the building, we saw a crowd of people looking at a bunch of caterpillars on the sidewalk. Our host dad had just told us about this, which they call a caterpillar processionary.
We went with our host dad Saturday morning to pick up groceries for this week’s dinner since they went to Portugal for the week.
On Sunday, Emily and I went on a walk through the Parc de l’Arboretum.
On Monday, I walked with some friends to a bakery after our morning class and bought a sandwich for lunch. After the afternoon classes, Emily bought a mango caramel mousse cake from another bakery for my birthday. It was an interesting combination of flavors, but tasted pretty great.
On Thursday, I walked to the Parc du Pin by the university. I was surprised to find a château in the middle. I walked around the building and then sat at a bench to do some homework before class.
Emily and I went to the Parc Saint Nicolas on Friday and walked around the river.
I keep thinking about how different the study abroad experience would have been before the internet and even before smartphones. This trip is so much easier since I have Google maps at my fingertips if I ever get lost or need to find a restaurant. When I talk to my host parents, if I don’t know a word, I can look it up and tell them (I usually try describing it first, but if they still don’t understand, I’ll find the word).
Talking to my classmates is interesting because they’re all international students studying French, but everyone’s studying it for a different reason. One guy is learning French because his girlfriend is French and they want to live in France together. Another man is a priest and wants to live in France. One girl is currently living in France because her dad is an ambassador. Some students want to be French teachers and others want to improve their French so they can study a different subject (sociology, culinary art…) at a university in France.