Sunday, May 25, 2014

Howdy from Toulouse!

Our first week in Toulouse has officially come to a close! It has been a whirlwind of adventures, from jet lag to foie gras to the Mediterranean Sea. The week started off a little rough, I found it difficult to have my attention held inside a classroom on Monday when I felt like I should have been exploring my amazing and interesting new surroundings. As the week went on, things got increasingly more fun and effective in teaching me about the things I wanted to learn about France. The best day of the week must have been Thursday when we visited the vineyard and made a trip to Cordes. I got to meet a woman running a vineyard in the South of France, who is breaking the mold of gender stereotypes when it comes to farming and growing grapes in Europe. Cordes sur Ciel is a town that dates back to the 12th century, sitting on top of a hill. It is absolutely beautiful and provides the most stunning view of the French countryside. I absolutely adored it there. 
As for the food, it has been divine so far! We are starting to figure out what French food we have cravings for and which we can barely stand to tolerate. We ate cassoulet, which is a specialty here in Toulouse and it was DELICIOUS. It's the French version of a good, homestyle meal. I haven't been able to bring myself to try beef tartar yet, but I know I will before the end of the trip. We have also had the "French picnic" meal, which I absolutely loved. Maybe even more than the stereotypical American hotdogs and hamburgers! 
So, I know that in America we typically think of the French as smelly, stuck up snail eaters, but I have had the opportunity to meet some of the students at the school we are attending. I have to tell y'all, they are some of THE nicest kids I have ever met. I have learned so much about the French culture and student life from talking to them and it has been an experience unlike any other for me. They have taken their free time to show us around Toulouse and take us out to eat (to an amazing creperie, I might add). Of course, we have met some not-so-nice French people as well. My conclusion on this is that every country, not just France, has pessimistic citizens. They have not effected my judgement of all the lovely French people I have met in the past week. 
I couldn't be more excited for the adventures to come this week, including our four day weekend in Barcelona, Spain! I will continue to post once or twice a week for the rest of my trip! Missing everyone back home. 

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