As it’s les Vacances de la Toussaint here in France, I am currently on a two-week vacation from school. Yes, fitting perfectly into their stereotype of being café-sipping, striking-at-the-drop-of-a-hat sluggards, the French can’t go more than five weeks without some sort of break. As Edith Piaf once sang:
Je ne veux pas travailler I don’t want to work
Je ne veux pas déjeuner I don’t want to eat
Je veux seulement oublier I simply want to forget
et puis je fume. And then, I’ll smoke.
As silly as it may seem, at least it gives me the chance of having lots of time off to see a bit of the region!
Rather than take a big trip out of the country during these two weeks, I’ve decided to spend the time going on little daytrips in the area, thereby learning more about the region I’m actually living in and (hopefully) saving some money. I started yesterday by popping over to the neighboring village to visit two fellow assistants. We ate a lovely lunch (goat cheese salad, omelettes, fries, coffee, and dessert), went exploring through a gorgeous wooded park for a couple of hours, and generally had a great time chatting and getting to know one another. The two girls, one Californian and one Brit, are both very cool and definitely people I’m happy to know here.
Today, I did almost exactly the same thing, but with yet another fellow assistant, this time a British guy who’s being very patient while dealing with our otherwise all-female group of assistants. We wandered all over our town after lunch at our town’s seemingly most crowded café and thoroughly enjoyed mocking each others’ accents.
I’m very happy to see that the other assistants, though all very different and with a wide range of backgrounds, are people I think I’ll enjoy spending time with. While studying in Tours, I often felt like I was thrown in with students who didn’t share my priorities or goals for the study abroad experience. While a wonderful part about travel is (of course) meeting new people and being exposed to different worldviews and lifestyles, my difficulty in forming lasting friendships while in Tours was due to more of a clash between personalities than cultural backgrounds. Here, though, it seems as though we’ll all be pretty good buds. 🙂