Le Son de la Cloche
The bells have sounded, the fire has burned out, and it is now time to say goodbye. Pardon my French but where the heck did the time go?! We are now entering our last week in Tours and it is a bit of a bittersweet moment. Last week, we not only said goodbye to our lovable little eighth amigo from Spain, but we also had to shed tears for our classmates who we only knew for three weeks and are now being shipped back to their native homelands. Ok, so this isn’t exactly a Pocahontas scenario, yet it was still very sad to finish our three week program at the institute. The bright side, however, is that, in times of sadness, you make certain promises without thinking such as: “My aunt lives on an Island in Italy; you must SWEAR that you will stay with us!” Needless to say, my petite Americans and I have several lovely vacations planned for the rest of the year…
Before we said goodbye, however, we did have one lovely final excursion with our faithful tour guide Florence, to Blois, a little town which is very famous for, wait for it, LES CHATEAUX! This time, we decided that the best way to stay engaged and keep up with the stories is to be aware of the history upon arrival, answer the questions that Florence asks us about French verses Italian architecture, and impersonate all the historic people in the photos! (Don’t worry; we do this very discretely without screaming the name “obnoxious American”. Plus, the Spanish boy partook in these games by his own will so he’s guilty too!)
Side note: Does anyone recall those delicious Walker’s butter/ sugar/ flour cookies that just melt into your mouth so fast that before you know it the entire box has mysteriously vanished? Well, if you haven’t, no need, because we have now received a wonderful French recipe for them that we tested out at our cooking class on Tuesday! The institute has a fully stocked kitchen yet no cafeteria…comme c’est bizarre?
As far as food goes, I am still eating baguette after baguette after goat cheese after baguette. It still tastes as wonderful as it did the first time, yet the girls and I thought we needed to switch things up a bit. Low and behold, we embarked on a journey to a Lebanese restaurant where something inside of me became reborn. It may have been my Greek roots screaming at me that I need to eat more grape leaves, but regardless, it was one of the best meals we have had so far. The waiter amazed us with his mad dash to and from the kitchen, bringing Fatoush, Taboule, Dolmades, Rice, Eggplant, Babaganoush, Hummus, Falafel, Stuffed Zucchini, PITA BREAD, and more! Somehow our plates turned out to be completely spotless…some would even say they took on a more glossy, polished look post-feast. But don’t fret mes petits americains, for today I went back to my Sunday morning Pain au chocolat with extra Nutella (I have discovered that I was a five year old French girl in my previous life). This was also a bittersweet moment because yesterday I said goodbye to my Italian host sister and we no longer will be eating breakfast together every morning or picnicking along the river on Sunday afternoons. She has now been replaced by another host student from America (and you know how those filthy Americans can be) Just kidding, she’s actually very nice and it’s great to have conversation with someone else who doesn’t laugh uncontrollably when I tell them I’m from the state of CONNECTICUT (They pronounce it “co-nect-i-coot” and you would think I just told them that I grew up in a nuclear waste dump over in the town of Goober, Idaho).
Last but not least, yesterday was our first day as free birds! The seven of us took a train to the town of Amboise to see yet another chateau (we still haven’t had our fill) and it turned out to be one of our best days yet! We walked around the town, saw the burial site and residence of Leonardo da Vinci (No, unfortunately I’m talking about the painter, not the teenage mutant ninja turtle), and made unforgettable memories taking pictures in the gardens. The view from the chateau, overlooking the Loire River, the grassy fields, and the French style houses was truly breathtaking. We still have those moments where we look around and say, “We are living in France, is this real life?” I know I definitely had that same reaction walking through the French market yesterday morning, and then having to stop in the middle of the street due to a toddler pushing a wallaby in her stroller who was obstructing our path. This sight took a few minutes to comprehend before the baby took the banana away from the wallaby and shoved it into her own mouth. Umm….what? I could comment on this further but I think the picture does justice. Vive la France!
Alas, the Sunday church bells have once again sounded and it is now time to go experience my last week in Tours before departing for Strasbourg on Saturday morning! So much to do, so little time! A dimanche!
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