Week 3 passed by in such a blur! My friends and I are just starting to get to know Tours— even though it is a village about half the size as my hometown, it has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. This week the sun came out for the first time since I came to Tours, and the village under the sun looked like a completely different city. It was as if all my worries melted away with the clouds, and the nice weather brought a new kind of vitality to the classroom and the dinner table alike. I went out more and explored restaurants, chocolate stores and patisseries. I welcomed challenges in the class and outside, offering to order for my group of friends at restaurants and participating in the excursions. During this week’s excursion, we went to the Cathedral at Tours. The architecture was amazing, even better than that of Notre Dame in Paris in my opinion, because it combined the works of different artists from different generations. Because the Cathedral experienced destructions and reconstructions, and the length of the construction allowed different fashion and techniques to form with the old. Listening to the guide was no trouble at all, especially since the guide, who was also our art history professor, was extremely passionate about the Cathedral and the story it tells about Tours and France.
Our main professor, who teaches writing and grammar on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, impresses us each afternoon on those days with his knowledge of history and culture in France as well as in a lot of other countries. His lectures are always engaging and intriguing. My French improved tremendously these days—I can read stories which I never thought I could understand in such a short amount of time, and communicating with the locals is much easier. Whereas before, my attempts to speak french in restaurants and shops were often met with strange looks and shrugs, now the locals are able to understand and interpret exactly it is I needed. On Wednesday I had to buy allergy medicine at a pharmacy, and while I stumbled over some words, I could communicate my needs to the seller without major hiccups.
At home, I am starting to learn french traditional cuisine with my Madame. Each night we prepare a three course meal for a total of three people living in the household. I have begun to recognize common herbs, the names of the most typic sauces used in dishes, wine and types of cheese. While preparing the meal, Madame is always very helpful in explaining the new vocabulary and demonstrates the simple procedures every time for me. The conversations we have over the kitchen sink have greatly boosted my confidence and oral skills, which have proved to be more than useful every day!