Today we went to Albi for our second French class, our first class at the university in Albi. The university is one of the top universities and is an old French military base. French class went really well today and I didn't do too terribly bad at pronouncing the words. I love our French teacher Marie. She is very patient with us as we try to learn a new language. In class, we picked a partner and had to come up with a conversation using the vocab we have learned so far in class. My partner was of course, Jen, and we had a blast doing this. We giggled more than anything. Pretty sure Marie will not allow us to be partners anymore haha! In class so far, I have learned how to say my name, how old I am, where I am from, and that I am American. We play fun games to make learning the vocab easy!
After class we ate lunch in the cafeteria at the school. It was much like a high school cafeteria, not what you normally think of when you think of a college dining hall. There, we met a French student named Julien who is planning on coming to Saint Francis next semester to study abroad in America. He spend the day with our group in Albi, and he plans to see us again next week when we return to Albi.
After eating lunch, we went to Gerry's house. He and his wife had dessert there for us. It was a special dessert, called geteau, that they have in January in celebration of Epiphany. Geteau is like a flaky cake. In each cake, there is a tiny glass toy. If you get the piece of cake with the toy, you get crowned and get to wear a crown. I was not one of the ones to find one of these in my piece, but Jen, Katie, and Francie all had one in their piece. We got to meet Gerry's 2 yr old son while we were at his house. He speaks both French and Russian at such a young age!
After Gerry's we did a walking tour of Albi. We went to the Sainte-Cecile Cathedral, which is the prettiest church inside that I have ever seen! It is also probably one of the biggest I have seen. There is also a lot of shopping, cafes, and restaurants in Albi. I really like it there! During our hour of free time in Albi, Katie, Rachel and I went into a cafe. I got a decaf caramel macchiato and it was delish! Katie and I also split a piece of cheesecake. The guy working in the cafe spoke very good English and asked if we were the students that he read about in the newspaper. Supposedly the SFU students coming to Ambialet is a big deal and there was an article in the newspaper recently about our arrival. I thought that was pretty neat that even people in the city knew about the SFU study abroad program. They really are excited to have us come here!
We were formally welcomed by the deputy-mayor or Albi this evening. He prepared a speech in French, and Gerry translated it into English. We presented a gift to him. Since Jen was the most experienced in French, she got to read the prepared speech and present the gift to the deputy-mayor. After all the speeches, we had yet another round of dessert and pastries...including geteau. Once again, I did not find anything in my piece.
The weather today was supposed to be in the 50's. I did not want to be too hot walking around the city, so I did not wear my heavy coat. Well, the weather man was obviously wrong because it did not get much above 40. Needless to say, lesson learned. I will always have my coat unless it is for sure going to get real warm. I guess I can't complain though with all the snow everyone is getting at home.
After two long days of touring the cities, I am looking forward to a day in Ambialet tomorrow. I have to do some work for anatomy, sociology, and my fine arts class.This is what most of my weekend will consist of. We had also talked about going to the local cafe in Ambialet Saturday and getting crepes for breakfast. We haven't made any plans for sure yet though.
So far coming to another country has made me appreciate students who come to the U.S. to study abroad so much more. It was a little scary when you walk into a school and cafeteria where are one of the only few that speak English. Even though I sometimes feel a little out of place, I really am having the time of my life. This is such a great opportunity and I am getting to experience so much!
I only post a few of the pictures on here. If you want to see them all, look on facebook under my albums.