Letters from Abroad

New Beginnings

With the new semester starting up, it’s kind of insane to think that I’ve been in France since September… and even more insane to think that I’m going to be here until May. The end of last semester was kind of sad—lots of my friends leaving the program, finals in French, etc. etc. Of course, a trip to Italy for Christmas did a lot to help with that; and the new group of Dickinsonians here for the second semester.

This semester is definitely going to be different than last semester; I’ve switched schools, and started an internship. My new school, L’Institute pour Les Etudes Politiques (IEP), is pretty cool, except for the hundred person amphitheaters, and the not being able to hear the professor. Yeah, that part kind of sucks. Still, it’s better than the Mirail, which a) took 45 minutes plus to get there, and b) had storage units for classrooms. My amphitheater seems like a vast improvement, put like that.

My internship is pretty exciting, too. I get to work and observe at the mayor’s office in a small town just outside of Toulouse called Pechabou. I have no idea what I’m actually going to be doing there, but it’s still a really great opportunity and everyone who works there seems friendly!

Other exciting things in my life right now: just went on a trip to the Pyrenees with the Dickinson program. We went to the Mountain Estarvielle, which is in the Valley Louchon. It was tiny—apparently there are only like 30 people who live in the town full-time. There wasn’t much snow where we stayed, but we got to walk around a bit, eat some local food (and cheese), and make some jam. The next day we went up into the mountains to do some snowshoeing… Amazing sights, but I’m pretty uncoordinated and spent a decent amount of time on butt, in the snow, trying to reattach the snowshoes. Seeing the mountains covered in snow from that altitude was definitely worth the snow down my pants though. After snowshoeing, there was time for lunch and then a trip to a “fromagiere,” or a little farm where they make cheese. Just saying, guys, sheep are really cute when they’re like four months old. Really, really cute. As in, I almost stole one cute. (The cheese was pretty good, too.).