Sunday, August 16, 2009
Au Revoir CIA, Bon Jour France!
Graduation from the CIA took place Friday, August 8th, my car was packed to the brim by Saturday with help from my trooper mom and I was off to Paris Monday, August 11th with my enormous backpack and little suitcase to begin the journey of my 5 month externship in Brest, France. Oh to begin the journey!
It's been a long time coming but by the grace of God we made it. We actually had our student visa's picked up by Gina's husband Jon the morning of our graduation in San Francisco at 9am. To make it even more crazy he had to sneak into the French consulate, bypass the security guard and huge line in order to get in and out and make it to see his wife graduate! Speaking of troopers....we seriously owe him one.
Paris had nice weather for the most part and we were able to see all the usual sites by walking all over the city for three days in flip flops and American clothes receiving intrigued looks and shaking heads/laughter when trying to speak French. We learned that people in Paris are nice for the most part but are quick to mock you when trying to speak French when you're not good at it. We had a few meanies here and there but I think you'll get snooty people in any city. Regardless, Paris is beautiful and much bigger than I had remembered. Gina and I are actually still sore from the walking....OH, did we walk! Words cannot describe.
We met a friend at the Marriott hotel, where we stayed, and he actually accompanied us to the Louvre (he had never been!) our last day in Paris. His name is Axel, he is a bartender, 29 years old, been told he looks like a cross between Tom Cruise and Christian Bale (I think that's pushing it), speaks English fairly well and is quite funny. We found out our last night at the bar he is an extremely good piano player....like really, really good and when asked if he liked art at the Louvre he said, "of course I like art, I am a musician...musicians love art!." We had fun making him teach us bad words in French so we would know what the chefs were saying in the kitchens and learning about French culture, which seems to be a bit tragic. They don't hug, they don't cheers, they don't smile on the streets and they don't say thank you very much, only thank you. Gina and I decided giving up those things for life would be much too hard. So, for all you who were hoping I would fall in love with a French man, I wouldn't hold your breathe.
Our theme word in Paris was "AU REVOIR!!" When a any weird guy would yell at us from a car or on the street we would just keep walking and yell that....and laugh of course.
Oh yes and one more thing, Gina and I were less than impressed with the food in Paris. We ended up having a good meal at Le Cafe Marly in the Louvre, some decent escargot and pastries, and then a pretty good pizza our last night (shaped like a heart from the flirty pizza man) but for the most part we decided California food beats it any day.
We arrived in Brest yesterday and begin work tomorrow morning. Our schedule for the first two weeks is 9:30-2:30 and then 5:30-10:30. One day off, Sunday. Sante (cheers) to workaholics! More on Brest later.