LE VRAI CHATEAU
No offense to Mac Cerullo, but Sunday I had the opportunity to visit an actual chateau. A friend of my host family, an artist, lives there - she invited us to join her for lunch. We drove for about an hour outside of Toulouse in the campagne, with some wonderful scenic views of les Pyrénées. We ate le fois gras, and some delicious roasted vegetables and chicken. I also learned that it isn't unusual for adults to have four or five glasses of wine with lunch. Afterwards, the friend gave us a wonderful tour of the castle, its architecture, and the pieces of art throughout. Her mother had aquired some timeless pieces of furnature, and she was able to place the history of all the decor. Check out the album I posted to facebook - there was plently more that I didn't have the opportunity to capture. After the visit, we drove to see my host mother's brother and his family at their home near Toulouse. They were extremely friendly, plus they have three adorable sons and a dog. That night, after dinner, I finally met my host father and his daughter, who I believe is nineteen, plus their two little dogs. Also, I finally received the password to the internet! Huzzah!
This morning began with a brisk walk to the Dickinson Center for my first day of orientation! The center is located in a very nice part of the city, in a beautiful house. There are classrooms inside, a kitchen, areas for gathering, a tiny library, as well as offices for our professors and administrative staff. It was great finally seeing some Dickinson people, minus the awkwardness of only being able to speak French to one another. We received tons of information about Toulouse, living in France, and getting along with our host families. Then there was a pizza lunch in the garden, as well as more information as well as a little tour of the area. After all the programming, a few of us decided to explore the city in search of cell phones. We passed through a wonderful public garden, saw many stores and cafes, and eventually located our destination: Orange! Orange is an electronics company and telephone service provider for Europe. Like Verizon, only less evil. We quickly located the cheapest phones, which you only need to buy sim cards to operate. This cost 29 euros. After all the searching, we decided that the best course of action would be to find a cafe and have a beer. So we did. I absolutely love France.
I managed to find my way back home from the center of the city, and ate dinner with the family. I met their son, and a friend of their daughter too. We played a card game - President - which was essentially the same as the American version. And.... now I'm back in my room for the evening. Sweetness.
Oh: another tidbit. Shoutout to my family back home. Today I saw an advirtisement for Mad Men - written en Français.