It’s Friday in Tours and that means that we have finished one whole week of our internships! Everyone seems to be happy with where they have been placed and we are all finally settling into a daily schedule.
This morning we saw it snow for the first time since we have been in Tours! Coming from the Midwest, it was quite humorous to see the locals of Tours all bundled up and prepared for the worst even though the temperature was just barely freezing. We’ve seen much worse back in Iowa!
My internship is at a small hotel in Tours called Odalys. This hotel has mostly students from the local universities so there is not much action here client-wise in the middle of January. My tutrice is the director of the hotel and so my job is basically watching what she does and helping out the receptionist when needed. I’m using my French A LOT and trying to understand casual conversations between the employees here… Warning: they speak WAY FASTER than you could even think possible! Casual French is very hard to understand! Anyways, I’m excited to see what the rest of this internship can bring me and how much my French improves in the next week.
I work in an elementary school with students in the 1st and 2nd grade, but here they called it 3rd and 4th year. With very similar structure and size as schools in the United States, I have to say my favorite European twist on elementary school has been the two hour break for lunch and a nap. For my level of conversational French, I have the perfect placement because I comprehend words at the same speed as the children. While Kalie has been exposed to the most common form of casual French spoken in Tours, I have the privilege to learn alongside the children words like “ant eater” and “bullfighter” in daily vocabulary lessons. Today, I also discovered how enchanted the children become when exposed to snow, since it rarely occurs here. I realized then I could enchant them even more with Midwest American stories of how schools are often buried in snow, not even the strong bullfighters can find their way out.
After our internships are done for the day, we window shop along la Rue Nationale and revel in the glory of the sales that continue to spike the Tours economy. We’ve also indulged in the local hot wine and hot chocolate stands while taking note of how fashionable the winter season can be.
This past week, we’ve discovered that we have been overdressing for our jobs on the daily. We came in with expectations of fancy French people dressing to the nines everyday but that simply does not seem to be a reality. Today we both exchanged our fancy dresses and skirts for some walk-friendly shoes and jeans. Much more comfortable and I’m assuming that we look a little less like outsiders now.