Keeping busy in Tours

Chris

As you know, internships have started, so it's hard to write about what other people are doing exactly, but I can give you all an idea of what my days have looked like for these two weeks. I'm super lucky to be working with l’Association Socioculturelle des Jeunes Libyens, a non-profit religious organization that provides classes and programs for the Arab community of Tours, a collection of people from Libya, Morocco, Syria, and other Arab countries around the world. The largest part of this association is the weekend class program, open for all ages and consisting of courses in English, French, Arabic, mathematics, computer science, and others.

It's a valuable service for the Arab community in Tours, most of whom are learning French as a second or third language, and another significant portion of the community are trying to learn Arabic so they can travel to their countries of origin or visit family members in Arabic-speaking areas. The classes are provided Saturdays and Sundays, so as not to interfere with normal class hours of the French schools.  It’s pretty incredible that a lot of these kids are going to classes in some way every day of the week (although they do have breaks for holidays). During this week I’ve spent most of my time riding around with Monsieur Salem, one of l’ASJL’s directors, who spends Monday through Friday going around to different Muslim friends and families around Tours to help them with things like insurance or hospital visits. I’ve met many extremely nice and welcoming people since I started working with M. Salem, but I’m mostly excited for Saturday when I can be there for classes.

Ian and I were supposed to have an Ultimate Frisbee practice tonight, but unfortunately it’s been raining to much and were weren’t allowed to play. Not to worry, we still got a good taste of French frisbee culture after we all retired to the locker room and people brought out cases of beer and chips that were supposed to be a post-practice treat. We spent an hour chatting and having fun with 20 or so random strangers and we got to use our French a lot so I would say it was a very successful end to another incredible day in Tours!

A-K

I wake up every day being sore all over. It can be anything from my butt, legs, arms, abs, or my FACE. Every morning I regret the amount workouts I did the previous day yet, I can continue to do them anyway. Why am I so active? Well I’m working at a Aquagym.Try imagining me working at an aqua gym. Then imagine me doing water aerobics….. with the french…..who are all 60+..... and all are women. The gym is filled with all types of different courses, anything from some of the hardest workouts imaginable, to Zumba, or just simple stretching class. Whenever there’s a class that seems interesting, or if I just feel like getting a good workout, I’ll go out take a class. Since I’m only working 6 hours a day, I’ll usually take 2 classes, then lift weights and run for an hour as well. Even though I love getting all the exercise while getting an unusual amount of attention from older french women, the other 3 hours is also very fun for me. If I’m not getting exercise, I’m sitting behind the front desk, scheduling appointments, greeting visitors, making coffee for them, or just simply talking to my co-workers. All of my co-workers that also are working behind the desk are close to my age. It’s awesome to be able to talk to them about the young hip life in France, compared to the U.S. Most of the time, they’re just as interested in the U.S, as I am in France.

Street in Tours, gives you a good idea of what most of the city looks like.
Taken walking to work in the morning, not as many people have flags like we do in the USA, but every so often you see one.
Betty, our host cat, waiting for us each day to get home from work and pet her.