Good news we have made it to the airport! We left the hotel this morning at 5:00am for our 10:30am flight. We had to leave early because today is what appears to be the day of striking in Paris. Taxis are striking, leading to blocked roads in many places (especially around the airport). Luckily, we left early enough to avoid any of the back ups resulting from the strikes. Air traffic controllers are also on strike, so we were unsure whether or not our flight would be on time, or whether or not it would go out at all! We were pleased to find out that our flight is still scheduled to depart on time and land in Minneapolis at 1:00pm central time. We are through security and are sitting at our gate. We have a lot of time before we board, so people are busy doing a variety of things despite the early hour. Some people are finishing up the assigned journals we had throughout the trip, while others are enjoying a Starbucks coffee and one last piece of delicious French bread. Because we had to be up at such an early hour, many of us have also camped out for a nap before our flight. (See photos below for most adorable catnapper.)
With so much extra time and such a whirlwind of memories to accompany us home, it probably goes without saying that many of us are subconsciously reflecting on our experiences this month. Having had such a variety of internships (much thanks to Dr. Feat, who organized it all!) and host families—some eccentric and quirky, others more conservative—each one of us will bring home a unique story to tell upon arrival. Although some details are less evident than others, it is quite easy to tell that we have all improved notably in our comfort with speaking and understanding French. Going around the classroom and hearing each other speak between the first day of class and the last day in the country was truly remarkable—although we all have an advanced level of French, we saw this ability still greatly increase for each of us in just three short weeks. Immersion is the best way to learn a language, of course!
Language skills, internship experience, and host families to speak of, we have all been tremendously lucky to have had this opportunity to discover Tours, France (and Paris for a few days too!) Common remarks the night before our flight included “I’m not ready to leave” and “I’m SO coming back!” The country has its pros (beautiful language, architecture, and food) and cons (strikes, strikes and, um, strikes), but one thing is for sure: we definitely had a blast this January. Mme. Feat, thanks a million for being our superstar guide to commercial French! A la prochaine, France!