Salut à tous! (Hello everyone!) I am happy to announce that I finally made it to Dijon! As I lie in my new bed, in my new house, in my new city, I can’t help but reflect on all that has happened this past month. To put it frankly, I LOVED my time in Tours. It wasn’t one thing about the city in particular that I really liked, but rather an assortment of factors that lead to me genuinely enjoying my stay in the city.
Premièrement (firstly), Tours really helped me to improve my French. I would not directly credit my improvement in the language to the 84 hours of class that I had to sit through at the Institute this month, but rather to the many situations that I encountered where I was pushed out of my comfort zone to use French while in Tours. Whether it was when I had to frantically ask the bus driver why my bus was stopping for 20 minutes at a random station -it was to wait for the train commuters-, or when I had to explain to a banker that I couldn’t make an account because I did not have any legal documents of a permanent address yet, Tours forced me to speak French and that is how I successfully “broke the language barrier.” During the past month, I went from waking up and accidentally saying “good morning” to my host parents, to being able to hold up an hour long conversation about immigration with them at dinner. There is definitely not one particular event that I could pin down as being “that moment” when I knew I had really become able to the country and the language in Tours, rather it was a gradual process that I am finally realizing as I look back at the previous month.
Deuxièmement (secondly), Tours was a great way to ease my way into the study abroad experience. As I have previously discussed, this is my first time ever being outside of the U.S., so you can probably guess that I had a considerable amount of culture shock when I first arrived in France. Even the small things, like having to pay for food with valuable Euro coins or surviving solely on public Wifi for my phone to work without a sim card, were totally strange first experiences for me. I am also glad that Tours enabled me to get the awkward first time of living in someone else’s home out of the way with the rest of the Holy Cross kids, who were having the same firsts as I was. In the moment, when you are getting yelled at IN FRENCH for not telling your host mom soon enough that you wouldn’t be coming home for Sunday lunch after mass, you think that it would ruin your
entire study abroad experience day. However, after joking about it with your friends and hearing similar stories from them, the experiences are a lot less traumatizing.
Troisièmement (thirdly), Tours allowed me to form such tight bonds with other Holy Cross kids that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. By being part of a small 12 student group from Holy Cross in a foreign country for a month, I was really able to spend time and connect with each and every person on the trip individually. I am so happy to have come to know all of them better and will never forget all the memories we shared (partially because I photographed EVERYTHING). Whether it was laughing about Vines on the tiny beach of La Rochelle or just sitting and talking about homesickness near the Loire during one of our frequent trips to La Guinguette, Tours enabled me to gain 11 close friends that I wouldn’t have been able to get to know so intimately otherwise, and I’m beyond grateful for that.
I am definitely going to miss Tours, not just the city, but the people in it as well (shout out to Zélie, Gabe, and Marcos). It was difficult to leave everyone for Dijon, but I am excited to see what this new city has in store for me. I trust that the HC kids in Strasbourg will keep me in the loop of the day to day and I CAN’T WAIT to go visit them in a couple of weeks.
C’est tout pour l’instant! (That’s all for now!)
Leçon du jour: Marcher avec un ami dans le noir est mieux que de marcher seul dans la lumière. (Walking with a friend in darkness is better than walking alone in the light)