Sunday, May 5, 2013

Closing out the Blog - One Year Later

It's been a year since our preparation program for LSU in the French Alps, and, while I've continued making occasional posts since returning to America, this will be my last post. As I write this, this year's students are about to start the preparation program and their whole summer of wonderful experiences. I like the idea of ending my blog at the same time that the next cycle begins.

ANY NEW READERS: these posts are all in reverse-chronological order (b/c that's how blogs are published), so to read through my European adventures properly, you'll have to start by flipping back to the beginning. You can do this by clicking on the bottom-most link in the sidebar (called "May 13 - May 20").

We citoyens honoraire de Barcelonnette continue to meet for coffee, drinks, or ice cream every now and then, and it's great to see them. I happen to be the only non-French-major out of the bunch, so they're all planning to do French-related things. A few are going to teach English in France/Belgium for a year or so, one is still dating the French guy she met in Barcelonnette, and another is going to study at a university in Lyon, where her boyfriend is from (they met a few months ago at LSU). Two are going to medical school, one is going to vet school, one is an aspiring dancer, and another is an assistant minister (I think) at a megachurch. Carla had a baby a few months ago, and Bernard and Tara are surely pulling their hair out tying up loose ends before the trip starts again in a few weeks.

As for people I've met outside of the program: I regularly stay in touch with people I met who live in Jersey, Boston/Tampa, Belgium, and Tunisia. In fact, my Tunisian friend wants to come visit the States soon, so she might come stay with me, if her visa works out alright (being from a North African / Middle Eastern country makes it a bit difficult).

Tara has spoken with us about improvements to the program, and I've done my best to help her out with that, since I know how much she cares about making the Ubaye Valley program the best it can possibly be. I know she has referred the students to this blog for reference. I hope it comes in handy to them as well as anybody else wanting to know about the experiences of a curious student wandering around Europe.

Au Revoir et Bon Voyage!

A French Surprise during Spring Testing / Orientation

A few weeks ago during Spring Testing (LSU's orientation and advanced placement program for smart highschoolers), I was walking around campus, trying to avoid the hoards of highschoolers with free purple knapsacks wandering around cluelessly, I ran into a group of elderly(ish) people blocking the entire sidewalk. Once I realized they weren't moving, I circumvented them via the nearby parking lot.

But then when I got around to the other side of their huddle, I heard some French words being tossed around between them. I stopped and asked, "Vous ĂȘtes Français?" They all turned their heads. "Oui!" They were so excited to see a French speaker in LA! We continued to converse excitedly in French as I walked dangerously backwards across the Stadium Drive's crosswalk. Turns out most of them were professors from Paris, visiting Baton Rouge for some combination of vacationing and French-language-preservation.

One of the women suggested since my speaking skills were so good, I should go on the Ubaye Valley trip. I told her I already did! This woman, Madame Labat, said she worked here in Baton Rouge as a coordinator for Friends of French Studies. Remembering that they paid for part of my trip, I said "merci" more times than was probably necessary. The French people explained to me how important it was that we preserve the French language here in Louisiana, and why that was their mission.

I said "Au Revoir" and they went on to see le tigre (Mike). I'd had an exciting and interesting exchange with this group of people... and to think I almost walked right past them!