The second portion of my adventure has begun! My friends have left to be with their host families and I have moved to a new house. It is right on campus and has earned the name “the pink shack”. It’s nice and I really enjoy the 3 minute commute to work!
Tuesday I got to drive (yes, I drove!) to the city of Viazac to visit one of the students on her internship. She is on a donkey farm and I learned about the production of soaps and lotions from this milk. Pretty unique farm! Seeing the dogs of the farms has become one of my favorite things. ESPECIALLY on this farm because it looked like my beloved Co-op. The picture I got doesn’t exactly do the similarity justice but it made me stop in awe for a minute.
Wednesday I got to drop Hannah off at her new home. The farmer she is staying with had been in the United States so she had to wait longer than most to leave Purpan. She is staying in the city of Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds. Next we headed to the nearby town of Haute-Garonne to visit Michelle on her vineyard. Her host family was fantastic and their home was beautiful! I found yet another adorable dog at this place. I could get used to this traveling thing!
Thursday was spent in the office working on pictures and the footage I have gotten so far. It was also a pretty special day to me! This is definitely never how I imagined spending my 21st birthday. However, I am VERY thankful for the people I have met in France that were excited to celebrate with me and made my day special. They will never understand just how much I appreciate their compassion, excitement, and support to make it though this day without my family or friends. Djamel and Marianne took me to V&B (a local bar) for a drink before the day was over. I received many encouraging texts, emails, and messages from people all over the world. There are many people who are ready to celebrate with me when I get home and I’m pretty excited to do so! Viri (my roommate for the month), Elise (one of the program assistants), and Maria (a Purpan friend) and I went out for a little bit that evening to celebrate. To end my day, I got to Skype with some pretty special people. I think I would call that “Wenning”!
My first Independence Day away from home was spent traveling to Mayran and Albi France. Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Tom Petty’s American Girl have been on repeat in my head all day… However that actually isn’t unusual! We visited a veal and honey bee farm and then made a pitstop to Albi to see this amazing cathedral. The churches here are incredible! The groundbreaking for this cathedral was in 1282. YES, you read that correctly…… 1282! It is claimed to be the largest brick building in the world. I ended this special day Skyping again. I was worried for a long time how I would handle being away from home during the 3rd and 4th of July but thanks to my amazing support system, I made it through!