After my first few days in Yssingeaux at ENSP pastry school I wrote this bubbly email home.
I have officially arrived in my little village! (I don't think it can technically be called a town). It is very cute and our apartments here are quite nice. Nothing flashy, but since I was expecting something along the lines of a dorm room, this is a big improvement. I have my own room with a tiny little bed, but it will do! The only weird thing is that there isn't a dresser and my closet is outside in the hall, but I'll just have to make do! We have a decent sized kitchen, a living room with a petit couch and the coffee table is definitely a side table, but there's also a big dining table with four chairs so we have plenty of space. Besides, I'll most likely be spending most of my time in class or studying, not throwing lavish parties.
I arrived yesterday and we had a little dinner up at the Chateau so that we could all get to know each other. Everyone in my group seems very friendly. There are only 19 of us, from 15 different countries (I think). I am the only American, which was definitely a bit of a surprise, but everyone speaks english so that helps. There are only 5 guys but I believe that's pretty standard for pastry.
I woke up early to church bells and went to do a little shopping and get some fresh bread from the boulangerie right down the street. It's Sunday and so most of the shops are either closed or close by noon, so I wanted to get some essentials before then. It will be so nice to eat fresh croissants every day for breakfast on my way to school! The school is not extremely close, but it will help me keep in shape with all the bread and pastries I'll be eating!
Tomorrow is orientation so we'll be figuring out all the logistics then. They'll let me know where and how to set up my cellphone, what our class schedule will be like etc. We will have 3 long weekends. We get a three day weekend for Easter and then two four day weekends, I believe. I asked where our internships will be and they are located all over France so I could end up in Paris or Lyon or in another little town somewhere! (Nance will be happy to hear that one girl got an internship in the middle of the Alps...) As fabulous as Paris is, I definitely think I would prefer something a little more low key, like Lyon or somewhere in Provence, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself since we haven't even had our first class yet! They also will be determining our level of french, though I don't need an oral exam to tell me that I'm at level one (is there a level zero?). But being immersed in the language will help, and I'm going to try and use it with the other students as much as I can.
I have two housemates, though one of them has not arrived yet. My other roommate (who's name I've already forgotten) speaks portuguese and very little english, but I'm sure we'll figure stuff out. And after my roommate in college, I think I'm prepared for anything.
I definitely miss home, but it is nice to have all of this distraction going on. at the same time though, it is a bit overwhelming to have all of this happening at once. But I guess this is what adventure is all about. And as long as there are croissants and macarons along the way, how can I complain?
(I miss all of you too!)Lots of love!LoFedo
Oh the naivete and optimism. While I look back on it now and appreciate every moment I wouldn't exactly describe it as I did here. The town is more sad and poor than cute. But being in the big and wild city of Paris I definitely do miss it sometimes. What I do not miss is my crazy roommate. We never actually "figured stuff out." Instead there was a lot of miming and some serious roommate issues. This includes her leaving raw meat on the counter for hours at a time, not covering food when putting it in the fridge, or when leaving it out on the stove. She smoked in her room and the smell would waft into mine. She listened to the radio constantly which meant I got to hear a muffled version of the same Britney Spears' song over and over and over again.
But I cannot say that I didn't get a lot out of the experience. First and foremost I made some incredible friends from all over the world. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Elze, Christy, Sandra, Suanne, and Martin here in Paris with me. I may be struggling through my internship but they're all going through the same thing and it's nice to have other people to vent to that understand the trials and tribulations of a Parisian patisserie internship. And secondly, I really did learn a lot there at ENSP. I may have had my own problems with some of the aspects of the program but now that I'm in an internship I see that I learned a lot about how to make the key elements of every pastry. It's amazing to think of how much I got from just five months in one tiny little town.
It's crazy to think of how, in the big scheme of life, such brief moments can shape us. I try to keep that in mind while I suffer through hard days at my internship. I may think it's miserable now but I'll look back on this and miss it, I'm sure of it. We'll "sure" may be a strong word but still, that's what everyone tells me.