Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Though I fight to believe it, the end is fast approaching. I now have only a few sweet months left here in Paris, but at least with all of the glorious pastry shops in this city it will be as sweet as can be. My fellow friends have begun looking into the eye of their internship finales, and a few have already wrapped up their last days and said their farewells. As is common with endings, we have spent many of our past gatherings reminiscing over our experiences here and what we will take with us when we return from this bubble of french life to our realities laying in wait back home.

As a part of her last month here, our wonderful friend Camila has come and visited us in Paris. She was one of our fellow students at the ENSP in Yssingeaux, but instead of joining us in Paris, she completed her internship in Bordeaux. And truthfully, if anyone could go off on an adventure into the heart of France alone, it is Camila.

Camila is one of those people that you spontaneously love, like ice cream or puppies. Men and women alike fawn over her exuberant and bouncy attitude. She's impossibly fun and energetic, constantly on the go and she is so sweet and gentle that you cannot help but be pulled into the tornado of her exploits. Though it makes her unbearably embarrassed, we constantly, and truthfully, poke fun at how men seem to trip over each other just to speak to her. She has accumulated admirers from every city she has visited, and it seems as if the rest of us disappear from view whenever she enters a room. And though she is undeniably beautiful, I believe that it is her personality that comes shining through, because the truth is that Camila doesn't enter a room so much as she skips through the door.

So, before leaving Europe to return to her home in Guatemala, Camila came and visited us, depositing a plethora of her crap in our apartment, then took off again to Spain. She will return for a week or so before her final departure, and we are all looking forward to spending these last few moments together. Since we have been deprived of her presence during our time in Paris, we were all more than happy to see her and hear all about her adventures in Bordeaux, specifically about her internship.

While hers started like so many of ours, with fear, insecurity, and a feeling of being alone in a room full of people, like the lucky ones, it eventually opened up into a place where she felt welcomed and content. Though her ability to parlez-vous francais surpassed ours by miles, she still felt struggles within the kitchen, and made her fair share of blunders. But because the people she worked with took the time to help her and didn't berate her for her mistakes like some animal who messes in the house, she came to enjoy her internship, to learn from it, and felt at home. Her boss even offered her a job, and she hopes that she will be able to return and take him up on that offer. Even so, on her last day her fellow kitchen-mates had grown so fond of her that they plucked her from the ground and threatened to throw her in the sink, just so that they could keep her. And considering the ample size of commercial sinks and the petite size of Cami, she would be more than comfortable taking up residence in such a large basin.

As Camila shared more and more about her internship, so did Suanne, and Elze, and while I had my own stories to share too, I hated the negative spin that I was putting on things. Even more, I hated how each story, like some ghoulish acid flashback, forced me to remember how much these demons of dessert had robbed me of my dream. I have been baking sweets for as long as I could reach the oven dials. I've wanted to come to France and study pastry for more than half my life. And I anticipated my internship like a six year old looks forward to Christmas morning. Sure I cannot deny that I am still living a dream, I can't help but be just a tad pissed off that it was slightly dampened by a key desirable element turned torturous. And even more so, that so many of my fellow classmates were blessed with happy memories and wonderful experience and knowledge from their internships. Such positive experiences make me feel like an outsider, and that, yet again, this is some personal vendetta that god, France, and Pain de Sucre have against me. It's not that I wish we had all had horrible experiences, but I can't help but be jealous.

I know it's horribly immature, petty, and small of me to feel this way. I should just be happy for them. I should just look at all I gained from my internship. I should just enjoy these last few months here in France. And I am doing all of those things. But I also know that I am not a big enough person to look past those horrific weeks of emotional torture I was forced to endure, and even more so to not feel cheated because it didn't have to be that way. There are plenty of patisseries out there which welcome interns with open arms, instead of chaining them to the table and forcing them to zest box after box of lemons, or cut pineapples until their fingers bleed like some inhuman minion. Like Freddy Kruger, they managed to sneak their way into my dreams and turn them into some twisted nightmare, one which I am still recovering from.

But like so many emotional scars, I am sure that only time will heal this wound. In the meantime, I just must work at enjoying my last few months here, reveling in the glorious stories my fellow friends have to share with me, and trying not to turn too green with envy. I am an autumn, after all, green really just doesn't suit me.

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