Saturday, July 28, 2012

Clouds / Nuages

Why am I focused on cheese when I can't eat dairy? I will admit that when I got the nutritionist's report back in January I went into a three-month funk, wondering what the hell I was doing with this whole plan to live abroad - in France, specifically, home of excellent cheese and iconic baguettes (did I mention that I'm gluten-intolerant as well?) - and pursue a career that centers on studying and writing about cheese and cheesemakers, if I can't eat the cheese I see in the shops, or sample the cheese made by the artisans I visit, or taste the recipes I dream of making using their products, or test the flavor and quality of the cheeses I hope to help make. And then of course there was the whole "yes, you're accepted/no, sorry, you're not" rollercoaster around getting into the school program here in Tours. I'm still not officially registered but now that I'm here, and able to talk to people in person, things are easier to deal with, and I anticipate starting classes as scheduled in September. However, until everyone returns from their six-week summer vacation, I don't even know what classes those will be.

I'm not worried about taking classes in French, because I'm getting along fairly well in the language on a daily basis. I know that I still phrase things oddly from time to time, especially when I don't know the exact word I want. I use the subjunctive inappropriately and am only starting to learn the polite phrases that thread through every conversation and contact here. And I have fairly regular crises du vocabulaire when my mind goes blank and I can't think of even the simplest French word, which I have described to Sebastien (my new roommate) as "nuages" - a brain fog so thick that at times I can't find the word I want in English, much less French. I've referred to the floor as the ceiling and talked about being ashamed when I meant annoyed, and I have been told that my American accent is "charming." On the other hand, it's only been a week, and already I've had two conversations where the other people were surprised to find that I'm not French. I may not be up to speed such that I will be able to sit through a class in microbiology without a dictionary at hand, but I'm confident that in a month I will fit in almost seamlessly with the rest of the students.

I can hardly believe it's only been a week. I am so happy to be here.


  1. What a blessing you are to me my friend. I awoke here in the states to discovery of your new blog. Just what I was waiting for! I knew you would be fine with the language and it sounds like you have landed in the perfect place to live. I have set our separate clocks and think of you often.

  2. Love this modern technology that lets us keep in touch! Keep me posted on the chicken adventures.