When I applied for the Piette Program almost six months ago, the prospect of traveling to France seemed distant. Sitting in my creaky school-issued desk chair in Paul Revere dormitory, I scrolled through the document describing the program, lingering on the photographs of Normandy and gawking at the descriptions of the activities proposed in the itinerary. “I need to go on this trip,” I thought to myself. Or actually I must have been murmuring to myself, because just a minute later, my roommate yelled through the door, “Everything okay in there?!”
While I have spent much time this past term preparing for the program and attending seminars planning for the trip, actually disembarking from a plane in France is still inconceivable to me. Yet here I am, the day of departure, my bag (partially) packed in my room, passport carefully enclosed in a Ziploc bag (just in case, my mom said), and my French language book stowed in my carry-on.
I have been to Paris once before, in the summer before I entered the fourth grade. At that point, I had not yet begun to learn French, and so I anticipate that the France I will experience beginning tomorrow will be very different for me than that of nine years ago. Having just completed French 520 at PA, I hope to be able to communicate very well with the people we encounter on our journey and to better understand the French culture and attitude.
These next three weeks, I will be taking a break from my gluten-free lifestyle to enjoy the fabled French baguettes and to fully execute my research project. I will be studying how food and the culture surrounding meals plays into the lives of the French people. This will entail making careful observations at restaurants and markets as to the French attitude towards food and the role food plays in “la vie quotidienne” of the French people.As Brillat-Savarin said in Physiologie du goût: “La destinée des nations dépend de la façon dont elles se nourrissent.” Obviously, I have been prepping for this project for many years: here is a sampling of my Parisienne food research (2005):
France is also the country from which my name originates; consequently, I feel a special connection to the culture already. My brother, Malachi, was not particularly amused by my antics:
While I have never been outside of Paris, I am very excited to learn about the architecture we will be studying across the country. I have always been in awe of the French architectural feats:
Merci infiniment. A bientôt.