Thursday July 23rd,
As I say my final goodbyes to my host mom, Fabienne, I can’t help but not feel blessed. This past month I was blessed with a wonderful host family, a great internship, and an unforgetable experience. No part of leaving can take that joy away.
Looking back on my last week of my internship, which was really only three days of working, all I can think about are the vines. Vines, vines, vines. France has vines like Indiana has corn, and I think that’s part of the reason I felt so at home here. I worked in the vines pruning during my last week for the first two days, and then on Wednesday I spent the day capping, labeling and boxing up over 2,000 bottles of wine. And let me tell you, that’s a lot of wine! Then Wednesday night I worked with Elise and Adrien to take the back labels off 600 bottles. the Uijttewaal’s have two brands of wine, the Saint-Hilaire and the Gemeillan. We put the back label of the Saint-Hilaire wine on the Gemeillan wine bottle, so as you can see this was quite a problem. During the time we joked about how we should just leave the labels and claim it’s a new marketing strategy or I would jokely point out that we had been at it for an hour and a half with 200 bottles done and 400 more to go. We ended up calling it quits for the night right about the 400 mark and went inside to have dinner.
Later that night I started packing up all of my stuff and getting ready to move back to Toulouse Thursday morning. As I was out by the computer printing off all of my tickets for my travels for the next two weeks, Fabienne came inside and gave me a going away gift of two bottles of my favorite wine vintage (2009) and one bottle of wine from my birth year. It was such a special gift, definitely one of the coolest I’ve ever recieved. She also handed me my internship evaluation packet and told me their was an envelope inside for me, told me goodnight and left. When I went back to my room I found 200 euros in the envelope for me as payment for my internship, not only that but they also paid for me to ship a box full of stuff home so my suitcase wouldn’t be so heavy as I traveled through Europe. It was such an amazing gesture and I had no way to repay them. They had already gave me a home, and fed me for a month and now they were doing all of this for me. I was a stranger to them a month ago, and now we’re like family.
So to say I’ve had an amazing two months in France would be such an understatement. I’ve learned so much about the wine industry, studying at a French univeristy, living the life of a French person, and growing leaps and bounds as a person. This experience in France has touched my heart in ways I can’t even describe, from the people I’ve met, both French and American, to the places I’ve seen. I know I am walking away from Queyrac a better person. And yes saying goodbye is never an easy task, but when there is so much good in it, it’s hard not to be happy to have just been able to be apart of something like this. Something life changing.
And as I’m now on my much traveled Bordeaux bound train I can reminisc in the past, and look forward to the future all at the same time. Once I hit Toulouse this afternoon I’ll be reunited with everyone from the program; people who I will miss so much when we all leave on Saturday and go our seperate ways. And then on Saturday Morgan and I will be boarding our plane and heading south for Athens, Greece and a week worth of fun, adventure, and memories. The bond I have with this crazy girl is just that, crazy. She is one of my sweetest people I’ve met with a fun personality to match, and then of course there is her love of American and Ronald Reegan that just makes her a top notch travel buddy. I can’t wait to write about all that will come of these next two weeks. I will be traveling through 4 countries in 14 days before returning to London, England to catch my flight back to the states.
I FOUND MY FRANCE PAINTING! I was so excited when I went to a market in Soulac, a small town 20 minutes away from Queyrac, last weekend. I have been searching for two months now for the perfect painting. Now of course there were plenty of great paintings in Paris, but as much as I loved the Eiffel tower, I knew my time in France would mean so much more then what that painting could embody. Elise, her freinds, and I found thi street artist outside on a corner with a small booth selling his paintings both on canvas and wood. I loved his work on the wood slabs. He paints his images by creating layers of spray paint for the contrast and different shades. I have never seen this before and really enjoyed the different pieces he had. I ended up choosing a wooden painting that had vines in the background, a wine glass, and grapes. It was everything that could ever remind me of my internship this past month and my time in France so it was a perfect choice.
I can’t wait to find four more original art pieces in Greece, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany to complete my collection for the summer. The whole idea behind collecting art from every country I travel through is so one day, when I have a house of my own, I can have a travel room. My own little space of serenidty filled with my memories of travels; especially my art to decorate the walls and fill the cabinets, all with a story of their own. So until next time, Happy Trails to all of you back home.