WAKE UP! WAKE UP NOW! It is time to say goodbye.
29.03.2017 20 °C
We set the alarm, but there was no need. Well before the time to wake up we were awoken by drums and horns. It was the Montauban marathon including a half and a 10k. We were up earlier than we wanted, then off to mass on time. Afterwards we went to a home stay parent's place for lunch. Both parents are doctors. Specialists, actually. And their home was very nice, as were they. We had a great visit, a wonderful lunch, and then Corinne and I headed back to town in the inferno of direct sunlight. We hunted down part of an art exhibition that is usually housed at the art gallery, but the art gallery is closed for the next 3 years for renovations. That is not a typo. Three years to renovate. So they have moved the exhibits to other venues, one of which we went to.
Afterwards we sat in the square that is Place Nationale and had beer and wine (in separate glasses of course) as the sun slowly set. The shadows relieved us of the fiery heat which then subjected us to the contrast of the cool evening breeze. I believe there would be more affluent bar owners if the servers came back and asked you if you wanted another drink. We did manage a second round but were not successful in securing the bill, so up to the bar we went and just like magic our server appeared to tell the barman our total. Luckily tips are not expected, so I don't feel bad.
We eventually had a nice meal at the home stay parent's restaurant where a very nice English speaking gentleman offered to help me with the menu. Of course, with Corinne there I didn't need help, but Corinne was reading the menu first before helping me, so he thought he might lend a hand. As it turned out, he was from McGill in Montreal, and he was doing a ProD session at the same school we were attending! We had an interesting conversation and learned about his area of specialty and his children. Caitlin Howden is her name and she was with Second City in Toronto. Check her out on YouTube. Quite funny.
Monday found us at the school attending classes. I was in an English science class with a very nice teacher who had just finished the half marathon the day before. We shared ideas, and in one of his classes I got to interview a student on their prepared presentation about the Beatles. Juxtaposition of topics you might ask? Students in France all have to write a national exam which can as long as 4 hours and of which some is in a presentation style if they are learning English. So, all students practice, and teachers provide opportunities for them to practice. It is very interesting to see how the national exams influence how teachers teach, which is expected since student results reflect back upon the teacher and the school, much like the Fraser Institute reports in BC back when provincial exams were in fashion.
Lunch here is an experience. I explained earlier the fancy restaurant run by the vocational school. This is the school cafeteria which serves students and teachers, but the teachers have their own private room. A salad bar which, I should have known, was not the only part of the meal although I ate like it was. The hot entrée was in another part of the room which I failed to notice, but still managed to help myself to shepherd's pie and green beans. There was also a fish dish, but the beef called to me. It was very good.
In the afternoon, with Berta as our guide, we toured the elementary school near Place Nationale. The original school building was built in the 1600s. It is still there but has been added onto since then. The school with all its twists and turns, tiny hallways, and steep staircases makes one understand the inspiration behind Hogwarts.
We said goodbye to Berta, and later on, we said goodbye to Marcy.
We both feel blessed to have met such wonderful people on this trip. It is hard to leave, but our time here is running short and Marseille awaits. No schools there, just some downtime. It has been a very busy week. We are looking forward to what Marseille has to offer us.