Greetings from Clermont-Ferrand, France. Clermont is a beautiful town surrounded by dormant volcanoes in the region of Auvergne. The cobbles stones and orange roof tiling at every turn make this town unmistakably European. That, plus the fact that everyone seems effortlessly dressed to the nines at all times. (Dear sweatpants: If you’re reading this, know that I miss you.) I’m studying at L’Ecole du Commerce; a French school just a ten-minute walk away from where I live with my host family. (Side note: The walk goes through a garden that has an art installation made entirely of giant toad statues.) My host family is absolutely wonderful. My host mom, Charlotte, is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She and her husband, Martial, have three children ages 4, 6, and 8 who are adorable, although the oldest is becoming quite cheeky. The food here is incredible. I think I’m officially hooked on bread and cheese for the rest of my life. And chocolate. Don’t get me started on chocolate. There are eight other students from Kalamazoo College (my school in the U.S.) here with me, and we all agree that when we get back to Kalamazoo, we’ll never be able to eat in our school’s dining hall again. (Although let’s be honest, the food there already sucked before we had our taste buds ruined by French cuisine.)
I am happy to announce that I am taking two theater courses here. I must admit, after my first class I felt as if someone had flushed all of the work I had ever done in theater down the drain. Back to square one. Doing improv in another language…? I thought not. Little by little, though, it has become far easier. Before coming to France I had pondered the idea of taking a theater class here but thought it would be too difficult to get over the language barrier. Fortunately, my friend dragged me along as she was signing up for painting lessons at the conservatory in town, and I couldn’t stop myself from putting my name on the list for a couple of theater courses while we were there. Both classes are amazing, and surprising quite similar to some of the classes I’ve taken in the U.S. Just to give you an idea of what we’re up to: Tonight, I had the good fortune of meeting Darth Vader at a dance party. Yesterday, we spent the entire class doing longform improve in gromolo. It’s all going quite swimmingly.
I hope you all are doing well, and finding ways to welcome theater into your lives.