To win or Toulouse?

I prefer Toulouse!

toulouse2

I’ll be visiting Toulouse, France, for the first time ever thanks to friend and neighbor L. who invited me to stay with her and her family at their home in the country for Christmas. I’ll have my first RyanAir experience on December 19th and come back January 9th.We won’t even have to take a train once we land at the Carcassonne airport because it is a direct flight.

Her family actually lives in Avignonet-lauragais, so after spending a day in Toulouse (known for all the pink brick the buildings are made of, it is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL) we will head to the countryside there, which is between Toulouse and Carcassonne. I have never been that far south in France and am looking forward to it! Three whole weeks in my adopted home country of France. Plus, I’ve heard rumours that French Christmas traditions are pretty fantastic, although L. keeps warning me that her family is crazy. Whose isn’t??!

Otherwise, I live at L’s apartment, except for when I sleep. Out of two French girls, one Italian girl, one Irish guy and one “adopted” (he is there all the time like me) Dutch guy, guess who’s the best cook (i.e., doesn’t burn anything and makes meals other than noodles)? THIS LADY. Ironic, non? I think that’s why L. invited me chez elle for Christmas. LAL (acronym of the names of my neighbors who’ve adopted me, minus the oft-absent Irish guy ^^) and I have been studying loads, which really means writing essays, preparing presentations, correcting English and learning new French expressions, drinking tea, eating biscuits, eating noodles and then eating non-noodle-based dishes – like mushrooms with rice and creme fraiche (that was L’s recipe – not burnt and very good).

The evidence (emoticon-based scale of cooking skills):

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Photo on 2014-11-19 at 21.04

In the meantime, my end-of-semester project (that I present next week and turn in the first week of December) is progressing nicely. It is supposed to be a theoretical business plan that combines many of our courses: law, accounting, marketing, public funding, I.T., etc., however the lecturers encourage us to come up with something that would actually be viable if we want to eventually put this event/business plan into action.

Since I had a hypothetical celebrity guest speaker for mine, on a whim I contacted him via his official Facebook Page, in a brief message explaining the parametres of my hypothetical project on cultural awareness, (since he would be in one of the films that I would be presenting if my faux film festival launch actually were to happen). I didn’t imagine he would reply, if he even read the message. He replied less than 24 hours later and would actually be willing to be the speaker. What can I say? I must be persuasive. He is well-known in France and North Africa, and some of the films you may have seen given the popularity, such as:  Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois, 2010), where he plays the terrorist and A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009) in which he plays Ryad – although you don’t see him in these trailers. He is also known films such as Rock the Casbah, where he plays the character of Zakaria, and does feature in the trailers (Laïla Marrakchi, 2012).

Anyways, the actor-and-director in question is Adel Bencherif and he has a pretty diverse acting/directing experience (ranging from playing your “standard” terrorist and not-so-standard prison inmate to a social worker and plot-twisting character in a family mystery).

That’s all for now on the updates – as always, thanks for reading!

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