Monday, July 1, 2013

I made it!

Yayy! I have internet! So I can keep posting blogs for you guys! I made it to my internship yesterday and I love it here! But first I want to tell you about my last few days in Toulouse.

On Wednesday, we had our last enology class and then we had the afternoon off to prepare for our farewell meal. For the farewell meal all of us students made food from our respective countries. So a lot of the American students made things like grilled cheese, hot dogs, and rice krispie treats. My friend Allison and I decided to make potato salad which turned out pretty good! So we spent Wednesday afternoon preparing all of the food, and then that night we walked to campus and had our potluck dinner. It was a lot of fun!
Purdue Girls at the Farewell Dinner!

Me and my Illinois/Missouri buddies!

Some of the group with Djamel (our coordinator)

Then on Thursday, we visited two more vineyards/wineries and learned about their processes for making wine. The second vineyard that we went too was an organic vineyard. So instead of using pesticides like other vineyards do, this particular vineyard uses a mixture of copper and sulfur to keep insects away. They also ferment their wine in barrels which is different from the other wineries we've been to. Other wineries use vats to ferment their wine, so I thought that was cool.

The first winery we visited on Thursday

The second winery we visited (the organic one)

On Friday, we had our French exam. It was pretty tough, but hopefully we all passed! Then on Saturday, a few of us who hadn't left for our internships yet spent the day being tourists in Toulouse. We walked around the local park, got some crepes, and went to the natural history museum. It was a fun, relaxing day!
A monument dedicated to French soliders who fought in WWI

The park!

We came across some bumper cars in the park, so naturally we rode them!

Speedy Gonzales!

The museum

Look what we ran into in the museum's garden!

Then on Sunday, I took the train to my internship. It was tough lugging my stuff around the city, but at least I finally made it! When I got to the train station my host dad and his daughter were there to pick me up. The little girl was so excited, she ran right up to me and gave me a big hug. She's so cute! They drove me home, showed me my room, and then I helped my host mom make lunch. We made salmon, prawns, and vegetables and had raspberries, peaches, and creme brulee ice cream for dessert. It was all so good! And I'm really excited because my host mom says she loves to cook too so I think we're going to get along just fine!
My room!

And today was my first day on the job. I woke up early and went to the vineyard with my host dad. I helped plant new vines for one of their experiments. The vineyard I'm working on is an experimental vineyard so they do research on different aspects of grape growing and wine making. It was a long day, but I really enjoyed it. I worked for about 3 hours in the morning. Then we came home for lunch and had Ratatouille!!!! It was my first time having real French Ratatouille and I loved it! After lunch we headed back to the vineyard for another 4 hours. Then we came home and I played tennis with my host brother in the pool and we practiced counting in French and English! He's taking English classes right now so hopefully we'll be able to teach each other. Other than that, everything's been good. The language barrier is really difficult, but I'm sure it'll get easier with time!


  1. Your room is much nicer than I thought it would be. An experimental vineyard sounds right up your alley. Farmer Trent would be so proud of you doing all of that planting :). Continue to have fun. Love, Mom

    1. Yes it is! It's so big and I love the colors! And yeah the vineyard is interesting! I'm glad Farmer Trent let me work on his farm because I understand a lot even though I don't speak the language haha.


  2. Hello Melissa-

    Does this particular vineyard make, label and sell their own wine- or do they sell their grapes to another wine maker? If they do- under what label? Can we get it here in the states? Inquiring minds want to know! ha ha

    Sounds like you are having a blast!
    Cheers! Bob and Kelly

    1. Hi Bob and Kelly!

      Unfortunately I don't think you can buy the wine they make in the states. I was asking my host dad about this the other day and he only speaks French so I had a hard time understanding him, but I think this is what he said: Some of the grapes they grow on the vineyard are used for their experiments. The rest are used to produce wine. They bring the grapes to a company called Cave Cooperative Rabastens and they produce the wine and sell it locally. So as far as I know you can't buy it in the U.S and I don't think you can order it online either. But there are some very good local wines that I've tried that I think are sold in the U.S. I'll get a list together and send it to you at the end of my trip!

      Hope things are going well in Battle Creek! Oh and Happy 4th of July!