Earlier this week, my host sister told me there was a day trip with her student parish that was to the Pyrenees for the day to go snowshoeing! Well...I couldn't exactly pass that up, so for the second time in one weekend I woke up at seven am and headed out.
I was a little nervous headed into the day because I literally knew no one. I had been to the student Mass the week before, but I didn't know anyone going on the day. Plus oh yeah, I'm not Catholic. Neither of those things mattered much when I got there though! Everyone was really nice, and I was far from being the only international student there. I piled into a car with two girls from Holland and two french guys...and promptly fell asleep for the two hour trip up there. I felt kinda bad, but they were nice about it. At the snow shoe place I was fitted with boots and snowshoes and once we wrangled our whole group together (there were twenty six of us) off we went! Snowshoeing is pretty much hiking, but I'm sure the snowshoes helped :) It was a really fun morning, I would walk with different people all the time and the mountains...I mean, they are the Pyrenees. They never disappoint. Breathtaking views on all sides and plenty of snow, which people have been complaining that there wasn't much this year. I met all kind of cool people, like the Italian girl who invited me to stay with her outside of Milan if I get there this Spring Break. And the priest who had done his Masters in DC. And the guy from Mauritania that now lived in France and showed me I am not the only one who noticed certain things about the West African culture. It was pretty great. Around one (much later than I wanted :) ) we stopped for lunch. Everyone had brought picnics, but it was so cute, everyone shared. Especially the group that seems to live in the parish, they made a giant bowl of pasta salad they shared, and quiche and oranges and brownies...it was awesome. We did pray before lunch, but no one seemed to notice or care that I didn't know the words and it was beautiful to hear them sing.
After lunch was cute, a massive snow ball fight broke out. The three priests leading our group (one in cassock and everything) were in the thick of it, it was so funny. Then they played some game where the point was to knock another person into the snow and the priest won. I don't know really how it was played, but there was at one point a massive doggy pile, I liked it :) A lack of proper gloves kept me from really participating, but I did get some great pictures!
Then it was the walk back, which got long, but still so incredibly beautiful! And people were singing Disney songs all the way home. I would join them with the English words or just listen to them sing in French, it's so funny to listen to the translations. Eventually we made it back...I was incredibly glad to get those snow shoes off. The trip went amazingly smoothly for how many people were at this ski resort. Hahaha, on the way home my car got stopped by the cops. There was a checkpoint and they made us stop. According to the French kid it was because we were five students in a car. There was no reason and in the end the driver didn't even get a ticket. They made us wait like a half hour though because he hadn't put his new insurance sticker on his car. The French kid said this kind of stereotyping was typical. I thought if getting stopped by the French cops was on my list of things to do I could now check it off in a very safe manner. The other entertaining thing was them stopping us made us late to Mass. I found it entertaining that the church kids got stopped.
I felt bad, I actually didn't go to Mass with my new friends. I didn't have time! I had to rush home, change, and then head out again! The international students at IEP were headed out to the Toulouse soccer game and I mean...soccer? Yes please.
It was an easy Metro ride to the stadium, and I'm becoming good friends with some of the kids who went, so it was fun to be with them. There was a section of soccer hooliagans, which is pretty much required at a game. I wanted to go stand with them, but for one it was almost exclusively men, and for two I felt like the security guys in orange would have stopped me. It's a pity, really. The game was fun, I mean, I love soccer. Toulouse ended up losing, 2-1. That was a shame, especially because both of the goals from the other team were penalties. One was reasonable, but the other one...I don't know what happened, but Toulouse's goalie got slide-tackled in the stomach. It was serious, he was taken off on a stretcher and everything. Then the other team took a penalty. Yeah...don't know how that one went down. But I liked it a lot! Rugby is much bigger in Toulouse than soccer...but I'd go back to the soccer stadium!
All in all, it was a tres chargee (very busy) Sunday. But a great one! And I slept really well that night :)