So, I got to School in the evening and met the extremely kind-hearted Monique who had left me a message prior to this time. It was raining, wet and cold but I was just excited and happy and grateful to be there and to have arrived safely.

She took me to meet the Chef of Chefs Mr. Brun and I got all kited, uniforms, safety shoes, toolbox 😊 and since I missed orientation, a crash talk on where what is and the times what were. This I would soon forget my brain was freezing 😰🤣

Next, she took me on a quick and brief tour around the town and then to where I would stay until I was able to get a new apartment. One of the charms of travelling to new places came into play here. This was where I met Brenda and Reed, the most amazing young American couple I have ever met.

 

Monique: Hello guys…

B&R: Hello Monique

Monique turns to me and says, “They are also students of the ENSP”

Reed: Oh, we live right over there, you just got in?

Me: Yeah.

Brenda: Aww, welcome. We stay right over there, number 22, just in case you need anything, we’d be happy to help.

Me: Thank you so much.

I hurled my luggage into number 12, my makeshift apartment and flung my box open to get out of my wet clothes and into dry ones. But I needed to charge my phone and I needed to eat.

I went to Petit Casino to look for something to eat. I used google translate 😁 to get a 1.5liter bottle of Coca-Cola, a few apples and a couple of microwaveable plates of spaghetti, I would find out later that night that it was surprisingly delicious 🤤.

As soon as I got back home, I literally just sat down for like ten minutes. All I wanted to do was sit there, I was so tiiiiiired. But I still needed to charge my phone so I went over to Brenda and Reeds to see if I could get an adapter all the sockets in France look more than less like this…

 

and I needed this…

 

They didn’t have any but I was able to get a power bank from them.

By now, you can imagine clothes shoes, weaves spilling out of an open box. I had put some stuff away but I was really tired so I just sat down to…

Knock knock, it was Reed.

In the most fluid American accent you can imaging “So were going to the supermarket to get some groceries, would you like to come with us?”

“Sure”. I had nothing more to eat and I could do with some supplies. I felt lucky to have met people willing to show me around.

Looking back now, if I had known what going for supplies on that day with Brenda and Reed meant, I would have said “oh no thanks, maybe tomorrow”. Soon enough, you’ll find out why😅.

As we walked down the streets of Yssingeaux they showed me the laverie, the boulangerie, La Lupa, other shops, and they kept telling me more about the town and we kept walking, we kept walking and boy did we keep walking after a while I was like, “Errm, wait, where is the supermarket?”

“It’s, just a bit further” they said. I responded “okay” and we kept walking,

We got to Intermarche, the first supermarket and we decided to go further to SuperU the Larger supermarket. By the time we got to the mini flyover just before SuperU I was out of breath, scratch that I was out of breath long before we got to the Intermarche.

Gosh, I don’t know why I agreed to go further😥. No joke, I thought I was going to pass out by the side of the road.

Brenda and Reed just chucked and said “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it”. For my mind I say see these two oyibo people wan kill me for ma mama o!😅

I haven’t walked so far and uphill for as long as I can remember, NYSC endurance trek perhaps.

Trust the lazy Nigerian yoot in me😂 , after shopping and I looked at our pull cart full of groceries, I inquired about taxi services but by the time I calculated and converted to naira what a 4-minute taxi ride would cost…

It was another long walk back but with us chattering down the streets of the little town of Yssingeaux, me constantly complaining of how cold I am and Reed pulling our groceries behind him it was worth every minute I spent with these two.

Brenda was in the chocolate arts program and Reed was so kind to keep her company for the duration of her short stay in France, it wasn’t their first time here.

If there’s one thing I love the most about these two is their love for good food and their love for travel, also the ease with which they make new friends. Most especially Reed.

Later, we would have a few more dinners and sit outs, share hearty laughters and get to know each other a little better.

Psst, on one of those occasions, I fed them Eba and Egusi🤣, oh and yes, I also tried to teach Reed how to speak Pidgin English😅, Brenda was too toosh for me jor! 😜

Brenda, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting for our first fight 😍

 

Within our short time together in Yssingeaux, I learned so much about how to travel light, to get the best deals on hotels and car rentals and got to enjoy some really great home cooking from Brenda’s table.

One would think with all that backpacking, they would be idle, not these two, they have learned how to plan their work around their time and space, thus allowing them the opportunity for stable jobs and steady streams of income and not the other way around.

If you’re wondering why I spent more than half of a page in my diary talking about two strangers, it’s because goodness and kindness from the heart is felt always and never forgotten by the heart.

The next day was my first day in class and they were just about done with tarts part 1. I was able to make a couple of Items though. This was my first go at lining a tart ring and decorating a tart.

 

tarte bourdaloue

Tarte Bourdaloue

chocolate tart

Chocolate Tart

Tarte Bourdaloue

During break time, I tried the lemon meringue tart they had made the day before. Damn, it was so good🤤. But of all the tarts I tried that day, there was a rich flavour combination in the chocolate tart that felt like heaven melting in my mouth.🤤😁

The next week, was choux week part one, and this is where the real fun began. But, oh my goodness I really was still on one foot because I totally butchered what was the most basic of recipes. I messed up our chef’s eclair shells. Unfortunately, I was sous chef!😵🙃☺️