Today I left France and after many hours of traveling, arrived at my home in Yakima. I was overjoyed to know the wine I had packed in my checked bag had made it to the states unharmed. It would have been heartbreaking if any of the bottles had broken. For my last night in France, I accompanied Fred, Aline and Louise to a music event at a park in Marseille. First though, we shared some pizza and they showed me parts of Marseille I had never seen before. We walked through some small streets and made our way down to the ocean. There was a tiny walkway no more than two feet wide that went around a corner and below the street. We sat and watched the sunset while locals sat on the rocks, enjoyed picnics or swam nearby. Once we reached the park, the event involved walking through the large park and stopping at various places. Everywhere we went the music was different. There was a man reciting poetry while a harp played, someone playing according, a video created by students playing in a field, and many other artists. The main stage event was on the steps of a grand old Chateau with instruments ranging from the harp, saxophone and a clarinet which was played into a drum. The music was all very contemporary and it was definitely a treat.

I found that I did experience some culture shock, but I felt like I was able to transition quite well to the lifestyle of the French and I find myself constantly making comparisons now that I’m home. Even the conversations conducted between people in public are different. As I was running through a park this morning I heard a group of women discussing the weather here. In France, the small talk involved some argument over politics or religion.

Overall, my trip was as educational as could be expected from a six week study abroad, and was a humbling experience as an American woman in the wine industry visiting France. I found that attempting to discuss wine from the United States, let alone Washington State, proved difficult. Most people had never tried any wine from the states at all and didn’t seem to have much interest in it. It makes sense since they have more than enough wine produced in their own country to go around, as well as a deep rooted pride in the products they produce. I have decided to make an effort throughout my career to help bring awareness of Washington wines to Europe. I’ve realized the regulations and laws for wine are much more confusing and detailed than those in France and if they had more help from people who understood the laws, it would make exporting Washington wines much easier.

Finally, I would like to thank those who followed my blog for the last six weeks. Writing for the Herald has been an exciting opportunity for me and I appreciate those who have followed along with my adventures. I hope I’ve inspired some to not only travel to the south of France someday, but explore the wines there as well.

Merci beaucoup et À bientôt,

Amanda