Two evenings ago was an event at the school called the’ Promotion of Mane’. Actually, on our posted schedule, it says, ’17h-19h- BAPTISM of the Mane Promotion. (YOU MUST BE THERE!)’ I think, perhaps, there is a slight mis-take in the translation. Not unusual, considering the teachers here speak a very limited (but endearing) English and I am beginning to think in the dialect that they speak. I think this is a good transition- from English, to English as a second language with a thick accent, to speaking French. The mind does well with baby steps! (and reverse psychology)
By 4:45, class had ended and we all got ourselves brushed up and primped and ready just as the cars began to pull up and a substantial crowd of well-dressed business men began to assemble in the parking lot outside our classroom window.
The company of Mane (pronounced ‘man’) & Fils is a huge corporation, (www.vmf-mane.com) with branches all over the world.. They produce raw perfumery materials, natural and sythetic, and as well as create products for well-known and huge conglomerates, for example, L’Oreal. They work within the realm of fine perfumery as well as functional perfumery-such as cosmetics, shampoos, detergents and the like.
Mane is one of the main sponsors of our school and every year this party takes place so that the student body can meet and promote itself to important people in the industry and for this company, in particular, to promote itself to us. The meeting began in the boardroom that I spoke of at the beginning of this adventure, with all the suits on one side of the room and all of us, rather nervously, along with our teachers on the other. The president of the organization that created our school stood at the head to the room and made a speech, and then the president of Mane did the same.
The latter spoke of the three values that the French hold dear- Liberte, Egalité and Fraternité. (Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood) He applied these three to our experience here in Grasse in this school learning a practice that requires a deep sense of passion to pursue. It was a beautiful and impressive speech that I found quite inspiring. Then, each of us introduced ourselves in turn, really as ambassadors from our countries, saying why we are here and what we hope to achieve. (I definitely had stage fright, but I’m so happy for all those circles of speaking intentions with Karuna to have given me some practice!)- And then the party began. The round table and chairs which normally fill the room were gone and at one end where the huge old glass doors open onto a stone terrace, a table was set with plates of the most delicate delicious canapés along with champagne flutes. Soon the bottles of good Champagne were popping and flowing and the crowd began to mingle.
I dove in, and struck up a conversation with a woman who turned out to be a perfumer. We spoke about the sense of smell and its complexities (she said that it never stops changing and improving) and when I said I was interested in an internship with the company, she took me to meet the Director of Creative Development. We talked shop, well I asked questions and he answered, and then he said that there are 2-3 positions available for the summer with his company. I have sent him my CV and we will see what comes of it. This company is one that I have been interested in already, before I knew of the connection with the school, partly because it is located up the valley toward Tourettes Sur Loup- in an area I really like. I will need a car to get there however, and this brings me to the next part of the story…..
Since being in France I have seen so many adorable little Austen Mini’s, that I got it in my head that this would be the perfect choice for a car for me while I am here. Sandra, a French student from last year, and a real sweetheart, has a boyfriend who is also a sweetheart and they happen to have a Mini for sale. Tonight they came to the party in the car to show me and he, Xavier took me out for a spin. It is blue, has only 39,000 km of mileage, and because I am a friend of Sandra’s, her loving boyfriend has taken the car in to the garage and had it checked over. Not only did he have anything that needed doing done, but he put on 4 brand new tires and has said that if anything goes wrong please call him. Also, they say that they will happily buy the car back from me after the year is out! This is just too wonderful to pass up, so as of tomorrow, I just may have a sweet and zippy little Mini as my chariot!