Echange culturel 2019 – Avrile

Avrile’s report about the Winchester’s experience

            My name is Avrile Poignant – Le Goff, I am nineteen and I am currently studying philosophy at L’École Normale Supérieure in Paris. As a book lover – my host family had witnessed – I naturally applied to the internship in Winchester’s bookstore: BookEnds. I stayed at Catherine Curtis and Hudson Gilmer’s house, just fifteen minutes walk from the shop. At Bookends, I usually had to do some book shelving and shelves check, that is to say that I would wander around the store, looking for books that were not where they were supposed to be. To a certain extent, I was like the many kids populating the store and looking for Waldo. Thanks to Judy Manzo’s efforts – Bookends’ radiant manager –, I also could speak a lot with customers, helping them find their way in the store or greeting them at the checkout. Even though all these tasks made me feel pretty useful, I think the best moments of my work were when I chatted with the staff, talking about books, series and other cultural issues. All of them were very giving and attentive people, and that is why I wish to thank them for everything: I really appreciated that.

            If my work delighted me every day, my host family also offered me so many occasions to laugh, learn and discover new things. Every day, I would wake up with the sun, eat my breakfast while reading Harry Potter, walk to the store, work for five hours, walk back home, and sometimes run in the Fells before the family’s return. How tedious my days seemed to be, each night offered an entirely new plan: from the beginning of my stay until its end, I had the chance to see the Red Sox playing, to try Winchester’s restaurants and Boston’s ice creams, but also to meet the association’s members and the American bugs at several barbecues, which were all truly good. On the first weekend, we went sailing in Salem. That was my first time on a boat but I managed to really enjoy my time before getting seasick – it was a genuine feeling of freedom, as if we could go anywhere, on our own, on this tiny little boat.

            Eventually, during our whole stay, the association really pampered us: we met Lisa Wong – Winchester’s Town Manager –, we celebrated Bastille day, we visited Boston’s Statehouse and John McConnell himself gave us a tour of Harvard University. The latter was one of my favorite place and I took a lot of pictures. I have to admit that after our visit, I was even considering the idea of coming back there to study for a while. To the whole association, and all its generous members, I thus want to say a very big THANK YOU: this stay in Winchester might be one of the richest and most pleasant experience of my life.