This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France.
By Michelle Chan
For the third consecutive Sunday morning, I woke up in the same bed. I assessed the kitchen, deciding to grill mini open-faced peanut butter and peach baguette sandwiches for breakfast. Of course, I also made coffee. I read the news. I washed the dishes and played an hour or two of piano. And I felt that nothing was out of the ordinary.
Wait. Seriously? Yeah, I guess it happened. Somehow, I found a sense of normalcy.
At the beginning of the program, everything was so new and exciting that I had my phone pointed out the window of every bus ride, ready to take another hundred photos of the French countryside. As the excitement ebbed into contentment, I stopped taking blurry photos from moving vehicles to enjoy the moment. Now, I sit quietly on the bus to watch the lakefront, the silly pollarded trees, and the paragliders in the sky.
There remains one thing here that still incites amazement and probably always will. In The Priory, the Tufts European Center building, a Model O Steinway grand sits on the stage of MacJannet Hall. Like any Steinway, its tone is rich and dark, but this one is particularly warm to my ears. The keys were forgiving of my rusty fingers, which stopped practicing consistently upon entering freshman year of college.
Before college, classical piano may have been the only constant through three different high schools and five moves. Having played more this week than I have all of last semester, I can safely announce that this painful, yearlong hiatus has officially ended now.
Starting off, I attempted to revive Brahms’ “Rhapsody in G Minor” on my host family’s upright piano, thinking I did a poor job. Before I could heave a sigh, a voice shouted through the open window, “Bravo!” And then, I knew that pigs will fly if I ever stop playing.
Michelle Chan is a rising sophomore from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in computer engineering.