Well, after a good deal of transportation trial and tribulation, I successfully completed the epic trek out to my school on Thursday for a visit. The night before I had suffered a middleschool-type crisis about what to wear, during which I made Ryan help me choose my most conservative-looking outfit possible-- which was not an entirely easy task given the contents of my suitcase.
Vaguely conservatively-dressed and full of mortal terror of having to be competent in French for more than 3 minutes, I was led on a tour of the "campus". It consists of about half a dozen kitchens, a few offices, the lunchroom, and maybe some other stuff I didn't see. Fairly straightforward. I met some of the teachers, and I can already pretty much tell which one will hurt us bad and which one is just a big goofy kid at heart (luckily my class will be working more with him). I understood most of what was being said to me, and hopefully I didn't seem like a total idiot. The building is itself is kind of like drab afterthought to a large loading dock area, which is situated in an unremarkable industrial park type suburb. *NOTE AS OF 4/7/06: I've since realized the school is really not that drab, and that there's a ton of loading docks because of the HUGE amount of production that happens onsite. I've also been told that that one teacher is actually very nice.*
I got to see a few classes in session, and they were pretty cool. One was doing breads, another chocolate decor for finishing petits fours, another presentation for buffets (OK, that one wasn't that cool-- they were hot-gluing seashells to dowels). And in one room they were working on the photoshoot for the next Lenôtre book, about entremets, which was interesting. I also found out there will be one Taiwanese person, one Japanese, one American, I think one German, and the rest French people in my class, to a total of ten. I didn't ask about age, but I'll be shocked if I'm not the youngest (and probably by at least several years at that). I did see several female students, but of course most were men.
So, there I go the day after tomorrow! Don't know what the hell I'll do about Tuesday for transportation, though.......