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One of the more onerous requirements for graduation from this particular school was the need to pass a proficiency exam in a language other than your own. I had started my college career with French, detested it, dropped out of all my French classes and was left to scramble at the end. I headed off to Tours for three months the summer after my class graduated. I managed to just barely pass the proficiency retake through the help of a very attentive local French girl and a few bottles of wine. My first experience of Europe.
No guaranteed earnings, just sweat, equity and perseverance. I’d worked in news my entire career, a career that began at age 25. I was now a television producer making documentaries. I had worked for a number of news networks covering the White House, international affairs, daily national news, plane crashes and any other newsworthy event that might bring in a few viewers. My most recent documentaries were good and salacious – Extreme Fighting and Models on the Côte d’Azur. Not particularly highbrow, but fun nonetheless.
I crawled back into bed and pulled the sheets up. I looked around at the carved oak panelling, or boiserie, and contemplated the ancient books that lined the delicately crafted shelves with their handmade glass doors. The ceiling consisted of substantial oak beams, painted with fleurs-de-lis and gold designs. My head filled with 62 A Chateau of One's Own_INSIDES_D62 62 31/07/2007 12:03:01 THE FOWL SMELL OF SUCCESS pleasant last thoughts, I turned off the light and drifted off to sleep. I have no idea how much time passed.