By Emily Belz - 07/31/07 06:42 PM EDT
A 21-year-old French engineering student from Paris has landed in the office to see the Hill and the workings of the political heart of the country. Jean-Daniel Pecas is spending a few months in Long Beach, Calif., as a part of his university’s requirement for an “international experience,” which also includes a week as an intern in Lungren’s office.
Even the congressman’s aides were spellbound by the intern’s good looks—he’ll make you melt, they warned.
“It’s like Paris; you have the metro,” said Pecas. “But people here are more serious than in Paris.
“All the monuments are great, but it feels like a business situation,” he adds.
He admits that good food is harder to find than at home, and hesitatingly agrees that people are fatter.
Aside from Long Beach and Washington, he has also been to Las Vegas, where he won $950. So far, he says, the U.S. has dazzled him.
“The U.S. does very good things and very bad things because it is so big,” he said. “But every country should be close to the U.S. OK, we don’t eat well there, but there are stronger things, [and] we should be friends.”
Politically, Pecas is conservative, and voted for Nicolas Sarkozy in the recent French elections.
The dapper Frenchman isn’t sure if he should be called an intern—he doesn’t understand this English word—but Lungren’s staff assures that, yes, he is an intern. He has been hanging out with Lungren’s staff.
“They are always watching the TV,” he said. “I said, ‘Sometimes, isn’t it boring?’”
Pecas has visited the House, walked around the office buildings, and shaken Lungren’s hand. But famous people don’t wow him.
He hasn’t gone looking for any celebrities in Long Beach, where he is busy working with Interval House, an intermediary for victims of domestic violence. When he’s not working, he is learning to surf instead of just tanning on the beach.
“I saw a lot of dolphins, just one meter from me! Every day, I see something that can’t happen in France,” he said, describing one of his more memorable surfing lessons. “I don’t just go to lie on the floor,” he added, meaning he doesn’t like to lie on the sand.
Pecas eventually wants to be a buyer or seller for a company, after he finishes school next year.
But he loves Long Beach, and first wants to come back for a longer stay. It doesn’t sound like D.C. has the same allure as the happening West Coast.