France is fantastic, as per expected. The old buildings, the fine cuisine, the beautifully romantic language and the rich history unfold something new for me each day. I discover something new every day and am learning so much about France, the World, people, culture and myself. Image


France is fantastic, as per expected. The old buildings, the fine cuisine, the beautifully romantic language and the rich history unfold something new for me each day. I discover something new every day and am learning so much about France, the World, people, culture and myself. Although leaving the known to enter the unknown is scary and maybe a bit crazy, I am feeling very comfortable here and France feels like home, finally. The unknown is becoming clearer and defined which is uplifting.  

  I fit into France better than I did at the beginning. I have made some fantastic friends both at school and through Rotary weekends which is good because I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. As a Rotary Youth Exchange Students, you have a host family but I think you have another family; exchange students. We’re all going through the same ups and downs and recognize what one another are going through. They are the people I share my successes and failures with, who I can trust and who understand me. Rotary does a great job in making sure we’re all connected and able to spend time with each other. We’re had three Rotary weekends thus far and they have all been great!

My Français is improving more and more each day and I am seeing progress which is encouraging.  Often times I surprize myself by saying words I didn’t know I knew. I can understand most of what people say and hold conversations but the most frustrating part is having something you want to say and not being able to say it, or trying to say it and not being able to string the words together. It is becoming more natural though and I translate less in my head.

I am starting to forget how different things are between here and Canada. I was running on a rural road today and got thinking about when I first arrived and my eyes were stuck open, looking at the things I had never seen before. Two months ago I would be running down the road, awestruck by how different the cars were and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. But now, it just seems normal. The cars seem to be average sized, even though they are the size a Smart Car.  The light switches are not weirdly shaped, like they were before. The amount of bread people eat isn’t absurd to me anymore. French people are less different and seeing dog poop on the sidewalk is just another average day. It is kind of sad, the fact that the magic is dying down. But in another way it is good, it means I am adapting to my new life. It means that I am here, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Baguettes, little cars, old buildings, light switches and dogs pooping on sidewalks are my life now, where before it would have been very strange for me.

I live just outside a big town called, Lille. Lille is located in the North of France and has a population of 181,000. It is the fourteenth largest city in France and is the main meeting place for the exchange students in my districts. We spend a lot of time in Lille hanging out, shopping, sightseeing and enjoying city. Each time I go to Lille (About two times a week) I uncover something I had never seen before. I always try to look at the same thing in a different way, or take a different route. My friend and I were looking for a specific shop and ending up walking up and down the roads of Old Lille. I had walked through that area before but never really looked. It was so beautiful and nice to discover something new after being around there for two months.  The town is the perfect size and it is fairly safe with a lot of things for us to do.

My most recent adventure consisted of a trip over the school vacation. My host family, two exchange friends and I headed to Paris for two days and then to Brittany. Paris was just as I had imagined it. It made my year here feel like more of a reality, I am not sure why, but seeing the Eiffel Tower made me feel like I was really in France. My friends and I spend two days getting to know Paris and seeing the touristy sites. We met some locals who showed us around which was really good too. We ate a baguette and Nutella on the grass beside the Eiffel Tower and felt very French. I feel in love with Paris and I cannot wait for the next time I can get back there.

After two busy days in Paris we headed to my Host Family’s summer home in Pornic, Bretagne. It was nice to spend some relaxing time at the sea side. We did a lot of biking, walking and exploring the little village of Pornic. There is a beautiful mediaeval castle in the town called Château de Pornic, which was very historic and lovely.  We also visited Nantes which is a city in western France, about an hour from Pornic. We visited a robotics museum and shopped a little. The vacation was good and it was nice to see more of France!

I am moving host families this week which is great!  I am excited to get to know a new family and how they live. I am a little bit nervous because it will be like starting over again but change is always good. I am looking forward to learning new things and getting used to the flow of a new family.

We have another Rotary gathering next weekend which is  fundraiser for our district. Three times a year the district organizes a “repas exotique” (An Exotic Meal) where each country makes a meal for about twelve people and then serve tiny portions to about two hundred people. The other Canadian from Halifax and I are making Poutine, Maple Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rice Krispie Squares. And something else but we’re not sure what? Any ideas?  I am looking forward to it because the ‘oldies’ (Australians) always talk about how much fun they are. 

I hope all is well in Brantford and everyone is fine.