Hey Everyone! Greetings from France! It's been a few weeks since I sent a big update, which can only mean one thing – I've been left and right, up and down, all over France and living vicariously!
Two month is France have been and gone; who knew time would pass so fast?! So, what have I been up to in the land of bread and cheese? Well, on October 4th we had a big street market in Bourges - the last one until the Spring. My Rotary club (Bourges Jacques Coeur) was selling crêpes, and it was such a good time. They ended up with a net profit of over 300?, not too shabby for a days work of fun on the street! The following weekend I went to Paris! I was invited by Frédéric Pellerin, the YEO of my district. One of my good friends and a fellow Canadian, Shelby, is living with the Pellerin's (which happens to be a mere 10 minutes from me in Bourges)! Their apartment in Paris is wonderfully French - perfect for a weekend, but I could never imagine living there 24/7 with a family. We spent seven hours at Versailles on Saturday - It was a magical day, just the three of us laughing, exploring, and mimicking the portraits of French royalty. We also saw the table where all the official decisions and important documents of France were signed! King Louis XIV sat there! The Treaty of Versailles was signed there! I know for a lot of people it's just another table, but seeing it there, and thinking about everything I learned in my history classes, was really neat for me. In the afternoon we met up with Frédérics wife and daughter, Catherine and Bénédicte. They had opted out of Versailles, and decided to do some shopping instead. That night, we had a delicious meal of Italian pasta and pizza from one of their favourite restaurants, and just enjoyed each other's company. We went to the Sunday morning market on Rue Mouffetard, for anyone who knows it! Every Sunday, there is a group of classical French singers and dancers in the local square. The best part is, they hand out lyrics of the songs so everyone can sing along! You can only imagine how fun that was... :) Needless to say, it was an amazing weekend! The weekend of October 16-18 I was at Mont St. Michael, for a a district Rotary weekend - what a blast! 175 exchange students, playing in the tidal mud and going for a tour of a glorious Abbey and midevial village. And thank goodness the unofficial international language is English :) In France, All Saint's Day (November 1) calls for a 10 day holiday. In their school system, they don't go for more than six weeks without a decent holiday (I love the French). With my host family, I went to the Cantal: a district right in the middle of France, mountainous, and filled with teeny tiny villages. Their house is in a "village", with five other houses. And two dogs. We spent the days on BIG hikes, and the nights eating with the neight bours and tasting local specalities. Hum miam! I also managed to head to Dijon for a weekend, where I ate Sauerkraut!!!! and met my host dads GIANT family - so many names to remember! School started back up again, and I am starting to get the hang of listening, understanding, and writing notes all at the same time (I know that sounds pretty basic, but It's a lot harder in French). There is another Canadian at my school on exchange, but she leaves this Saturday! :( I'm hoping I'll be able to see her when I come back though! Other great news: one of my friends from school wants to come to Canada next summer! My parents said yes (Thank You!), and we're just working out details now. I've got my fingers crossed that it all works out! Things with my host family are going swimmingly. They've got quite the busy lives, but still manage to show me so much in Bourges, and take the time to teach me about the French culture. Last weekend, they took me to a jazz concert at the local conservatory, and on Wednesday we went to the November 11th ceremony. Last weekend I was selling oysters with my Rotary Club - I tried two different types of paté: one made from wild boar, and one made from, get this, pig's tail! The latter was a little scratchy going down! Off I go - Sunday morning running race around the local swamp (a very pretty swamp at that). One of my friends from school invited me, and her whole family of eight is running it! Finally get to start running in France! Lot's of love to everyone at home! I hope Linus is having a great time in Canada (is he still living on St.Andrew Street?). Give him a big hello from me! Avec amour, Hannah