The best part of my year in 2013 was meeting so many incredible people who have became my friends and family – people who have changed my life, outlook on the world, and taught me more about myself. People who have become my everyday heroes, mentors, and people who I aspire to be. As well as getting to spend more time with the people I love. A special thanks to everyone in District 1650, and District 7090, my peer tutoring class, my host families and Rotary clubs in Concarneau and Brantford, my friends in France, my friends from Provincial Leadership Camp and Citizenship Seminar and everyone else who I happened to meet as well as my friends and family who have always been there for me.


In December I had my third Rotary Weekend which was a fabulous time! District 1650 and District 1510 met in Nantes on December 14th and 15th. The weekend had a lot of great activities planned. One of the places we went to was a Christmas Market. There was lots of booths set up selling a wide variety of things – there was even a Canadian Store selling maple products. On the Sunday all of the exchange students went ice skating – which was a memorable experience. Most of the exchange students had only been ice skating a few times and for some people it was there very first time! But for me I have played hockey and ringette for several years and spent my winters living in the arena. I was happy to be able to help a lot of exchange students learn to skate and I even taught some a few tricks. I have also gone skating a couple times with my host family. Since people in France don't go skating as often as in Canada you borrow skates at the arena similar to borrowing bowling shows at a bowling alley. It is very interesting for me wearing figure skates or regular hockey skates instead of my beloved goalie skates and all of my equipment. But I skating and it was so great to be able to go this year! The ice rinks I went to with my host family are only used for public skating. The ice rink in Lorient had a Christmas display in the centre of the rink and the ice rink in Quimper is an outdoor rink that is only made for Christmas time. In December I also changed host families. I was sad to say goodbye to my first host family because they are amazing but I was happy to be welcomed into another amazing family where I continue to learn and grow on my exchange. For Christmas Eve we went to have supper at my host uncle's who works at a lighthouse so at midnight we went into the lighthouse and I was able to see my host town New Years Eve and midnight. On Christmas day the family of my host mom came over. We played games, went for a walk by the ocean, and visited. The meal for Christmas Eve and Christmas is a lot different than in Canada. First we started at around 7:45 by eating the aperitif which is nuts, chips, and champagne or wine to “open your appetite.” After we had oysters. Then we ate foie gras. Followed by the meal. Later bread and cheese. And finally dessert which finished at around 12:45 My Youth Exchange Officer's wife Christiane also got me some Christmas pudding so I had Christmas Pudding with Christmas Log for dessert. On the 29th of December I participated in the Baignad des Ootaries. A tradition to go swimming every year after Christmas but before New Years. A lot of people were dressed up in different costumes and before we were allowed to go into the ocean we were dancing the traditional Breton dance. The water was 9C and it was 11C outside. It was a great experience and definitely something I will remember! Monday and Tuesday I went to visit the family of my host mom in Brest – a city that is a marine port and was destroyed during WWII. My host mom showed me around Brest. Then we went to my host grandparents house and in the afternoon we went for a walk in a nearby town that was also very beautiful. Bretagne is a very beautiful part of the world! We also went to visit my host moms brother and his family where my host sister spent a few days. After we visited my host great grandma. Tuesday afternoon I arrived back at my host house and we got ready for a New Years Ever Party at my house. Two other families came over and we had a great time playing games, visiting and eating food. We all put on wigs and hats and celebrated the New Year coming in! It was a fun party. This past year has been an amazing year best year and definitely the year I have learnt the most. I have met so many incredible people who have became my friends and family – people who have changed my life, outlook on the world, and taught me more about myself. People who have become my everyday heroes, mentors, and people who I aspire to be as I become older. A lot of these people I have met through Rotary and being an exchange student. Have a Happy New Year! Bonne Annee!