The uphill battle of living in another country has progressively become less steep and it is leveling out more and more each day. The pattern of things getting better has continued and I’ve adapted more to the French lifestyle, for the most part. I am a lot less lost when it comes to school, the area and the language.

Last weekend was our first official Rotary Youth Exchange weekend. We met at the sea side in a town called Rue. It was really exciting to meet the exchange students who had not gone to Language Camp and to get to know everyone a bit better. We met in the parking lot of what looked like a beach but we could not see any water. We got on the back of a tractor and traveled two or three kilometres when finally we saw water. It was different than any other beach I’d ever been to… There were rows upon rows of wooden posts in which mussels had attached themselves to. We were at an “Elevage de Moules” which is a Mussels Farm. It was really neat to see how they were collected. (I thought they caught them like fish or something?)   We also enjoyed a high ropes / zip lining course the next day which was a good bonding experience and really fun. I am really looking forward to spending this year with such a good group of exchange students and I’m lucky to have such a good District. Each of my peers brings something unique and special to the group which creates such diverse friendships.

School is also getting better each day.  I’ve found myself less confused and more able to focus on lessons. I don’t understand everything the teachers say but I can pick out some things and from there I can comprehend a little of what is going on. On Wednesday, I woke up at six a.m. to catch my bus at seven. The other students and I were waiting for the sports teacher to arrive; instead we were told that he would not be there today. As that is my only class on Wednesdays, I began the four kilometer trek home since my bus would not come until twelve. I did all of this before I would have even gotten to school in Canada. It is crazy.

I’ve spent a little time in Lille over the past few weeks with my host mom and with other exchange students. I’ve gone shopping, opened a French bank account, and explored the city. I keep uncovering things that make me appreciate and enjoy Lille more each time I go.

This past weekend, Daniela and I had the opportunity to go to Belgium with our sponsoring Rotary Club to a “usine de chocolat” (Chocolate Factory). We had the chance to see how it was made and to taste it… too much of it actually.  We had dinner at a Golf and Country Club (Felt like a home meeting) with our Sister Club in Belgium. We ate steak that was better than the Keg (Sorry Maxine). It was neat to see another perspective on a Rotary gathering. On the way home from Belgium the next morning, I recognized the town we were driving through and realized we had crossed back into France without so much as a “Bienvenue en France” sign. It was quite a different experience than going to The States.

Saturday will mark one month of my being in France which is really hard to believe. The time has flown by and the exchange students from Australia, who have been here for eight months, say that each month flies by quicker than the last. I am hoping to start living this year by the words that Mr. Lynch always said to us about our last year of high school, “SLOW DOWN.” Often times we’re looking to the next thing and miss out on what is happening right now. Although I look to what adventure is awaiting me, I know that this year is going to zoom by and I mustn’t rush through it.