Friday, December 16, 2011

Haha... long time no post!

So I've realized that the last time I posted was around September 24th??? Sorry to everyone who has been waiting for a post! My father reminded me on FB about my blog, not going to lie but I've completely forgotten about it.

Well today was the last day before Christmas holidays! I wrapped up at four o'clock in the afternoon and got picked up early to come home.

Yesterday my host dad brought in our Christmas tree and tonight we will be decorating it. It is also the birthday of one of my host sister's on Monday but we'll be celebrating it Sunday. My host mom explained to me this morning that it is always tradition for them to have their Christmas tree all done up before her birthday. She said usually this is when the Christmas vacation has begun so it always works out great.

So I'm just going to list all the things I've done since I've got here in France and if anything is old news sorry but I'll also include what will be happening in the future.

So first I went to Mont Saint Michel which is a castle in the middle of basically a mud field. It was built there to keep the English from being able to attack France. The English were never able to attack because the only way to travel across the 3km surrounded mud field around the castle was by foot because canons and any other weapons such as that would not be able to travel through the mud. The problem was is that even by foot the mud would usually turn into a quicksand. This is how it was impossible to attack the castle. What I did during that weekend: Got to meet other districts from Rotary, walk the 3km; there and back, go inside the castle and go shopping and see the old ancient churches, and basically be a tourist and just see everything possible.

There was the day I went to Parc Asterix; an amusement park close to Paris. That was also with Rotary but just my district. I had a great time there and on the way back I convinced the bus driver to stop for a couple minutes in Paris so we could see the Eiffel Tower at night.

There is the week I spent at La Rochelle with my host family. La Rochelle is right on the West Coast of France, more south from where I live. I went to the zoo, the beach, to lots of museums, to shop in their downtown, watched the big World Cup for Rugby with the family, ate a lot of seafood, and just relaxed and had fun.

There is the District Conference held by Rotary. I went and we had to do a dance for the Rotarians (each of us doing a dance from our country) to show our different cultures and then at the end to add a twist we came all together and danced to a French song.

There was the day I took the train by myself to Rouen to hang out with two girls from my Rotary district. This was fun because it was the first time I got to be totally independent here.

Well then school... school is school :P

My birthday, my 16th birthday here is France. My host family made me an apple cake, gave me gifts, my friends gave me gifts and my family from Canada send me gifts and 16 pink roses <3

I spent Halloween at one of my French friend's house with a lot of my other French friends; we played a board game where somebody is Dracula and while scary music plays and the house is completely dark, you have to do what your card says and hopefully not be bitten by Dracula! Then we watched a scary movie and talked a lot :)

Then there is all the times my host family has either been with their family or had their family over.
The Rotary meetings I have gone to, the last one being "un repas des desserts" which is a huge meal of desserts. This meal was based on though the South of France for they celebrate this meal during this time; a lot of it is nuts like almonds, pecans etc, dried fruit, tiramisu, nougats and lots more. Not too much of chocolate and cakes.

There was the weekend in Rouen with Rotary where we got to go to an art museum, go shopping, eat downtown, do the Christmas market and be hosted into families for the night. I was with an exchange student from Brazil and we got to be in the most beautiful house ever! It was a house from 1870 and the wife kept the decor the same age as the house; so lots of flowers, antiques and cream coloured walls. The bedroom we got to sleep in was like the kind a princess would have. I also got to go ice skating, which was really nice because it's something I enjoy doing during the winter months back in Canada.

Now for the Christmas break my plans are: "un repas de raclette" which is with my friends and it is a meal where you get to have a lot of melted cheese with your food... yes I will get fat :P Christmas will be with my host family's family; both sides, and then the 26th I leave for the French Alps for a week to go skiing! Then New Year's I will be with my host family and then school will start the 4th. And then on the 6th of January I change host family's!

So yes a lot has happened and a lot more will but I just can't wait to sleep in for two weeks!

Yeah so that was a lot crammed into one post but I'll try to be more consistent.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

One month in France!

Hello Everyone,

I have officially been in France for one month! Can you believe it? I know I can't. It seems like yesterday I was finishing up work, saying my last goodbyes to everyone, and packing up for my exchange.
Now, I have been in school for three weeks and already well into my exchange.
Everything is going great. I lost one of my dearest friends this week. Tiki, the girl from Ecuador, went back home today. I think she had an amazing two months here. I am so happy I got to meet her, and I am going to miss her greatly.
Oh, did you know that if I want to say, "I miss you", it's not, "Je me manque", which is the direct translation, it's, "Tu me manque" which is translated to be, "You miss me". Agathe; another one of my friends, was explaining this to me a while ago and I was completely confused for a long time. It sounds so selfish in English, but here it is the correct way.
This week of school went really well, I'm getting closer and closer with my friends (I can't even think about leaving them behind after a year now!!) and school is going by pretty good. Friday in my French class (it's for two hours straight on Fridays) the teacher gave us a text that we have to read, comment and summarize, and then answer the questions given. I understood the task this time, I mostly understood the text... ok there was a huge chunk I had no idea what the author was talking about, and then the questions I had no idea what it meant. So in other words, I sat there in class for two hours feeling terrible I was doing nothing. Not that the assignment would count anyways, but I want to do something. Thankfully, the teacher gave an assignment so that the students who do bad on this assignment can get their mark boosted. So I will do that so I hand in something.
I also have Gym for two hours on Thursdays. Ohhh do I miss my grade 9 gym teacher... this teacher isn't the nicest person. One of my friends; Suzanne, got really hurt during the class and all the teacher was doing was criticizing her for not being active enough while the girl could hardly walk she was in so much pain. I wanted to tell the teacher that she should maybe be helping Suzanne to make sure she wasn't seriously injured but I wasn't sure how to say it in French without sounding mean. Right now, we're doing track. We get to the track (a five minute walk from the school; all the schools share the same track), then we run 800m, then do these 80m sprints with different approaches (example high kneels, low bends etc) then pentabon which is like triple jump but it's five jumps not three, then this week we started disk... you throw the 1 kg disk specifically and wherever it lands it's your score. For pentabon, I'm jumping almost 2m (not counting when I do the first 4 jumps which is 8m) and in disk I throw 11.80m.
In one of my english classes we've been watching the music video of Thriller by Michael Jackson and then doing work on it. It's funny cause Agathe and I are singing the song and acting out the dance from our seats. Now we have to write a Short Horror story next week.
Well, for the weekend my plans are getting my hair cut, going to see my host family's relatives on Sunday for lunch and going on a nature hike.

A bientôt!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ah France...

Hello everyone!

I have completed another week of school. I have counted 181 days of school so minus 10 days means I have only 171 days left.
School went well this week. My English classes are becoming more of a joke every time I have it. This week we had a competition and well my group won so our prize was our choice; being that the class can watch FRIENDS on Monday along with some sweets. In another class we have been talking about Gothic fiction so the teacher had us watch the music video "Thriller" by Michael Jackson and then describe it. Then we had to highlight the words she gave us that were in the song. It's fun though because I can relax and breathe a bit in those classes.
My French classes have been interesting but I think I'm doing not so bad. I wish I could just pick up the language and accent like nothing but nothing anybody truly wants in life is given out easily.
My friends here are so awesome. Every day is more memories, jokes and laughs that I will never forget. Take today for example. I was in Bernay with them seeing some museums (one was of paintings and sculptures; it was breathtaking, and another on chairs and furniture from historic moments) and then later we went to their house. I was taking about my luggage and I said "vaiselle" which means dishes instead of "valise" which is the correct word. That had them laughing for a while!
I have also found out my second host family. I have not met them but I know their names and that all their children are grown up and working so I will be an only child when I go there after Christmas.
That's it for now I think.

A bientôt!

Friday, September 9, 2011

First week of school = completed!

Hello Everyone!

So after 6 o'clock today, I have been in a French school for exactly one week! What experience that has been!
First, let me explain my scheduale here in France. First off, you have Semaine A (english translation: week A) and Semaine B which you alternate for the entire year. There are no semesters also. Next, I will most likely be dropping out of Spanish because here they speak it almost as well as French. I understand French almost perfectly (sometimes they talk way too fast) but Spanish I know maybe 30 words so today when I had the class, I understood maybe 5 words in every paragraph she spoke.... They also have a 10 minute break every 2 hours so they can pretty much let the kids who need a smoke get a smoke. Yeah it's really pathetic. Every class is an hour at least, I have 4 classes that are 2 hours. The days start at 8 and end by 6. I usually end by 5 o'clock in the afternoon but I have to wait for the bus.
Monday: 8h00 - English (reinforcement). 9h00 - English. 10h10 - Work Period (this is shared between two teachers so whatever they teach they use this period to do their own teachings). 12h03 - Lunch! 12h55 - Spanish. 13h55 - Pause (This means I can do what I want, study, go into town, hang out with friends, etc). 14h55 - History and Geography (once you finish a chapter in one of the subjects, you switch to the next. We have begun with History).
Tuesday: (I don't have anything for the first two periods in the morning = I can sleep late and be driven to school). 10h10 - English. 11h05 - French. 12h03 - Lunch! 13h55 - French. 14h55 - Science. 16h05 - English.
Wednesday: 8h00 - French. 9h00 - French Literature. 10h10 - History and Geography. 12h03 - Lunch! Then I go home for the day because there are no classes on Wednesday in the afternoon.
Thursday: 8h00 - Gym (I swear my gym teacher is like, 80 or something. I'm not joking, she shold have retired at least 20 years ago. When I walked out the changeroom and saw her I almost chocked on my spit!). 10h10 - Spanish. 11h05 - Philosaphy (this is to prepare the kids for Terminale; our grade 12). 12h03 - Lunch! 13h55 - Science (I only have this class certain weeks in the entire year. They are marked on my scheduale so I don't have it every week I have Semaine A). 14h55 - French Literature. 16h05 - English. 17h05 - Science.
Friday: 8h00 - English. 9h00 - French. 11h05 - English. 12h03 - Lunch! 14h55 - History and Geography. 16h05 - Spanish.
Is exactly the same except on Monday I have a class at 17h05 - Civics and Thursday there is no Spanish at 10h10 and I have an English class that takes the place of that Science class I only have sometimes and it covers the other weeks that I don't have Science on and there is no Science at the end of the day. 
Long days.... The French here is difficult, some teachers like to talk super fast but I'm getting by pretty well and doing the best in my work as I can. Yes I already have homework, I did the first day.
I have also met lots of friends, YEAHH!!!
There is Agathe and Tiki. I must say these two together for a special reason. Tiki is from Equador, here on a short exchange. She will already be leaving me in 3 weeks and the thought makes me so incredibly sad! For short exchanges, you have the person first come to your country, and then you go to theirs. Soooo Agathe first went to Equador, and Tiki is here now.
Now let me explain each of them. Agathe is very kind and helpful. If it weren't for her, I would be really lost in school. She is in my grade so she helps me with the classes we are in. She is very smart, caring, funny, and super cool! She drew me in cartoon (it's so awesome!!!!) and we get along extremely well!
Then Tiki. She is the sweetest and cutest person ever! Now you're probably thinking, "Interesting name!" Her name is actually Marie Astrid but her nickname is Tiki and it suits her so well we don't even call her by her real name. She speaks very good in English so we help each other in French but it's nice to have breaks and speak in English. Plus, I understand the lessons more then her so if she doesn't understand the words in French, I translate the ones I know. If not I ask Agathe!
Then there is Charlotte. Ohhhhh so cute! And funny oh my goodness she is always laughing an adorable giggle or making us laugh! She is very helpful and friendly. She also knows lots of English so she helps me when I see her during break or lunch. She makes me always feel included, if I start to wander off she is right there getting me back into the conversation!
Then there is Anne. Anne is just a happy person. Not scary happy but she is always there if you need her, is laughing and smiling always...
Annnnddd I just saw naled guy commercial on television... eww. Yes as you can see, culture difference!
Anyways, so Anne is awesome!
Then there is Eva. She is here on exchange for a year like me! She is with Charlotte in her "class" (I am in L which means Literaire so more languages and they are still in grade 11 but in ES/L so they have languages and other things) and is very good at French! She is friendly also and kind, a very good friend in total.
Lastly there is Suzanne. She is very helpful, right there to my aid if I need help with anything! She is very caring and thatnk God she is so willing to help this Canadian in her first week in a new school!
My teachers are very nice and understanding, my English teachers ask me for help sometimes with the questions from the others (haha!) and the food in the cafeteria.... OMG IT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!
The food is SO GOOD like... I always had to bring lunch from home unless I wanted to go out but even the times I ate our cafeteria food I was like eww this is so unhealthy and nasty.
First, the food in France in total is very natural. Which I love! Like, in yogurt, there is no blah blah blah this chemical and blah blah blah that chemical. There is cream, the kind you chose directed on the label (example, it is REAL fruit and REAL coconut, not fake tasting chemicals), and a small amount of syrup to make it thick and give a light sweetness.
SO anyways, the food in the caff is extremely, fantastic-ly (I know it's not a word), amazingly good. I have had it three times now (the first day my host mom took me to lunch with my host brother, Rémi, and my younger host sister, Mathilde, and the second day my friends invited me to lunch (we were going to this awesome hamburger joint but it was stillclosed because of summer so we went to McDonald's cause it was the closest restaurant. Let's just say the McDonald's here is the heaven of McDonald's. It is all natural products and no grease). And yum yum!
That is pretty much all so far. I am going to sleep in late tomorrow, some of my host family's family is coming down this weekend, and that's it!

A bientôt!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting busy!

Hey everyone!

So yesterday I went with my host parents and host brother to my host dad's brother's farm (yeah sounds complicated I know keep up though!) to pick potatoes! Yes they hand. pick. they're potatoes. It was extremely hot which has been not normal for this summer for them and I was wearing jeans. Meeting the family on my host dad's side was cool plus one of his brother's daughter is named Elise! (My host dad has six brothers and no sisters). After we we're done we had a picnic, had a tour of all their land and the animals (pigs and chickens... funny cause we have chickens both meat and for eggs like them and our neighbors have pigs) BUT what was awesome was I was taught how to drive a four wheeler on my own! Second time on it and it was so awesome!!
After that evening, my oldest host sister's friend was having her 20th birthday party so I was invited to it. There was lots of socializing, I met another girl named Elise and she was really nice and awesome.
For once my name is common, and said right every single time!
Today I went to my Rotary orientation in my district and got to meet all the Inbounds (all that are on their exchange now), Rebounds (all that have completed there exchanges the past year) and one Outbound who is going to my school in my grade and education path (I'm in Premier which is grade 11 for us and I'm doing Literaire which is like us doing classes in the Language field).
I had a really awesome time with them. Some sad news is that the EUROTOUR they promised before of going to several countries in Europe for a couple of weeks has been cancelled. I was really sad when I heard about it.
However they're are about 10 weekend trips I will be doing this year, including amusement park, going to a famous castle, making Canadian food for 250 people as a fundraiser toward Rotary, going to Paris for an assembly (at the end of the year so I will have to see Paris BEFORE then), and one really awesome one is that all the exchange students in France will be meeting up in the ALPS sometime in April.
After getting back from the orientation I slept because I only got three hours of sleep from getting home late with my host family from the birthday party and getting up early for the orientation.

A bientôt!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Over a week in!

Hey everyone!

So I haven't written anything for a while but that's a good thing right? So much to tell so here I go.

So Monday I start school. Istart at 10:15 that day but the other days I can be starting as early as 8 to as late as 9. I can also be going from anywhere to 6 o'clock in the afternoon though. At least I don't have to go on Saturdays and there is no school in the afternoons on Wednesdays (unless they put me down for music). Not just that, but lunch is like an hour to two hours, plus I get it for free at school. See, nobody makes lunches here, they get lunch at school or they go home if their home is really close to the school. Since I'm on exchange though, my meal is provided every day for the entire year. Also, I found out if it snows, I don't go to school. They don't have no blowers here so they can't clear the paths for the buses. I also have so many holidays! Like I get Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 off, Dec. 17 to Jan. 3 off, Feb. 25 to Mar. 12 off and Apr. 21 to May 7 off!! The only thing is, school officially ends the 5th of July but since I don't have to do exams I'm good.I looked through some of my books, I have one for English, Science, History, Geography and Spanish. English I just flipped through to see how they do the books, Spanish I didn't bother, Science looks like the stuff I learned in Grade 9 (eaaaaassssyyyy), Geography looks like I will be learning only about France pretty much, not really other countries which is good cause France is small.And History I haven't looked through yet.
I've done many things so far, including back to school shopping, getting clothes (it's a lot cooler here because there summer came earlier this year so it's already fall), going to see a cathedral and museum and Bayeaux, eating real Italien pizza in Caen (funny story, I ordered my pizza and the man knew I was a foreigner because of my accent, so when he came back to serve our plates, he gave me a really tiny pizza. I was so worried because it didn't cost cheap plus I had over eight hours until I would eat supper. Then after my host family got a good laugh, he came and gave my actual pizza), going biking, to the market, visiting people the family knows, going to my first Rotary meeting (lots of appetizers, wine and seafood! And champagne though I didn't drink any) and funny moments with the family in between.
This Sunday I will be going to a ... guess you can say orientation for all the new inbounds in our district. A lot of the inbounds I heard are going to be going, including my host brother. I'm excited because this will be my first chance at meeting some friends here.
That's it for now,

A bientôt!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Post For A While

Hey everyone!

So I leave for the States tonight to stay there, relax, have a meal with the family, and then tomorrow I leave. Eleven months in France, who could ask for more?
Last Saturday, I spent the entire day with my boyfriend at Canada's Wonderland. That was one of the best days in my life. I had so much fun, so many laughs, smiles, and memories to keep as I go away.
Now I've been finishing packing, making sure my check-in isn't overweight, and getting emotionally and mentally ready for the flight.
I want to thank everyone again who helped me with this. Especially the people at CYL, you helped me get to where I am today. If it wasn't for that camp, I would be waiting to go back to school here in Canada, bored out of my mind, and waiting for something exciting to happen.
I will post again as soon as I can, but I warn you, it might be in French haha! Probably not!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One week!

With work, I didn't realize how quickly the days were passing. Next thing I know, I have only one... measly... week left. One week to make final goodbyes, one week to pack, one week to spend the most time I can looking at my farm so I can imprint it in my mind. I always loved nature and even though I kinda hate the isolation of my farm, I have the best view in the world.
So, tonight I will TRY to start packing (yeah I've said this how many times but I am actually going to try).

A Bientot!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Countdown Is On!

Hello Everyone!

So holy! Only nine days until I head on out into the unknown. What will happen is up to me and my choices. But I know one thing. Canada will always be my home country.
So I'm trying to start packing... it's starting out pretty hopeless. I'm trying though....
Yesterday my family made THE BEST surprise party ever. It was suppost to be a family reunion but then the next thing I know, friends start showing up and then the biggest surprise, my boyfriend. Oh and that wasn't the end. Later that night we had a dance. Out of all the dances I have been to, that was the best one I have been to.
I arrive in France I guess around seven in the morning. Which is around one o'clock in the morning here. My parents are going to love the phone call haha!
With the crazy week ahead, I think my last days here are going to be muchly worth while!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Counting Down The Days...

Hey everyone,

So already I only have 22 days until I leave. I've been so busy with work that I haven't even started.. preparing to go. Of course I've made the goodbye party and to see my boyfriend one last time before I go but when somebody had posted that it was only one month left I was like, "??? Noooo it can't be!"
Ohhhhh it sooooo was.
So yes, I leave in 22 days to Bernay, France in Normandie. I will be two hours from Paris living with my new to be family that includes a husband, wife and three siblings. I am so excited to meet them and get to know them.
With my VISA taken care of and my plane ticket soon to be taken care of... I'll be all set to go.
Well.. gotta pack still :P

Au revoir pour maintenant!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hello Everyone!

So this is the first blog I have ever done. I was watching the movie, Julie and Julia with my family when we decided that I should write a blog on my exchange away.
So, here I am, creating my blog :)
Not on food but you'll be able to hear about that later when I am in France.
Tomorrow is the second orientation for my exchange. I'll be having to wear my Rotarian outfit (blazer, dress top and dress pants) and we'll be leaving at 5:30 a.m. so we can get there. AGH! Oh well, it is so worth it.
I'll be spending the whole day there and then I will return home and give you the update on it. We're suppost to be meeting with the Travel Agency at this orientation. Hopefully I will get more information on what is going to happen to me before I leave.
Already I have been planning on what to bring. I have already been researching on the clothes they wear there (it is much different from what we wear here in Canada!), trying to find a good digital camera that isn't too pricy, books that can help me (most of them are tourism books so they don't help AT ALL) and more!
I have gotten my rainjacket though. It is a waterproof trench coat, not too thin so that if it is windy I won't freeze, and it is red with black buttons. It is very "chique". Now I just have to find boots to match it haha.
I must get to work now. We had to read a book called "Touch the Dragon" and write a book report on it by this orientation and I still have lots more to write on it!

Au revoir mes amis!