Monday, July 19, 2010


i leave in 13 hours and 43 min


May and June were a blur of good times and good friends. I think I can safely say that they were the best 2 months so far on this trip. I moved into a 3rd family, where I had an 11 year old sister. The reason for the move (which had not been planned) was because my 2nd family was going on vacation to the south of France….and there was no room for me. So they asked a friend of there’s Pascale and Jean-Claude. Both are lawyers, and are possibly the sweetest people I have ever met. Pascale let me borrow any of her clothes, and/or shoes whenever I wanted, I felt so at home. And every night that Jean-Claude wasn’t home we three girls would watch Plus Belle La Vie, which is a french sitcom with lots of juicy drama.
They lived in a village just outside of Rouen, called Isneauville.
I stayed there for 4 weeks, then moved back to my 2nd family’s house to pack up all of my things.

My parents arrived on June 21st in Paris, where they picked up the car we are renting for the month. They then drove to Vernon, where they spent the night.
I took the train down to meet then the next morning, and we had a classic train station reunion, involving running down the platform, waving arms, the works. It was great to see them…10 months is a long time.

We spent the day looking at Monet’s Garden, which is incredibly beautiful. Afterwards we slowly made our way up to Rouen, taking little back roads.

I spent that week showing my parents around, introducing them to my host families, saying goodbyes to my friends, it was quite possibly one of the most emotionally draining weeks of my life. We left bright and early Saturday morning for Belgium. Along the way we stopped at Vimy ridge, and saw the beautiful war memorial that stands there.
The next day we went through 5 countries…that is a lot. France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, and finally, reaching our destination in Italy.
We were staying in the vacation house of a close friend of the family, near Brunico in a little village called Antermoia. We spent a week there, surrounded by the alps and feelingas if were were in a scene from Heidi. I don’t think that there are words in english that describe how incredible this place was. Breathtaking. Moving. Incerdible. None do it justice.
After a week there that passed all to quickly we moved on to Tuscany. Where we stayed in a beautiful Agroturismo place, about 10km from Siena. Which, is in fact one of my new favourite cities. We spent the week looking at beautiful old walled cities, eating pizza and pasta, basking in the 35 degree heat and being very thankful for the pool.
The highlight of the week was taking a ferry to Isola d’Elba, where Napoleon was exiled. We’re talking white sand beaches, turquoise water so salty that you could practically float a rock. High 30s heat, and a man selling fresh pinapple and coconuts for 3 euros served on a palm leaf. In other words, paradise.

When the week was over we rejoined the other family in a village near Florence, to stay in a beautiful old house for our last week. Stone walls and high ceilings, antique wood tables and the best food you have ever eaten. The daughter of the family, Sophia who is my age, will be coming to stay with us with her son for a month this summer. I can’t wait, she is such a sweetheart.
Yesterday we had to say our goodbyes, and had another long day of driving, Florence to Gap ( a small town in France, near Grenoble). This morning we had a little ‘mix-up’ with my train back to Rouen….and had a few hours to kill. So we explored the area around Grenoble a little, and found a picturesque little village. It’s church dates back to around 1080. We had a drink and bite to eat as we had left very early and missed breakfast. There was a charming little river that flowed through the town center, and my mom and I couldn’t help but take our shoes off to stand in it a while.

After that they dropped me at the train station, and headed of to Avignon, while I make my way back to Rouen. I will fly out on Tuesday the 20th back to Vancouver.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Hey everyone!
So I got back on sunday from the west coast where my family has a beach house. I was without internet there, but wrote up a post anyways, so here it is:
I am currently at my host families beach house in Vendee. It is beautiful!

It was rainy for the first 2 days, but since then, it has been sunny and realllllly warm. It is a sleepy little town, and mostly dead because the Parisians aren’t on holidays yet, so it is really peaceful and quite. The family has a few bikes stored here, and so I spend my days riding around and exploring.
The other day I did a tour of the golf course, and after I ended up finding a pretty little lake. I sat there for a while on a bench and people watched. Across the lake there was a beautiful chateau, Disney style. It was magical.
On another adventure I went to the port, and poked around the sea wall. It is an incredibly beautiful place.
My little host brother and I have spent many, many hours on the beach together, which is only about a 2 min walk from the house (30sec bike ride). He builds castles and forts, and then we sit and watch as the tide comes in. He usually ends up getting soaked (much to my host moms chagrin). One time I had taken refuge on top of a big rock, and it was all fine and dandy until an unusually large wave came in very quickly. I didn’t have time to jump to higher ground, so I took a wave to the face.

Me and Thomas (little host brother) played badminton in the sun for hours yesterday. It was super warm out, shorts and tank top weather, and we ended up having to move into the shade. It was great fun. We then played “monkey” in the trees, and worked on a song he is writing…in English. It is about a rabbit. It started out with his stuffed rabbit, I guess he had learned the vocabulary at school because of Easter. Anyways, so I hear this little voice saying “I aam a raaaabiitt, I aam a raaaabiiitt!”. The song ends up growing and now goes:
I am a rabbit
My name is fluffy
I am a rabbit
I eat carrots every day
I jump all day
Because I am a ribbit
My name is Fluffly

I am a singer
Who must sing
So I siiiiiing
On my burrow
To keep busy

I am a rabbit

We are also working on a film of Fluffy….

Yesterday before dinner, at around 18H30 I went to the beach alone and just sat in the sunshine. It was beautiful. I don’t know how I am going to go back to rainy, cold Normandie after this…..hahaha.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


After Moncrabeau I came back to Rouen and normal life started up again. Nothing extraordinary for a few weeks.

I went and visited Frannie, a friend who lives in Elbeuf. She comes from Wisconsin. It was really fun, and we went a saw Shutter Island, in French. I watched it the next week in English, and it all became clear. Altough I understood more than just the idea of every scene, I was still lacking some important information. This is mostly because I did not understand the word "lobotomy" when translated into french... the whole film made much more sense with the word...
It is a beautiful, moving, terrifying film, and would really recommend it.

The next weekend my family took me on a bit of a tour. We did a day trip that involved Honfleur, La Havre, and the white cliffs. It was beautiful. The weather was a bit....Normand...(cold, windy, and generaly disagreeable) but the sky became blue close to the end of that day which was nice.

The next weekend was election weekend, and I got to go to see a French poling station. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed. I was half expecting someone to start another revolution, burn churches, or at the very least have bread and wine handed out to the voters as they sat together and discussed politics and philosophy... but no, it is just like all the others at the Merville Hall that I have seen.

That afternoon, we decided to go to Dieppe for a bit. It is about a 45 minute drive. We stoped and saw a Canadian war cemetery, which was beautiful. This time the weather was nice for a change, I'm talking bly skies and 10 degrees. We then went and did a little walk around the beach. Then the wind started up, and we went back to the car.

Last week I went to a French court. My host father is a judge. It was a commerce court, so once again, no revolutions or torching... but still, it was interesting.

then, save the BEST for last.... ROTARY WEEKEND IN PARIS.
Last weekend was a multi-district weekend in Paris (thursday-sunday). Which is truly the most beautiful city in the world. There was between 70-100 students from all over France, that came from all over the world. It was awesome. Not much sleeping took place and my camera probably hates me now from all the pictures I took. I made amazing friends that I am going to be meeting up with again soon. I love exchange students. We really are a cool group of kids.

Anyways, while in Paris we saw:
-Eiffel Tower
-Bateau Mouche
-Notre Dame de Paris
-Sacre Coeur (BEAUTIFUL)
-Bus tour of the city
-Le Louvre
-Arc de Triomphe
-Chateau Versailles

It was epic.

Yesterday I saw Alice au Pays Mervielles (Alice in Wonderland) with Bridget. It was my birthday gift from her :)

Speeeaaking of which, I will have 17 years this Saturday the 27th! I accidently spoiled my surprise party...but it will still be great!

Hope all is well for everyone, and that you are enjoying the beginning of Spring!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

im back* :)

Hey, so yes, I know its been a while.... sorry 'bout that.

So i figure that I am going to Write separate posts for each event... instead of one big long one.

Lets start with Moncrabeau.


We left my house at about 8am, and got there at about 4pm. Long drive. It is a town of about 500 people, and was settled in the Middle Ages. It was the mostly destroyed some 300/400 years ago in a religious war, and reconstructed. Beautiful little town, or village I guess is the word.

We went on some day trips to Nerac and Condom. Yes, there is a town named Condom, and out of all of the places for my camera to die, it had to be Condom. We also went and visited a castle from the Middle Ages. The weather was amazing, and it was a shock to come back to Normandie...(in fact it snowed the night we got back..)

The grandmother was a sweet little woman who kept feeding me. Any food I liked she would pack up and tell me to bring it back with me. I left with 2 jars of jam, a cool fruit pat thing, 2 bottles of juice, and some bread. Like I said, a sweety.

The car ride back was really fun with my little host brother (he was already in Moncrabeau for a week when we arrived, we were going there to pick him up). We played X&O. pictionary, dressup, and pretty much any other game you could think of in the back of the car.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Less Wise?

I know the French medical system inside and out, upside down and backwards. I can tell you where it hurts, how it hurts, why it hurts, and whatI want you to do about it. I can do pharmacy trips by myself, I can follow medicine schedules. I can have stomach aches, bad colds, x-rays, and wisdom teeth surgery. I can tell you anything you could possibly want to know about my medical history, but I please, don't ask me to conjugate in the subjunctive.

It is really amazing how much one's vocabulary differs based on their situation. My friend Bridget can give you the name of any children's toy, game, or favorite tv show in the blink of an eye (this is due to her 4 year old host brother). And me, well I could practically be a doctor at this point.

I had my wisdom teeth out on Monday. All 4 of them. I got all swollen up like a hamster, and I am now sporting a beautiful blue/brown bruise on my cheek. La Mode.

On Wednesday we are headed down to Moncrabeau (Host fathers parents house). It is in the south of Bordeaux. We will stay there for about 5 days, then drive back up. I am really excited. It is a tiny village of about 500 people, in the farm country. I can't wait! I will take lots of photos.

On February 6th I hit the halfway mark.

I look back on my time here, and realize how much I have changed. How much older I am, the situations I can deal with, my level of French, my friendships, but above all, just how much I have grown up.

I am no sure how I feel about it being halfway through. I have printed out some of my favourite pictures from the last 6 months, and put them up in my room. Looking back it feels like yesterday, but years and years ago. My mind is stuffed full of memories.

I said goodbye to a very good friend last week, and another one this Monday. (Australians leave in Feb.). And it is incredible to think that they were at my spot when I first met them. I remember thinking that Carmelle was so French, so settled, so grown up. Well, that's me now.

My new family is incredibly supportive about my exchange. They understand that this period is a bit difficult. My host dad and I have really great talks about friendships, travels, and growing up.

When I signed up for this exchange, a year and a half ago, I signed up for an opportunity to study abroad for a year. I signed up to learn a new language, and live in another culture.
Now I skype the friends in Australia and Argentina, chat with Switzerland and Denmark, email Taiwan, and text Italy. My best friend from Florida, and I have a friend on EVERY continent (minus Antarctica). Rotary, I signed up for a year long exchange, but you have given me so much more.

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Quick Hello

Sorry about the delay between entries...once again, I have been settling into my family and being busy gallivanting around France.
So not too much is new here.
I got to go to a hockey game here, it was AWESOME and we WON!!!! I went with friends of my host parents and we got to sit in a "Loge Privlege" one of the boxes at the top with its own private seats, and we were served refreshments and little snacks, and then desserts at the end. It was so cool.

I am headed to Paris on Wednesday evening to watch a concert at the Sorbonne (one of my exchange friends is playing in it). And then I am headed back to Paris on Sunday. La classe.

Starting next Saturday I am on school vacations for 2 weeks. I am also getting my wisdom teeth out....(less enjoyable than vacations).

Anyways, just wanted write a quick hello to the world out there. :)