Thursday, October 14, 2010

July - Thank you AFS

I have to say, July was probably the most difficult month for me.

In July I had to study for the Bac which I took as a "Premiere" (Junior)
This is a very important test for French teenagers across the country. This plays a crucial factor into whether or not they can move on to the next grade, graduate, or go to college.

But this is not the main reason why it was so difficult.

My host family moved to Gravelines, way up in the north of France near England. We moved a week before I had to leave France.

This is not quite the reason I had difficulty in July, although it is definitely part of it.

The main reason was because I had to say goodbye to my friends and (host) family. I had to say goodbye to France. I had to say goodbye to its food, it's culture, it's architecture, everything. And I did not know when I would be back. Maybe I won't be back for years, or maybe I'll be back in a few months. The uncertainty and the thought of saying goodbye was for me, one of the hardest things to experience during my study abroad.

I have to say that I will really miss France, and everyone I have met. I am so grateful that I was able to have such an incredible experience. I eagerly look forward to going back as soon as I possibly can.

And also, to end this blog, I have to say that words can not fully explain how much I appreciate everyone who helped me raise money for my study abroad, everyone who was so friendly to me while I was in France, and every single AFS volunteer who has helped make this possible, for not just me, but all AFSers.

Thank you all so much!

Monday, June 21, 2010

May and June

So let's see for May I got to:

see a wonderful play at Strasbourg, the last one of the year.
The music and the decor were very beautiful. I enjoyed it a lot more
than the previous play "Philoctete."
We also performed our last play performance of the year. I really enjoyed it.
All of my friends act really well. Although at the same time it's a little sad knowing
that it was the last time.
The family celebrated the 40th wedding anniversary of my host father's parents.

They have quite a big family. It's a good thing though, because then I have lots of people to talk to.

We also celebrated the baby cousin's 2nd birthday the next day. I attempted playing soccer with Clémence, Hugo, fred's dad, fred, and fred's brother.....

They are a lot better than me, but I don't mind because I had fun playing.

This month I got a chance to go to the pool with Julien and his little brother. That was really fun and I was so excited to finally go swimming! And I was very glad that I got another chance to do something with them again, because I don't usually have the time to do things on the side.

and for june....

well studying, studying, studying, and at the moment I am in the middle of taking my final exams.
I feel like things are going well, but I guess I won't really know until I get my results!

two notable things that have happened this month:

I got to listen to a speaker talk about scientific theory
and realized that I actually find that really interesting.
I talked with the speaker afterwards and he recommended a book to me.
I plan on reading it when I return to the U.S.

the second notable thing is that 2 french celebrities came to my high school for the day
and students got to ask them questions.

one was Dénis Brogniart, who is the host of Koh Lanta which is the French version of survivor.
the other person was Robert Pires a French football player.

I got to get an autograph from the two of them and was really excited because I even talked with them for a bit (in a mix of English and French!) haha

It made me think of my family in the U.S. and how we somtimes watch Survivor together.
It's seems pretty incredible that I'd actually get to talk with someone directly related with the show.

He even complimented me on my French! I was very flattered, although I know that I still have a bit of an accent. Although I am not bothered by the fact that I have an accent. I know that other people have stronger American accents and I think I have really improved a lot on my pronunciation.

I have less than a month left and I have already started saying goodbye to people which is really sad even if I know that I will someday see them again.

This is going to be probably the hardest part of my year here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

February, March, April

Right after February vacation I had the "BAC blanc"

which is a practice for the real "BAC" at the end of the year. It's a lot of work looking over notes and refreshing my memory over everything we've learned since September. It's especially difficult when I try reading my notes from September, October, November, because my French wasn't very good in the beginning. Luckily I have improved a lot and my notes taken later in the year are much easier to read.

March was not too eventful, going to school and doing homework, and otherwise not too much else. I have a couple friends who wore green for St. Patrick's Day, but otherwise the French don't celebrate it, or really know what it is.

April 1st - poisson d'avril!

April fool's day exists here, but it's a little different.
People go around putting paper cut-outs of fish on the backs of people. The point is for the other person not to realize and go around with a fish on their back the whole day.

Easter is more or less the same here. They seem to have the same traditions, like the easter bunny bringing chocolate, and searching for eggs in the yard. Although we didn't search for eggs because it was raining out.

April vacation!
I was very lucky and got to spend a week in Paris and the following week at the Ciotat, which is near Marseille in the south of France.

I was with another AFSer, Angelina, which was great because visiting a new place with someone else is a lot more interesting than by myself.
We visited:

> The George Pompidou Center (modern art museum)
> The Louvre
> The Notre Dame
> The Trocadera / Eiffel Tower
> Concorde Place
> The Place of the Bastille
> Verseille
> The Garden of Luxembourg
> The Défense
> The Moulin Rouge
> Montmartre
> The Catacombs
> The National Library of France
> The "Invalides"

and otherwise we walked around different places in Paris.

for the second week we were often at various little beaches. It is so beautiful in the south of France. The mediterranean sea is so beautiful. The water is a shade of aquamarine. It looked so inviting, but the water was quite cold. I went swimming one time, but didn't stay in for long.

Another amazing vacation.

February vacation

So for February vacation I got to stay for a week in a city near Nantes.

I was with a wonderful family. They were really friendly and I enjoyed seeing a new region of France. The West coast of France is really beautiful and makes me think of Maine, which I think isn't a coincidence, because the depatment is called "Maine et Loire."

I got to visit a couple castles, and an art museum. I got to see the castle at Pornic of the infamous "barbe bleu."

I discovered that my name originates from the region right next to where I was! Yvette is the saint of the poor.

I ate a gallette for the first time. (It was delicious).

It's something kind of like a crepe, except brown in color, and it's not something that's meant to be sweet. Inside you can put cheese, ham, eggs, etc.

I visited La Baule, one of the biggest beaches in Europe. We didn't go swimming of course, because it was too cold and windy. Although we did see a few windsurfers.

I really enjoyed my vacation and am very greatful to have come to France with AFS, because without AFS I am not sure I would've been able to visit so much of France.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jan-Febr-uary, because I have been busy and now have to write about two months

Well the new year started off great!

I can speak French, I'm in France, and I have so many wonderful friends and a wonderful host family!!

I spent the new year with a group of friends. We had a good time playing some rather theatrical makes sense seeing how many take theater class (including me).

Also in January I learned how to make the "gallette" for the "gallette des rois." Inside of it is a little hidden figurine. Whoever ends up with it is the king (or queen) for the day and gets to wear a crown.

January 13th was the celebration of my name!! The day of Saint Yvette! I never even knew this existed before, but it was nice hearing my family, friends, and even history and theater teachers tell me "joyeuse fete!"

I visited a city in Germany for the day with some friends. It was a little difficult since I don't know any German really, except for a few words. Oh well. It was nice hanging out with my friends, anyway. It was also pretty funny when we tried to order milkshakes and ended up with a tiny scoop of ice cream.

Apparently they've had a lot of snow here in comparison to previous years. Although I come from Maine, and for me it doesn't seem like a lot. I was glad to see the snow, though. Without snow it just doesn't seem like winter.

The next post will be about february break, I'll try and write it soon!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pictures of course

Passing through Switzerland on our way to St. Tropez

The view from our room in St.Tropez

The pool...which I swam in almost every day

Port Grimaud, I think it's absolutely beautiful there

La Gendarmerie Nationale!

Hiking...eating lunch on the steps of a chapel....hiking

Grimaud again, I love the flowers! I love how there are so many flowers growing in France in general, it's wonderful.

Bowling for my birthday! (the bowling ball never made it to the end, so we used another one)

The two most amazing cakes I have ever seen. They tasted good too! I still can't believe my (host) mom isn't a professional cake maker. I guess French people just know how to cook, which makes sense, seeing as they're known for their cuisine.

Ok now my measly pumkin pie is dwarfing in comparison.....If only there was a way for everyone to know what it smelled like fresh out of the oven!

Friday, December 4, 2009

November, the month des anniversaires!

Month of Birthdays a very fitting title, I think.

First up, me, of course.

November 7th.
I recieved so many wonderful gifts too! I was honestly very surprised at so many birthday wishes and presents.

I got presents from both families (in the U.S. and France), presents from friends in Premiére and Terminale at school, presents from the neighbors, and so many happy birthday wishes! I am glad to know so many people care about me. I'm also glad that it didn't make me homesick, because I realize something like that really has the potential to bring on thoughts of family and friends who are currently far away.

I think everyone for making my birthday such a special event here in France.

Following were the birthdays of Clémence, my host sister, now 7 years old. The brithday of Fred, my host father, and the birthday of the great grandmother.
The weekend after my birthday there was a party for Clémence, Fred, and I. Lots of family members showed up. Muriel, my host mom, made two absolutely gorgeous and absolutely delicious cakes!

November 19th
I made a pumpkin pie!!!!!!!!
In honor of Thanksgiving and for my English class with the assisstant I made a pumpkin pie. I've got to admit that it wasn't very easy. I had to convert mesurements and temperature, and make some other alterations to the two recipes I was using to male the pumpkin pie. After taking most Wednesday night to make it I finally finished. It smelled so good and I was very tempted to eat a slice right then! Luckily, I have good self-control.

I brought it to class that Friday and shared it with my class. I think they all enjoyed it. Personally I found it a little watery, the taste wasn't as strong as usual, but I think this is for the better. I've discovered that sometimes it's better when foreign food has a mild taste than a strong one, because it's something new and eating something new with a strong taste can be a bit shocking.

Overall I was very proud of myself.
Also I got to explain the history of Thanksgiving, including the fact that my ancestor, Constance Hopkins, was one of the very first pilgrims, one of the people who ate the very first Thanksgiving dinner with the Native Americans.

I know that there is more that I want to say, but I can't exactly remember what right now...

So for now the end of yet another post.