France - Millions of Photos
We got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 1:30pm local time. We were all very exited to meet the famillies we would be staying with over the upcoming month. We then all went our separate ways with our respective host families.
I was given a tour of the center of Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower and many magnificent buildings which had a lot of gold statues perched on top of them. We then went to the supermarket and bought some chocolate weet-a-bix which was a bit odd and some muesli bars for snacking. I was very jetlagged by the time I arrived in France so as soon as we got home, I had a tour of Oscar’s apartment then went to sleep to prepare for my first day at College La Source. On Tuesday, Oscar and I walked to school at 8:00 and his friends all greeted me when we got to the school. My first impression of the school was that it was very small compared to Kristin. The classrooms are old fashioned and there are not many students at La Source. My first class was Physics, it was very hard to understand the teacher at first but once I got used to the speed of the language, it got a bit easier to understand what everyone was saying. It was a bit difficult getting used to the fact that there was no morning tea at school so I got a little bit hungry during the day but got over it with all of the exciting things going on around me. Lunch was an unusual experience for me because we went to the school cafeteria and sat our table and collected our food from the lunch-ladies, which was a dish shared between six people. After lunch time we had two more classes and then we walked home to relax and I got to know my host family a bit better.
On Wednesdays, school only lasts half of the normal day so instead of going to school Jenna, Anna and I get to go on a trip every Wednesday. In this first week, we visited the Musée d’Orsay. Getting there was a new experience for us because we took the train, accompanied by Laetitia, one of the exchange coordinators. She got off the train two stops before we did, so we were left alone but it was easy enough to find our way around. Once we arrived at the train station called Solferino, we met up with David, our new French teacher for the month and went on the metro to get to the the museum. To challenge us, David told us that he was going to pretend to be a New Zealand tourist and we had to guide him around the metro and figure out how to get to Musée d’Orsay. We got into the building and the sight was fascinating. The light was shining through the glass roof and the architecture was amazing. In the lobby there were statues everywhere and the room coming off from the side of it was filled with beautiful paintings. After looking around for a while and taking about a million photos, we sat down at a café to have a drink and food. When we were finished we got the chance to walk out onto the balcony and look at the view with the Seine River just below us. We then made our way back to the school to meet our exchange partners and we went on another amazing adventure into the center of Paris. We looked around shops and went to a bakery for some afternoon tea. We got to see The Eiffel Tower up close and did some souvenir shopping.
Saturday was a great and exciting day for all of us. We travelled by car to Paris Disneyland! We were all so thrilled to be there and couldn’t wait to try all of the rides. Some of my favorite rides were; the Tower of Terror, Rock and Roller Coaster and of course, Space Mountain. The first ride we got to was Space Mountain. It was an adventure in itself for everyone and we all loved it. There were long waiting lines at most of the rides. However, we still had a great time talking and hanging out with each other while we were waiting. We had some lunch to re-fuel our energy tanks and we got back on track to visiting all of the rides in the park! Some were closed down sadly so we missed some. At the end of the day, we of course had to do some shopping at the souvenir and lolly shops where I got some presents for my family and a few sneaky items for myself.
Overall, this first week has been amazing and we are all loving it here in France. We can’t wait for more exciting adventures!
By Meredith Houlahan