College La Source - Paris
After arriving very early on Sunday morning I was pleasantly greeted by Xavier and his parents at the airport. In order to adjust to French time I had to stay up all day, so Isabelle decided we should go for a drive around Paris and see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. The following week at school was quite rough as I wasn’t accustomed to the speed at which french people spoke and could only follow subjects like math which have less French in them. I didn’t find it too difficult to fit into Xavier’s friend group however the only major problem was being introduced to people without them telling me their name. On Saturday, Isabelle had kindly arranged for Xavier, me, Xavier’s dad (Jean-Pascal) and their family friend Emily to go to Disneyland. It was a great way to end my first week in France!
My 2nd week at school became progressively easier as I became more and more accustomed to the speed at which people were talking. I feel more confident now when talking to people however I still get the occasional strange look when someone doesn’t understand me. On Wednesday, all the exchange students from Kristin and the other school when to the Musee d'orsay along with the teacher who gives special French lessons to us correspondents (David). Despite having almost 0 interest in art it was an interesting trip to find out the deeper meanings behind various paintings that I wasn’t able to tel at first glance (David is very knowledgeable about these things). Friday was the last day of the year and as such there was no class because of the school’s annual Christmas party. Almost all of the students dressed up in various costumes for the day and there was many different types of competitions that we all took part in. I was surprised by this as the last time I remember having an event on the last day of school was back in Primary school.
The day after school finished all of us besides Isabelle who left earlier took the TGV to nice to spend Christmas with Xavier’s grandparents. We spent a few days in Nice relaxing before Christmas however once Christmas arrived I was surprised at how different the French celebrate the holiday. All the celebrations were done on Christmas eve with Xavier’s Aunt and her family coming over to celebrate. Christmas day itself was very calm and the only similarity with christmas at home was the massive meal at lunchtime. On boxing day, we left for Valber, a small skiing town where we will spend most of our holidays. When we arrived in Valberg I could barely make out the slopes even though they weren’t more than 200m away due to the dense fog. The 10 days we spent in Valberg consisted of catching up with old friends who live there, and, obviously, Skiing. I was very fortunate to have Isabelle ski with me and do her best to teach me how to parallel ski but I truly was a novice, however, because of her continued efforts on our last day of Skiing I did a “red” slope which is the 2nd highest difficulty. For the New Year, Xavier, Olivier (Xavier’s brother) and I went down to the square in town where hundreds of people had gathered to watch everyone else set off their fireworks. I was surprised by how excited everyone was for the new year. The day we left Valberg was the opposite of the day we arrived, reaching 14 degrees all the slopes were closed and there was a bright blue sky above.