Friday, August 30, 2013

First Week!!

On Saturday I went with my host parents Marie-Jose and Yann to the house of another host family who are currently hosting 16 year old Rika from Japan.  All of us were able to meet and had tea together which is good because this family will be my final host family of my exchange year, and my current family will be Rika's next family (hopefully that made some sense.) The family and house are so amazing and I'm excited that so far two out of my three families are going to be fabulous!

My host mom Marie-Jose!

On Sunday morning Marie-Jose drove me into Lille for the first time which was awesome and beautiful.

Marie-Jose wanted to take a photo of me wearing this hilarious head thing I don't know the name of when we saw it at the market, and right about 3 seconds after this photo was taken, the lady in charge of selling these head things got mad at us/me for trying it on and not buying.  Gotta love being a tourist hehe...

In the afternoon my host parents drove Rika and I out to Le Quesnoy for one giant Rotary gathering of the 2013/2014 France District 1670 Exchange students.  So basically I was able to meet and spend time with 32 other kids from 20 different nationalities who are my age and are all going through the same thing.  It was like when I met all the other Canadians at the Toronto airport except better because I was connecting with people from all over the world, and I now feel like I have 32 new best friends.  Exchange is awesome.

my roomies! from left to right it's Karoliina (she got cut off woops!) from Finland, Aubry from the USA, Ella from the USA, myself, Maria from India, and Liz from Mexico.  I love these kids!

Ty on the left from the USA, and on the right is Thomas from France who is a Rotex (returned exchange student whose role is to help current exchange students adjust and deal with exchange) who went to the USA 3 years ago.

Maude (She's Rotex)! Ella! Karoliina!

Ian and me! The only two Canadians.  I met Ian in Toronto so it's awesome that we are in the same district.

It's Rika!

Ty, Thomas, Quentin (he's a Rotex from France who went to Brazil in 2012/2013), Ian
 That event went until Wednesday and it was so much fun the entire time.  Now we all have cellphones and eachother's numbers and I hope that I'll be seeing a lot of these kids in the future from now on!
Thibault, who is Rika's (and soon to be mine) host dad picked us up from Le Quesnoy and drove us back to Roubaix to Rika's house, where we then went from to visit our new school with Rika's host mom and sister.

Okay the school is magnificent and huge and astounding and breathtaking and it looks like Hogwarts and it's honestly the closest I've ever been in my life to being a wizard so the nerd in me (I'm 100% nerd by the way) is going nuts and I'm going to be thinking of Harry Potter constantly while I'm there.

So after I enter through massive wooden doors into a giant hallway then outside into an amazing courtyard, I stand outside this building.  This is the building I enter to go to class.  This is insanity.
Any nerves I might have had for having to go back being the new kid, at high school, in a foreign country whose language I really don't speak evaporated as soon as I saw the school.  Frankly my first day will be hilarious as I try to navigate this giant school with 2000 students solo.  Making it to classes alive will be a success I think.

Yesterday was Thursday and in the morning I went with Yann (my host dad) to the school to pick up my textbooks. This is the room I had to go to to get them...

I got asked one question in French the entire time I was there and I froze up before I could process what I'd even been asked.  The first day will be quite funny indeed.

Today Marie-Jose took Rika and me out for the entire day and we did so many awesome things.  First we went to Bergues which was a beautiful little village about 30 minutes from Roubaix.  We walked around for a little while and ate croissants which was honestly so delightful.  I could write a novel on how amazing the French baking is.  Then we left to go to the ocean.  We drove the car for about another 30 minutes and parked outside a forested kind of area.  After a bit of a walk we came across wild donkeys.  Yep. It was awesome. 

This is what Canadians tell all tourists in Canada not to do... pet the wildlife.  Today I was a hypocrite.
So when we first saw them they were timid and shy and weren't very curious enough about us to come investigate.  Then we pulled out our picnic lunch and they wouldn't leave us alone! We got harrassed by a troupe of wild donkeys.  Never in my life did I expect that one happening.

After we made it out alive from the donkey attack that really wasn't an attack at all and more just like a personal bubble invasion, we kept walking and found some sand dunes which were probably my favourite part of the entire day.  It was quiet and peaceful, and it felt like the ocean was right around the corner (right afterwards I learned it was another good 30min walk to the water but at the time it didn't feel that way at all.)

Jumping off sand dunes 
We finally made it to the water and I ran in as far as I could without completely drenching my pants.  The ocean is soooo beautiful and I was able to stand there and look at France on my one side and Belgium on my other.  It was very very cool.  Afterwards we bought some Belgian chocolate which was obviously nothing other than absolutely delicious, and before driving back to Roubaix we stopped at another little village on the sea where we bought tiny little shrimp fresh at the port and ate them while we sat and looked at the boats.  It was the perfect end to an amazing week and I am so excited for the good memories still to come.

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