Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chapter 2

Well since my last post (which feels like FOREVER ago) I moved host families!!

Last Wednesday evening I had all my bags packed and ready to go because Valentine, my new host mom, was coming to pick me and my luggage up to get ready for the move!

May have had 2 full suitcases, 1 duffle bag, 2 paper bags, 1 oversized purse, 1 backpack, 1 camera bag, 1 violin, 1 canvas, and 1 skate... but I swear considering I'm approaching the halfway point of my exchange that isn't doing too bad.

Anyway Valentine came and I said my goodbyes to Yann and Marie Jo.  It was sad to leave them, and the house that I've been living in the last 4 months, but it's undeniably exciting (and a little nerve-racking) to be moving on to the next stage and family in my exchange! I arrived at the house and Valentine showed me my new room, and the odds and ends around the house that one needs to know in order to be a regular.  I'm in love with the house and my room and the family and everything! Things have started off amazingly well, I feel so welcome.

living room
View from backyard
This is on a door in the kitchen.  I think I will like it here. 
One of the cool things about changing families is now I sort of change routines.  I live farther from school so no more quickie 15 minute walks in the morning.  I get up earlier and now I ride a bike to school! All the kids in the family (there's 3 living at home, one at university in Paris) ride their bikes to school and when I found that out I was super motivated to try to do the same.  It turns out my school is only a 15-20 minute bike ride which is awesome! I do have the option to take a bus, which would involve 10ish minutes of walking followed by 15ish minutes of bus, but when there's a bike why not bike.  In Canada I took the car to and from school, 20 minutes, every day, so I'm LOVING all these new methods.  Also on my ride home the first day I tried the biking, I saw a glimpse of myself in a store window and couldn't help but feel really cool as it hit me that there I was... the Canadian... on a bike... casually riding home from school... in France... it's the little things people.  Exchange is very cool.

Another thing about the new place is that because of the new area I live in, it's not a problem for me to go for a run after school alone even if it's dark, which I have been seriously taking advantage of.  It feels SO great to be out running again! Also my new family is really sporty, so half the time there's someone up to go for a run with me.  Sunday I got up at 10:30 and ran 10km with my new host dad Mathieu and host sister Louise (who's 17).  They kicked my butt; safe to say I won't have to worry about the dreaded croissant pounds if I keep running with them (happy dance).  My soccer (or should I say football) practices have been going really great too! I'm absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, god AWFUL at soccer, but the coach and players don't mind and are really nice.  It's so nice to get back into some physical activity, I felt like a walrus made of lard there for a while and I've noticed a huge change in my overall attitude and positivity level since I've started all the activity!

The weekend that just passed was pretty eventful.  Saturday after school I went with Louise and Valentine to go faire les soldes, in other words GO SHOPPING. In France after Christmas, a lot like everywhere, there are huge sales that go on for 5 weeks and that everyone goes crazy for.  Lille has been buzzing recently with all the shoppers.  I managed to restrain myself and kept my poor wallet from getting lighter, but who knows what 5 weeks will bring mwahaha.  In the late afternoon I popped over to Emily's house, she lives(ed) just a quick 8-ish minute skate from my new place.  She went home to Australia on Sunday (cue waterworks), and she had myself, Gabby, Ty, Veronica, and Liz over to keep her company and calm her nerves and also give her a mini farewell.

our last photo with our Aussie :(
It was really nice to have everyone there, I was so sad to go.  Emily became without a doubt one of my best friends on exchange, and I can't get used to the idea that next time we gather in Lille she won't be there. Wah :( On the plus side now it's decided I'll be going to Australia so that we can hang out again. Yay!

The evening, I went with Louise and her close friend to the conjoined birthday party of two girls from her school.  The party was themed "metro stations of Paris,"  and since we were "Olympiad" we dressed ourselves up as sporty type folk.

Juliette, Louise, et moi, Les Sportifs!
A lovely French girl I met named Marion!
 It was such a fun party, there was a huge range of costumes, from things that were hilarious to things that just looked really cool.  I got to meet a lot of French people who were my age, and they were all so nice! I was told countless times throughout the night that I speak really great French and, not kidding, I had a happy dance moment each time.  Life is good!

This weekend the "newbies" as we call them will be arriving. Newbies are the kids from places like Australia and New Zealand, whose seasons are kind of the opposite to most of the rest of the world, and who are currently in the middle of or just starting their summer vacation.  January is when they start their exchange, so there's currently 4 new young'uns out there jittering with the same kind of nerves I was in August, and in the process of finishing packing their bags because this weekend and the few days following they'll all be arriving.  It's exciting to be welcoming new exchange students (we'll have 4!) to the district, everyone is eager to meet and welcome them!

School has gotten back into business, and I'm in the process of getting myself into the habit of really trying to keep up with classes.  Might as well since it doesn't hurt to learn and it'll help me improve my French.  So far so good.

Life is swell these days.

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