I finally have a moment to catch you all up on my life! Or at least just on last week, which started off fairly normal. Monday I had three hours of math, but I did do yoga when I got back home that evening to stretch out the stress of that. Not having school on Tuesday also helped! Most of my teachers were absent with the exception of my first and last classes so the Vie Scholar (school office) decided to cancel the whole day for 2nd 5 (my class). I worked on checking things off my list of errands and to-dos that day along with practicing some yoga; so I would say it was still a productive day. It was also nice because on Wednesday I only had art, so I therefore I obtained a few more hours of sleep that morning. Also, that day for lunch I went out to get kebabs with all the exchange kids from my school and even other schools in Rennes who Serin and Joel had invited. After eating, we walked around the park, sat on the grass and we all caught up and thought up some ideas of what we should do for the two weeks of vacation. No plans are solid yet, but I have a feeling that I may be boarding more trains than I can count in my last remaining weeks here.
When I’m with my friends here, I never think about checking my phone (even though it only works when I have wifi) or scrolling through my instagram feed. I think it’s going to be hard going back to a world where my friends will check their twitter or insta before starting a conversation. I always wondered why they don’t just wait till later. I don’t think I’ll be able to put up with that now that my desensitivity to it is gone. I’ve realized how small I feel when my friends (probably not aware of it) put their phones before me. The message will still be there. The moment you’re in will go by with or without you realizing it. I’m so glad I didn’t have a phone most of this exchange to take away from the truly important parts, which can just be something as simple as watching a movie with my family. I don’t think most people realize that as soon as you take out your phone, the immediate world around you won’t wait for you to look back up.
However sometimes putting your head down is good! By that I mean sleep. In the beginning of these six months I was a champ at getting enough sleep… not so much anymore. I was dog tired on Thursday, and having three hours of French did not help whatsoever. I was also tired of people’s bad manners. Everywhere from table manners to just how to treat another human being. Don’t get me wrong. Most everyone here is very nice and welcoming. Sometimes I just scratch my head and wonder why no one has told them things like what’s okay to joke about and what’s not. Also table manners still get on my nerves even after five months. I just wonder to myself if they would still eat like that if they were in front of their president. Maybe all this is just me being fussy and wanting everything to meet the high standard I have in my head. As you can tell, the sleep deprivation got to me by Thursday.
I was praying that the following three days would exceed my expectations for my exchange here. I’m very pleased to say that they did indeed exceed.
Friday, Stephane drove me to school at 6:20 a.m. because there weren’t any buses that early. By 7:00 a.m, I was on a large bus with the a few other exchange students and about sixty-five college (French word for middle school) students on our way to Puy Du Fou. I really didn’t know what Puy Du Fou was other than what my friends told me which was that it has “really cool bird shows”, it was “really cool”, and there were “a lot of medieval shows”. I have to admit that I was skeptical because I usually find medieval reenactments to be a little dumb in my opinion. I’m happy to say that Puy Du Fou exceeded my low set expectations by miles!
We saw eight shows throughout the day and all of the shows are about history so the whole park is at least a little informational! All the shows had a little background story that was spoken in french. For example, the falcon show was about a princess who woke up and loved to sing to the birds because she loves the birds love her back as well. There wasn’t one thing not amazing about any of the shows. From the dozens of birds, to the balls of fire coming out of the castles, and even the athleticism of some of the actors was amazing! I would love to take my family there some day, but it was all in French so I’m thinking that maybe that wouldn’t be so much fun for them. I myself couldn’t even understand everything!
I’m really glad I went even though there were two really annoying girls sitting behind us on the bus who would scream some inside joke in our ears. Thank God they got separated for most of the ride.
On arriving back at St. Genevieve, Eliza and I had to go straight to the Gare to catch our train to Paris! We may have had to take a train that arrived in Paris just past midnight, but because of the lack of people on the train, Eliza and I were able to go from the one of the last train cars to first class! Our weekend in Paris was off to a ‘first class’ start.
After walking to our hotel from the metro, we got ready for bed and went to sleep as quickly as we could in order to have as much strength for the next two days to come. The breakfast at our hotel helped with our strength as well. Even though there wasn’t a waffle press or hot eggs or sausages, there was cheese, cereal, yogurt, and all kinds of yummy bread. I was very happy and satisfied with it all. Maybe except the coffee though.
I will keep the recap short and sweet. I’ll start off with saying that the weather all of Saturday was perfectly warm, a little windy, but not a cloud in the sky or a need for anything more than a light cardigan. Sunday was the same with the addition of clouds in the sky.
Saturday’s activities consisted of eating breakfast at the hotel, walking along the Seine, shopping in the stores around the Opera, eating lunch in the Tuileries with a view of the Louvre, shopping on the Champs-Elysees, going to the summit of the Eiffel Tower and drinking champagne there, and lastly going to a very french restaurant, eating a very french four course meal (I’m counting the coffee at the end) and not getting to the hotel until midnight!
We started Sunday bright and early with getting to Musee D’Orsay an hour before the doors opened so that we could be one of the first ones in line. Lucky for us it was the first Sunday of the month so in addition to being almost first in line, everyone got in for free!
We surprisingly saw a lot of the art within the museum. We took our time with a lot of the impressionism art and of course Van Gogh. It was truly amazing to see all these priceless pieces of art. To be so close to the brushstrokes made by all these famous artists I learned about in school was something I never thought I would get the chance to do. It would be difficult for me to list everything and every artists we saw due to the fact that I’m not well versed in my art history and that we went through most of the museum so quickly.We wanted to grab lunch in the city and go to the Gallery Lafayette. Upon arriving, we found out that it was closed, we decided to go back to the Champs-Elysees to go back to the stores and buy the clothes and presents that we didn’t on Saturday because we wanted to wait incase we saw something better later on.
Before we knew it, it was time to get our stuff from the hotel and head to the train station, so with sore feet and bags in hand, we sadly accepted our dream weekend was coming to a close.
Besides the creepy group of guys at the train station and the blisters on our feet, this weekend really couldn’t have been better. It was weird being around so many English speakers for the first time in five months but that was hardly an issue. The real issue is the stress I have when I realize that I have no idea when the next time I will return to Paris, or even France for that matter, after these next two weeks come to a close. Typing that just now made me realize how blessed I am. I’ve had so many adventures in my life and I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to realize that some adventures (no matter how much you don’t want them to) have to come to an end so that you can have new ones and therefore grow and learn even more. Maybe my next adventure will just be the relationships I have with my friends and family growing to new levels as I go through my senior year with them! I guess I have to finish 2nd 5 before I can call myself a senior. Just one more week!
P.S. This past Sunday was the start of my twenty day countdown until my flight back to the States. It’s weird I can now count how long I have left on my fingers and toes!