I received an experience like nothing before and created an international friendship with many people. I was also able to experience a culture that knew nothing. From the moment I stepped into my train that was taking me from Paris to Nantes the realization that I was in a country whose language I did not know set in. I was completely nervous at what my three weeks would hold. But the moment I step foot off the train my nervous anxiety went away. As the train doors open I was greeted with a warm embrace from my host mother, Christine, and knew from that moment that the language barrier would only be a small problem. Later on that day, I found out that my older host sister, Charlotte, spoke perfect English and she would be around some days to explain things that Christine and her daughter Manon could not. This information put me more at ease with my host family and though they spoke English fairly well, I wanted to learn French so they did not need to search for the right English words. And for a couple of days, my host family and I spoke nothing but English. That quickly changed when we realized that I would never learn French by just speaking English. My host family began to speak a dialect which we called “Fre-glish”, a combination of both French and English, and giving me small French lessons during dinner. By the end of my trip I was able to comprehend a lot of the conversations my host family had with their friends and family and contribute to conversation with some French and English.
During my visit I tried to live my life as the French did, in order to really understand their culture, but I also did a lot of tourist things in the city of Nantes and Paris. Heading to the city every other day to eat French fast food restaurants like Quick, over to a family friend’s house for some dinner and conversation, or even going to a Brassiere allowed me to get a taste of different French cuisines. But what I enjoyed most, was being able to stay in my host family’s apartment and cook dinner with them. I was able to learn many different French cuisines and get recipes for the ones that I love so I can make them at my own home in America. While I was there I tried foods that I never imagine that I would taste, to name a few I tried several of the following: moules, escargots, kebab, and gauffre. The only thing I didn’t get a chance to taste was grenouille, which is frogs, but maybe one day I will try them on my own. Besides trying new foods I also went to a place I never been to before, a castle. Because my host family said I had a name of Queen Marie-Antoinette, I needed to visit a castle or two and that was exactly what I did. My host mom took me to castles and museums so that I would learn more about the French history as well as the history of Nantes, so walking on le Voyage a Nantes was something we did a lot. Manon was able to take me to the beach some days while it was hot and I was able to act as a French teenager on the other days, which includes a profuse amount of shopping and eating at bakeries. When we were not shopping, we bowled or watched movies together with her friends. Charlotte took me to a lot of her favorite Café and places she liked to hang out too. It was really great because I was able to see a different part of Nantes that each of the family members liked. I also loved every part about France, from the small Cathedrals in Nantes to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, there was nothing I could not love about France, well maybe not the escargots I tried. But from the moment I kiss my mother’s cheeks and said “Bonjour” to the last moment when I called out to before getting on my train and said “Au Revoir! Gros Bisous” I knew that Christine, Charlotte, and Manon would always in my greatest memories.
So I would like to thank you once more, for giving me a perfect opportunity to meet new people in a different country and become great friends with them. I hope you enjoy the pictures attach in the other document for it is a glimpse of happiness from a great summer in France 2014.