Well, my first blog accidentally was saved as a draft and did not post (oops!). Fortunately, I found it again so here it is!
The first couple of weeks in France have taught me so much about French culture, language and the everyday lives of those living in Chateau-Gontier. I am loving the scenery here as well as the people and experiences that I am having. The very first night, Camille’s parents welcomed me with a lovely dinner and the first full day Camille’s best friend came over and we went for a walk along the river. Right off the bat, the amount of inclusion and warmth I felt from everyone around me was so amazing, and it just goes to show the welcoming environment that I am lucky enough to be in.
Some of my favorite experiences so far have been biking along the river, visiting the farm (where Dylan is staying), exploring a few towns close to Chateau-Gontier and finding new shops and landmarks around the town. Two days ago, I found out that there is a Thursday street market in the upper section of town which was also an interesting part of my trip so far. The market has many different types of booths including one in which you can hold a rabbit and another that sells jewelry made from not just metals and gemstones but also donkey hair (very strange but also very cool!).
There are a few things that are different from Seattle that I have noticed. Dinner here is very different from the dinners I usually eat. We eat it later (at around 8:30 or 9:00) and it usually consists of either pasta or different types of salad and soup. After dinner, Camille’s Mom usually brings out a cheese plate and then after yogurts and chocolate pudding. Another thing that is really different is the school. School goes to 5:30pm all days except Wednesday in which we have a half day. There is also very little homework (about 20 minutes a week) which is super cool because it means that I am able to explore, eat pastries and hang out with Camille and her friends after school most days.
Getting to know the town and people more while beginning to improve my French skills has been amazing and I am loving everything this opportunity is bringing me so far. The beautiful buildings and river are insanely pretty and I am just so excited to see what else this experience brings me!