Grace’s Final Blog

Hey everyone!

It has only been a few weeks since my last blog post but somehow this will be another long one including descriptions about things I am excited about and realizations/new ideas I have formulated throughout my time here.

In the past few weeks, I have eaten a giant Babybell cheese, made pottery (specifically a vase) and seen a robot elephant walk around on the waterfront… One of my favorite things I have done recently is taking a day trip to Nantes, which is a 2-hour drive away from Chateau Gontier, with Camille. When we got there we went to a castle, and then a museum within the castle. It was super cool because there were many small rooms and hallways that were filled with artifacts (like swords and crowns) from the people who used to live there, and it was fun to explore all of the different parts of the museum. After, we took a walk to “L’ile des machines” which is an island where people create robot animals (such as elephants, cranes, and spiders) for people to ride. When we went, there was an elephant walking around with about 20 people on its back, spraying water (with its trunk) at onlookers.

A photo of part of the castle that we visited in Nantes

I also was able to visit Terra Botanica, which is like a zoo for plants. There were gardens, a butterfly house, and an “Extreme Climates” building, which included tropical, snowy, desert and rainy rooms that had different plants depending on the places that they were from. In the “snow” room, there was an ice wall, where hundreds of people had created handprints. It was extremely cold but when I held my hand on the ice for about 1 minute there ended up being a small indent next to so many others, which I thought was super cool.

An orange tree next to the “Extreme Climates” building in Terra Botanica

All in all, it has been a really fun couple of weeks and I cannot wait for more fun things to come in the next week!

My adventures here have been amazing but I think the main things that I will take out of this trip are the realizations and new knowledge that I have found. I have learned a lot, the differences between France and the US (may it be school, home life, the food, etc.), and how hard it is to learn new things in French… I have also learned about living in a small town and so much more about the different expectations and daily routines that people have in France and how they relate to those in America. It is really crazy to think that for my whole life I have only thought, known and been comfortable with my own surroundings when there are so many more places to explore in the world.

Also, because this will be last blog post, I want to say a huge thank you to a few people. The first being Camille, for having so many fun times together over the course of these past 6 months and always remaining super positive and energetic the entire time. And to Camille’s family for welcoming me into their home and making me feel comfortable and included. And of course a big thanks to my family for letting me have this experience and to Esther and Kristin for helping with everything throughout this Passepartout program. I am so very thankful to everyone who helped create and support this adventure and am so happy that I got to have this amazing experience.

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