What will I remember?

While I am upon this voyage, I find myself pondering a most curious idea… Later on in my life long after I this voyage is over, long after my high school career is over, long after my ties with bush have receded into the ever changing permanence of memory, what will I remember from this trip? Something tells me:

I will remember, biking to the lycée every morning, the cold biting my white knuckles as they firmly grip the handlebars of the ancient bike.

I will remember, standing in the courtyard in the morning listening to the birds of the bises chirping on either side of the students rosy faces.

I will remember, the annoying hum of the fan in the bathroom, that becomes just a little bit fainter when one closes the door.

I will remember, the feeling of cool, evening air flooding into my room, as I open the wide window with crack and rest myself on the bed.

I will remember, the must of age, permeating the bones of the library, as it guards its tomes of teen fiction and comics.

I will remember, the agonizing boredom of the lunch line, waiting while watching others eat, eager to rest my feet.

I will remember, running up the edge of the world and peering out over a vast hamlet, roofs ablaze as the sun sheds its dying light.

I will remember, the voice of elton john permeating the cracks between classes, as I gaze a vast ocean of light, blue stretch from either side of my comprehension, above my head.

Indeed, something tells me that I will remember a thing or two.

 

 

Add-On Trip to England

 

I got to do a special trip just four days after landing in France: I got to take a weeklong trip to England! It sure is different because when in France, you really can just get up and drive to England for the day or the week, or another country of preference, since they’re all so much closer than the US is! I had known before coming to France that I would be going, and there was a lot of paperwork to do, but I find that it was worth it even with the quick country change.

We woke up at 2 in the morning to meet the bus at the school and leave by 3:30. We drove for about 4 hours to catch an 8:30 Brittany Ferry from the Caen dock to Portsmouth, England, arriving at about 1:30 England time (there was a one hour time change).

We saw Stonehenge, spent two days in Manchester walking around the Northern Quarter and Castlefield, and spent a day in Liverpool looking through a few museums. My favorite was the Merseyside Maritime Museum, since it had floors for both the Titanic and the Lusitania. Of course, I listened to some Beatles music too while in the bus.

There were about 60 of us on the trip. (60 kids – that is my whole grade at Bush!) While in England, we stayed in groups of three or four in host families. My host family was incredibly nice. There were three kids: two boys, 9 and 13, and a young girl who was 2 and absolutely adorable.

All in all, the England trip was a great experience and one that I wouldn’t have ever had, had I not decided to do the Passepartout Program. It sure was neat being in a group of French students going to England, and my brain was going back and forth from French to English when speaking to my English host family and the other French kids in my homestay group!

-Grace Farwell

Grace Farwell: Week Three in Chatêau Gontier

Today officially marks my third week in France, and already I have done so many new activities and discovered a different way of living. I’ve encountered similarities and differences, of which I can begin to describe here.

  1. School
    1. I am attending Lycée Victor Hugo, a high school with 750 students. That already is a major difference, having come from the Bush high school of just about 200 or so.
    2. The grades here are different. Instead of having freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, they have got seconde, première, and terminale. I am a student of 1ES2, meaning that I am in the grade première and I am doing the ES course, which is social economics.
    3. Here, I am currently enrolled in nine different classes, but luckily they don’t all meet every day. There are eight hours of class periods a day, with lunch that opens at 11:30 and goes until 1:25. The class periods last for one hour, an hour and a half, or two hours, but we do also have breaks and free periods.
  1. Family life
    1. I really love my family here. I live with the Bouteloups: Sophie, the mother, Eric, the father, Camille, my host, and Leá, her younger sister. There is a dog named Laska as well as a rabbit. It sure is different to be in a family with three girls now, as opposed to my house with my two brothers.
    2. I live in the country. I attend school in the actual city of Chatêau Gontier, however I live in the small village called Saint Denis d’Anjou. My neighbor is a pony, and from outside my bedroom window I see a field of cows. Coming from Seattle with all the cars and people and traffic and constant movement, it certainly is different – yet tranquil – to live out here.

All in all, I am having a very good time in France, and I still have seven more weeks to go!

-Grace Farwell