Saturday, September 10, 2011

Paris !

September 1st, 2011

Lovely, Beautiful, Magical, and I didn't even see much of this spectacular city. My host mom took me to visit Paris for a bit with my host brother. We went on a train that got us there in about 40min or so; it sure felt a lot faster than traveling by car. As well as relaxing to say the least. 
 Paris is a huge city that has so much to offer therefore I got tired before I could see all the iconic landmarks. Well part of the reason why I did get tired was because The Eiffel Tower was the first thing on the list to visit. After making our way through the undergrounds of Paris (metros), we made it to the famous antenna, because that is what it is in fact. Actually seeing it in person is so surreal, I honestly can't describe how it felt, I was in awe ! Pictures and videos can not justify the impact it leaves on its beholders. Absolutely nothing. 

At the Eiffel Tower, we were planing on taking the elevator that takes you to the top, but the line ended up being immensely huge to wait on, so my host brother and I decided to take the stairs. Which at first sounded like a great idea, No waiting in line, but I was probably regretting that thought 668 steps later. But my oh my, what an accomplishment ! I actually hiked the Eiffel Tower on foot, pretty amazing if I do say so myself. The views are spectacular as well !
The line for the elevator. Lazy tourists, jk

  After the Tower, we headed to the Champs Elysee, where so many people of all countries and France strut the streets. It's a massive area with so many high end shops and universal favorites like McDonald's.
Man was I tired after all the walking and climbing. I was done for the day without even having seen other famous Paris locations. The good thing is that I live somewhat close to this city, so there is no doubt that I'll be going back.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Never Ending Dinners

I don't know if I will ever get used to family dinners. I'm not talking about family as in household, but when we have visitors. Just to clear that out.
They can literally take about four hours composed of eating delicious French food, talking about just about anything: art, history, politics... I believe so, I don't speak French yet. But with the little knowledge I have, I believe that's what they talk about, OK.
So far I have only had two long dinners, and they both left me exhausted. At first I start off well and alert, trying to understand; picking out words here and there. Towards the end though, hmm, I'm so worn out. I guess my brain tries to process too much with all the conversations going on at once. French French French Francais Francais Francais, yes, too much. So I just sit there and eat. Best thing to do.
Speaking about food. There's an abundance on that too. So many different servings of almost everything. From the first dinner, I have learned to grab small portions so I can make it to dessert, which is always good cake. Spoons are used to eat cake by the way.
I don't have a picture of dinner, but here's a picture of the family pet Mayo :p

First Week

August 28, 2011

Dieppe is such an amazing and beautiful city that has so much history, as does all of France, but more particularly WW2 history. It's a coast city, but instead of the beaches having sand, they have pebbles, sort of different from what I'm used to.
 My host parents took me along to just cruise around the city and look around since it was a Sunday and most stores are closed, but surprisingly there was a lot of people. Something I did hear an abundance of was English; British English of course. I guess I wasn't so surprised since many people can take a ferry from there to go to England.
While in Dieppe my family and I went on a nice bumpy boat trip to see the nice scenery  that the shores of Dieppe has to offer. Really nice.

My first French Crepe :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quatrième Jour

4th Day

Today was somewhat more a chill day. I woke up early, which is a lot different from my normal like back in America. Actually two nights ago I woke up at 2am because there was a massive rain storm that woke me up because it caused the window sills to move all over the place, so I had to close them. I really do enjoy keeping my window open, it's too cute :p.
Anyways, today I went with my host mam to buy my cell phooone ! So that's exciting. Phones here are pretty cheap I must say. I kept seeing phones for 1euro, which i think mine was too. Well I got my phone, but I somehow blocked it and now it won't work 'till Monday. Is coo, don't matter, I have no one to call, well txt since my plan consist of unlimited texting and about an hour of calling.

I wan to discuss stores, like Walmart type of stores. They are so so different from the ones back home. They are pretty advanced if I say so myself. You could either check out normally or carry around the laser that marks the prices and scan everything as you go along. I guess once you're finished you insert your credit card in the laser and it charges you. That's pretty new to me :p. I guess I'll have to take video of my time in a store someday  :))

First time in IKEA today. It is a huge ass store. 'nough said


I'd like to write what I do everyday so I can look back and remember what I did, but I'm pretty doubtful that's going to happen,, but I can try.

I'll start with yesterday.
So on August 26 my niice family took me to Chateau Versailles. It was about an hour and a half drive and well worth it. Versailles is a beautiful and antique city that has a feeling of the olden times :p. Think Marie Antoinette times. Speaking of which, her castle is so grand and lavishing. Makes me wonder how great the parties she through were. There was people from all over: Japs, Spanish, Brits, too many. Even though the weather wasn't all that great because of the cold wind and sprinkles, it was spectacular.
After wondering through the castle for a good maybe 3 hours or so, we went to eat at this really cute restaurant. Now keep in mind my french is pretty bad and this menu had no pictures, so I just had to wing it. I did love my dish, I believe it was escalopes, something like that, but my dessert... eh no. I ordered fromage, not knowing what is was. Turns out it's a Normandy cheese, and it was so strong, it just took one bite. I just settled for ice cream after that.

Surprisingly, not many people speak English, which is good for me, only one person has spoken to me in English since I've gotten here. It's weird how I understand what they are trying to say, I just wish I could reply with something other than, "yes", "i know", and other little things. Not even the young people speak english, and if they do, I guess they don't feel like it :p.Which they have every right to


Thursday, August 25, 2011


That pretty much explains it. I'm in France now, and it is just lovely. I arrived yesterday at about 1pm with an ok flight. It wasn't all that bad, but I didn't enjoy it much because, well, it was long.
Normandy is so green and very peaceful and it's not that far from Paris, probably about 2 hours I would say. I didn't tour around Paris, but on the way through it, I did get to see the notorious Eiffel Tour from the distance ! It was great feeling. I'm in France !

Both Elbeuf and Cadube-les-Elbeuf are beautiful towns that are just so different in their looks from the cities in the US. Cobblestone streets, Normandy architecture for their buildings that are so close to each other. Also the streets, woa, they are so tiny, I would say that a lane in Brownsville, TX is both lanes in comparison to them here.

My family is really great and patient. They are talkitive, as in French though, so I have to attempt to understand. A lot of the times I do understand what they are trying to say, maybe not word for word, but I get the picture.

Today I went to my future school to get my schedule. I don't really remember my classes, but I know I'm taking math, english literature, french, geography. I think, I'll repost when I'm sure. I also went to the store, think of walmart, but with other little stores inside it, to get my picture taken for my bus card and school.
my school

Seems as though everything is working out fine.

I smell really good food cooking downstairs :))

A bientot !!

Monday, August 22, 2011

When the Truth Is

The reason for this blog has finally come. My departure date has arrived. I guess the reality that I am leaving my comfort zone for a good 10-11 months is hitting me and my feelings differ. It's hard to say that I am completely excited and glad to be leaving because actually I'm not. Nostalgia is perhaps what I'm getting at the moment. I am not all that frightened, I'm just sort of sorry that my mom will spend this year alone without my presence. But I will make sure to keep in touch with this side of the world as much, yet as limited as possible; If that makes sense.

The luggage's are at their full capacity, and might I add, it was not a pleasant task to organize and eliminate clothing options. "Should this stay or go", it's a pretty difficult scenario to be placed in knowing I'll most likely buy stuff over in France and have to leave some of my now favorite clothing articles there for a lack of room. So, hopefully this does not have to happen.

Well I am looking forward to opening a new chapter in my life that I have waited for for quite a while now. Seeing all my friends moving on to their college lives makes my move somewhat easier, everyone moves on, why can't I. Therefore I'm heading out on a good cheery note.

When the truth is, I'll miss you

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eh... Stuff

Just a bunch of stuff has happened since my last visa post. Some positive others just blah. For starters, I got my wisdom teeth off recently so I've just been under meds and not all there. Let's go back to the Saturday of my last rotary meeting. So the meeting was more of a lunch where two of the three outbounds from this past year were and talked about their time abroad. Both of them went to Europe; one in Belgium and the other in France. There I received my business cards, which I'm not too satisfied about :p, more Rotary Texas pins to trade, and my name tag. It was an enriching experience over all.
I'm not that short, every one's just really tall :p

On the 25th of this month I purchased my plane ticket ! :D So that's always exciting. I'll be doing two stops, one in Dallas, TX and another in the London airport. English accents! Yea. I'm soso on this, I've never actually flown on my own, so I'm hoping not to miss my flight, but I have good times between flights. I'll be arriving in Paris at 1pm. Hopefully I'll be wide awake to sight-see if I'm taken :)).

A week after going in to get my visa, it arrived at my house. Now, I was excited to see it in the envelope, but once I saw my limit to be in the country, I was just disappointed. I honestly thought I would be given lee-way for an entire year. I wasn't planning on staying exactly a year, but I would have loved to stay for Bastille Day, which is like their Independence on the 14th of July. I have to return by July 1st, 2012 :/. My school in France doesn't even end by then, so this is the downer of France. I'm not excited to go anymore. If I do end up liking it, I'll have to be home before summer even starts. So I'm kind of hoping I want to come home early, I don't know. I'll see if I can do anything to extend it by a few weeks or days. Anything will help. I'd like to come back July 16th, sometime around there.


My sister left to Peru to do a semester in a University there yesterday ! I sometimes wonder 'what if' I would have chosen South America :DD. Oh well, c'est la vie. So that's about all that's been going on :))

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ah Yes, Success !

As I posted before, I had my visa appointment today, and it went very well. I had everything I needed which made everything go pretty fast. I thought that the people working in the consulate would be rude, but on contrary they were joking around with all the people they attended. It was pretty chill :)) So I should be receiving my passport with my visa in about ten days ! :DD Now, I just need the plane ticket and I'm good to go.


I stand corrected, I have 32 days until departure

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dreaded Visa

Yea... the visa appointment is just around the corner. I leave today to Houston, TX because that is where the nearest French consulate is at. That means a 6-7 hour drive of nothingness and thinking of all the negative scenarios that can happen with me not getting my visa in time :p. Well I'll update how my July 21st appointment with the frenchies goes.
My official last Rotary gathering is this upcoming Saturday, and I'm looking forward to it because I'll finally get my business cards and some other important things. Business cards are basically cards that have the student's information like email address, number, etc., and they give them out to people they meet. I like to refer to them as trading cards.
On an off note, I got contacts today, and it took me a good on and off hour to take them off... I'll make a better progress soon :))

36 days, i think...   : 3

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Form Is In !

Yes that's right, I have finally received the guarantee form (GF) that will allow me to commence the process of attaining my visa. I thought it would have been a two page thing, but it's more like a 10 page thing. Which is completely fine, since that means I get more information.
I will have a family of four: a mother named Veronique, a father named Patrick, a 20 year old brother named Maxime, and an 18 year old sister named Sophie. Unfortunately I will not spend time with my host sister because she'll be having an amazing year in South Korea. I think I've mentioned this in a previous post. I have been messaging with my host sister, but now since I have my host mother's email, I'll email her in terrible french soon :)). I hope my effort is much appreciated either way.

According to my GF, I will be receiving a monthly allowance of 60 Euros, which isn't too bad considering it's money I did not count on having. Now, about my future school. I will be in premiere, which is also known as 11th grade :/, in the literature (L) path. Now, if I didn't know better, I would be a bit upset about being in a grade with kids two years younger, but I've learned that the students in their final year, terminale, study so so so much that they really don't have time to do much; so I've heard, therefore I'm OK with 11th. Now about L being my career path... honestly I saw it coming since a majority of exchange students going to France get placed in this one out of Science (S) and Economics (ES), but I don't even enjoy English literature, never the less French literature. Not to mention I don't speak French, but I'm also happy with this because students in this field not only focus only on literature, but as well in geography and other languages.

In the end, I'm content with my placement so far. I'm really looking forward in boarding that plane on August 23rd.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Hosting Club

Hi there. News about my future home is coming in... somewhat fast, so that's always a plus. I still have not recieved my guarantee form, which basically shows where I'll be staying, host familiy info, school, etc etc, and I need this form to get my visa! I'm a bit worried about the visa process because I hear it's a real pain to go through the process :p, oh well, I suppose a study visa will look nice in my passport :)). Since the past time I've posted, I recieved the name of the rotary club that will be sponsoring me, and it will be Rotary Club d'Elbeuf sur Seine. I guess I could say I'm excited to go to France just about now, but it's alright, I can wait.
flag from the club

Onto other news, this past wednesday I went to go see Los Enanitos Verded with my sister :DD. They were really great! So many of m friends are getting ready to  go to college and I'm still "attempting" to get some French in my brain. I'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's About Toiime!

The long awaiting news for the question has found an answer. The question was, "Where in Normandy was I going to recide?", and now I know the answer to it!

I will live in a town called Caudebec les Elbeuf , it's a mouth-full, but lovely never the less. It might be a village compared to my almost 200,000 population of a city, with a approxamately 10,000 inhabitants. Not sure if that incudes the farmn animals... Anyways, all jokes aside. My host sister was the one to contact me via fb, and I learned that I will have a animated mother who works in the business area, a retired father, and am older brother. My host sister will be doing her exchange in South Korea, how exotic :).
Back to Caudebec les Elbeuf, I'm not going to lie, at first I was a bit shocked that I didn't get Rouen as my city because the French girl coming to my city is from there, so it's logical to assume I was going to that city. But after some poundiring, I'm very happy that I got a town of such a size. I'll be able to get around with no problem and maybe meet more people that way. Plus, after France, I'm going to attend a University that is huuuge in population, so it'd be nice to have a peaceful town :). It's also right along the famous Seine River and about an hour and thirty minutes from Paris!!!
Where it's located

Attractive Pictures of the place

The school I'll be attending is called Lycée André Maurois. It looks and offers many lovely classes! My host sister told me there is a teacher that teaches Spanish that is from South America, something like that!

Now to the end of my high school life in the US. Today was the last day I'd take classes at school. It's bittersweet to know I graduate on Saturday :))

Happy International Exchange Student's Day! :p

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Bit of an Update

Since my last post, I did e-mail the YEO of my district in France, and he was busy to send me the info I wanted :p. So I guess I'll keep playing the waiting game...
Last weekend I went to a Rotary convention where a lot of the members of the clubs in my district attended. The inbound and outbound exchange students also had to go, so they were the only ones that made it fun. I won't say that the entire convention was a bore, because there was some interesting speeches, but, most of it was kind of boring :p. I did however find out the name of the French student coming to my city! Nobody even told me, I noticed it in a PowerPoint my exchange coordinator did :p. I also got the notorious Rotary blazer, and got some pins from Brazil, Belgium, and my district to bedazzle it :D! So that lasted from Thursday afternoon to Sunday, but I left early Saturday because all the other students left to attend their prom. When I did get home I e-mailed the French student and found out she lives in Rouen!! It's a very lovely city, but I'm still not 100% sure that I am going there. More waiting I suppose.
few inbound students and the outbound crew

French inbound and me :)
new blazers :D

So that's about the interesting things that happened at that convention. Tomorrow I have my last inbound outbound meeting/party! :o I have to do a PowerPoint over France and introduce myself in French... I think I can achieve this. I should by now. The day is almost approaching!! Woaa :))

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Orientation

Well I had a mini orientation yesterday. We basically discussed the same information that we did on the first orientation. This one was just a one day thing unlike the first one which was about 3 days. There was just 5 outbound students there, and out of those, only two knew their first host families. I need to know pretty soon, I'll just email my YEO of France and ask him myself. Yeaa, that's what I'll do :))

French inbound and the girls from D.5930

To other non-exchange related news. My Prom was this past Friday, and it was an amazing day! Feels good being all glammed up :DD
Prom 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Orientation :D

It's been a while since I got back from the orientation. I left the 25th, Friday, and left early Sunday morning. It wasn't a long orientation, but it was efficient enough to get the message across. Surprisingly, I got kind of bored at times because it all seemed to redundant. We would wake up early, eat breakfast, clean up, talk a little about expectations, have free time, eat... etc. etc. But over all, I would give the experience a 9 out 10! I met a lot great people that share the same emotions as I do in beginning this journey. My district was the only district that knew where we were going. The other districts hadn't even mailed out their applications to their countries yet. I did meet a lot of inbound students, like a girl from Australia, another from the Solomon Islands and many more. It's fascinating to meet people from all corners of the globe, it really is :D. I can't wait for the next orientation in April... i think. Unfortunately, this time my district, 5930, won't be heading to New Braunfels for the next orientation because it is just too far, so we decided to make one down here. It's still good :))

Some of my roomies

Inbounds and Outbounds

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Primer Orientacion!!

Tomorrow I will be heading to New Braunfuls, TX for my first orientation! I'll finally meet more outbound students from many areas of the Lone Star State :D. I must say, I'm quite excited for this. Although, by missing school tomorrow, I will be left out of my schools panoramic picture. Where all the senior class takes a memorable picture. ;p. It's fine be me : )) I can't wait to graduate already! Please come quick.
Got my braces off after two years and a half :D; Feels great!
I'll update after I come back, which will be on Sunday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mi Cumple!!

Well today is my Birthday!! Sweet old 18. Yea. Next year today I'll be turning 19 in France! How exciting!
This past Sunday the district chairman of Normandy e-mailed me!! He introduced himself and all that jazz, and at one point in the e-mail he said he "knows the identity of my first host family", but he didn't tell me... He said he'll let my host counselor tell me. So this means I should be getting an emial from my host counselor too ?? Not too sure.

His E-mail

Welcome to Rotary Youth Exchange Normandy, and congratulations on being accepted for this wonderful opportunity. I know you must be excited and nervous about your upcoming year in FRANCE , and anxious to know where you will be, who you will be hosted by, and everything else about your exchange. So let me provide you with some information.
 My name is Jean-Ronny HUART , and I am the Chairman of Rotary Youth Exchange Normandy.
 I 'll inform you in the beginning of April about your host club

At this time , I will be able to tell you the identity of your first host family (or your host councellor will do it ). I know you will want to start communicating with them as soon as possible, and they will be anxious to hear from you as well
It is obvious that communication is the key to a successful exchange, so the better your knowledge of French when you arrive, the more successful you are likely to be. Spend whatever time you can, between now and your departure, learning and practicing as much of our language as possible. It will help you greatly from the moment you arrive.
Please , note that we authorize laptops only with moderate use during your exchange .
 If you have any questions, I would encourage you to ask me .

You are about to embark on a wonderful journey, an adventure of a lifetime, and we are happy to be part of that. I look forward to meeting you soon after your arrival and officially welcoming you !

With that said, Je suis vraiment enthousiasmé, Ouiii!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Where to..... :D

Readers, today was the day I discovered the long awaiting District number. I will be placed in district 1640, or also know as Normandy ! :DDDDD I'm really happy that I have a better knowledge of where I'm going, and I can research some more on this historic area of France. I can't wait to meet others that are also going to be exchange students, those are the people you can relate more to at the moment.

Where I'm headed to :)

Now, some nice photos of Normandy

Emarld Cliffs

Mont St. Michel


Thursday, January 6, 2011

You Should Be There!

According to the president of my YE district. My application should be safe and sound in France tomorrow (Friday)!!

I hope I hear what district I'll be placed in really really soon. :DD Yay!

Happy Hippo (German Chocolate)

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011... This means things should move faster

Yea, I sure do hope things move a whole lot faster than 2010. So far I finished my application in Dec., turned in all 5 copies of it, and the French people involved with my exchange want 2 copies of it. So, I'll be waiting for my RYE president to send them over. After that, I'll hopefully have my district number :DDD !!!
How exciting! Yes indeed. I'll most likely be placed in the north of France, either districts 1650, 1640, or 1520. I think, I could be entirely wrong though. We'll see.

Districts in France

I start school tomorrow :p

P.S. I now have a German sister living with me :)

Me and my German sister :))