From Nancy Kryven, Language Department:
The American song might be: “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, but for us here in France it’s more like we all left a little bit of ourselves in Paris. One of the big news items here is the pollution in Paris and we indeed were witness to that. Despite the haze even at night, we were all fascinated by the lights, sights, and sounds of Paris. Our amazing group of students just loved exploring this fabulous city. The Bateau Mouche, La Tour Eiffel, and our play in the Quartier Latin were our evening adventures, with lots of museum and “quartier” exploring during the day. This group of cherubs were so wonderful and cooperative that they earned lots of time for shopping. My only hope is that they spent some euros for gifts for their own families. Jyles discovered French pastries and always had a bag of something tasty in her room.
Our four gorgeous young men on the trip just had to eat dinner at Mc Do our first evening in Paris. Olivia wasn’t feeling well most of this evening, but she felt better the next afternoon. The next day Jacob F. was also feeling a bit “iffy” because of something he had eaten, but after a great bowl of French vegetable soup, he felt great. Jill ate snails and many of the girls ate the famous French onion soup!
We have been blessed with great weather this entire time. It’s the first time I ever remember being in Paris when it wasn’t raining! It’s now Monday and the forecast continues to be for warm weather.
Until the next time….
A bientot, Nancy
So far France has been amazing. We started working at our crèches (daycares) on Monday and at first I was very nervous because I worried my French wasn’t sufficient. However, the service has been extremely rewarding. When Jacob and I first arrived, the children started whispering in French: “the Americans are here!” and crowded around us. This was intimidating but I quickly caught on. They spoke very fast which is the most difficult thing I encountered. They also tend to slur their language and use common slang which we are not taught in class. But for the most part I understand them and thoroughly enjoy their company. I am excited for what next week will bring.
Service was fun so far. The first day, I had to play with the kids and help them do some “bricolage” (building craft project). It was really funny watching the kids all call the teacher at the same time because they had no idea what to do.
The second day, there was a carnival that we had to go to. I helped them put their costumes on them, and then we left. We walked to where all the school regrouped and watched some shows set up for the kids. It was wonderful.
The moment we stepped off the plane in France, I was completely overcome with astonishment. I couldn’t believe we were finally here! We walked to the arrivals, and to my delight, our host families were waiting for us. My host Camille found me before I found her. So began my tentative French conversation with her and her father. They drove me to their house, and I marveled at the wide expanse of land that France had. It was so incredibly green.
At her house I met her mom and she was so warm and welcoming. The whole family made me feel welcome.
The next day, Camille, her mom, her aunt, and I went to Strasbourg, with her sister Caroline. She was very lovely! She studies several languages including English, so I was able to have a decent conversation with her in English as well as French.
Strasbourg is one of the prettiest cities I have ever seen. It is very grand, historical, and stunning. There was a kind of elegant grandeur about the buildings and the streets. We visited the cathedral and climbed over 300 steps to the top. The view was breathtaking!
On Sunday, we visited Camille’s grandparents. They were so sweet! We went to the park near their apartment and they showed me the seagulls. It was very leisurely and I loved it. Then, we ate together, and I got to listen to them speak to each other in French. I wasn’t able to understand a lot of what they were saying because they were speaking so fast but all in all, it was a fantastic first weekend.