France – Day 16

I had my first group French lesson today. It went well but I found myself somewhat down afterwards. 

After my lesson I went to have a rest in my room as it was quite cold and rainy outside. 

After dinner I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather. I sat down in the grass and meditated for a while. I am not sure how long I meditated for but it definitely helped me be present and calm. 

  
The biggest lesson that I am just starting to learn is to slow down. I have a tendency (as I am sure a lot of you do too) to focus on getting things finished as soon as possible, or learning something as fast as possible.

I am not sure why I feel the need to rush things. It’s okay to not know where I am going in this life, it’s okay to feel absolutely terrified by it sometimes, and it’s okay to cry. 

It’s in moments like these when I am extremely terrified that I need to sit down and meditate. Somehow meditating always helps to centre and calm me. 

There really is no rush, I am here to enjoy life so I need to sit down, breathe, and enjoy.

France – Day 15

Today I had my second French lesson. I am still learning the basics of course, but I do feel as though quite a bit of the French I have known before is starting to come back. 

While I am learning it I have come to realize that I cannot compare how I am doing to how someone else is doing. I need to focus on my progression and my learning in order to make the most of my lessons here. 

I think languages are so fascinating, one of the most fundamental ways of meeting, getting to know and connecting with people. The more I learn about different languages and cultures I want to learn more about them. 

I spent the remainder of the day doing my work for the internship. After, I did some yoga. And then it was my turn to cook dinner for the group – I made spaghetti (I know creative ha). Following dinner our group went down to the lake and had some delicious desserts at a local restaurant. Yummy! 
   
      

France – Day 14

Today I got up early to go into Angoulême for the day. I woke up before the sunrise, so it was very peaceful when I got up. 
  

I had a croissant, jus d’orange et chocolat chaud for breakfast. Yummy! I the rest of the day was spent running errands with a fellow volunteer at my internship. 

   
 

When I returned to Brossac I went to relax in my room and experienced my first bout of loneliness in France. I guess at the two week mark that is to be expected. 

I love traveling, but I feel as though I was using this trip as a means to escape my life at home. Not that my life back home is bad, it’s really wonderful, I just am at a stage in my life where things are no longer crystal clear. 

I have graduated and I have no response to the “so what do you do in Canada question?”. To which my response is usually “Honestly, I have no clue, I am so lost”. 

I always need to remind myself to slow down. I have a tendency to rush everything. I am in such a hurry to start a career, buy an apartment, and figure out my life in general. 

But really, why am I in a hurry? I am 22 years old, young, and sometimes it is exciting thinking about all of the possibilities in this life. Life is full of possibilities, opportunity, adventure. Why rush when you can sit back and enjoy the ride? 

Happiness is a journey not a destination” – Unknown 

France – Day 12 & 13

I forgot to post yesterday! Oops! So here is yesterday’s post and today’s post combined! 

Day 12

Today I had my first French lesson/assessment. I was quite nervous for it, but I think it went rather well. Growing up I had French classes from grade 1 until grade 9, but since then I haven’t had much opportunity to practice. 

I was pretty happy with the amount of French that was starting to come back after speaking with my instructor for a bit. I am definitely looking forward to having more lessons and learning the French language. 

After my assessment I joined the rest of the group at the marché in Chalais. Every Monday the people in the village of Chalais host a large market with various vendors. They had a lot of local foods, clothing, and more. I forgot to take a picture of it as I only had a few minutes to look around. 

The rest of the afternoon was very relaxing and then I learned what I will be doing during my internship. I will mostly be dealing with any applications, and general inquires that come from people interested in volunteering or interning. 

Day 13

 Today was my first full work day. I worked from 8:30am -4:30pm. I spent my time sorting through all the applications. 

After I finished my work I did a 45 yoga practice. Much needed and very enjoyable. 


France – Day 11 

This morning I went to a pretty large flee market. There were probably about 50 or so vendors there selling all sorts of goodies – clothing, household items, DVDs, furniture, candy, churros. 

Of course I had to try the churros. They were delicious, I dipped them into a pot of Nutella – yum! I also bought some interesting gummy candies while there. Also very yummy! 
  

Later in the afternoon, I went to a local football match. That was fun to watch, got to see several players get rather angry and yell what I could only guess were angry things at one another. Very interesting experience none the less. 
  

After the match I relaxed a bit and then did 45 minutes of yoga. It was wonderful to be back on my mat! As I now have access to a kitchen, I was able to make myself a yummy dinner. Stir fry of course. 

  

France – Day 10

I am officially out of Paris. I checked out of my hostel this morning, and made my way to the train station to catch the train south. 

I gave myself about two hours at the train station and I am sure glad I did. I had pre-booked my ticket via loco2.com. When I got to the station I had some difficulty figuring out where and what I was supposed to do. I spoke with several attendants with varying levels of English, who all directed me towards the 2nd floor. 
By the time I made it to the 2nd floor I was tired and getting concerned that my ticket was a fraud and that I would have to purchase another one. 

Luckily, when I got the front of the line my reservation was found and my tickets printed. 

My journey on the train was about 4 hours, with one transfer. Overall, the process was fairly simple, but the station in Paris was the most confusing bit. 

  

I arrived in Chalais at about 6:30pm or 18h30. Someone from my volunteer placement picked me up at the station and took me to the residence where I will be staying for about 4 weeks. 
I will be interning here, helping out with applications, other things and learning to speak French at the same time. I will be getting about 3 French lessons a week. 

Four of us went out for dinner at a local restaurant. I was starving as I had  not eaten anything for lunch. 

I am excited for what this opportunity brings. I am looking forward to being pushed beyond my comfort zone, meeting new people and learning a new language. 

France – Day 9 

Today is my last full day in Paris. 

I really love this city. It is stunning and charming. Of course it can be a little noisy and smelly at times but that is a part of its charm. 

I spent the day by Norte-Dame cathedral. When I came out of the station I stumbled upon a very small street market. There were some jewelry and clothing vendors, an olive and tapenade vendor, a juice bar, and some vendors offering baked goods. I bought myself a freshly baked pretzel, and a banana, strawberry and freshly squeezed orange juice smoothie. 
   
 

I sat by the canal, read my book, wrote in my journal, people watched. I realized I do this a lot. It’s actually probably one of my favourite things to do. 

I then made my way to the Juice It again as I was craving another Açai bowl, I bought two. At this point I just did some wandering, and I stumbled onto another little street market which had some jewelry and clothing and food vendors. I bought my first silk scarf here in Paris. 

Before leaving the market I stumbled upon a beer festival called “The Place to Beer”. It is a 3 day festival educating, celebrating and offering beer. They had beer tasting competitions, quizzes, information sessions, a beer garden and more. If my French was better I am sure I would have enjoyed it more. 

   
 
I then went back to my hostel to relax, and pack up all of my things for tomorrow. I ended the evening off by reading my book overlooking the canal . The view is a little obstructed in the picture as I was sitting on the ground but a pretty great view nonetheless.