Friday, March 18, 2011

England, a very backwards country

This past week, I went to England with the high school.

I know, the American exchange student in France goes to England, but it was my only opportunity to go!
I could not miss out on a chance to see London, or to be surrounded with people with awesome accents :)
Oxford Castle

We left in the early afternoon Sunday March 13th, we took a coach bus so it took about twelve hours to get to the Eurotunnel.  We arrived in Oxford around 8am, and we were all half asleep.  That day was a very long day, walking around and trying to pay attention to tour guides in English when you only got two hours of sleep the night before is very hard.  Either way I enjoyed it very much and the Christ Church College was very beautiful.
Christ Church College
We also got a short tour of Oxford castle which was very interesting and filled with legends and history about the past prisoners that were housed there.
Ring any bells?

That night we met our host families and went to sleep very early.  The next day was an early wake up for another long day, this time at Winchester and Windsor.  In the morning we visited the Winchester College, a very prestigious all boys private school.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside of the school grounds, neither of the buildings nor of the boys.
All of the girls on the tour were sad about this last fact, and we were not able to visit the classrooms and the only boys we saw were those who were outside.
Windsor Castle

That afternoon we went to Windsor to visit the castle.  The Windsor Castle is enormous, and it houses a lot of history of England.  We got an audio tour of the castle, I took English and didn't feel weird, because we were in England and half of our group took it in English.

Bridge of Sighs, St. John's College
Wednesday we went to Cambridge to visit the town and the many colleges that are housed there.  We got a tour of St. John's College but also got to see Trinity College and King's College.  We got a short tour in a punting boat, a man pushed us with a long rod.  The boat ride was very relaxing and the guide was very interested by my American accent, he also had a fun time making fun of it.

Picadilly Circus
Finally we got to London on Thursday, I am so happy that I was able to visit the capital because I have never been in England and do not know when I will return.  We walked around the city and saw all of the big sites, the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Pariliament,  Picadilly Circus and Covent Garden.  Covent Garden kind of reminded me of Fanueil Hall in Boston.

London Eye
I had realized that the English do a lot of things backwards, or inversely of the European Union.  They drive on the left side of the road, which was hard to get used to, they use a different currency (£ pounds), they also use miles and pounds instead of kilometers and kilograms. I know that half of those things that I listed correspond to the United States also, but it is normal for us, we are not part of Europe.  It is just kind of confusing why the UK does not adopt the Metric system. Any suggestions?

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Despite all of that and the not so beautiful weather, I had a great time and do not regret going.

Buckingham Palace
I hope that I can come back some day to really visit all of the sites, instead of just seeing them from a distance.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vacances de Février with lots of ski!

This long vacation has now come to an end.

This was a really great vacation with a lot of nice memories and a whole new world of ski!

I absolutely love skiing, I progressed very quickly and I am actually good at it.  It is a nice sport, you don't have to go fast to have fun.
I took ski lessons all of the first week and practiced my skills, then the second week I went skiing with the rest of the family.  I had a really great time and I am so happy that I got the chance to meet and get along nicely with the extended family.  It really meant a lot to me when they all told me what progress I have made and that they enjoyed spending the week with me.

Another amazing vacation is over... yet I am still not going back to school!
I am leaving for England in an hour and I can't wait to speak English again.  Haha, I will most likely prefer speaking French, I actually have to think when I speak English now. There are some sayings that I use all of the time in French, but have no idea how to say in English.  In fact I feel much more comfortable speaking French now.  I have also been dreaming and thinking in French for a while now, it is kind of weird, but nice.

I am very happy that I got the chance to learn how to ski, because now I can drag my parents to the slopes with me when I come home! 

A little tid bit : It is very important to prepare meals in advance when you have more than 10 people coming to live in your house for two weeks.

It is also important to have very big pans so that you can cook for everyone at once and not have to do two servings.  Either way, it is nice to have people over and to share memories with them.  Hopefully I will be able to come back next year and do some more skiing with the family.  I can't believe that I will not see the extended family again this year.

Well, I am off to finish some last minute packing!  Do not worry, I will be back Friday so you can look out for a post next weekend. 

I am about to enter the world of the an American exchange student living in France.

Wish me luck!