Bonjour! “Are you ready for this once in a lifetime experience?” That’s what my French teacher said..
If you didn’t know, in last year’s December issue, I met my French correspondent. Different to everyone else’s, Cindy was confident and boisterous. I definitely thought 11- 20 June 2009 would be interesting. Cindy is the fourth youngest of five daughters and one son – and there are two dogs, four cats and three little newborn kittens in her bathroom.
After tearful goodbyes, we made a six-hour bus journey to Plymouth and about a six-hour ferry crossing to Roscoff. My bus buddy, Adie, started to eat her pizza slices and squish my strawberries, while I lost my grip on a bottle of Fanta and fell asleep in muffin crumbs on the boat.
It would only be an hour before we saw our French friends again.
Everybody was a bit tense, but I remembered that feeling again - like being a movie star. Having done the trip last year, I remembered that people would be excited to see us and were interested because we were from England! Of course the feeling made you queasy when they pointed and said something you still didn’t understand.
After breakfast at the school, we headed for a cheesy amusement park - including a sickness-prone Pirate Ship, and Le Bob’s - little seats with a propeller stick between your knees.
That Saturday was very French. I watched random cartoons with Cindy’s brother Antoine, who laughed at everything! And when his parents came back from church, we went shopping - which made me realise it doesn’t matter what language you speak, sisters do fall out.
After that everything seemed much easier. Meeting up with Naomi the next day, we went swimming, then to McDonalds; we watched French Twilight and spent about three hours with horses. They belonged to Naomi’s exchange partner, and it was great when I learned how to jump.
Things accelerated after that. I travelled around by car and it made me realise just how beautiful France is. We were all in Brittany; really rural, with an arrangement of various sized houses, some with bars on the windows while others had big white shutters. Parts of Brittany did remind me of England. There were a lot of young men in their 20s doing wheelies on motorbikes.
We had trips out, and did lots of shopping.
One of my favourite trips was visiting one of the biggest lighthouses in Europe. There were some amazing views from the very top to bottom. Seagulls flew randomly – and some heads did get pooped on. We even spotted a nest with chicks hatching.
Oceanopolis was the aquatic centre, with fish, seals, penguins, smiley sharks and a big turtle.
The last day was memorable. We waved bye to the family in their little pink car with flowers on, and I agreed with Cindy that we’d talk on MSN.
Before going on the ferry we went for some missed opportunities, including the seaweed factory, which some people will never forget. (If you ever go to any seaweed factory remember to take a peg!)
Before we knew it we were back in sunny Belper...
Au revoir, Christina x