Chandler Nelson
2012-13 Outbound to France
Hometown: Ponte Vedra, FL
School: Ponte Vedra High School
Sponsor: District 6970, FL
Host: District 1780, Thailand
The Rotary Club of Voiron


December 26, 2013

I will send a more descriptive journal soon, but this one is because I have a deadline and I am not at home with my computer.

I cannot begin to describe to you everything I have experienced in the past two months. It’s just not possible. To try and tell you what it feels like to live in another country is ridiculous. It is something that you have to experience on your own, and even then it is unique to every person. That is why I encourage every kid to go on an exchange. Everyday, I try new things. I learn new things. I see new things. And I experience new things.

Since the day I arrived in France I have been confused, happy, surprised, and tired. I guess because your brain is constantly listening and working when everything is in another language, you are tired much more often. This is hard for me, because not only is it hard to understand when people talk in another language super fast, it is even harder when you are dead tired. On top of that I workout, do judo and basketball here. I fell asleep in class once and I guess I snored pretty loud and the teacher was upset… I won’t do that again.

The food here is amazing! You’re like Of course it is, It’s France! No, you don’t understand. I live on a farm in the mountains and almost everything we eat is natural. I feel like I eat twice as much as I did in the United States, and I just sit back and laugh at all the exchange students who are gaining weight. I think of have gained 4-5 lbs but I’m pretty sure it’s muscle.

I feel like I still suck at French :/ My host mom and some of my friends tell me I am doing well in French but when you don’t understand 80% of the things people say. It’s hard to believe them. I mean yeah I have improved, but I wish I would learn faster.

I would like to thank Rotary, Mrs. Paula, My family, my friends here, my friends in the US, my host family, and God for helping me accomplish everything. I will not let you all down. Don’t worry about me, and enjoy yourselves.

December 26, 2016

Joyeux Noël!
My Christmas here was very unique. It really didn't feel like Christmas to me. Erin, a girl from South Africa who did an exchange with my host family 3 years ago, is here for our Christmas Break (which is her Summer Break). She is really helping me right now, because everyone is out of town, I'm kinda bored, and she is fun to talk to. On Christmas Eve we all went to the Catholic Church in the village for the Christmas Mass. It was rather boring and insanely hot because basically the whole village was packed into this one tiny church. Then Christmas morning we all got up at 7 am because Emma and Jean Paul (My host sister and my host dad) had to go to work as ski monitors from 8am to 5pm. (We, is Nathan, Sylvie, Emma, Erin, Jean-Paul, and then my three grandparents.) We all opened our gifts, I got a jacket, and everything I need to snowboard for the whole year here for my host parents, and then right after Emma and Jean Paul left. Afterwards we kinda just chilled and then prepared some of the food for lunch. Around 11 my host Aunt and her family arrived and we had a huge lunch that lasted 3 hours. I tried Fois Gras (duck liver), oysters for the first time, escargot (snails), and various cakes, bonbons, cookies, and other desserts. After I did a puzzle and that was my Christmas... I also Skyped with my family which was cool. I hope they are happy with the gifts I sent them. I am happy here but a lot of times it is really difficult. My host siblings can be so freaking annoying sometimes, and then the stress of life and trying to do homework during the break really drains my morale. If Erin wasn't here my Christmas would have been a lot worse. I try to snowboard as often as possible. I love snowboarding now, it is so fun and gets me away from the world. For me it can be a rush, or it can be relaxing. I am happy here and love experiencing new things. I miss everyone in the U.S. Hope you had a Merry Christmas <3

April 11, 2013

Wow, it's been forever since I last wrote a journal here. I write in my personal journal every week but never here. If anyone actually reads this, I'm sorry I haven't written more often.

The past couple months have honestly been some o the hardest and depressing months I've ever had in my life. I always seem to feel alone here in Bois Barbu. We rarely go out and there isn't much to do in Villard. Having said that I have also had some of the BEST moments I have ever had in my life! I have visited Lyon, Grenoble, Voiron and Valence a couple times since I last wrote. In Lyon I ate at a Chinese restaurant with my host mom and host bother. Then my host mom and I went and did a tour of a Roman amphitheater which was incredibly huge! At Valence I went with my host mom's family to a beautiful park which was right next to a big shopping plaza. I had so much fun because there were animals (horses, ducks, geese) that we got to see. I went to Voiron this past weekend for a get together with my Rotary club (my 2nd since I've been here :P ). It was ok, my friend Justine, her two sisters, and I were the only kids there, but we had a good time all the sam e. We danced the salsa and the waltz and then the Rotarians sang karaoke! The next day I went with some friends to Grenoble to a sort of fair they have once a year. We had so much fun riding the attractions and eating candy apples! After that we drank some Monster energy drinks and played laser tag! Oh my Goodness, It was sooo much fun!

I am going to go out on a limb and say I'm fluent in French now. I love it! I can talk with every one easily and I'm no longer scared to talk to my professors now haha! I seem to be having more trouble speaking English then French. My Spanish is actually doing better now too :)

It's hard to realize that there are really only about 2 months left, but I'm sure they will be the best!