Carley, outbound to France

And yet another amazing month in this amazing country. I just recently got back from my first skiing trip with my family in Les Houches and I can't describe the amazing-ness of it. From the north of France to the South/east it was an 7 hour drive without traffic...And of course there is always traffic. During those 8/9 hours in the car I really didn't know what to expect. Quiet frankly I was extremely scared. Scared of the possible endless ways that I could break something or end up skiing the wrong direction and going off the tracks and getting lost, or even finding myself on the biggest slope with no way to get down. But it literally turned out the complete opposite.

The first day arriving it was oftly late, so we didn't ski the first day. So we spent the day renting the skis and trying on the ski boots. NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE SKI BOOTS. The first time trying them on I literally almost broke my foot because I could not get my foot in. And let's not mention the fact of buckling them either. My host parents got me skiing lessons so every morning at 9-11:30 I was with 9 other French/English beginners all older than me, and just as experienced as me. By experienced I mean no experience what so ever. It was so cool how I was able to talk with the French people in French and the English people in English.

I like to think my skiing a lot like my exchange. At first, it literally seemed impossible to get ahold of. Always making mistakes and falling. So many times feeling like just giving up would be easier. But with each day came massive progression and learning from my mistakes. Everyday watching myself get better and better. Shortly by the end of my week with my family I was skiing like a pro! Not literally a pro, BUT a pro compared to the first day. No doubt I have some pretty gnarly bruises and nearly died 20 times from my falls, but despite it all I really do love skiing!! There was a lot of times I would feel bad because I'm obviously not as advanced as my family so we couldn't do the big slopes together as a family. But the slopes I could do with them was extremely fun.

The weather wasn't always the best, but when it was sunny out, you could ski to one of the slopes where you can find a little restaurant, and at the restaurant you can find people bathing themselves in the sun with all of their ski gear on. It literally was one of the funniest things ever. With the sun being out, you already know the Florida girl I am, I took that chance and soaked up some rays too! Being the first time I've had a chance since I've arrived but minus the bathing suits. But quiet frankly it was extremely warm, and I never quite found myself to be cold. My tanline right now is extremely cool also. I'm nice and brown (with a little bit on sunburn) on my face. BUT I also have a horrible tanline from my sunglasses and the fact the tan ends at my chin, Making it clearly obvious I have been skiing. How weird is that tho? Being able to get just as tan skiing as going to the beach.

When skiing and staying in the mountains, the traditional food is cheese and this kind of "sausage" as google translated it as. (note:I know a lot of food/words in French but not English so it makes it hard to distinguish). So everynight consided of something with cheese. IT WAS AAMAAZZZINNNGGGG and literally the greatest cheese that I've ever had in my entire life! The last day of my ski class and before we left was actually a little hard with saying goodbye to my ski teacher and the other people in my ski class. Just thinking that I'll never see them again, and making a genuine friendship with them in such a short amount of time. I found myself slowly starting to make myself at home in the mountains.

Which is extremely weird to say thus being that I was there for only a week but still. Having such regular routines and people in my life, it started to become a way of life and to leave it was hard. Along with the good-byes on the last day, my family signed us up for this special kind of sledding with 20 other people. It started after the slopes closed, so we had the whole* ski resort to ourselves. The coolest part is we slid from the top of the moutain to the bottom. Taking about 45 mins and a lot of falling, it was definetely something I will never forget. That week is definietly a week I will never forget and will cherish forever. I'm so beyond grateful to of had such a chance!

This past Saturday marked my 200th day in France! To be completely honest it was a really semi emotional day for me and other exchange students. Time is definetly not on our side and going by way faster than any of us want. I love every exchange student I meet, and not one once of me wants to leave them or this beautiful country I now call my home. To celebrate our 200th day, we had at least 40 exchange students from my district and another district meet up for a picnic in Lille. The whole day was spent with eating, laughing, and of course dancing in public.

A day with exchange students is always a day well spent. Slowly I see my English getting worse and worse. Whenever someone talks to me in English or asks me something in English I find myself getting lost and literally searching for the words or what I want to say. It's extremely weird and I don't know how to take it! I find myself talking with different accents and not speaking properly. It's just super super weird, but it's a cool weird and I really like it.

Not to mention this weekend my parents will be arriving!!! When my parents arrive we will be traveling around Europe visiting our former exchange students. So shortly after my parents leave, I will be leaving for my Europe bus trip where I will be traveling around for 12 days and going to 7 different countries! HOW AMAZINNNNNNNNNNG!

Just one last time, a huge thank you to the Rotary for giving me this beyong amazing oppurtunity and changing my life. This honestly has been the greatest 200 days of my entire life, and I never want it to end.