Margaret-Kay, outbound to France

So I'm very late with submitting my second journal so I figured I'll submit a bunch of journals this week catching y'all up on what I've been up to in the past three-ish months.

The Month of October:
On October 11th I went to the Circus with my host district. The host district likes for exchange students to have at least one organized event together each month so for the month of October it was the circus. I've never been to a circus with animals before and if I'm truly being honest it was sad. The other exchange students agreed with me on that so I don't feel too bad about saying that. The elephants had discoloration due to stress and the tigers would get whipped even if they did the trick correctly. It wasn't just animals though. There were acrobats and dancers and those parts were really cool.

October 18th was the first day of the school vacation for the fall. Every 7 weeks there is a school vacation for 2 weeks. The first weekend I went with my host parents to meet my host dad's family near Nancy. I got to see the Château de Lunéville AKA le petit Versailles. I also got to visit Nancy, which is one of the most beautiful cities I've been to. I learned a new culture with my host-dad's family. It made me greatful for my family at home and their table manners consisting of not smacking food when eating. Though I recognize that neither is right or wrong, I've also realized it is okay to have a preference of one culture to another whether your preference is the new culture or the old. At first I didn't realize this and I felt guilty for not wanting the culture that I was being exposed to, to be my culture but now I understand that it's okay not to like every little thing about everything. The day we headed home, we stopped at a city made out of gorgeous stone. It was raining the day we visited but it made everything even more beautiful. The day before that we had visited a fort that had a zoo, aquarium, and other cool stuff including heights, which my host-dad couldn't handle and had to be walked down by a nice family we met at the very top (my host-mom couldn't stop laughing and after he found it funny as well).

I got back from the northernish area of France on Monday/Tuesday-ish then left for the south of France Thursday afternoon. I went with my step-host parents to St. Maxime where we stayed with my step-host mom's parents. It was so wonderful. I got to visit St. Tropez, play tennis over looking the sea in St. Maxime, eat the biggest/best hamburger of my life and just relax. The house has an infinity pool that looks over the sea so I took several naps in that general location. The family was so nice. We talked in a mixture of French and English because literally everyone in France wants to talk with me in English even when I beg them to talk to me in French. It worked out though because like in most situations I talked in French and they talked in English and if I wanted to know how to say a phrase they used, I would just ask. We got back Saturday evening but my step-host mom took a train 30 minutes later to Paris so it was just me and my step-host dad at the house. We had the best time together though.

We helped my step-host mom's sister clean out her storage area for about an hour then went home where I showered and napped while my step-host dad worked in the garden: After, we had the most chill dinner: microwaved chicken and carrots while watching the news then the last Harry Potter movie (in French with French subtitles), followed up by home made apple sauce for dessert.

The rest of the vacation was bleh. I slept in a lot and hung out with some exchange student friends in Lyon. I went to an aweful Halloween party (if the term party could even be used for it) with some kids from school where we watched 2 people play Just Dance, tried to explain s'mores, and ended up just wishing I had stayed at home. My step-host family picked me up the next day though and we got to spend the weekend together. We played ping pong, went on a 2 hour bike ride (in which I fell 2x and got stuck in a barbed wire fence), and got to spend family time together.

That was the month of October. It was filled with lots of traveling, lots of eating, lots of sleeping, and lots of learning. I'd like to say an overwhelming thanks to Rotary in Florida and in France for giving me such amazing memories and experiences that I can carry with me for the rest of my life. I have honestly been able to do so much and see so much and I can't express my gratitude enough.