My School

My School

Monday, September 26, 2011

La Nouvelle Année

We're only one week into the school year, and I already feel at home. Last Thursday, my host mom drove me to my three-hour ceramics class at La République, and while it was different than what I am used to, it was a great experience. In the United-States, most of the pottery classes deal with throwing on the wheel, but here, there is only hand-buiding, which is great for working on diversifying my technique. At the moment, I'm the only person in the class, but my teacher is very understanding, as she is from Hungary and French isn't her first language either. By the end of the three hours, I had made a cute, little monster out of pinch pots, and a bowl that doubles as a cat. To get home, I took the bus for the first time and didn't get lost, even though it was 22:00 and extremely dark outside.
Here is a picture of my "monster"! In reality, he's very sweet.
 On Sunday, my sister, Claire-Marie, had her meeting of "Les Scouts Unitaire de France" (Unified Scouts of France). It was extremely similar to Girl Scouts, except it has a Catholic connotation. Claire-Marie and her cousin Emmanuelle passed from the rank of Jeannettes and onto the rank of Guides, since this past weekend was the beginning of the Scouts' new year. Each rank is divided into colors, red blue, yellow, and green, and from there they are all divided into teams, or équipes, of eight. Boys and girls from the surrounding area came to support their équipes, picnic with their friends, and attend Mass. At the meeting it seemed like all the families knew each other, making it a great opportunity for the kids, but also a time for the parents to socialize.
Here, Emmanuelle and Claire-Marie salute their friends, as they prepare to move forward into the role of "les Guides".

Sunday, September 18, 2011


On Wednesday, after a six and a half hour flight and a five hour bus ride, I wasn't expecting much when I went to meet my host family. But, in my opinion, I have the best famille d'accueil in all of SYA. Besides my host mom, I have five siblings, two boys and three girls, and their ten cousins live right down the street! It's a huge family, but they're some of the kindest people I've ever met. Besides welcoming me into their home, they always make sure that I can understand what they're saying. When they're talking to me, I understand about 90% of what's going one, although whether or not I can respond is another story.
Thursday was all about rules and meeting the teachers, which isn't the most interesting subject considering that everyone was really jet-lagged. Friday wasn't much better, what with all the placement testing, but once it was over, all the SYA kids were looking forward to their first weekend in Rennes.
Saturday was mostly comprised of reading, playing cards, and putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. But Sunday was much better. My entire host family drove four hours south of Rennes to visit my host brother, Raphael, who is studying to be a priest. A car ride is pretty boring, so instead they dropped me off at their aunt's house. She has ten kids, three boys and seven girls. By 9:00, they were all up and ready to go to Mass. They go to the most beautiful church called "L'Eglise de Jean d'Arc". It has stain glass windows, an enormous bell tower, and is made of stone. While, I haven't been to church in a while, it was great to see it conducted in French, and to see how in two different countries, the Catholic practice stays the same.
After Mass, we went back to their house to make lunch. Imagine making crêpes for thirteen people, where each person eats at least three. There are many kinds of crêpes, and you can pretty much put anything in them, but there are two main categories: savory and sweet. A crêpe that has cheese, ham and an egg is called un complet because it can suffice as a complete meal. There's also crêpes that can have lemon, butter, sugar, or nutella. The great thing about crêpes is that there are so many different kinds that it's easy to make something that everyone likes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

48 Hours

I have only two days until I finally make my trip to Rennes, the capital of Brittany. It's hard to imagine that I'll spend eight months, two weeks, and 4 days away from home.
At the beginning of the summer, it seemed to be so far away, but now as I count down the hours, I wish it wasn't so close. Especially since there are so many people to say goodbye to. In the past, I've really counted on my friends as a support system, and I can only hope that I'll meet some incredible people at SYA.
Unfortunately, I have not heard from my host family. However, I'm confident and hopeful that they'll be a great fit for me. As a housewarming gift, I'm bringing a ceramic bowl that I made at the Danforth Museum this summer. What with Freshman year ceramics and all the summer classes, it's nice to know that my hard work has paid off.
Getting ready to head off to France has been hard for me. Usually by this time of year, I'd have all my school supplies and a list of classes and teachers. But with the 3,500 mile journey ahead of me, my teachers, fellow students, and host family are unknown to me. Nevertheless, I have faith in the SYA program to make this an amazing year for me.