May 18

Friday, May 18, 2007

Oh, have I got stories today!!! Let me tell you…. J Just wait!

So…this morning we all ate breakfast together and I packed up my stuff before I went for a great run. I went up to the Church in Talant this morning (as per the suggestion of Bernard) but people don’t really realize how long their suggestions actually take – So I made it up the hill (after a warm up bit too…look at me go!) in about 7 minutes. And then I must have had something hit me on the head because I decided to do hill, interval, disgusting things! I ran up the hill 5 times and I was nice and dead by the end, let me tell you! I don’t even like hills – I honestly don’t have any idea what happened…but it did!
I was totally ready at 10:30 when Fredo (I honestly have no idea how to spell that) and Laurant (Mme Lenfant’s brother…I think I’ve already explained all this) came and picked up the three of us in the van. It was a great ride down to Isle sur la Sorgue. We stopped about half way to have lunch – cheese and fruit saved me there! No complaints at all!!
We drove past Avignon and through a couple of little town dealeos to arrive in this very cute little town with little rivers running everywhere. It is obvious that we are in the south, though…Even I can tell the difference in people’s attitudes and comportment (do we use that word in English??). And the structures are very undecorated and, well, very southern! Guess that makes sense!!
The school is gated and very nice from the outside…I won’t actually see inside until tomorrow though. And this is where the stories start…Last week I attended school…this week I am living at the school! Yep…it sure is a boarding school and it is sure where I will be for the next 6 nights! Right now all the kids are gone home for the weekend, but come Sunday night there will sure be kiddies everywhere…and I will sure be in the same building (and I think even in the same room – although I really hope not (there has to be some boundaries to adventure, quand même!!))
When we got here it was pretty funny – the faces that Michelle and Bernard were making when looking at the rooms was great! Mme Lenfant had a total laughing fit because of the entire situation. No one had brought towels or sheets or anything (I am using mom’s magic blanket thing as my towel for the next week). There are not enough beds on each floor so we are separated out onto 3 different floors. There were no pillows or anything, either, not to mention the lack of toilet paper and soap in the shared bathrooms. I definitely had to take a breath and decide it was an adventure.
We got ahold of someone who got us all clean sheets to put on our tiny jail-cell type beds and Mme Lenfant bought towels for everyone else when we went walking around town before dinner. And now that I have learned to sleep on my back and my side, I needed a pillow like all other normal people – but I am sure not using the one they gave me!! I think I’ll stick to using my coat for this week, thanks!!
Tomorrow for both breakfast and lunch we are eating at the canteen…which is where I will be eating all my meals for the next week!! The only thing I can do is laugh because otherwise this would be a painful week!! The great bonus is that I will hopefully get to do some stuff with the students here so I am not totally alone all the time! And the other bonus is there is a running track out my back window – so I can go running whenever I want with no worries at all (boring, I know, but it’ll be a nice change from worrying about getting lost and being alone and such).
We walked down to the rivers to find a little place to eat dinner. It was great…and the shopping looks like it’ll be great!! It is super cute here and, again – a lot like I am in the South!! We had a great dinner at a place on the river and did a little exploring…It’ll be nice here for the week.
I had a nice chat with Mme Lenfant when we were on the road today. It was only the two of us in the back of the van and I was finally able to corner her to talk about when I could visit Sophie and actually get an explanation for my “programme” for the next couple of weeks.
Anyway, she basically confirmed what I thought about my being here. I am here so that I can understand the program better. That way, when I am back in Edmonton and Calgary or wherever in Canada I can help with OSEF on that end. There aren’t many young people involved with the organisation in Canada and so she is “using me” (she even said that…laughing, of course) for what I can do for the program on my end. This way, once I get how the entire thing works overall, I’ll better be able to explain it to do recruiting in the schools (with or without Marcel) on my end later on.
As well, she really does seem to appreciate what I bring to the meetings here…having a Canadian give an opinion on what the exchange was like means something to the parents. And she says I am a great speaker (so there!! 😉 ). And, I do feel useful when I am at the meetings, so that is a good thing.
I think that in the future I will be able to definitely help out more on the Canadian end…give me a couple years and I’ll be able to help with the matching process of the Canadians and the French students as well as accompany them to France and from France. As well, Mme Lenfant said that when I am not in school, it is a good thing to have a Cdn at the office for the three months that the students are in France so that if there are problems a native Canadian and English speaker is there to help out.
And, finally, I am not the only one she has done this for! She often does these “special” programs for people on the Canadian end. Last year she had a girl working in the office to help out the Canadian students if they had problems during their three months. And right now there is a Canadian that is doing an entire year in France…four different families for three months each. So, it makes me happy to know that I am not the only one that has been receiving special treatment!!
Well…that is probably the end of my stories for the day!! Tomorrow morning I am going to go running on the track before my first breakfast in the canteen and then our meeting here. Yep…an adventure is a good way to put it.

Night

-Allison

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