Falling for France
By Kensie Smith
Dinner on the port town of Honfleur, with white clouds striking colorful sailboat sails, was like an image out of a watercolor painting. The most terrifying and interesting part of the trip was next, the family stay- dun dun duhhhhhh. I found my “family” and traveled to their home in Rennes. My host sister was a picture of excitement and embraced her role as hostess. One the most important lessons I learned from this experience was that human nature is universal. My sister, Florence, had problems with boys, worried about school, laughed with friends, and loved shopping. It was a credit card match made in heaven! My host parents did their best to show me around the area of Bretagne. For anyone planning on staying with a French family I would suggest learning the most French you can. In the touristy areas of France almost everything is in English also, but in the residential areas it would be beneficial to comprehend the native language. The French popular culture is heavily infiltrated with Americanisms. It was common to hear American singers, watch American shows, and run into a McDonalds.
One of the most inspiring sites of the trip also happened to be of American influence, the D-Day cemetery. At the breathtaking site of tragedy, thousands of bright white crosses and Stars of David were lined in startling symmetry. Looking over the cliffs onto the beaches, one could almost picture the pure heroic struggle. Such spectacular beauty was also found in the glittering iron of the “Tour de Eiffel.” On most nights, on the hour, the tower lights up and twinkles its reflection on the Seine River. A river boat tour was the best way to view this and other sites such as the outside of the Louve and the miniature statue of Liberty. While Paris was pleasant it was the smaller towns, like St. Malo, Angers, and Giverny, that gave an authentic view of France. I learned most French myths are untrue- they DO shower, women DO shave their legs, and there not many mimes running around in berets.
Standing on the top of Sacre Coeur, overlooking the city an overwhelming sense of life significance found me. While small, it is up to the people of the world to come together. Embrace others. Live the way someone else does for a change. In France, do as the French do- sip coffee at the cafÃ©, take a long lunch, and find the beauty in the world around you.
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