In April of 2011, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a trip touring France with my school. The goal of this trip was to see France, learn about it's customs, and most importantly, practice my ability using the French language. At the start of the trip, I had had three years of the French language and a semester of French Culture. My teacher, Madame Wissman, assured us all that our speaking skills were satisfactory and we'd be able to survive in a foreign country for 10 days; five of which would be spent living with a French family in Rennes. Also, she mentioned that we were a very lucky group of travelers for we'd be getting the privilege of seeing France and Paris, one of it's most beautiful times.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I ended up ignoring that little tidbit of knowledge for I was too wrapped up in worrying about living with a French family. The weeks preceding the trip were spent reviewing all the common French phrases and practicing asking if I could take a shower.
Then, the day of our departure came and once we arrived in France we immediately took a train to Rennes. There in the train station in Rennes, I was whisked away from all my friends to be with my host family. The situation I had been dreading for weeks, turned into a most memorable and lovely experience. The DeLaunay family was incredibly accommodating and patiently explained the mistakes in my use of their native language. I was blessed to spend five days living with them and attending school with Déborah, my host sister.
When it came time to leave Rennes and tour Paris, it was very difficult to say goodbye. They had welcomed me into their family wholeheartedly and I was quite sad to have to move on. But, it was time to venture on and explore more of France's treasures, so we departed Rennes for Paris.
Rennes was a lovely, beautiful city with many parks and leafy trees. Walking through Paris in April though, put all that to shame. Hundreds of pink cherry blossom trees were in bloom and all the places we visited they were present. They provided the perfect complement to the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral. We'd walk down the sidewalks to our next stop, all the Americans in a line, gently draped in pink snowflakes.
France lingers on in my memories, with each day bringing a reminder of my travels there. A steaming cup of hot chocolate, a bright red satin ribbon, stars over a river, or the sad song of a violin all bring me back to Paris in April. The sweet scent of cherry blossoms will always bring a smile to my face and remind me of my promise to return.
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