Friday, August 31, 2012


Au Revior Canada! Onto my first airplane of an European airline!
On Wednesday 29th France time, I arrived around 11am at the Lyon airport and met my first host family there! Although I must admit it was quite a long and lonely journey from Calgary, I was so excited to arrive in Europe that I ended up only sleeping for about 2 hours of the 9 hour flight, plus the 2 hour wait at Amsterdam.

Speaking about Amsterdam, something interesting happened.  When I got off my first plane from Calgary, I exactly knew where my next number and gate was, so I immediately got off the aircraft and near sprinting, (can you picture me?) I dashed to the gate and guess what?  Just when I reached to the gate, there were security guards standing in front of the passage telling people that the gate is closed.  (Yes, they spoke English and not Dutch.)   Me, exhausted from running and dodging rolling suitcases and slow walkers, wasn't sure what to do next.  ... like eeexxxxcuse me? Where and will my plane leave?

Apparently my gate, C, closed down because according to news sites, there was an emergency closure because security forces founded an unexploded bomb in the area that was used in WWII!  (I just only found this out today.) 
Hahaha... good one.

Anyways, I managed to do this self flight-check on a screen and again dashed for the replacement gate that was just near the gate I got off first.  So I ended up doing a run there and back.

Although it was unfortunate that I didn't meet any Rotary exchange students during the entire trip (since my visa didn't come on time to arrive in Paris and to meet them all on the 28th), it was so cool to experience meeting my host family members at the airport.  Months before leaving for France, I repetitively dreamed and imagined the moment I see my host parents for the first time.  It was like déjà-vu to live that moment since what I have imagined ended up to be really similar; at first, huge hugs and lots of talking, then later in the car, a bit less crazy due to the language barrier.  However instead of a hug, we did bisouss': cheek to cheek kissing.  I forgot about that so I was a bit alarmed at first!

My first lunch with my host-mother!
My host sister and father!

Louhans is such a gorgeous little town that has the top level of true French culture, I swear!   There are rarely any non-European foreigners so locals glance at me a wee bit longer since I am Asian.  It's like Amelia's situation (a Caucasian exchange student also from my hometown who is in Japan now), but opposite because there are no oriental people here and the rest of the citizens are mostly agricultural French people whose families lived here for several generations... so typical!

Therefore, I am the Rotary Club of Louhans first-ever exchange student, and foreigner (other then Europeans) my lycée (high school).  C'est incroyable!  (It is incredible!)  So definitely the first day of school will be full of stares looking directly at me. 

Also, I met the Rotary Club the night I arrived in Louhans!  There are only about 20 Rotarians and most are over 50 years old.  They meet Wednesday nights at an Italian/French restaurant and that night, we had a full course dinner consisting of amuse bouches like carpacio cocumber, a main dish I think something called canard rôti avec un grattin de pâté de crème et du poire and dessert that was like fruit salad but dunked in red wine with creme de glace à la vanille which altogether had an interesting flavour...  The Rotarians were very nice and especially because I am their first exchange student, they were very curious about me.  I was only able to speak a little French and many times, they gave me confused looks but I really appreciated their attention and kindness for hosting a student this year.

The dessert
My host-club's banner
My French is surprisingly better then I thought it would be!  I can form some sentences and questions already, but of course there are still lots to learn.  I have already visited my lycée and its staff, a supermarket, and some small shops.  Tomorrow, I will see a neighbouring town called Bresse-en-Bourg and tour the lycée again with a French girl my age who will become my second host-sister!

Bonne Nuit!


  1. Sari! I'm so happy to hear you made it safe in France... and that you weren't kept away by the bomb scare! It's interesting to hear about the cultural differences between you and the people of Louhans! What's the funniest look you've had so far? ;)

    1. Isabella! I am very glad that I arrived here safely too! Yes, it is really interesting to live in the ongoing tradition of old French culture in this community and I am enjoying it so far. I think the funniest look I've gotten was when I went to the lycée and met the staff members at the main office. They looked at me like they've never seen a non-European student to sign up for the lycée! They were very welcoming, but I swear their first glances were full of surprise. I hope you are doing well too! :D

  2. Sari you are awesome. I am really enjoying reading your blog. Your French will come really quickly now. Have fun. Here is one piece of advice. Buy some things now that you think are unique, in year you may not think that they are that cool because they are common place. Mr. Mac

    1. Merci beaucoup Mr. Mac! Je suis très heureuse parce que vous aimez mon blog. Oui! Je vais acheter beaucoup de choses maintenant :D Mon premier jour de lycèe est demain, donc souhaitez-moi bonne chance!

  3. Bonjour Sari,

    Really enjoyed reading your blog - sounds like you are settling in well. How did your presentation to the local Rotary Club go - on your first day there! I bet you had jet lag. Glad to see you are finally there. Have you started at the lycee yet? Enjoy! Janet

    1. Yes! I am having so much fun here, it's unbelievable how easy this transition was! I haven't done my presentation to the club yet because they already had plans for the evening, but I hope to show it to them soon. Actually, I didn't have a jet lag, so it was perfect! Of course my next post is about my first day at the lycée... so enjoy reading it!