The French Exchange
The lovely Trish over at Mum’s Gone To… has a French Exchange Student staying this week. Her kindness in buying in lots of lovely French food to make him feel at home, brought back memories of my French Exchange trip at the age of 14….
My exchange partner Patricia, was a strange fruit to put it mildly…The rest of my friends were placed in houses with what seemed to be mature and rather glamorous French exchange partners (who most importantly attracted lots of the male species), whilst mine spent hours moping around in various day-glo outfits, refusing to talk to anyone and drawing scary Pierrot clowns. I am not sure the exchange was her idea to be honest.
She also spent the entire week correcting me on the pronunciation of her name “C’est Patrisssssia, pas PaTRISHA”, which I may have called her accidentally on purpose on more than one occasion.
The rest of her family were very sweet however, and looks wise alone her parents completely reminded me of Renee & Edith from Allo Allo, which was a little surreal at times.
Edith spent the week serving up various specialities that she was sure I would never have tried before (and I am not sure anyone in their household ever had either!), but I forced them down out of politeness, ignoring their hoots of laughter as I tried to cut the enormous globe artichoke in half with my knife and fork, and almost weeping with relief once I finished that final bowl of buttermilk on the last morning. A couple of years later, my sister would also go on a French Exchange trip. Her family asked her what she would normally have for breakfast in England, and she told them tea and cornflakes. Every morning she was presented with a large bowl of tea with cornflakes swimming in it, but confessed to quite liking it in the end!
An evening’s entertainment consisted of the entire family avidly watching bizarre game-shows, complete with topless hostesses. Soon enough I invented hours of imaginary homework and retired to my room to enjoy the much more cultured option(!) of listening to Bros on repeat on my walk-man instead.
Our frazzled teachers’ best attempts at shepherding us around France (whilst swatting off the amorous advances of the local teenage boys) were valiant, and I only hope they enjoyed plenty of vin rouge in the evenings to make up for what they had to put up with. How they kept straight faces on our return journey, whilst many of us wept over the 14 year old French boys we had had to leave behind, is beyond me!
Little did I know that the worst part of the ordeal was yet to come – the return leg of the exchange trip!! We met Patrisssssia off the ferry, wearing an oversized captain’s hat. She insisted on wearing this for the entire week – to school, outings, everywhere (much to the mortification of her host who thought she was terribly cool at the time, but looking back had actually based her look on Marmalade Atkins!).
Patrisssssia returned home to Calais a few days later. I gave her a Bros Cassette as a leaving present and she gave me a scary Pierrot doll….
But it all just proves that it’s not only the absolutely best trips that are the most memorable!
Now to hand you over to this week’s wonderful wander-lusters…. Keep your fabulous travel entries coming, we want them all, the good, the bad and the ugly (of course none of your posts are bad or ugly, I mean in the bad or ugly trip sense of course!)…
Introduction kindly written by Emma from A Bavarian Sojourn.
Me He & Them – Top Tips Air Travel With Kids
“How do you do it?”
Huh? What on earth is she talking about? This is what a friend and fellow mum asked me when I was home over the holidays. It then dawned on me that with the onset of children, some people (this friend in particular) don’t take holidays that require air travel. Which sounds bizarre, especially for those of us that take advantage of the UK’s the proximity to Europe or as expats or who have partners from a far-flung locales where long haul travel with a small child is a rite of passage.
Katie Silcox – Five days in Sri Lanka
Living in India means I found the perfect opportunity to visit a good friend in Galle, Sri Lanka had come and I wasn’t going to turn it down. Five days in Galle showed me five really worthwhile things to do whilst there:
1) Unawatuna beach
Looking for a typical, desert-island feel beach? Unawatuna is it. This semi-circular bay has all the usual trappings of a beach bay, turquoise waters fringed by golden sands and towering coconut trees. People come here to sunbathe, snorkel, sail and play ball in the sea. I’ve seen beaches the world over, and this was…
At least daddy can cook… – The Grasse is Greener
Whenever I want to escape from the dismal, damp British weather (regularly) but know there’s no chance of actually feeling the sun on my skin anytime soon (ie. ever), I close my eyes and try to take myself back to July 2008.
We went to Grasse, a small town inland from the coast of the French Riviera. Grasse is built on the side of a hill, so the big old house we rented had spectacular views of the countryside and the valley leading down to the sparkling Mediterranean sea.
House With No Name – The first night at the House With No Name
I panicked for a moment when I woke up. The room was bare, with ancient wooden beams, white-washed walls and a low, terracotta-tiled ceiling. Instead of the familiar hum of Oxford traffic, it was deathly quiet outside. Where the hell was I?
Then the amazing truth dawned. Nearly six years after we first set eyes on the House With No Name, we’d just spent our first night there. After a ten-hour drive from Calais, we’d arrived the night before to find the tumbledown farmhouse we bought on a whim all that time ago utterly transformed.
Tired Mummy of Two – Manchester Mummies – Salford Quays Open Day
Lots of fun activities including visiting Cbeebies at the new media city
Here come the Girls – A life changing holiday. With added monkeys
Some holidays change your life forever. I don’t mean you come back the colour of roasted flamingo and 10 pounds heavier from eating your own body-weight at the all inclusive buffet; I mean the best holidays alter your outlook so you come back a new person.
My life changing holiday happened in Gibraltar, on a family trip to celebrate my brother Mark’s thirtieth birthday. This was a dream holiday because the destination meant so much to us. Mark was born in Gibraltar while my Dad was stationed there with the navy.
An Essex Wife – An Essex Wife And The Not So Quick Getway
In a few weeks I’m off to Madrid with my lovely girlfriends to celebrate the hen doo of the beautiful Gemma. I’m extremely excited about this as I haven’t been away with the girls since last April and am long over due a few days away letting my hair down and sleeping till noon.
A few years ago I would have booked my plane tickets, found my hotel and then not put another thought into the weekend (apart from how I could drop a few pounds before we leave) until
Misterdoctorbeckymark2 – weekend in wiltshire pt 1
We set off from home Friday afternoon, in our jeep which we affectionately call ‘the big black baby tank’! Grandad at the front with Dr B, Nana wedged between Alex & Eddie, and myself right at the back.
About 2 hours later we arrived in Kington St Michael @ the jolly huntsman.A quaint little village pub with adjacent accommodation.The rooms are very nicely furnished & decorated.
the gingerbread house – Scandinavian sojourn
I’ve written before about how difficult I find leaving the house so it’s probably no surprise that going away for any length of time is quite hard. Before children we had plenty of room in the car for a suitcase. My husband would pack his camera bag and model planes and I would pack a big bag stuffed with sewing supplies. Holidays were relaxing.