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Reflecting on Limoges

Because I leave Limoges and my host family for Paris today, I wanted to write up a little reflection of how my experience was living with another family for 10 days, especially in another country with a language (and culture) barrier. 

My French isn't amazing. In fact, there were times when I should've totally known what was going on around me and I just didn't. Fortunately, when I hosted Camille (my french correspondent), back in October, I learned that she is very, very good at English, and when I didn't understand something here in France, she could explain it to me. The program is designed to make you feel immersed, which I definitely did feel, but at times when it got to be a little overwhelming and frustrating, it helped to speak a little English. 

The hardest part about this experience, however, wasn't simply that I had trouble communicating beyond the capacity of a second grader, or that their culture of wiping their plates clean with bread after each course was unfamiliar to me, but the combination of the two that made me feel very isolated at times. Don't get me wrong, this experience was fabulous. But, think about it this way... without seeing my family or my close friends, I could probably get by for two weeks. But, combining that with little opportunity to speak my natural language and to eat how I'm used to or do things how I'm used to was simply exhausting, both mentally and physically. I constantly felt tired and would fall asleep in short car rides or ask to go to bed far earlier than I'm used to. I felt a little isolated because when I wanted to say something or share something with the family, I just couldn't. I felt like a little kid who couldn't communicate their feelings, and it was frustrating!

But, on the more positive side, I learned so much on this trip. First off, going to French school was such an eye-opening experience, even if just for a few days. Let me just tell you... everything is colder in France. I mean everything. I had gym class one morning and a few other American girls were in my class, so because we weren't supposed to participate, we all just watched from the sidelines. Doesn't sound bad until you consider that their periods are actually an hour long (60 minutes) and gym was two periods. And their gym is the equivalent of an ice box, I swear. We were all shaking for almost the whole time and seriously wondering if we were going to get hypothermia. Their school was generally tiny, with undecorated rooms, chalkboards, and I'm convinced no heating system. It makes me appreciate my school and the fact that I don't have to layer up just to walk around my house or to sit in class.

Another thing I've learned so far (haven't been to Paris yet!), is that France really is like something you'd find in a movie. The towns were clad in cobblestone streets and buildings bunched up next to each other in arrays of pastel-colored shutters. (Oh, and a note on the shutters, they actually close. I walked outside my doors in my room every morning and night to open and close them, even in the rain!) I liked exploring a little town of France because I'm sure it is different than your average Paris tour, and I'm so fortunate I had the opportunity to do so.

I'm so excited for Paris this week, and I'll be returning home on Saturday afternoon.

Have a great week, and sorry for such a long post!


  1. What a good learning experience. Hope you have a wonderful time in Paris!

    Alex | Mrs. Mason Dixon

  2. Ooo, sounds like such an interesting experience so far! So excited for Paris for you - hope you have a great time!
    xx, Mikkaela
    The Southwestern Prepster

  3. It sounds like you really have learned a lot so far, I can't wait to hear about your second leg of the trip!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista


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