We arrived in Paris at 8 am French time (2 am US East Coast), so it is safe to say that we were all exhausted with as much sleep is possible on a semi-turbulent 6 hour flight. We grab our luggage and clamor into a van that Roy (the director) arrived in to pick us all up. Almost immediately we all fall asleep for the whole 1 and a half hour drive to Rouen.
|The courtyard of our little hotel|
For dinner we went to a pizzeria and met "les anciens" (the students from SLU who are staying the whole academic year in Rouen-we are les nouvelles). It was really nice to talk to people who know the area and most of them have been in the same boat as us in this Francophone program, so they were really reassuring.
On Sunday we all got up and went to the Sunday market where we purchased fresh flowers for our host families. Then we had lunch and met up with our families. My family was the first to arrive so I did not have a chance to meet the others, but my host family has been wonderful! There is the mom, dad (Francoise and Thierry), two sons (Philippe-24, Thibault-11-14?-not sure) and two daughters (Aurelie-not sure, but has a baby due soon! Anne-laure-23). I have met everyone except Aurelie. They know enough English to help me out when I don't understand things, but it is still intimidating not being completely comfortable with the language, hopefully that will come with time and learning.
On my tour around Rouen with my host family they showed me the bus route to get to school the next day. It's a 20 min walk (uphill halfway) to the stop in the morning and then a 10-15 min bus ride.
|The stop I get on at in the morning (I take the 40) or the 4 sometimes which is just a little ways away|
Sooo as some of you may know-I could get lost in an empty box. So this was an adventure and a half getting home in the dark from a different location (I got to school just fine!). So we went to a big shopping center to pick up a few essentials and there was a 4 bus which also goes to the Frechon stop. So I thought it would be easy to take the 4 and I'd know where to go from there. Turns out it wasn't that simple (or actually it was too simple). I should have just had to take the bus for one stop but the stop came sooner than I thought, so I just got off at the next stop and got way turned around and then just walked in every direction possible-there are a lot of round abouts which did not help matters at all!! I literally walked down every single one of the streets and finally went into a hotel and asked at the desk (in broken French) where a restaurant was that was my landmark for my house. They told me it was straight down the road next to them, but I was sure I had already gone down that road, but I was tired and willing to try anything. So I walked out and turned down that road and sure enough...that was the correct one(pretty sure it hadn't been there before). This hotel, by the way, was right next to the shopping center we had been at earlier that day before heading home and my stop was just by the round about it was on. I should have just walked home...
|The Rouen Cathedral -at night (this could totally be a painting right?)|
|The flash mob of skaters|
Then on Friday night we got tickets to see the real show! It was absolutely incredible. Roy's daughter is on one of the French teams.
|The sheep is the symbol of Rouen because it was a large wool and textile industry.|
|One of the American teams cheering another one. (I had no idea we had a team, let alone that this was a sport...)|
|The American team|
|I think this is a Finish team--don't quote me on that (there were a lot of Finish teams though and they won first and third with Russian in second)|
|The Russian team (see link below-such flow!)|
|The teams all had such different and extravagant costumes!|
|A narrow cobbled street of Honfleur|
|The church in the middle of Honfleur . The ceiling is built like the bottom of a boat.|
|The harbor of Honfleur|
|A view of Honfleur from a lookout we drove to after. The bridge (Le Pont de Normandie) in the background connects Normandy (Honfleur) to Le Havre (and is one of the longest cabled bridges in the world).-over the river Seine.|
Then finally, last night (Friday the 8th), our program director bought us all tickets to a Cali concert (a popular French singer-I think he is the Rod Stewart of France). We walked over the bridge from the the center of the city to the more industrial side where the concert was held at a venue called Hanger 106 (cent-six in french). For those of you who may know, this venue had the exact same vibe and look of higher Grounds in Burlington, VT.
|View of another bridge from Pont Jeanne d'Arc|
|Cali crowd-surfing (he's kneeling on people's hands if you can't see)|