March 1st marked 30 days since I have been away from home. Already, I have learned so much and I have noticed so many differences between my life here, and the life I left. I am creating new habits, outlooks, and realizing things that I never would have been able to without this experience.
1. I tried this magical thing called Speculoos: it’s a spread almost like Peanut Butter, but made from spice cookies. But just like Peanut Butter, its good enough to eat with a spoon.
2. I’m learning that you can actually wear the same thing two days in a row. Everyone here wears the exact same thing at least two days in a row and just changes when it’s dirty.
3. I have learned to put down my phone and pick up a book. Making new habits is so much easier when you’re starting from scratch.
4. I am starting to get the hang of sorting out my garbage and recyclables into paper & plastics, bottles & cans, compost, and what’s remaining goes in the garbage. We can even recycle wrappers and thin plastic wrapping.
5. I have almost mastered “The Squat”, as our school bathrooms do not have toilet seats.
6. I am realizing that I can survive on fewer clothes. (And having fun mix & matching with what I did bring!)
7. I learned that the word “truc” means “thing” and is used in almost every sentence.
8. I am realizing first hand the importance of sleep. I can’t even stay up ‘till midnight on the weekends now. If I don’t get at least 9 hours of sleep I cannot function.
9. I have let go of my “coffee with two milk”, and have only drunk black coffee since being here because milk can be bought in packs of 10 cartons and are stored in the basement (unrefrigerated). That sketches me out a little,
10. I am really missing spinach, I know, you don’t hear that every day! I ate spinach often back home, (sandwiches, omelettes, smoothies etc.) In France, off-season vegetables are not often purchased, so we eat lots of veggies in soup, but not raw.
11. I have learned that I don’t melt in the rain, (big let down).
12. I am eating things that I don’t necessarily like. MOM- no I’m not eating tomatoes when I get home. Do not even try.
13. I am starting to want to work out, instead of forcing myself to exercise and dreading it. It’s becoming a positive habit. (It may be the fact that I’ve already put on close to 10Lbs thanks to baguettes & cheese)
14. I explain to people on a daily, “no, I don’t live in Vancouver, nor have I ever been there, in fact, it’s actually just as long to fly there as it was to fly to France.”
15. I was amazed by my 8 Euro phone plan with unlimited calling, texting, and 50GB of data.. C’mon North America, keep up! (8 Euros is about 12 CAD)
16. I have become obsessed with wandering! I don’t care where I’m going- nor do I really know half the time. My 50 gigs of data have come in handy when I get lost and have to pull out my Google Maps to find my way back home.
17. I got car sick for the first time. Roads here are older, smaller, and very twisty-turny. The speed bumps every half kilometre don’t really help either. I’d much rather walk somewhere than drive.
18. I am obsessed with food and trying EVERYTHING. *And maybe trying some things a few times*
19. People are amazed when I tell them that no, we don’t require ID to get into school.
20. I am realizing that my room does not need to be a hundred degrees, and if I’m cold, I can just put on a sweater.
21. I no longer complain if I have to walk 20 mins to get somewhere. Turns out, it’s not the end of the world.. Who would’ve known!
22. I am getting in the habit of bringing a reusable bag & water bottle everywhere I go.
23. I am seeing the importance of locally made products, (clothes, food, etc.) and am learning to look for them first.
24. Yep, still in love with French babies.
25. I love sitting around the table with the whole family every meal of the day, *even breakfast!*
26. I have stopped worrying about what I’m eating. Trying all of these amazing foods trumps the extra few pounds.
27. I am realizing how therapeutic long walks on the beach are.. Officially my new fav place to be.
28. I am shocked by how un-trendy it is to drink water. I’m the only one in my class who brings a water bottle to school, and I am asked almost every day what I have in it by other students. Some teachers have actually asked me not to drink water in their class.
29. I am wishing that I could show all the students back home how the school is here, so they’d stop complaining. For kids here, they only see schools like ours on TV.
30. I am grateful every day for the family I have, the community I have, the school I have, and the country I live in.
Until Next Time,