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Day 31- Saying Hello and Goodbye.

So the new students arrived yesterday. And I love them. WAY more than the other girls here. I’m going to sit down tomorrow afternoon and do like, a legit entry about all of the girls but for now I’m going to just leave it at this. This is going to be a short entry because I’m not feeling well…

I went to check my email earlier tonight and I had one from Jason that said he had some bad news. Apparently, one of our good friends, Tiras, had a seizure and died this morning..I’m still in shock actually…he was really young, my age, and it just kills me. When I read that email I just broke down sobbing..I couldn’t even see straight and Danielle was asking me what was wrong and I couldn’t even figure out how to say “friend” in French. I ended up having to go downstairs and just be alone for a little bit…but I’m still just really shocked. I came back up and I read the email again and I replied to it, then I went to Tiras’s facebook and noticed that he had updated his status yesterday to, “Keep on keeping on” and I just broke down again. The last time I saw Tiras was when his store was closing…and I refused to give him a hug because I was coming back the next day. Tiras had said, “Alicia if you don’t hug me now you’ll never see me again!” and I told him I wouldn’t hug him because I was coming back the next day, and I would hug him then…but then the next day I didn’t go..and I never gave him his hug.

Day something or another. 34 I think? –The Girls.

I’m not going to post this blog..i didn’t have much good to say.

Day 35- Last day in Normandie. =( =(

Before I talk about the last day in Normandie,, I have to back track a bit.

Friday we had an action service at a catholic church here in Franceville. It ended up being a lot of fun. We just cleaned the entire church from top to bottom (literally) and got finished an hour early. I was still pretty upset about tiras..but getting a chance to work and talk with some of the older women from the church got my mind off of things.

Track C is here and I love them. I wish they were going to Paris with us! =( Then there was Saturday, and every Saturday we watch a movie..but this Saturday was different because there was some big red carpet premier going on in Carbourg. So, we went. It was pretty fun, because all of us, including Track C, got to go and see these people walk down the red carpet and sign autographs…even though we had no idea who they were. We were right on the edge of the carpet and Elvira dared me to go up to one of them and go, “et, vous êtes qui?” ha ha ha. After that we went down to the beach where we got to sit and watch the premier of the film..which was a rather odd film…and then, close to 2 AM, we headed back home. We were all freezing and tired and it was too the point where every was just so funny…Monica, Jacob, me, and Tiffany all were riding in Elvira’s car and she was parked a bit away from the other cars and we were walking and it was quiet and I screamed, “RUN!” and we all sprinted to the car” which at the time was hilarious..but now that I’m writing it, it’s not that funny. Ha ha. We road the rest of the way back dying of laugher and doing Forrest gump impersonations. (which I happen to be awesome at.) definitely a night I’ll never forget.

I am so upset that I’m leaving the home in Normandie. I would actually rather stay here for  four more days than go to Paris. Don’t get me wrong, Paris is beautiful, but its not the real France. Normandie stole my heart.

Since It’s the last day, I have SO MUCH to do! We had church this morning for the last time, and I spent a few minutes talking to the pastor and his wife about my desire to move to France and they gave me some contact information for them and said they could help us when and if Jason and I decided to move. Theres also a school principle that goes to church there and he may be able to help Jason and I both find jobs! (Cool right?) I will miss that church a lot. I felt really at home there. It was small and a little old fashioned, but it was perfect. I wish I could be married there.

After church we had our last big meal all together. They pushed the tables back together (Originally it was one big table, then they split them into 3 tables) So it was so nice to all be at one table. It was almost a uniting feeling I guess.

I have a list of goals for the day that include the following: I want to copy all of the music that’s in the Grey Galaxy (one of the two vans), I want to write a letter to each staff member and to my French buddy, I want to do a walk through tour of the house, I HAVE to pack, I want to buy a few beuno to take back to Jason (Beuno is this AMAZING candy), I want to talk with Elvira a bit, and I want to just spend some time talking to the kids on Track C. So I guess if I manage to get that done, It will be a miracle.

So much to do, so little time.

Day 1 De Paris! –Saying “see ya later!” and on the road.

SO, of all the things I had to do yesterday…here’s what I got done!

After Lunch I asked Elvira if I could have the CD’s from the Galaxy and copy them/write down names so I could buy them. So, she was gratious and got them for me. Which is exciting because its some really good music. One guys name is Gerald DesPalmas and we listened to him in the car on our first excursion and I really liked him. He’s kind of a jazzy Dave Matthews. Then the other guy is called Tete, he’s good to, and then the other CDs were French Worship music.

While I copied the worship music, I started working on my letters. My first letter was to Veronique, my buddy. She’s working on learning English (Her English is already pretty good!) so I wrote to her in English. I pretty much just told her that I was honored and blessed to have known her and to have been given the chance to meet her. Then I started working on Danielles letter, and Danielle doesn’t speak any English. That was a challenge. But I was able to write a letter expressing exactly what I wanted to say to her. Danielle quickly became a mother to me here at Chez Vous, and I’m so glad I had her. (See my entry about all the people) The first sentence if the letter was “first of all, I am so sorry for my bad grammar!” but when I finished, I had my prof check it, and he said it was actually fine, a few pronouns could be moved around, but it was just fine the way it was! That was so awesome ot hear!

By the time I finished with all of this, it was 5. (I had stayed downstairs drinking coffee with some of the girls until almost 2:30!) and at 5 we had orientation for Paris. Now, obviously, we can’t go a day without SOME kind of drama in this track, so of Course orientation is where it had to happen. Before I say anything, I want to make sure it’s clear that I have NO PROBLEM with the way Steve does things. I think he runs this program wonderfully.

But even I was a little irritated during this orientation, and that was an odd feeling for me to have. First off, he introduced us to our satchel. I laughed out loud when he showed them to us. (Indiana Jones had one! Ha ha) but it’s essentially just an easier way for us to carry everything we absolutely need to have in Paris. After he passed them all out, we searched inside for our first prize. It was a map of Paris. That’s where the fun began. We spent 30 minutes learning how to correctly fold the map and where out hotel and metro stops were. Thirty minutes. After that, he showed us our museum passes, Hotel card, and Money for meals. After that we started talking about security. We talked a lot about how to prevent having things stolen from us, and what we should do in any bad situation. About how we should act in Paris, and how we need to go about looking at our map and taking pictures. Then, was talked about what to do if a man is like…after us. That’s when I think a lot of the girls started getting a little nervous about the trip in general.

After that he told us that we were going to an Opera tonight and then that we have a few hours of free time on Wednesday and all of Thursday morning. Then that was it. And the girls weren’t having that. And that’s where the Drama began. The girls wanted to know exactly where we were going and when we were going there, and steve was very stern about just letting it unfold as we went. Then the girls started telling him about how they wanted to go see les mis and they needed to book their tickets and stuff. After that it all kind of spiraled into anger. The girls were angry about the schedule (Which I could understand…its very uncomfortable to be in a strange city, different language, and not know whats going on) and steve I think was upset that they seemed to have such a problem with the program.

So after orientation I was actually pretty uncomfortable. Just a little stressed because everyone else was so stressed! But then we had dinner. Our last mean at  Chez Vous was grilled chicken with peas and carrots. It cracked my up when they served us that after Saturday night. (see my last entry!)  Then we had cheese for the last time (so sad. Ha ha) and the yogurt.

After that I quickly realized how little time I had (it was 8) and I had to sit down and work on Elvira’s letter! That letter was the hardest one for me to write by far! It ended up being about two pages long and I just bawled while I wrote it (I feel like I cry a LOT lately) but I just used my letter to explain to her how much I love her and appreciate all she does. I quoted her from when I interviewed her. She said (in paraphrase here) she hopes that what she does at Chez Vous is a blessing to the students and can be something that helps them to grow in their faith. (end paraphrase. Ha ha) so I just really felt that it was important for me to write to her and tell her how much a grew in my faith while at Chez Vous (I’m going to write a lot about this in my last entry/assessment of the program) and I wanted to tell her how much of an impact she had in my life so that the next time she gets discouraged, she can have that to lift her up…so that she’ll know she’s not doing this for nothing. She is making a difference.

After I finished all the letters, I sealed them and gave them to Elvira to give to the people their meant for if that makes sense. I told her not to read hers until she wouldn’t see my again.

From there, the goodbyes started, and so did the tears. I really wanted to stick around so that I could say goodbye to Elvira without having to rush because other people were waiting you know? So once she was all done we hugged and talked for a minute and she kind of joked that she was going to run home and read my letter ha ha.  I told her to be careful on her walk home and not to talk to strangers (which is something I tell her every night) and she was like, “Awe I’m going to miss that!” and we talked a little more and I managed not to cry..but then we said our “see you later”s (because we’re all convinced I’m interning next year right?) and she left. But the second she walked out of the door I just broke down sobbing. I’m going to miss Elvira so much, and it was so tough to say goodbye.

After that I started packing. It was midnight, and I actually finished packing in about 30 minutes..but I had this one jacket that I just didn’t want to pack or take back home even…so I got to looking at it and thought about Monica. So I went downstairs to ask if she wanted it, but her light was off. So I knocked on the door of three of the other girls from track C and asked them about her, but kate jumped up and went and got her, and I gave her the jacket, and then we ended up sitting and talking for about an hour. I’m REALLY sad that I didn’t come on Track B so that I could have spent more time with girls on Track C, because they are definitely more awesome than track A. And they all like me. Haha. =)

So I said my goodbyes and cried some more. Kate, we realized, goes to milligan, which is only like, 35 minutes from CN, so we’re going to be able to talk a lot more. AND she told me about a C.S. Lewis class that milligan has that I’m actually going to look into taking.

The next morning I got all of my stuff up and packed and put into the van..When I got in, there was a letter in my seat in an envelope…form Elvira. And I’m not posting anything about what it said, I’ll just say that I absolutely bawled the entire time I read it.

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