Exchange – France

Take me back to France days.

I woke up one morning and after checking my email as per usual, found myself jumping and screaming “I’m going to France! I’m going to France!”. Not only did I forget to watch the volume of my voice but I had also completely forgotten to wish my mother a happy birthday. I can’t recall the last time I had so much energy in the morning but that was the only normal way to react to this news, right?!

The days leading to the trip fast approached and before I knew it, it was time to pack up my luggage. Word of advice: Never leave packing to the last minute. Chances are that you’ll forget your favorite pair of socks and arrive at the airport with three extra kilograms.

We were greeted at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with a Centennial College sign and a warm smile from a Groupe Sup de Co staff member. Just our luck, we landed during a train strike so we had to wait a few for the next train to La Rochelle. I was especially entertained at the station however by a phone-charger bike. It is exactly what it sounds like; a bike that you have to exercise on in order to charge your phone. Canada should really invest in these.

The train ride from Paris to La Rochelle was another four hours but the scenery was so remarkable I didn’t mind. Everyone was nervous about meeting their host families but I was overly excited. I have always loved meeting new people. If I was given the option to stay in a residence or with a host family, I would have picked a host family without a doubt.

My stay in home was nothing but amazing. I was paired up with a roommate whom I was extremely compatible with. I promised to keep this friendship with her beyond just the trip. My host mother treated me as if I were her own daughter. In fact, she even tucked me into bed with a good night kiss every night followed by a good morning wake up call.

Believe it or not, I even thoroughly enjoyed school. Our instructor, Sebastian is a soon to be comedian because he made me laugh uncontrollably every lesson. He made learning entertaining for all of us, even with the challenge of teaching sixteen individuals with different levels of French. 

There’s no place that I would have preferred to go to for this global experience. I could not think of a better method to indulge in another culture than by attending a French school and living in the home of a French citizen. All of the students on the trip were fortunate to get along so well. We even decided on a meeting spot downtown during the trip so that we could explore the streets “as a family”.

Everything after stepping foot into the small town of La Rochelle was a blur. Not because I had wine with every meal but simply because the days flew by. I still can’t believe that I was lucky enough to be selected for this unforgettable trip. I had the time of my life in this cute town I called home for two weeks. I cannot express with words how grateful I am for this opportunity but in short, thank you Centennial College!

Written by: Nickza Dalas

Here are some pictures from the trip:

  • Little present for host mom.

Little gift for my host mom.

  • Last day of school. Sebastian = the one in the middle.

Last day of school :( Sebastian = one in the middle.

  • Just being a tourist.

Just being a tourist.

  • My room for two weeks.

My room for two weeks.

Categories: Exchange - France, France, La Rochelle, La Rochelle- starting of a new journey, Nickza Dalas | Leave a comment

Dining in La Rochelle!

Dining out in La Rochelle is an experience in itself. In our third week, Akansha and me tried a bunch of restaurants, for the love of food (and also we were not so energetic to cook).

We were lucky to meet Simona, our Romanian friend who shared our love. She told us about this Italian restaurant, Ragazzi da Peppone and as she says, it was AMAZING!! The classic ambience, amazing food and the decor crossed our high expectations. The best thing I loved about this restaurant is cellar in the basement. You can have a little tour for yourself and choose a wine for the night.

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Another restaurant we tried was a creperie (I know, a restaurant only about crepes). I don’t know about you, but I only knew one version of crepes, with bananas, chocolate syrup and a dollop of cream. Well, actually up until now. There were so many varieties of crepes that I was confused which to pick. As crepe is staple to French cuisine, I wanted to try something authentic. I ordered this three cheese crepe, and was really excited. When it arrived to my table, the smell was Oh-so-good! My host told me that it is a special crepe, because of the cheese used to make it. But that first bite hit me right on my face. It was too cheesy for me. I really wanted to appreciate it. But, I ordered my version of crepe.

This one fine day, we went to this restaurant called Wallilabou Bay. First of all, a pirate was at the entrance to welcome us.

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But that was not the good part. Imagine having dinner in the deck of pirate ship, and not just any food. The food there is amazing. I will talk to you about that in my other blog. This restaurant is really famous for its barbecue chicken, pork and veal. Well it is called “épée du …..”. Also, we tried their pasta and pizza, which both were delicious. This reminds me of a French saying, “Oh! lala!!” 😉

Au revoir, madame et mousieur!

Categories: Exchange - France, La Rochelle- starting of a new journey, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Roti disaster!!

If you remember from my previous blog about how we managed to find the adapter for us, this blog has nothing to do with that. However, I will be telling you about how we managed to resolve our food cravings with interesting ideas.

My roommate, Akanksha and I both are from South Asian background, so we both share similar cuisines. During our second week in La Rochelle, we started to crave for rotis, round bread cooked in iron griddle.

Roti

We needed flour, so we did our grocery and stocked our fridge. Akanksha kneaded the dough and kept it aside. Jay (our friend from Centennial College who is an exchange student as well) and I were both waiting eagerly for “our” rotis. But then it suddenly struck us that we did not have any rolling pin to roll the roti with. We looked at each others’ blank faces for answers. Well, we had seen people making romali roti, a unqiue kind of thin roti, by throwing the dough up in the air and magically flattening when it landed on their hands.

How cool is that!!!


We tried doing that but trust me, it was nothing like roti. Anyways, we made a couple of them and was picturing ourselves the next morning in lot of pain. Then, like an angel, Akanksha stepped up and she did this amazing thing. You see, she had brought this water bottle with her.
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She spread a plastic wrap on the table, sprinkled it with some flour and started to roll the dough with that water bottle.
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Why didn’t we think of that before? We were so happy that we could finally have roti and not care about tomorrow.

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Look how happy she looks.

You would expect our dinner to be amazing and yes, you are right! We did had an amazing dinner with roti, of course! What I would remember about this night is that whatever type of situation you are stuck in, there is always a solution around the corner. You just have to recognize it and use it creatively!

Bon appetit!
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P.S. Our rotis are at the far right corner covered, we wanted it soft and warm!

Categories: Exchange - France | Leave a comment

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