Rotary Exchange 2015-2016 Canada-France 7010~1790


November 2015

A post for Paris & the world

November 13th, 2015 was a globally-terrifying night. The tragedies of Paris will be forever ingrained in the memories of many people, including myself.  Paris was one of my favorite places on Earth and the bombings and shootings of that prevented any hope of rest for the Republic of France and it’s people. The terrorist attacks have taken their toll on Paris, France and the world as a whole. It has broken my heart and I must say I am touched at how many countries have chosen to band around France and provide support and love.

Indeed, this event was shaking and shocking for France and myself alike. I haven’t done too much sleeping this weekend, along with many of my friends here in France. With a death toll upwards of 130 and an injured toll of 350, it is hard to make sense of everything that has transpired in the past 48 hours. It is a horrifying prospect, and one that has rightfully attracted international attention.

It is tragic, and I can truly appreciate every post/message that has been sent to me from friends and family around the world, worrying about my safety and the safety of France. Within this slew of touching messages, some even asked if I would be leaving France and returning to Canada out of fear from these attacks. No. My answer is completely no. It hadn’t even been a thought in my mind until a friend mentioned it. I have grown to attached to France and it’s people to end my exchange now, out of fear. The truth is; I am not afraid. Everyone here who cares about me and everyone I care about is safe and okay.

I am currently quite safe where I live, but on Friday night, many people in the heart of the capital and around the world weren’t able to say the same. The series of tragic world events on Friday, November 13th didn’t just affect France. The whole world seems to be crumbling under the weight of the international damage from the 13th. Bombings in Beirut 2 days previous, a suicide bomber at a Baghdad funeral, a double-suicide bombing in Lebanon. In Japan an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 and the tragedy of a dam in Brazil breaking, leaving several with out a water supply.

Our world is in deep need of peace and love, not anymore hate, racism and prejudice. All I am asking for is for everyone to continue sending their positive thoughts, prayers and love here to France and to the rest of the world, because truth be told, we are the only ones who can fix these world catastrophes.

No one could ever bring back all the lives lost this week, and no one can rewind the devastation but Martin Luther King Jr. said ” Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Please keep this in mind if you find yourself thinking about any of the world tragedies from this past week.

-One love, stay positive and always tell the ones you love that you love them because you never know when something might happen…-

~Cassandra Lyn xx

Two months and seven days later……

November 1st.Hard to believe that it’s been eight weeks since I left Canada for France and I have already seen and done so many, many things.

A week after my ‘one month anniversary’ in France, my family took me to Paris and it was beautiful…one of the most opulent places in the world, I would say. We went up the Eiffel Tower, had a bus tour around the city, saw Notre Dame, the Galleries Lafayette, a river cruise and of course-The Louvre! I’m still quite unsure of my favourite part of Paris, I was enamored with the city as a whole and would love to eventually live there for a small period of time if it’s possible!

On Tuesday, October 20th, we left France at six a.m., drove for about eight hours, through France and Switzerland to make to the North of Italy…Bergamo to be exact. Bergamo was a charming city, divided into two parts, one of which is atop a great hill with a funicular as the transport between the two. We stayed one night in Bergamo, then headed to a very small town by the name of Sirmiome, also known as Lago di Garda (Lake Garda). I absolutely fell in love with this place, it felt so warm, relaxing and welcoming! I loved it there, though we didn’t spend too much time there, just a single morning and then left for a quick drive to Verona… the city of Shakespeare’s Romeo&Juliette! The city was absolutely gorgeous! I saw the balcony of Juliette, the old Roman amphitheatre, the huge market in a courtyard part of the city just around the corner of all the shops and of course, the fortified castle! The castle bridge is always filled with small vendors selling everything from trinkets, to food to healing oils! Verona was fantastic and the food there was as well, I wish I could go back for more Gnocchi!

After two nights in Verona, we left for the city where we would spend the longest amount of time, VENIZIA!! I was so excited for Venice and it was most defiantly everything I had expected. There are no cars on the main parts of Venice, such as San Marco among the others and so we took the boat system to travel from the car and around Venice and it was truly breath-taking! We spent one evening and two full days in Venice, eating amazing food and hoping from island to island through the water transit system. Each island seemed to have its own unique speciality…Murano is world-famous for its magnificent hand blown glass and Burano is for its detailed lace and needle point work, both of which are very lovely and very cool to watch being made! Each building and mostly the churches in Venice were extremely, uniquely detailed and gorgeous, I would recommend seeing as many as possible! Absolutely incredible!

I found that Venice was at its most beautiful when the sun was setting and then at night. You can hear all the musicians playing to people outside of their restaurants, the lights glowing against the old cobble stone streets and just the feel that the Italian atmosphere gives is unexplainable, but beautiful! Once we finished in Verona, we headed for our final stop, Milano! Milano is the home of fashion week and a very old beautiful cathedral, known as the Duomo…and it’s massive! We walked around the outside balcony, all the way to the roof and were able to see the city from there, and below the Duomo was a huge archaeological exhibition for the cathedral! Milan also has the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping centres, it includes places such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel and Dior! The next day, we got up early and started our eight-hour trek back to Chaumont!

I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Italy and I can’t wait to go back there on Euro-Tour with the other exchange students! I really want to go back and do Rome, Pompeii and Sicily maybe! I am very grateful to my host family, The Osmonds, for bringing me with them to Italy and taking me to Paris! I’m having the best time and I can’t wait to go to Normandy and Sweden with them in December! Crazy to think that in just nine months I will be back in Canada, I can’t wait to see what those nine months hold for me! Stay tuned to find out!

Lago di Garda
Lago di Garda

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