LE MOULIN BLEU
JOIE DE VIVRE! A statement that truly summarizes my experience and the French culture as a whole. These are the only words I can think of to express the overall image left in my head of my trip to France this summer. The counselors made the land so intriguing and beautiful with their incredible knowledge of the history and their uninhibited, adventurous attitudes. The land is just breathtaking. The countryside looks as if it were taken out of a storybook, with its rolling hills with wildflowers and the occasional sunflower plantation of solid yellow. And on top of one of these hills were many times a château, a castle, or possibly an old church. The abundance of history is striking, as is the abundance of the people's knowledge of that history. It's just amazing how much these people knew their land. So I am led back to the people in their own unique personalities, true individuals, yet they all melted together to form this wonderful family of friends. I've never met such a great group of people. Last but not least, one of the most important aspect of this camp experience is the improvement in speaking and understanding French, I strongly recommend this camp to those who want to learn the language, history, or just experience the rich culture of France. I had the experience of my life!!!!!!!
From the moment I found out that I would be able to attend VSF’s Summer Camp, I was thrilled that the highlight of my summer would be in France. I had been to France before, but I knew that this trip would be different, more cultural, away from typical tourists attractions, away from Paris’ bright lights and car pollution…but in the countryside. However, I didn’t know exactly what to expect or how to prepare. I questioned whether 3 years of French would suffice when it came down to conveying basic living needs. Nevertheless, I was anxious to leave and experience a whole New World. A foreign living, where I was new and everything was new and exposed to me. Before the trip, I began translating daily questions and responses mentally to prepare for the forthcoming trip. When we finally arrived at the camp, I could scarcely believe it. The counselors were so warm and welcoming! At first, it was hard to respond to their various questions, but after the first couple of days I became more comfortable testing my abilities. The language was real to me because I was enthusiastic about understanding them and responding. Soon, words were no longer merely words to be taken for granted. I quickly found that the French people were my best resource when it came to expanding my vocabulary and improving my French. The first 3 days were transitional. Then I became more comfortable speaking because everybody was interested in my culture as much as I was with theirs, so they were very patient with me. The facility was magnificent and all the resources were at our disposal. The days consisted of activities ranging from horseback riding, hiking, motorcycling, swimming and playing sports, to singing, picking flowers in the fields and telling stories . The program was really flexible and appealing to different people of various energy levels. In the evening, there were special productions like talent shows, singing contests, and French extravaganzas! There were also mini-camps in which 6-14 campers go to another campsite and participate in a special activity. The options included sailing, rock climbing, sport camp, and a mixture. I had the must fun rock climbing because of the campsite and the counselors. It rained a little during the day, and at around sunset, the fog came in and settled between the mountains and the valley at eye level. The clouds were so thick it looked as though a painter, with a quick whip of a brush added them to an already perfect picture. It was gorgeous. Rock climbing also allowed me to seize a certain rock and attack my fear of heights. I indulged in all of the greatness that seemed to be everywhere, in the clouds, in the rock, the earth and the cascading water. Aside from everything I learned about myself, I think the most important thing I learnt is that people are people everywhere. Life is always life, whether it is here or in France one must learn the rules by which to communicate in order to understand. Solely, for that insight the trip was so worth it. I have never had a more rewarding experience. Not only did I learn about the people, the culture, France and myself, but I also had an incredible vacation, without boundaries, SANS FRONTIERES!.