Danielle P. is currently a senior at SYA France. Danielle comes to SYA from Miller Place High School (NY). Read more of her work throughout the year here.
What a crazy whirlwind the past few weeks have been! I truly can't believe that I have less than a month in France, but as my host sister says, "je ne veux pas y penser" (I don't want to think about it). It's true that the time has flown by, but I suppose it's because we've been so occupied between schoolwork, our Capstone projects, preparing for end of year testing, spring break, independent travel, and all while trying to savor the time we have left here!
After lots of second semester stress, spring break came at just the right time and was wonderful. SYA France split up into two groups, one to the north for a trip based on the American influence in the second World War in France, and one to the south in Marseille focused on immigration, diversity, and the French national identity! I was a part of the Marseille trip, and after the gray rainy days that we have come to know so well in Rennes, the Mediterranean sun was warm and welcoming (the spring in Rennes is something worth waiting for, though). We visited and explored all over Marseille, and even went on a 10 kilometer hike through the Calanques--even though the climbs were steep and we basically rock climbed, the view we got for lunch was stunning and could have been a computer screensaver!
Goodbye SYA, Hello College
After five days experiencing France's oldest city, I set off with two friends to Venice for two and a half days. We were there for Easter weekend, so there were more tourists than usual, but it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen and it felt like I was walking through a storybook or a dream; the city was just unreal. We ate amazingly well, as most do in Italy, but I have to add that I didn't realize how much I missed French bread until I sat down to my first dinner back with my host family after break; I'm not sure how I'm going to manage once I go home. My friends and I then parted ways--them to Mallorca and me to St. Andrews, Scotland to visit the University that I will be attending next year! I met my mother and grandmother there and thoroughly enjoyed getting more acquainted with the remarkably unique seaside Scottish town that welcomes students and faculty from all over the world. I am very proud and excited to be going there, and even found out that two other SYA students, from SYA Italy, will be going there next year as well! After a short two days in St. Andrews, I boarded yet another flight and headed down to Holland to stay with my Dutch family. We stayed in my grandmother's home city, where her brothers still live, and it was great to be able to spend some quality time with the family that I rarely see--even if we don't speak the same language. However, I did find that I could understand a lot more than I ever was able to because some words are the same in French! These interactions made me realize with a new perspective how much I love learning languages and forming the bonds between different cultures between communicating.
The First of the Lasts
Overall, I had a lovely break between spending time with my friends and family. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the last month of school, as hard as it is to accept. If there are any members of the future class of SYA reading this, savor every moment of your year because it goes too fast! As the year winds down and we get information about shipping things back home, donating what we want to leave behind, and the slew of 'last's starts to begin, I can't help but be extremely grateful and happy that I chose to take part in this year and be a member SYA France. It's been the best decision I've ever made and, ironically, I couldn't be happier to be so sad because it means I've had such a wonderful and rewarding experience.