On Saturday when, for good reason, most people were staying in catching up on some sleep, Aidan and I woke up at 7am to get ready to take the train to Lyon. The train ride was two hours long and we were heading to visit my high school pen pal, Mahaut. Once we boarded the train, I was so excited to have a window seat to see the countryside that we would pass along the way. Little did I know, there would be a young girl sitting behind me who would refuse to keep the window open. Throughout the train ride I would try to open it a little to have her shut it completely back in less than a minute. Although this was happening I was still able to take some pictures and look out of the window on the other side of the train.
Once we arrived at the airport in Lyon, we quickly found Mahaut. We were so excited to see each other we ran into each other’s arms like you would see in a movie! I noticed right away that her English had improved greatly. We got in her mother’s car and although we were stuck in a lot of traffic on the way back, we had beautiful sights to keep us company. Right away, she asked about my family and how big my little brother is because the last time she visited us he was only 3 years. I showed her many pictures of him, and more of my family, and she was shocked how big everyone had gotten.
Once we got to her house, we were astonished at how beautiful it was. Upon entering her house, we quickly noticed how cool the house was, which was a breath of fresh air after being suck in hot humid rooms in Paris all week. After we put our belongings down, we went outside to play with her dogs and then eat lunch. After lunch, she took us to see where she keeps her horse. I cannot believe how big the horse was and how much space it had to roam around. She showed us where they grow vegetables for both cooking and feeding to the horses. We then took a short walk up the mountain to see a breath-taking view of the city. It was nothing like we had ever seen before. We stayed for a while admiring the view but then we were headed off to her uncle’s house to go swimming.
Being in Paris this week while it was so hot, we had been dying to go swimming. We introduced ourselves to her family and they were so happy to meet us! They were already aware of who I was from when Mahaut visited my family and I in the United States about six years ago. They were eager to ask us about how we liked France and how things are different in the US. We swam for hours and it was refreshing. After many hours of swimming, we drove to Mahaut’s favorite restaurant in her town which she told us is very expensive. We went to their boutique to buy some small cakes and then we were off to the fruit and vegetable store to get food for meals. It was cool to see the farm and greenhouses behind the store because you knew how fresh al the produce would be.
After we got home we played a few games of UNO and she talked about her plans to study physical therapy in Spain which she is starting this fall. For each year of school for physical therapy, it costs 7000 euros, about $10,000, which is insane because in the United States we pay so much for schooling especially in medical school. She also mentioned that public universities in France are free, which I wish were the case back home. At night, we FaceTimed my family who were all ecstatic to see her. We talked for a while on the phone for an hour and my family had so many questions for her after not seeing her for so many years. She mentioned all her favorite parts about her trip to our house in Medford, and all the memories that she had. After we facetimed we were all tired from the day and shortly after went to bed but not before we went outside to look at all the stars that we had seen none of in Paris.