Bonjour à tous! This past week I got the opportunity to visit Corsica, France! It was a 7-day trip with my host mom’s school. Last month a school from Corsica came to Italy for a week of exchange. So this month this Italian school went to Corsica for a week of exchange. There were 42 of us total, including teachers. I feel so lucky to have been able to join them for this incredible adventure.
Tuesday, May 17: My journey started with waking up bright and early at 5:45am and taking 5 hour bus ride to Nice, France. We than hopped on a huge yellow ferry boat. Finally after 5 more hours of travelling, we arrived at the port of Bastia, Corsica, where our host families picked us up. I stayed with the same teacher we hosted last month when the French came to Italy. Her name is Gracieuse. So I stayed with her and her boyfriend, Floronce (I don’t know how to spell that sorry!! I just remember it sounded like the name of the city Florence with a French accent hahah!) at her house in the center of Bastia. They were both very generous to me last week, I was lucky to have stayed with them. Their house was really nice too! One thing I found interesting in the house was the bathroom. The bathroom consisted of only a shower and a sink. The toilette was placed in a whole different tiny room next to the kitchen! It was a little strange for me! For dinner we ate filet mignon, rice, and pancake things with cheese in them…they were pretty tasty actually!
Wednesday: All of the Italians got to sit in and watch two hours of french school. I got to see Gracieuse teach math, and Marie Ange teach french. It was interesting to see some of the differences between French and Italian and American school. We ate lunch at a little restaurant next to the coast and I ordered an octopus salad. Then all of the teachers (French and Italian) and I visited the tip of Corsica in the mountains. It was so beautiful and so green. I found that most of Corsica is very wild and vegetated. For dinner I ate at Gracieuse’s house and we ate leftovers from the night before.
Thursday: We woke up bright and early and hopped on a boat to visit Calvi, a town on the north western part of Corsica. The 3 boat ride was fine on the way over, no one got sick or anything. It was extremely windy in Calvi, I thought I would blow away!! We ate our packed lunches on the top of a mountain with a beautiful view of the sea. That’s where I took that picture with my arms out to my sides (on Facebook and Instagram). The boat ride back was brutal. Almost everyone felt sick, and some people physically became sick. There were huge waves which made the boat rock back and forth for 3 hours. At one point I thought the boat would tip over! I’ll put a video of it in my next video. When we finally approached land, we went shopping in the little shops around town. Sneak peak I got some presents for you all in the USA…You’re welcome! For dinner I ate tortellini that Gracieuse made, it was delicious!
Friday: In the morning the French and Italian students played volleyball together. I, however, with many other students, sat and watched because I absolutely cannot play volleyball and even when I try to play I don’t enjoy it. For lunch all of the teachers and I went to a little caffe where we ate crepes. They weren’t dessert crepes though, they were filled with vegetables and ham and cheese. Mine consisted of eggplant, tomatoes, and ham. I didn’t know what to expect from these crepes because I had never heard of non-dessert crepes. But I was pleasantly surprised when I put the first bite in my mouth. After lunch we met up the students and did a scavenger hunt around the town of Bastia. We were divided into groups of 4 or 5 students; I was with a group with 2 Italians and 2 French. Than we were given images of various sculptures or objects in the town, and we had to find each one and take a group selfie in front of them. It was exciting the first hour, but then got really tiring after constantly walking and climbing up stairs. They have SO MANY STAIRS!! For dinner we ate a buffet made by all of the host families.
Saturday: After sleeping in, some of the teachers and I went for a walk along the coast of Bastia where we saw 2 lighthouses. For lunch we ate spaghetti with tomatoes at one of the French teacher’s houses, and fruit for dessert. After lunch we went shopping in Bastia and then got ready for the long night ahead. We had a plan to eat dinner of typical Corsican food and then watch live Corsican music. So at about 7 o’clock Gracieuse and I left the house and drove 2 hours outside of town…I had no idea where ahaha. We ended up at a church somewhere, where we met the other Italian and French teachers. It was 8 o’clock, so we were expecting to eat dinner, but we were unpleasantly surprised when we were given a tour of the tiny town around the church first. The tour guide spoke Corsican, which isn’t the same as French. It’s more like a mixture of French, Italian, and Sicilian, so I basically didn’t understand anything he said ahah…only a couple words. Than we went back to the church an hour later when everyone was starving and wanting to eat. But again we were unpleasantly surprised when the Corsicans exclaimed that we would watch the live music first, and then eat dinner. I tried to ignore my growing hunger as we watched. Luckily I really enjoyed the music. There were 8 men who sang a cappella Corsican music. I had never heard anything like it before, it was very beautiful and unique. Finally at 10 pm we ate dinner. My starvation had diminished a little my then, but I still ate a ton of pasta and stew. We left the town at midnight and started heading back to Bastia to get some rest. Unfortunately it became blindly dark, and no one could remember the way back home. After experimenting with a few dirt roads, getting stuck in a dead-end, and asking Corsicans for directions, we finally made it back to Bastia at 2 am. It was definitely a long day!!
Sunday: I slept in till 11:45 because of the tiring day we had the night before. Than all of the teachers and I went to the beach!! We found a shaded, foresty area next to the beach where we had a picnic. Than we laid our towels out on the beach and sun-tanned. The sea was a beautiful, rich blue color and it wasn’t horribly freezing…only a little. As I walked though the ripples next to the sand I came across 3 purple jellyfish and 2 hand-sized crabs! It was a surprise for me because I had never seen jellyfish or crabs on the beach before, only in aquariums!! After the lovely day at the beach I ate dinner of pasta with chicken and curry sauce, made by Floronce. I then found the movie “White House Down” in english on TV, so I watched that before going to bed.
Monday: We woke up bright and early and took a 3 hour bus ride to Bonifacio, a town in the very south part of Corsica. It was organized to take a boat from there to visit an island nearby, but that plan was cancelled because it was so windy. OMG THE WIND!!! I’m not going to lie but the wind kinda ruined my day. It was so strong it was difficult to stand still, see with your eyes open, or hear anything happening around you. Good thing I had my phone to take pictures! Now I can look at them in normal whether and enjoy the view ;) We ate lunch on top of the mountain in the wind, and then visited the town of Bonifacio. I went around with some of the Italian students, and they showed me how many songs they knew in english. They know tons! I was impressed. I also taught some of them the english tongue twister: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” This one student named Alex actually succeeded at saying it by the end of the trip!! Than he taught me an Italian tongue twister: “Sotto la panca la capra campa sopra la panca la capra crepa.” I can say it, but not as quickly as them hahaha! After the bus ride back to Bastia, I ate a wonderful dinner of a mixed salad make by Gracieuse, and then went to bed.
Tuesday, May 24: We woke up early once again and hopped on the ferry back to Nice, France, leaving the beautiful Corsica behind. Than another 5 hour bus back to Lake Orta. After 12 hours of travelling we finally went back home. This trip was an amazing experience and it was organized very well. I’m so grateful that I was invited to tag along with the rest of the school. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot. Thank you for everyone who made it possible. It was a little exchange within a big exchange!