Sunday, May 27, 2012

District Conference

Yesterday was the District 5360 Weekend Conference held at a hotel in Canmore!  I was not registered to attend at first, but my outbound counsellor called me just the night before if I wanted to participate on the Saturday!  Although I had lots of homework to do, I simply couldn't refuse the opportunity to meet all the Inbounds again!

There were many influential leaders such as Craig Kielburger of Free the Children and RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) students who were taking part in this conference.  Later in the afternoon, the inbounds, Amelia and I went downtown to collect donations for one of Rotary International's Project called ShelterBox, an "international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide."  We put together a tent and displayed cooking pots, blankets etc. for the people in town to see what's included in one shelter box.

Inbounds helping to set up the tent

Amber from Taiwan and I in the tent

We also collected some donations during our evening banquet, and amazingly in just one day, we achieved to collect over $3000.00!!!  That is enough to get 3 boxes to be sent away to people needing help!

The Ladies ... and Øyvind from Norway

Overall, the District Conference was a success and it was very wonderful to see the Inbounds again, and for the last time :'(

Bonne chance Inbounds, and au revoir!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Connecting Globally Online

It is unbelievably astonishing how social media and the internet makes life so much easier and also has the power to influence your views (...yet it could be unsafe at the same time!)

What impressed me the most is Facebook: I joined a group page called the "Rotary Youth Exchange 2012/2013 to France" a few months ago, and since then, I have been communicating with over 150 RYE students who are going to France, French Rotexes and Rotexes who went to France from all around the world!  I have to admit that it's a bit scary to discuss with students who I have never met before (so they're literally strangers), but the idea of sharing each other our knowledge of France is amazingly beneficial!

We've already discussed about fashion, school, making new friends, food... and even politics!  Like what typical teenagers would talk about that?!  It was so fascinating when the group members talked about what they felt when François Hollande won the French federal election against Nicolas Sarkozy.  Seeing this event reported on Canadian news stations with the addition of student opinions from around the world definetely made me stand in a unique perspective.

One of the cool facts I learned is that France has an interestingly different electrical outlet and their electricity has much higher voltage!  To be honest, I would have never guessed it would look like this:

Discussion about France's Electrical Outlet

Little by little, I learn new information everytime I log online, and I have to thank whoever invented the internet for this global collaboration to happen.  When I find out which town/city I will stay in, I can search for students who will be living near me!  The possibility of interacting with someone who I will meet in the near future is too exciting!

Until next time,

Monday, May 14, 2012

District 1750

Bonjour encore!

Although I don't know which town/city I will be living in during my exchange, I know that I will be heading off to District 1750!!!  It is located east/south-east of Paris as you can see on this map below, and it is the Burgundy and Champagne region of France.  I love how it's located near the borders of the other countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy) and the capital of France!

Rotary Districts of France

As a book-worm geek, I am currently borrowing almost all of the French tour guide books and language education resources from my local library, and I am absolutely enjoying my time reading about Burgundy and Champagne.

Champagne, meaning joy and festivity, is well known for it's vineyards that produce the drink, champagne... clearly obvious isn't it?  Champagne has many cellar touring attractions and cathedrals such as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Reims, known as one of the largest cathedrals of the country.  (My parents are very jealous indeed.)  It covers the north area of District 1750.

The southern part, Burgundy, is a farm country that is very famous for their wine and farm-centric traditional cuisine.  Some dishes I may encounter would be their well-known bœuf à la bourguignonne, which is beef stew where the beef is braised with mushrooms, onions, bacon and wine.  (It looks so tasty!)  They also produce Burgundian époisses (cheese) made from cow milk.  I am not a fan of odourous cheeses, but I heard that it's the perfect dessert! 

Lastly and maybe the least... the escargots.  (Gulp.)  I CANNOT imagine eating one.  I know that my parents have eaten them here at home on rare occasions, but I always refused to take a bite.  Apparently, they grow wildly in the vineyards there!  Mon dieu!  What will I think if I see them slimin' everywhere when I go to school every day for example?!  (My best friend is going to laugh at me so much because she nicknamed me 'Escargot' since middle school, describing my slow speed.)

Well well... it seems like one of my challenges during this one year is to eat an escargot.  Perhaps more.  I think I can manage it... I'll just focus my taste buds on the creamy and buttery sauce that accompanies it.
This is the only appetizing picture I found on Google Images...
Other than being occasionally surprised of what some of the French people eat, I am having tons of fun listening to French audio CDs and memorizing useful phrases.

Bonne nuit!

ps: Now, I realize that some people would think that eating raw fish, fish eggs or sea eels is beyond their imagination... stuff that I think is normal. But then... what is normal food anyways?