After a whirlwind weekend away in Upper Normandy, I am absolutely exhausted, a little sun burnt, and filled with amazing new memories.
The thing about this trip is that my friend Kody is moving to Germany in mid-August to spend a year studying abroad. His father’s family lives in Normandy, and they happened to be planning a trip to France to visit. So about a month ago, Kody invited me to come down during the Scotland program. I knew from the get-go that this might be the last time I see my friend for a long time, and so I made this trip work: I started by getting advice from Kody and his dad about how to get there, then I researched ferries between England and France, flights between Edinburgh and London, and I came up with a plan. It was a crazy, hare-brained plan, including a couple of unreasonably short connection times. It was a plan that I scrapped two weeks ago.
Armed with my new fool-proof plan, everything went according to plan. Kody and his dad met me at the bus station. I couldn’t stop my grin when I saw them as I was in line to get off of the bus – they were a bit of home in yet another unfamiliar city.
From there, we headed to the beach at Étretat where we hiked up the picturesque limestone cliffs and I braved the cold English Channel. After we swam, we ate sandwiches and ice cream on the pebbly beach (I was even attacked by a seagull who stole one of my sandwiches!), then drove up the cliff opposite where we’d hiked earlier.
Today we drove down to Lower Normandy and walked through a quaint town whose name escapes me, then drove up to Honfleur, a little harbor town on the Seine.
My last stop was a second visit to Kody’s cousins’ home, where they introduced me to a game almost like bowling. Kody and two of his cousins set up these wooden pins (or, as Kody called them, keys), each with a number 1-12 etched on top, and you took a cylindrical piece of wood and tossed it at the keys. The goal is to get 50 points, but you only get the etched number if it’s the only one you hit! If you hit, for example, 6 pins, then you would receive 6 points. But if you go above 50, you drop back to 25+your points over 50, and if you miss more than three times, you’re out. I was the first to get to exactly 50, through a combination of luck, the fact that they let me keep playing even when I got “out”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just going easy on me! I felt so welcomed among them – they did their best with English, and I would look lost over to Kody or his dad when everyone was speaking French, and they would translate for me.
Occasionally we would converse in German, as it was a common language for a few (if not all) of us!
Walking through Étretat and then the other quaint towns they took me to might be the closest I’ve been to an “Oh my word, I’m really doing this,” moment I’ve had in the three weeks I’ve been away from home. There were moments in which I couldn’t believe I was actually there, walking quaint medieval towns with Kody and his dad. Maybe it was because of how long I’ve known Kody – he’s a friend from high school, and we were involved in a few of the same activities: marching band, German, and music. It was absolutely surreal for me to be there, if only for 24 hours.
Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.
Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.