Hello again! It’s Tadhg back with my second and final update on my time here in Mazamet. It’s been three months since my last blog so there’s a lot to fill you guys in on.
The first story I have to recount is when I went with the family to visit their relatives for a weekend over the mid-term holidays at the end of October. Their relatives live in a small town called Divonne around ten minutes from the Swiss border. It took us 7 hours by car to get to Chamonix, the detour we took on the way to Divonne. Chamonix is a spectacular village surrounded by huge mountains covered in snow, one of which being the Mont Blanc, the mountain with the highest peak in Europe. We embarked on our journey up the mountain taking in the stunning views. It was in Chamonix also where I first tasted and fell in love with La Raclette, a cheesy dish which is a speciality of the Alps region. The rest of the weekend was lovely, the relatives were really nice and showed us a great time in their small yet flamboyant village.
I’ve continued playing rugby, I get on very well with the team and they’ve now decided to come to Ireland for their end-of-season tour at the beginning of June which I’m really looking forward to. I am really going to miss these guys when I head back home at the end of this week.
During the December holidays I went with the family to their chalet in a town called Les Angles, located in the heart of the Pyrenees. The views of the surrounding area were breathtaking and the chalet was the very definition of cosy. Unfortunately I was only there for one day and that day there was no snow and we therefore couldn’t ski. The day after, I headed back to Ireland for two weeks. It was really nice to see all my family and friends again but I was also eagerly awaiting my return to France to finish off my adventure.
Soon after I got back, we once again went to the family’s chalet in the Pyrenees. Luckily this time there was plenty of snow and I was able to go skiing for my first time which was great craic. I fell a lot but it was great to have experienced it anyway!
My dad came over for a weekend a few weeks later. We had picked this weekend as Leinster were playing against Castres at the Stade Pierre Antoine. The match didn’t live up to be very exciting but we still had a great weekend; doing Nordic skiing aswell as playing golf. Before my dad got his plane back to Dublin, we visited the old city of Carcassone which was interesting.
I finished school at the beginning of February, a sad day as I said goodbye to my school mates and wished them the very best for the future. During the first week of the holidays I stayed with friends of the family while my host family went skiing in Italy. I got on very well with them and had a good time.
The host family have since returned, and I’ve mainly just been chilling out and meeting up with a few friends over my last week in what feels like home. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get back. I’m really going to miss the family who have been incredible throughout my time here. I hope that we’ll be able to stay in contact and meet up again in the near future.
I feel like I’ve really developed since I arrived here and have greatly improved my French. I would strongly encourage anyone who has an opportunity like this to grab it, and to make the most of it as I can’t emphasise how fast the time will fly. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about my stories and getting a taste of what French life is like.