Arrival day at La Giraudière for this American Volunteer in Brossac, France was greatly anticipated. I signed up to volunteer months ago and researched every aspect of this trip to France. Among many visits to France, I’ve checked out most of the major towns and tourist attractions but have never spent much time away from large metropolitan areas. My name is Valerie Jablonski and this year I’m seeking a different kind of adventure. I am a retired teacher from Michigan with a desire to expand my horizons. Volunteering for three weeks to take part in a cultural exchange with others from around the world is a dream come true.
After a fast TGV train from Paris to Bordeaux, the TER train to Chalais was a relaxing way to check out the countryside. The contrast of major train stations in Paris and Bordeaux was reflected in the stops in small towns with no actual station building, just a spot to wait for the train. Finally, I stepped off the train and was met by Paul, who’s vision makes this all possible.
A warm welcome and a quick car ride to La Giraudière brought me face to face with the beautiful maison de maitre I had only seen in pictures. Set in an idyllic location on the edge of town, The sense of serenity all around was very calming. Then, a flurry of introductions followed. I met three Erasmus interns from Germany, Portugal and Russia, while a fourth from Spain turned up that evening. Two other volunteers from Australia rounded out the current group.
A tour of the maison and my accommodations followed. I took time to settle into my private room in a 3 bed apartment. Despite the midday heat, it was cool and inviting. I immediately felt at home and elated to experience France from small town life, which already appears quite different than anything I’ve done before.
Conversation flowed in various languages at dinner time. I love languages! Sitting in the open air, eating lemon chicken with pasta prepared by Hugo, the German Erasmus intern, listening and speaking with everyone on every topic, introducing myself and learning about the others leant a magical beginning to my stay.
I look forward to interacting with local townspeople, taking nearby day trips and swapping stories with everyone I meet. This is my introducton to blogging, so please come back for more descriptions of the daily activities at La Giraudière through my eyes. I can’t believe I am volunteering in France! This American is beaming with joy!
Like to know more about Americans volunteering in France at La Giraudière? Read more about this in our previous post on the blog.
Or maybe you are interested in volunteering in France at La Giraudière?Then visit our website at Volunteer in France.