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A Foreign Land

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A Foreign Land George Cheetham From what I had heard, France seemed to me to be a strange place. The language was confusing, the schooling, very different, the coinage unlike English currency and the holidays short. My French pen friend had sent me photographs of his family and the countryside where he lived. The fashion was different and the French listened to old-fashioned English music. From the photographs, France appeared to have beautiful views and was not built up at all. The stories, however, that scared me most were that of the French food and drink, with frog legs and snails appeared on every menu, and the young drinking wine. This prejudiced me, and so when I discovered I was going to France on an exchange, I was worried and apprehensive. I was reminded of this trip wherever I went In England as, there were columns and monuments of past conflict through the whole of London. ...read more.


The family took a lot of trouble to make me feel at home. I went to bed early and clearly knew that my French counterpart was allowed to stay up until very late. The following day we went to school. The children wore no uniform and the school was coeducational. School children did not pay much attention to their work or the teachers. There was a powerful smell drifting from the canteen of unfamiliar food, which fortunately I did not have to experience. The heat of this foreign land continued to engulf me as the sweat beads poured from my brow. We played rounders and clearly it was the English against the French. Trafalgar had not been forgotten. The modern French did not like losing at all. We all shared a love of football but the French played a rough game of diving and fouling, as we learnt to keep our wits about us. ...read more.


The windows had shutters to shield the strong sunlight. People seemed to come to life at night in the coolness of the shade. The view was amazing; fields and orchards covered the mountainside in the booming economy of agriculture, unlike the economy of England. The sound of horses on the cobbled streets could be heard from miles away. The French preserved the past and had pride in it, in contrast to modern England.. The clear turquoise and blue rivers rapidly flowed through the town from the mountains, quite unlike the green murky Thames. Dogs ran wildly through the streets as I tried to shop. I felt un-secure and alone but fortunately the people were kind and helpful. The trip to France dismissed all of my prejudices. I learnt to accept the French culture and my language improved greatly. The meaning of the French heat and noise never left me. I saw England with new eyes; the bland scenery and smoky built up areas did not please me as they used to. My foreign land helped me to mature and judge for myself. ...read more.

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