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Fitness, French, and Italian

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This was one of my favorite immersion programs! 

There is nothing like the energy of a teenager discovering what lies outside of her habitual world: new countries, boundaries, habits, smells, colors, weird looking people and clothes, bizarre foods, funny sounding languages... All her senses are in a state of heightened awareness; her eyes cannot open wide enough, her brain cannot register these new experiences fast enough, and her camera certainly does not have enough memory to capture it all! It is entirely mesmerizing...

Remembering my first trip to England -- barely 13, away from my parents, and with near-to-no English -- it was a delight to introduce these six young ladies to Europe. From France to Switzerland via Italy, they were on a two-week cultural and linguistic program with a fitness twist. These six young ladies were members of the cross-country team I was coaching at Cheverus high school and the type of really special kids with whom you simply want to spent time and share your life. Their parents entrusted them in my care and that of my husband's, and after the obligatory little tear at the Portland Jetport, off we went!

We landed in Geneva, Switzerland and came back through Paris. In between, we swam in in le lac Léman (the Swiss like to call it le lac de Genève, but the French in me likes to remember its other half, c'est de bonne guerre!), ran in the woods of Jussy, hiked above Chamonix after a téléphérique ride to the top of L'Aiguille du midi, watched a stage of le tour de France after an ascent to the Lac de Lessy, discovered the setting of Byron's Prisoner of Chillon not far from Nyon, spent some time studying Gruyère and chocolate -- tough day! -- climbed to the border between France and Italy, practiced our Italian and French, loved everything about Annecy, and entertained my parents with whom we were staying for the first part of the trip near Annecy before catching a TGV for a little urban "cultchah" in Paris.

Paris in late August adorns itself with the light and late colors of summer which, combined with the Parisians' exodus that month make it a more relaxed city than at any other times of the year. Its beauty is only enhanced.

What a delight it was to share these places so special to my heart... 

And... icing on the cake, the girls had a beautiful cross-country season that fall. Thank you ladies!

Coach V.