France Jour 6

Bonjour! 🙂

This morning, most of the group got up early for a morning walk to Notre Dame and a yummy French pastry breakfast. We were able to walk through the church and spend time looking inside and exploring it because mass was not in session. After a quick photo session along the Seine, we returned to Le Citadines to meet up with the rest of the group.

We embarked on our first adventure on the metro without fearless our leader, Tara, and met up with her at the Museum of Immigration. We explored the fascinating photography and old tokens, such as shoes, artworks, and puppets given to the museum by immigrants who had brought these with them to France when they came. We then met with one of the members of staff, a leading researcher at the museum. She focused mainly on the ideas that immigration is not all black and white, there is a lot of grey area in between, and that immigrants should be treated as individuals, not simply generalized as part of a group.

We went to a lovely French lunch at Brasserie Les Cascades, where we enjoyed a meal consisting mainly of chicken, steak, and French fries. About the same time we were at the restaurant, an incident involving a terrorist act occurred. We quickly found out as many details about the event as we could and discussed it to the point that we all feel safe. After a quick debrief of our meeting with Marianne, we set out on the metro Studio Praxis.

There, a TV show host, journalist, and mother spoke to us about the importance of always staying true to yourself and not being afraid to speak your opinion. She is a very inspiring woman who fights prejudice and unites the french-African community. In addition, she spoke about always empowering immigrant children rather than putting them down by saying they have to work harder to be equal to others.

We then boarded the RER and headed to ZonZon 93, where we met with the group’s leader and the girls from the neighborhood. After speaking with her and learning more about what it means to turn your life around and creating an organization that helps teens stay out of trouble in addition to combating discrimination, we met with the girls. The American and French teens grey tentatively began to mingle, but soon we were all deep in conversation, while we Americans had to put our French skills to the test in order to keep up with the fast paced French the girls spoke. After discussing the many stereotypes of both France and America, comparing schools and out of school activities, and discussing favorite tv shows and actors (among them Troy Bolton and Dr. Jackson Avery) over a delicious dinner of rice and chicken, we bid farewell to ZonZon 93. We hope to keep in touch with them through Facebook 🙂

Overall, this was one of the most exhausting and demanding days, both physically and emotionally. We relied on each other to get through it and it was the strength of the bonds of our friendship that allowed this to happen. But in the end, we get to spend time with close friends and learn life lessons everyday while exploring a beautiful city, what more could we ask for?

Pictures to come tomorrow 🙂

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  • Lauren Schryver

    We are obviously so relieved that you are all safe. While this was such a tragic and senseless event, you are witnessing history unfolding, and will undoubtedly have deep and meaningful conversations throughout the week that connect what happened at Charlie Hebdo to the immigration issues you are studying.
    Your blog posts are outstanding. I know how exhausted you are by the end of the day; thank you for taking the time to provide a window into each day of your amazing visit. Chapeau, tout le monde, et nous pensons à vous!

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