Les Bleus Filles

I just watched one of the most nerve-wracking, tense games of my life.  Continuing in my football mania, I’d decided to watch the two U-20 Women’s World Cup quarter-final matches on tonight live from Canada. The first was Nigeria vs New Zealand, and my heart nearly burst, it was swelling so much with my pride for girls as we dominated and rocked at 4-1 by the final whistle. The other game, France vs South Korea, was vastly different. The French were my favorites to win this match with their attacking prowess as presented in their previous – group stage – games (5-1 Costa-Rica, 4-0 Paraguay, and 3-0 New Zealand). I excitedly sat down to watch the match, quite late actually, just before half-time.

First of all, I was surprised to see that the scoreline was 0-0. Half-time came wit a goalless draw. In the 2nd half I was confident that my French side, who I am fondly dubbing Les Bleus Filles after their male counterparts, would the back of the net more than once. That would not be the case. I have to give the South Koreans credit, though, for their super tight and organized defense. However, it was frustrating to watch my Bleus Filles get so frustrated. Time wore on and on, as the French time and time again got their charges to goal foiled over and over and over again. At a point, the South Koreans actually got a penalty, which, thankfully, my French hero, goalkeeper Durand saved. To have the French lose like that would have been devastating.

That penalty shot would be the only shot at goal of just two shots at goal in the whole game that would be on target for the South Koreans.

The French were largely and widely dominating the whole freaking game, yet they could never find the back of the net. It was actually anguish for me to watch, as they would literally get this close to score after a golden opportunity, and miss their chance. Their attacks were lovely. Such superb technique, skill, and class on the ball. Such delightful pace. Such fantastic crosses and passes into the box. But every single time, the French just couldn’t score like they usually prolifically do. At a point I was scared that there was some divine spiritual bind holding them back from their deserved win from the Pope visiting South Korea or something, and I started praying seriously to just let the deserved French side scoring their winning goal. I DID NOT want to have to go through an excruciating penalty shoot-out.

The French did score an ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS GOAL, in the actual last minute of full time, but it was ruled out for being offside. It was heartbreaking.

The match went into extra-time with wide-spread, loud support for the French side throughout the stadium. The French simply dominated that extra-time and kept me at the edge of my seat. Still, no goals. Towards the end of extra-time, an awesome chant of “Allez Les Bleus! Allez Les Bleus! Allez Les Bleus!” rang out from the stands.

It went into penalties. I emphatically prayed to God give France their deserved win. I love their play, I love their language, which I’ve been studying at school, I love their country, which I got the fortune of visiting this year, and I love their people that I met on my trip. The first shot by South Korea was an atrocious miss, flying way over the crossbar. The crowd roared. The first shot by France went in. A deafening roar surged from the crowd. The second shot by South Korea went in. The second shot by France hit the crossbar. Tension, tension. The third shot by South Korea went in. I was almost hyperventilating at France being behind 2-1 at that moment. The third shot by France went in, thankfully. The fourth shot by South Korea was  another awful miss over the crossbar. I dared to hope. The fourth shot by France went in. South Korea just had to miss again for France to go through. The fifth shot by South Korea went in. It was so, so intense. The fifth penalty shooter for France, Lavogez, needed her shot to go in for France to instantly go through to the semi-finals! It happened.

I literally just collapsed to the floor at that moment in relief, then immediately scrambled up to watch Les Bleus Filles celebrate their much deserved win. It was so heartwarming to watch them all collapse on top of Lavogez, their hero. They were so elated at winning, and my head was right up there in the clouds with them! They had their own little dance to celebrate, which was SO CUTE! It reminded me of Colombia’s in the (men’s senior) World Cup. I was, like “Go, girls! Rock it like the men do!” They totally relished the win, waving to their fans, running and jumping together, and signing autographs. Lavogez signed the most, and even stayed back to sign more for her adoring fans at the edge of the stands. It was so touching to see her taking the time out to relish in her win by signing as many autographs as she could, on tickets and KIA (sponsors) napkins.

Merci beaucoup, Les Bleus Filles! Vous etes tres, tres, tres magnifique!!!

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Spring Break in France

I spent my spring break in France on a school-sponsored service trip. I went with thirteen other juniors and seniors from my school, George School. We lived with host families in Alsace and worked as teachers assistants for toddlers and little kids. I worked with three to five year olds in a creche called Jardin d’Enfants. I really got to practice my French a lot and it was a life-changing experience.

We were also in Paris for four days. We visited the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, the Sacre-Coeur, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower, as well as going on a breathtaking boat ride of the RIver Seine on the Bateau Rouge and watching a comedic french play titled The Lesson or Le Lecon.

The weather was perfect heavenly considering it’s still snowing back in Newtown, Pennsylvania. It was so much warmer, and we got to shed our coats and big jackets most of the time. The weather got up to 70 degrees fahrenheit at a point. It was particularly beautiful in Paris! And in Alsace, flowers were blooming and spring was arriving.

I can safely say that I had the trip of a lifetime!

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Outside the Louvre. I’m on the far left!

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On the Eiffel Tower. I’m on the far left again minus one!

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Synopsis

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Thoughts

This is literally the most DELICIOUS book I have ever read.

This book is for anyone who has ever had a crush.

This book paints the most realistic love story I have ever read.

I fell completely, head over heels in love with the love brewing between Anna and Etienne St. Clair. I am so glad that they started out as friends. How they got to know eachother on so many levels. I learned that that is the best basis for love ever. I love how they secretly loved eachother from the beginning. I love the glimpses we got when Etienne let slip that he loves Anna. I love how Anna had to secretly pine over him because he had a girlfriend. I love how easily they could talk to eachother. I love how in sync they were. I love how I learned what love wasn’t – and that’s Anna’s projected ‘love’ of Toph. I adored the Parisien setting.

This book is hands-down the best romance novel I have ever read in my entire life.

Favorite Quotes

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

“I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I’m not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it.”

“Madame Guillotine gets mad at me. Not because I told them to shove it, but because I didn’t say it in French. What is wrong with this school?”- (Literally made me laugh out loud so hard!)

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