Making new friends on the kayak adventure

by Julie Gibbons on September 4, 2008

Wee R and Joachim

Wee R and Joachim

Montauban in France’s south west brought us a great deal of pleasure – and lots of new friends. WeeR found some boys his own age (this is important when you’re ten).

First off, there was JoJo. Alas, JoJo was exchanging houses with us for 3 weeks, so we were only able to spend a little time with him.

The boys were not at all perturbed by their language incompatibility – they shared so very much more in common – including the boy’s favourite Lego.

Hopefully we’ll be able to arrange for the boys to spend more time together in the future – perhaps on a language exchange to each other’s homes. After all, they are already familiar with the territories…

Wee R and ThéotimeWee R and Dheothime

Home exchange no 3 afforded us the opportunity to spend time with the family before we swapped houses, and it was great to spend time with and understand the family before we adopted their life for 3 weeks.

One of the added benefits was that Patricia and Jean Michel were able to introduce us to their friends Luc and Sandrine and their family. English language teachers (and true linguists), they made our visits very easy by speaking in flawless English.

Unfortunately their 10 year old ( and JoJo’s friend) Théotime, spent most of our visit on holiday with his grandparents, but we were able to meet up the day before we left the region for a kayak adventure packed with all our bodyboard fins from and our inflatable kayaks, organized by Sandrine.

Team Kayak

Team Kayak

In 30 + degree heat, we headed across some very flat country to the quite spectacular village of St Antonin Noble Val, where we were to set off down the Aveyron River and had an adventure to ourselves, with the addition of Corrine, Olivier, Olivier’s 3 beautiful girls and Luc and Sandrine’s eldest son and his German exchange student friend.

It was such a super day, and we exhausted ourselves paddling furiously down river and colliding into each other and getting stuck on the rocks and watching jumping fish and getting very very wet.

The last time we’d done this it was also in blistering heat down the Dordogne a few years back. It was much more fun to take the trip with a bunch of other folks, although we were completely hopeless and outshone by the 10 year olds.

Playiing Tomate

Playing Tomate

Back on dry land, we learned a new children’s game – “Tomate”. Those kids play to win!

This is a game we can definitely take back home with us. All you need is a circle of friends and a ball. The aim of the game is to push the ball between your opponent’s legs. Penalties are applied if you let the ball in, until eventually you’re disqualified, with the winner the last person standing.

So after some serious Tomate, we headed home after dark and had to skip dinner in order to pack up for the next stage of the Adventure – 4 weeks on the Atlantic Coast in the Charente-Maritime.

New friends in new places. This Grand Adventure is enriching on so many levels.

Wish you were here

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