Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PC in France (part une)

Bonjour, Marseille! 2/19/12

After a flood of tears and some choreographed handshakes, the Project Coach contingent finally left for Logan International Airport at 3:30 pm.  Our party of twelve arrived on time and easily made our 7:45 flight to Paris’ Charles de Gaulles airport.

We then proceeded to miss our connecting flight to Marseille, which may or may not have been Kiana’s fault.  Considering, though, that her and I were stuck behind every child under the age of four west of Moscow in the airport’s security line, I would say it was out of our hands.  Fast-forward three hours later and 40 miles away in Paris’ Orly International airport, where only serious persistence and politicking by our trusty chaperone Julie Hooks-Davis allowed us to get on a 1:30 flight from Paris to Marseille.  An hour and a half later and we finally made it to Marseille, where the lovely Josette from the US Consulate Office greeted us

After we dropped our bags off at the youth hostel we made for the beach, which is just blocks away.  The wind was strong, but our curiosity and excitement trumped the wind and jet lag.  Our first choice for traditional French cuisine produced a McDonald’s-like chain. (As you can tell, we have a very cultured palate at Project Coach.) But our meal would be the last real event of the day, as we all succumbed to jet lag shortly thereafter.

The next day was quite busy for our coaches.  We opened the day up with a visit to Marseille’s Sport Minitstry, where Josette was joined by Francois, Max, Meline, Mohamed, and Benoit, who made up the rest of our French welcoming committee.  We outlined our itinerary for the trip, which looks incredible for so many reasons, and were introduced to a few more useful French phrases.

The morning meeting was followed by a traditional French lunch (veal and rice, not fast food this time).  This lunch led to a bus/walking tour of the city.  We saw beautiful churches, unbelievable cityscapes, and stunning beach scenery. 

But the highlight of the day for everyone was the evening reception at the Marseille City Hall, hosted by the mayor and the US Consulate General of France, Diane Kelly.  While our coaches were surely excited to see French and American dignitaries, the chance to finally reconnect with all of the French basketball players that had made the trip to the United States just one year earlier was the real highlight of everyone’s night.  Parents and other adults sat back and giggled as the coaches relived past interactions and crafted new memories within minutes of meeting one another again.  Their overly loud cackles and handshakes were the image that Project Coach, ITD, and the US State Department envisioned when they dreamt up this program 16 months ago.

Over the next two weeks, they will create moments just like these a thousand times over.  Our blog will be filled with pictures, videos and stories from our coaches about their experience on this unforgettable trip. 

Stay tuned!
A bientot!

Greg Rosnick -- Assistant Director / Academic Director

1 comment:

  1. These entries are so great!! I am really loving them, it looks like ya'll are having a good time-- trip of a life time! :)