Paris 2023

Maisie Twitchell

© Copyright 2023 by Maisie Twitchell

Image by oudeopa from Pixabay
Image by oudeopa from Pixabay

See you tomorrow morning,” Sonya said to me every night before heading up the stairs to her dorm. Each July, École des Roches holds a French second language summer camp. École des Roches had a very specific schedule. A schedule that many at the school considered extremely boring and hated. I agreed to some extent, while going to a summer camp in France, a 21:45 curfew and 21:30 phone hand-in was not my first choice, but it wasn’t horrible. I enjoyed the schedule, it could be strict, but it was part of the experience as many of the students that were going to the summer camp were going to get a feel for the schedule and campus for when they started there in the fall.

I met over a hundred different students there, a few from Asia, many from all over Europe, some, including my roommate, from South America, really, all over the world. I was the only one there from Canada, but we had about ten Mexican and American students, so I wasn’t the only North American there.

My two best friends, Sonya and Carla, were from Europe, Russia and the Czech Republic to be specific. I met Carla at the airport, we were on the bus together and we exchanged Snapchats so we could meet up during meals and breaks. We were instantly friends, talking to her was like talking to a friend I’ve known forever. It was actually a mutual friend Jasmin, who introduced me to Sonya at the Friday Disco, and just like Carla, we were instantly best friends acting as if we’d known each other since birth. Sonya was only slightly taller than me and blonde, whereas Carla was my height and a brunette. We were inseparable. Every mandatory activity, we coordinated to do together. All breaks and free time we hung out either walking around outside, or in my dorm. I was lucky as I ended up in a double dorm with only one roommate. Sonya was less so and had seven roommates, and Carla had five. Along with Sonya and Carla, I normally hung out with Christopher, Jasmin, Monica, and Lisse. Christopher was from Britain, Jasmin, Hungary, Monica, Equatorial Guinea, and Lisse, Japan.

Every chance we got we always took photos together, a part of all of us all knew that we would only have a week or two together before we would all go our separate ways. None of us were from the same country, some of us were not even from the same continent. We wanted something to remember of each other and photos were one of our best options. I hate taking photos of myself, but I took hundreds because I wanted to be able to look back at those photos and see my friends and me. I only knew them for a week or two, but they all changed my life. Along with photos, we took a bunch of videos. Every once and a while I like to rewatch the videos to listen to all our laughs again. We took videos of us just messing around when eating, playing badminton, dancing, and just hanging out.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, we would go off campus on a trip. On Wednesdays, we would go on a “cultural outing”. On the first Wednesday, we went to the Eiffel Tower, and the next we went to the Palace of Versailles. The first Saturday we went to Disneyland Paris, and the second we went to laser tag.

My favourite of all four trips was the one to Disneyland Paris. Disneyland was the first time Sonya and I really hung out and where we got super close. That is part of why it was my favourite.

On the bus ride there, Sonya and I sat together, same as on the way back. It was just over an hour and a half bus ride, but Sonya and I kept busy by listening to music together and just talking. That is what started our tradition. Every bus ride we would sit together and listen to music with my AirPods. Sonya would always end up falling asleep on my shoulder, I never minded. After we would arrive wherever our trip was, the teachers or house masters would show us the meetup spot, and my group would wait for each other there before going off.

My favourite ride at Disneyland was the Tower of Terror, we all ended up liking it so much we went on it twice. The first time it was me, Sonya, Carla, Lisse, Paula, and Christopher. After we got off the ride, I went and bought a photo of us on the ride. Before the camp ended, I made sure to get all of my friends to sign it. Currently, I am getting the photo framed to hang it up in my room. After that, we went on a bunch of other rides before going on the Tower of Terror again.

Originally, we were meant to leave at 20:30, however, 2 girls ended up missing the meet up time and stayed in the park longer and no one could get in touch with them so we ended up not leaving until around 22:30.

Oddly enough, my favourite memories from Disneyland were waiting in lines for rides. Normally I would have hated waiting in lines because some of them took us over 30 minutes, but with them, it was just us joking and hanging around. It was fun.

My least favourite memory of the trip was having to leave. I had to be on the earliest bus, so I had to wake up at 4 to leave at 4:45. Despite Sonya being on the 13:00 bus, she woke up, along with many others, at 4 to see off friends. Sonya and I walked to the bus together devastated, and when it was finally time for me to get on the bus she gave me one final tight hug and said, “see you tomorrow”. She said that to reference a TikTok I showed her. Two girls saying goodbye with the captions, “see you tomorrow” and “but there’s no tomorrow”. The two of us both knew there was no tomorrow, no ever again. But hearing her say that outloud made it so much more real. The ride to the airport was one of the saddest things I’ve experienced to this day. I sat with Lisse and while she slept I just listened to music.

By 6, everyone had texted in our group chat with their final goodbyes to each other. I started writing mine after I received Sonya’s. “Thank you to all of you. You have made these past two weeks unforgettable and I love you all so much. At first I hated it here too but you have all made me love this place. I will never forget any of you and any of the memories we have made here. I hope we can all stay in contact and remain friends even if we are in different cities, countries and continents and even if we can't, I want you all to know you have made these past two weeks some of the best days and weeks ever. I love you all and this camp is now unforgettable because of you all. You have made me so happy and given me so much more self-confidence.”

I miss Sonya everyday, I miss all of them everyday. They were my best friends, and I lived with them for 2 weeks, you can’t just forget them. I may not love them all forever, but I will always love our memories. Even the sad goodbyes.

Maisie Twitchell is a student currently enrolled in a high school in London, Canada. She enjoys writing and watching Netflix in her free time and hopes to write a book in the future. 

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