The Princeton women's soccer team recently returned from spending its spring break in Paris. Members of the team sent a blog entry each day, and those links can be found at the bottom of the page.
By junior Melissa Downey
For our last day in Paris, we had a little more free time to do as we pleased, which was nice as we had an absolutely jam packed trip. Don’t get us wrong, we had a blast, but there are a million things to do in Paris, and there is just never enough time to do it all. But being the go-getters we are, we were bound to try.
Before we were set free however, we had one last event: a visit to the suburb, Marcouville, to engage in some community service. We began with a slight snare in our plans when Gabby, Darcy, Megan and Izzy temporarily went missing as they failed to get off the train at our destination. Jill and I quickly proceeded to a receptionist in order to send an announcement to the departing train. Luckily, the girls eventually turned up and we continued with our mission.
In 2011, “Unis pour l’avenir,” (UPA) meaning “United for the Future” was created with the mission of providing aid to children of lower-income families around the area in order to facilitate social cohesion as well as an increase of academic and personal success. Many people were in attendance at our reception and we received the warmest of welcomes from the town’s mayor and the head of the community center where we gathered. It was clear that they were extremely grateful that we came and for them, our visit was very special in several ways. First of all, we were representing Princeton, and even in this small, disadvantaged neighborhood, our school’s name and its academic reputation are well known. Secondly, as soccer players, we could once again relate to them based on our shared love for the game. Finally, the idea of the female athlete is newer to France. Of course, they have their Women’s National Soccer Team and several professional tennis players, yet the participation of girls/women in sports is not nearly as widespread as it is in the U.S., although it is on the rise.
While there, we separated into two groups, each a mix of PWS players and kids from the program. In one group, dance moves were exchanged. I understand that this was rather amusing and quite educational particularly for Gabby, who pursued dance in a ballet class last semester and is always looking to broaden her skill set. In the other group, which I participated in, we ran a sophisticated cultural dialogue where we talked about our favorite movie stars, food and the general differences in our ways of life. I personally found this pretty eye opening. While they may have been impressed with us, we were humbled by them. It was definitely a good exercise in awareness for how much we have and how much help others need. More specifically, keeping these adorable kids in mind who have so much less is important because it also helps us realize how little we have to complain about, as well as our duty to help those who just didn’t luck out in certain ways like we did.
Upon our return to the hotel, some chose to take a rest while others went out for one last jaunt. Some took to Champs Élysées, for the never-ending shopping, while Kacie, Lauren, Emmy and Jess Haley decided to go see Notre Dame and the nearby lock bridge. Both were equally impressive in their own unique ways.
Our overall experience with the French was an excellent one and we leave France with some amazing clothes, macaroons, vocab, scars and of course, memories that we’ll have forever.
Day 8 Blog Entry by Gabrielle Ragazzo
Day 7 Blog Entry by Liana Cornacchio
Day 6 Blog Entry by Liana Cornacchio
Day 5 Blog Entry by Lauren Lazo
Day 4 Blog Entry by Liana Cornacchio
Day 3 Blog Entry by Melissa Downey
Day 1/2 Blog Entry by Darcy Hargadon