Getting settled.

Hello again friends and families!  I am happy to report that our first full week in Saumur went wonderfully.  The students are now well settled in with their host families, and they really hit the ground running in classes this week and blew us all away!  Monday morning we had testing, with short classes in the afternoon.  On Tuesday we had our first regular class day. They all have such positive attitudes, and really give it their all.  Taking these classes all in French can be daunting, but the students are very easy-going and participate fully.

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On Wednesday afternoon we took to the basketball courts for sports.  There was a real basketball game on one side of the court and a spirited game of horse on the other so they could decide what they wanted to do.  They were really happy to spend some time playing around outside after a long morning of classes!

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On the way to the courts!
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Getting excited!
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A suspenseful moment.
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Playing horse.
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The fun doesn’t end once you’re out!

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Jeremy’s favorite picture of himself, doing the thriller dance away from the ball.

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Even on the days when we don’t have sports, the students have lots of fun together in between classes playing cards, Frisbee, and ninja, among other things.

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Playing ninja.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays the students have a choice between theater and choir.  I was so busy teaching my choir group the Marseillaise that I forgot to take pictures, but we had a lot of fun picking out songs for the farewell show.  Jill sat in on Michael’s theater group and got some wonderful shots.  They spent most of the time reading through some of the materials Michael put together and brainstorming ideas for the farewell show.  At the end they played freeze, an improvisational game in which two people act out a scene until someone else yells freeze, takes the place of one of the players, and then takes the scene in a new direction.  Things got a bit ridiculous!  The sequence of pictures below shows one of the funniest moments.

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Reading and brainstorming.
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Ross proposing to George during the game.
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George responding that he just isn’t ready…
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Jeremy jumped in and said yes!
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Everyone had a good laugh.

On Friday we had our first excursion to three châteaux in the region: the Clos Lucé, Chenonceau, and Chambord.  The Clos Lucé is the manor where Leonardo da Vinci lived before his death.  We accompanied the students through the house and then sent them out into the grounds in groups where they could see and play with many of his inventions.

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Walking through Amboise on our way to the Clos Lucé.
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It was Richie’s birthday on Friday!
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Carlee’s birthday is today!
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Having so much fun at the Clos Lucé!

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Luckily, we had plenty of sun in the morning while they were exploring the grounds.  It started raining shortly before we left, but the students were not bothered in the slightest!  They pulled out their umbrellas and raincoats and kept going up until the last minute.

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Next we went to Chenonceau, a lovely castle built right across a river which is one of my personal favorites.  The students had a great time exploring the castle and the gardens!

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The gallery extends over the river.

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We ended the day at Chambord, an enormous castle built by François 1er for hunting.  The most unique parts of Chambord are the double helix staircase and the roof.

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Chambord is a very impressive castle!
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Looking up the center of the staircase.
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Enjoying the roof.

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It was a very long day, from 8am to 8pm, but the students were all so excited that it didn’t faze them in the slightest.  It was a really great day, despite the rain, and it was our pleasure to accompany the students on this excursion.  I’m including the links to the websites for the castles in case you want to take a look.

http://www.vinci-closluce.com/en

http://www.chenonceau.com/index.php/en

http://www.chambord.org/en/

That brings this weeks update post to an end.  It is such a pleasure sharing these photos and experiences with you all, and I hope you have enjoyed this peek into the program.  Thanks for reading!

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