Birthdays, bowling, and Fontevraud.

Bonjour everyone !

It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here over two weeks.  This program is really flying by !  We had a fun, busy week, which started with two birthday celebrations.  I already mentioned last week that Richie and Carlee both had birthdays, but the official class celebration was last Monday.  We left some time at the end of the school day and brought in an assortment of treats for everyone.

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The birthday boy and girl each got their own treat, a Paris-Brest.
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Carlee’s birthday card.
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Richie’s birthday card.

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Enjoying the treats!

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The students also continue having lots of fun outside of class time.  There is still a lot of card playing !

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More recently, they’ve taken to drawing on the white boards.  It makes me happy to see them joking around in French.

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We have some pretty talented students !

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There’s a running joke going about Jill being in love with Justin Bieber.  They write it on the board whenever we’re not looking.

Tuesday night was the annual music festival.  The streets are filled with people and there are stages set up all around the city center.  The team of instructors went out to walk around and ran into a few students with their families.  The next day I heard a lot of good things from them about it. Several said it seems like there is always some kind of festival or holiday going on in France, which is kind of true ! It is indeed a particularly fun time to be here.

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On Wednesday we had an optional bowling excursion with really awesome turnout.  They switched to black lights a few minutes after we started playing, so some of the pictures are not the best, but you can still see their smiling faces !

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There was quite of bit of celebrating !

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On Friday we had an excursion in the afternoon to Fontevraud, right outside of Saumur.  It is a very picturesque little town, with an incredible amount of flowers.

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We first went to the retirement home there for some volunteering.  They graciously offered to provide lunch for us.  For many of the students it was the first time they had tried mussels and fries.  Some were skeptical at first, but it was actually quite a hit!  Most of the students really enjoyed this dish, which is very typical of the region.

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I had a fun time passing my love of mussels along to my students, and teaching them the typical French method of using an empty shell like tongs to extract the mussels.

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There were so many shells at the end !

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After lunch, we played a French and American culture trivia game with the residents.  Our choir also sang the Marseillaise and La Volonté du Peuple, and then the residents sang two songs for us.

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After the music and the game, the students had a chance to interact with the residents in small groups.  We had had them prepare questions that morning, and we were very pleased with how it went.  There were some really great conversations going, and you could tell that the residents really enjoyed the visit.

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After visiting the retirement home, we walked over to the Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud, a very important abbey founded in 1101.  The King of England, Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and son, King Richard the Lionheart, were buried here at the end of the 12th century.  The students got to explore the grounds in groups, and it was a really fun way to end the day.

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Silly group photo.
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Regular group photo.

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Extremely old graffiti.

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That is all I have for this post !  Thank you again for reading.  This week we will going on our Normandy excursion, so I’ll have plenty of photos of that for you all in the next post.  I hope you have all enjoyed this peek into our adventures.  Until next time !

-Liz

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