Fireworks, Birthdays, Desserts, and the Beach

Per usual, much has happened since my last post. Monday was France’s national holiday, as I mentioned, and even though we weren’t with the students, I know many of them watched the fireworks over the Loire River, so here are some pictures of what we, the professors, saw from our spot near the bridge.

The bridge before the fireworks started and before they turned the lights out. It was a beautiful night.

The bridge before the fireworks started and before they turned the lights out. It was a beautiful night.

My camera has a fireworks setting, so I tried to capture some of what we saw. These were some from the early part of the show.

My camera has a fireworks setting, so I tried to capture some of what we saw. These were some from the early part of the show.

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This week after classes, we also held a “concours de desserts” (a dessert competition) where the students had the opportunity to bake a dessert and bring it in for everyone to taste. We had the White group on Tuesday, the Blue group on Wednesday, and the Red group on Thursday. The professors were the first to taste the delicious concoctions so we could decide on awards for the students. Sometimes our job is so hard. 🙂 We will pass out the awards for each group on Monday.

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On Wednesday, we celebrated Katie and Bente’s birthdays during the dessert competition. Marie-Odile Barbier – Bente’s host mother – also surprised the girls by bringing in raspberry ice cream cake!! It was delicious and the birthday girls were so surprised!

Here is Marie-Odile presenting Bente with the cakes

Here is Marie-Odile presenting Bente with the cakes

Katie and Bente blow out the candles after we sang for them - I wasn't at a very good angle for pictures, sorry about that!

Katie and Bente blow out the candles after we sang for them – I wasn’t at a very good angle for pictures, sorry about that!

Katie and Bente - both 18 now! - with Marie-Odile cutting the cakes and Jordan serving

Katie and Bente – both 18 now! – with Marie-Odile cutting the cakes and Jordan serving

Bente and her host mother

Bente and her host mother

Our excursion this week took place on Friday. We traveled to the coast to spend some time at Saint-Martin de Ré – a coastal town with lots of shopping. Then we spent about an hour on the beach at Ile de Ré before it started raining. We weren’t sure what to do with ourselves after that since we had planned on spending the rest of the afternoon at the beach. However, our wonderful driver Thierry suggested a small town nearby that was hosting a board/card game festival. It stopped raining by the time we got there and the students had a great time eating fair-like food, playing ping-pong at the tables set up, and jumping on the trampolines! Don’t worry, they were safely harnessed in and we watched small children jumping beforehand, so we knew it was okay. 🙂 Our students were so wonderful at going with the flow as we figured out a rain plan that day. They are absolutely the best and can have fun no matter what. I appreciate the opportunity to hang out with them every day.

Fields and fields of sunflowers ("tournesols") on our way to the beach - apparently sunflower oil is very common in French cuisine

Fields and fields of sunflowers (“tournesols”) on our way to the beach – apparently sunflower oil is very common in French cuisine

My small group eating a picnic lunch at Saint-Martin de Ré

My small group eating a picnic lunch at Saint-Martin de Ré

A lovely day for some shopping in Saint-Martin de Ré

A lovely day for some shopping in Saint-Martin de Ré

 

Some of the boats in the harbor at Saint-Martin de Ré

Some of the boats in the harbor at Saint-Martin de Ré

Martin's small group in Saint-Martin de Ré

Martin’s small group in Saint-Martin de Ré

Amy and Martin's idea of a good time at the beach :)

Amy and Martin’s idea of a good time at the beach 🙂

Some students making sure they have on enough sunscreen - little did we know our trip would be short

Some students making sure they have on enough sunscreen – little did we know our trip would be short

Some time in the water - it was absolutely freezing!!

Some time in the water – it was absolutely freezing!!

A view of the bridge that leads to Ile de Ré (the island of Ré)

A view of the bridge that leads to Ile de Ré (the island of Ré)

After it rained on us, here are some pictures at the impromptu game festival stop. See, we can have fun anywhere!

After it rained on us, here are some pictures at the impromptu game festival stop. See, we can have fun anywhere!

We met this nice young lady who was working one of the booths. As it turns out, it was also her birthday, so we sang for her and then I took her picture with my small group.

We met this nice young lady who was working one of the booths. As it turns out, it was also her birthday, so we sang for her and then I took her picture with my small group.

Megan was the first brave soul to step up to the trampolines!

Megan was the first brave soul to step up to the trampolines!

Rachel followed shortly after

Rachel followed shortly after

Grace couldn't quite get the hang of the somersaults, but she had a great time anyway!

Grace couldn’t quite get the hang of the somersaults, but she had a great time anyway!

Gabrielle tried it out as well.

Gabrielle tried it out as well.

Shortly after these last pictures were taken at the game festival, my camera battery died, so I couldn’t get pictures of the rest of the trampoliners or the food or the ping-pong. I’m so sorry! And I didn’t get a very good picture of the group this time either. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more coming up this week. Between our bowling excursion on Wednesday and the Farewell show on Friday, I will have plenty to share with you all soon. Have a great weekend!

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