And so it comes to an end…

Oh my, this week was a whirlwind of activities and preparations for Paris. On Tuesday we received a guided tour of the historical part of Saumur. Our guide’s name was Sophie and she told us all about the history of Saumur from the Middle Ages until now. Here we are at the Château de Saumur and around town:

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Then Wednesday we celebrated Lexi’s birthday with a surprise trip to La Duchesse Anne – a little café near where we have lunch – for some ice cream! I think they were surprised and pleased. The ice cream tasted so good on that hot afternoon as well.

Lexi seemed surprised and pleased - Happy Birthday!

Lexi seemed surprised and pleased – Happy Birthday!

Everyone sang for her right there in front of La Duchesse Anne!

Everyone sang for her right there in front of La Duchesse Anne!

Happily waiting in line for ice cream

Happily waiting in line for ice cream

Such happy faces!

Such happy faces!

Mmm, ice cream tastes better when it's your birthday... and when you're in France... :)

Mmm, ice cream tastes better when it’s your birthday… and when you’re in France… 🙂

I promise they were excited, haha

I promise they were excited, haha

Oh, Jessi... She said her mom would hate this one and she wanted me to put it up just for her. Sorry, Mom!

Oh, Jessi… She said her mom would hate this one and she wanted me to put it up just for her. Sorry, Mom!

After school on Wednesday, we walked to the bowling lanes in Saumur – about a thirty-minute trek from the school – to bowl a couple of games. It was an optional activity that I think most everyone enjoyed. The bowling lanes in France are not much different than those in the US – smelly shoes, beat up bowling balls, silly animations for strikes and spares. Yep, we felt right at home.

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Finally, Friday we said goodbye to the Institution Saint-Louis and had support groups in the morning for the last time. Below are the pictures of our groups.

Amy's support group

Amy’s support group

My support group

My support group

Martin's support group

Martin’s support group

Kelly's support group

Kelly’s support group

Then in the evening, we had our Fête des familles (Farewell show) for the host families. Here’s a picture of everyone looking very nice just outside the amphitheatre before the show started:

A good one...

A good one…

...and a silly one

…and a silly one

If you’d like to see videos of the acts at the show on Friday, Casey and Alex’s host father filmed much of the show and put it on his YouTube channel. Simply go to Youtube.com and type in his name, Marc Lefief, in the search bar. His channel should be the first one that comes up and all the videos are named “Fête des familles 2014”. It was so great of him to do that for us. The students did a wonderful job and the show went so well. It was the perfect ending to a pretty perfect six weeks in Saumur.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Saumur and head to Paris! It will be a very bittersweet, early morning for us as we meet to load the bus at 6:45am. I know tears will be shed as students say goodbye to their host families because they have had such a wonderful time. But the Internet is a wonderful thing and I know many will keep in contact. On the other hand, everyone is thrilled for a few days in Paris! We will get to see and do so many things. Another whirlwind of a few days and then they will be safely back home with you by Wednesday afternoon.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of you families and friends in the US and elsewhere who supported (emotionally, mentally, and financially) your students’ trip this summer. This group of students is incredible. Friday afternoon they gave each professor a folder with 29 handwritten letters of thanks and gratitude for the program. We were so surprised! I couldn’t keep from crying. I just can’t express to you how amazing your students are and how blessed I have been to be with them for these six weeks. They have improved their French by leaps and bounds, yes, but they have learned so much about life in France and getting along in groups and on their own it’s amazing. They are all – every last one of these 29 wonderful students – responsible, clever, funny, kind, generous, and a million other things and I will miss them so much! Without your support this would not have been possible for them or for us, so thank you so very much.

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3 Responses to And so it comes to an end…

  1. parkview29 says:

    Thanks to YOU and your colleagues for taking such good care of the students and keeping us in touch across the pond. Have a blast in Paris! Ellen and Jane…very proud Aunts to Clare!!

  2. Kirsten Bouthier says:

    Thanks for all of the wonderful photos…and yes, for taking such good care of the students! Kirsten Bouthier

  3. Connie York says:

    Thank you soooooo much, Jill, for your great photos and excellent reporting of their entire trip – I await their arrival in Chicago TODAY – and returning to INDIANA!!!!! I can hardly wait to see Casey – I feel like I was a little part of her travels too.

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