Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sunday, we had an optional excursion to Océanapolis, an aquarium here in Brest. Quite a few of the students attended, some with their French families.

Océanapolis is divided into biomes; the arctic, the temperate and the tropical. We got to see penguins and seals, otters and walruses, and sharks – many sharks. The most popular had to be the seals, however the otters were a close second. We also got to observe many of the fish that are to be found in the waters around Brest. Most of us spent over two hours before returning to French homes.

It was really hard to get photos of the kids, since the light is on the fish and the rest is dark. I did what I could.

On Monday, during our activity period, we went to a gym for some exercise. There wasn’t much equipment, but the students improvised. Many of them played a rousing game of soccer, while others ran around the perimeter. Then there was the group that participated in the game of Uno. Amanda has arranged for us to be able to play volleyball as well.
The soccer game ended 4-4, like lots of them. So there will be a reprise.

Monday evening was the mayor’s reception at city hall. The mayor was in Paris on city business, so we were greeted by the deputy mayor in charge of foreign affairs. He spoke to us about the long history of links between France and the US and especially about the links between Brest and the US. He mentioned that General Lafayette’s ship is going to be here for the nautical festival in July. He welcomed us very heartily.

Jake gave a presentation and spoke about the warmth of the people of Brest and the welcoming attitude of the French families. He related some personal anecdotes and was very well received.

Sammy also gave a presentation. As is fitting his personality, Sammy’s speech was spiced with humor. He displayed his usual depth of perception. Everyone quite enjoyed both presentations. We then got to nosh a bit and chat with one another and with the French families.

The best thing about Tuesday was that the sun finally came out! And the best thing about Wednesday is that the huge summer sales have begun!

Permit me once again to express what great delight we find day to day with these students. They are each profoundly who they are, but they come together as a wonderful group.

Today during activities, we practiced singing the national anthems of both countries as we will do on July 4 at the American memorial in front of many people. Emma took charge of the girls and Jake took charge of the boys. By the end of the day, the girls were singing harmony and the boys had regulated the vast range of their voices. To listen to them sing is to bring a tear to your eye, no matter the anthem. The next time we practice, I will record it so I can share.

We thank you again for trusting your children to us and for having the faith in them to flourish in this unique situation. I assure you, they are.

Tomorrow we will be venturing to Mont St. Michel, the town of Saint-Malo, and on Friday to a visit to Omaha Beach in Normandie. Diego asked if we were going to sleep in the bus. We will actually stay in an auberge de jeunesse Thursday night. I wish I had told him yes.

Inside the fish tank, sort of.

Sammy conferences with his attorney.

Nicole, Amanda, Montse and her family watch the seals.

Anna seems to have confused Jake.

Our intrepid runners

Uno is a serious game requiring quick reflexes.

Grant takes control

Emma est féroce!

Don't want your photo made Camy?

Diego, quick as a cat with as many tricks as a magician!
He'll play for les Bleus one day!

The dancer has no fear either, go Sofia!

A player of American football can play this game, too!

Seriously, do not let the rain boots fool you.
Jamie scored three goals!

Nothing is as impressive as an official French occasion.

One would think Cyntia likes speaking to large groups!

Really? Again? 

Bruno doesn't miss anything.

She really likes to dress up!

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