Sunday, June 24, 2012

Acting, Singing, and Kouign Amann

This past week, stagiaires began their creative activities in preparation for our farewell show at the end of the stage.  They had a choice between improv theatre, during which they will also write short skits, singing (particularly the Marseillaise and the Star-Spangled Banner for our July 4th event), and scripted theatre during which they each get the opportunity to perform in one or two short comedic pieces.  These activities take place in the afternoon after our last class, and then, usually before 4 pm, they have a little bit of free time with their friends in Brest before heading  home to their host families.

We also started phonetics classes - it's not easy to learn a whole new alphabet, but doing so will help the stagiaires to work on improving their French accent, as well as getting a better understanding about how to pronounce words upon first sight.

This past week, as well as part of the coming week, will also be devoted to lunchtime optional visits to a local crêperie.  If stagiaires so desire, each day a different teacher goes with his or her support group for a small lunch together.  It's a very small, family-owned restaurant so we simply couldn't all go together!

Of course, the big event was our first local excursion to Locronan, the Pointe du Raz, and Concarneau.

Group photo in front of the church in Locronan

While in Locronan, we visited a local bakery to discover how the regional speciality kouign amann is made.  Imagine the gasps as the baker very calmly put half a pound of butter into a cake that serves four to six people.  Of course then, the real question is, did the stagiaires enjoy eating kouign amann?

All signs point to yes!

We had lunch at the Pointe du Raz, and were incredibly lucky to have beautiful weather.  Last year's stagiaires didn't even get to walk out that far because the heavy wind made it too dangerous then.  This year was sunny, with only a light breeze.  Then stagiaires got to have some more independent time in Concarneau in their assigned groups, looking at the walled city, checking out everything that goes along with a cute seaside town - ice cream shops, crêperies, shops selling local goods, etc.  

And finally, on the trip home, we inaugurated the 2012 discobus!

This coming week will be short as far as classes are concerned, because Thursday and Friday are dedicated to our Normandy excursion.  Stagiaires and instructors will spend Thursday night not far from Mont St. Michel, and as well as visiting this beautiful site, we will also see the D-Day beaches, the memorial in Caen, and the walled city of St. Malo.  

All our best,
Team Brest!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Famous in Brest

Just a quick update - we are famous!  Le Telegramme, a local paper, wrote a short article and published a photo of our reception at the mairie.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Our First Week Together

This first week has been incredibly busy!  The stagiaires had their onsite orientation, during which we talked about figuring out where you are in Brest, using public transportation, and much much more.  Students completed a treasure hunt to get acquainted with the city, and they discovered lots of interesting locations.
One of our treasure hunt teams - impossible to get a candid shot of this group; they always knew when the camera was nearby!

We had our first of four birthdays this week - Courtney!  Everyone got a chance to eat some delicious strawberry cake.

We also had an optional activity on Friday during which we visited the Château de Brest.  There aren't many older buildings left in Brest so it was a change of scenery for the stagiaires who decided to go.  The big event was our reception at the Town Hall.  The mayor of Brest gave a lovely speech, as did Mike, our communications instructor, and stagiaires Christian and Carolyn.  We are very proud of everyone; it was a lovely event with Breton snacks and drinks after.

I'm also learning that it's never a bad idea to take a picture overhead when I'm at the front of the line (we go together to lunch and sports).

I'll try to put up several photos each week, with a variety of stagiaires (and at least one group shot), but there  are always more photos on the Picasa website.  There were some difficulties with Picasa last week but I think it should be figured out now, and more pictures are forthcoming.  Some stagiaires are a little more camera shy than others, but I do try to take pictures of everyone!

Next week we have our first local excursion, and it should be absolutely beautiful!  If you are interested in looking up information on where we will be going, our main stops are Locronan, Concarneau, and the Pointe du Raz.

Best wishes,
Team Brest!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bienvenue à Brest!

Everyone has now safely arrived in Brest.  The stagiaires are all with their host families, and the instructors are working busily to prepare everything for orientation tomorrow.  We ran a bit late because of a flight delay, but otherwise the bus trip was uneventful.

Parents and guardians, you should be hearing from your child most likely within the next two days.  Remember, there is a chance that they will be going through many emotions right now but that soon they will be in a comfortable routine.

I hope to have some pictures to upload to the Picasa album sometime this week; keep reading to see what's happening here in Brest!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bon voyage!

Good evening from Paris! Mark and I are already here, and will be meeting everyone at the airport bright and early tomorrow morning. I will update through blog and email upon arrival. Best wishes from all of us!