Group 2 | Voyage à Nantes [2023]

Arrivée à Paris…

… Then Nantes !

Premiers jours à Nantes

Listen to Elizabeth WEBSTER, Consul of the United States of America for the Great West, who took the opportunity to address Waring students: “This tree…”

Chenonceaux et Chambord

Le Mont Saint-Michel, Ver-sur-Mer, Caen, World War II Sites, Bayeux: Normandie

Sketching, Writing… (to be updated throughout)

Nantes et environs

À Nantes… ou à Paris !

My correspondent is such a good cook. She cooked the two of us, Bolognese for lunch, and then spaghetti with a white sauce and salmon for dinner. It really is impressive when I see someone my age, cooking actual meals and being so independent knowing all I can make is box, mac & cheese, and Ramen. I was super hungry and had not eaten anything yet, and the Bolognese really hit the spot. I am very grateful for her cooking and hope to become more like her. – Gianna Clesceri Grabowski

The bus ride back from the Chateau was a highlight. Half of us tired and annoyed, and the other half with as much energy as me after 3 cups of coffee. Still, it was a couple of hours in a day where I had no concerns about who was pissing me off, grief, thinking about all the random things I usually think about. I loved to see everyone having fun. Gigi especially! She had the biggest smile on her face which made me so happy. There’s nothing better than seeing the people you love so so happy, truly happy. So there I was sitting, laughing. Truly enjoying myself. So comfortable with the person I was with and feeling so, so lucky. I fell asleep with the biggest smile tonight. – Una Norton 

Samedi 18 mars, Mall day.
Today I went to the Atlantis mall with Diane, Constance and Agathe. We went through a bunch of different clothing stores, and I started to feel bad because I was dragging them through store after store, trying things on, but not buying anything. I voiced this insecurity to Diane and she reassured me that they were having just as much fun as I was. Apparently, running through a mall, giggling and taking pictures is a universally good time for hyper teenage girls. We went into an Adidas store, and as I looked at the wall of shoes, it reminded me of the song “my Adidas“ by run DMC, and I just knew I had to get a pair. Everyone in France seems to wear Adidas, so even though I could buy them at home, I thought buying them here could be justified. I tried on two different kinds, both low top. Seeing as I only ever wear high top Converse, this was a riveting change of pace. The first pair I tried on were white and green, with a strap at the top. They were super cool! I just had to think about how frequently I would wear them. I wanted to make a mindful decision! Then, a pair of sneakers with navy and burgundy details on an off-white base caught my eye. I loved them. I tried them on, walked around the store, and finally, with assistance from Diane, checked out. Diane put the shoebox in her backpack and carried it around which was the sweetest. Constance calls them my French shoes and Agathe says she loves my style. I really like spending time with them. It makes me miss Liam but I’ve never known what it felt like to have sisters. They’re kind and wonderful and absolutely hilarious. They spend a lot of time together, and even though they bicker they pretty much tell each other everything. We went through a few more stores, me buying sunglasses and Diane buying a sweater. I have noticed that most of the text that’s on clothes aimed for teenage audience, is in English, even though we’re in France. Also, I don’t know why I was upset by this, but the escalators didn’t have those little brushes on the side that the ones at home do. I noticed that because whenever I go down the escalators, I run the corner of my shoe down the brush because I like the feeling or something and it wasn’t there. Anyways, moving on. We went into Claire’s and got locked in from the strike but it’s okay because we had a photo shoot. Agathe bought some ear cuffs which were cool. Then we got Burger King for lunch, which was bomb as hell even though I didn’t really order the right thing at all because I tried to order in French. I wanted to keep it looking intentional though, so I gobbled up that burger. Then we went to Sephora and I bought a lipgloss purely because it was the name of a Taylor Swift album (lover). Diane bought a lipgloss that caused quite the catastrophe when we got home. Turns out it was one of those lip plumpers and she had a massive allergic reaction. We were running around the apartment, shrieking and looking for Benadryl. She yelled that she thought her face was going to fall off. She’s okay now. I felt like a part of their family for real for one of the first times since I’ve been here and even as I Face-timed my Mom at the end of the day, I knew I could make it through this trip. – Lola Yarrington

I have been told many times in my life that I act like a 5 year old child yet at the same time I still have the wisdom of an 80 year old man. I kept on thinking about that today as I went to the beach with Elo. I had my jeans rolled up yet the waves still managed to get to them as well as salt water in my hair. I had sand all over my hands from all the handstands and stuff. I miss dancing and whenever I stand or do anything but sitting I want to dance. I can’t wait to turn again ahaha. Today was incredibly fun because I felt like a toddler. Elo is a great match for me as a correspondent and I knew this because she asked me to build a sand castle with me and of course I said yes. One of my favorite moments was when I took my arm away from my eyes and saw the beach water, the shining sun, and Elo next to me. Estelle is sitting next to me as I’m writing this and Vincent just called “À table !” so I should go. I also must add that the scenery on the way to the beach was beautiful. It was a good day. – Ana Mier

Lundi 20 mars 2023. I couldn’t believe the first week in France is over. I am impressed by how independent the French kids are, and also the freedom they have! They go to school on their own, they help their parents get groceries… Maybe that’s why their parents allow them to organise late night parties. On Saturday, Lucy organized a party that started at 7pm and ended at 1am. Lucy was glad that the Americans and French danced together. On Sunday, I visited Lucy’s grandparents. Their house faces a grassland on the East, and the ocean is half a mile away at the West. Lucy’s grandfather showed me a collection of stones with names. He later passed me an oval-shaped stone and asked me to write my name on top. He said by doing this, people’s soul will rest there. For lunch, we’ve had lots of good food, and my favorite was the yellow mango cake decorated with raspberry macarons. The cake was not too sweet, soft and fluffy. The macarons were airily and crispy. I’ll never have enough of the cake. It was an enjoyable weekend. 
– Ruo-Xian Chan

After finishing dinner tonight, I went into my room as usual. Only this time, as I looked around, I noticed that my entire room was covered in these tiny pompom chickens that Justine had bought earlier that day. They were in my suitcase, on the bookshelf, on the desk, and even in the bed. As I stood, puzzled, in the doorway, Justine ran into my room yelling ‘invasion, invasion’!!!  She and I couldn’t stop laughing for the longest time, and I’m still finding those little chickens in my things. – Minna Brace

I write this now because the day of was packed with activity. I woke up at 7:30 to my alarm clock in Paris. First we walked to the subway which was a mess, and I don’t mean dirty, I mean disorganized. The map was like ten spiderwebs drawn by a two year old and then layer over each other. I won’t write about the tourist attractions in Paris in attempt to save the wonder for when you, reader, visit them yourself. I visited all the main events in Paris from the Eiffel Tower to the little dinner that appeared in my favorite French movie of late. When the day was over and my legs and back were sufficiently tired we embarked on a 4 hour drive back to Nantes where upon arrival I went straight to a party. I had so much fun dancing until I finally went to bed at 1:00 . I didn’t regret the late night at all as truthfully it was probably the most fun I have had this trip. – Pascal Fishburn

Châteaux de la Loire et Normandie

Mémorial de Caen

Mercredi 22 mars. Today we went to the Memorial de Caen. On one wall were pictures of Jewish Holocaust victims. There was a photo of one girl – her name was Ruth but I don’t remember her last name – and she was a toddler. A toddler on a stool, her siblings posing with her and a kitten by her feet. She was a toddler and she died, gassed or shot or poisoned or something, just f… murdered, she must’ve still been young, and she was f… murdered. Probably alone. And scared and confused and crying and they f… murdered her because her parents were Jewish and she was Jewish and maybe too young to even know she was. Then somebody killed her. Just like that. No remorse. Her only grave may be a photo in a country she never heard of. She couldn’t have been more than three. How many others were there like her? 6 million Jews murdered. A million were children. Dead. Just like that.Michael Towne-Smith

In middle school, our teachers played a video where a class of students collected millions of paper clips in order to put the number 6 million into a physical perspective. The video didn’t interest me, but it was burned into my mind when I walked through the graveyard of crosses and stars of David. The sensation of walking and just processing the thousands of white marble that matched the unsettling gray of the sky, I can only describe as a gut wrenching horrific. What makes me feel worse is the fact that there were just under 10,000 graves at the site. The number 10,000 is barely registering in my mind, and to think that there were millions and millions of deaths is truly terrifying. Even if I had the chance to, I don’t think I would want to see over 6 million graves. For now, I’ll just stick to the paper clips. – Mal Yen

Honestly whenever I’m in a museum I get so overwhelmed because I feel like I have to read absolutely everything so that was definitely something but looking around and walking around made me really realize the impact of the of the war specifically when it came to the lives. What really interested me was the Cold War section. Throughout the museum the photos/imagery/depiction shows the genuinely suffering of those experiencing the war. There was this one photo of children running away from American soldiers. When I saw their facial expression and genuine suffering it straight up tells you what people were experiencing. Tim was talking to Wilhelmina, Juliette, and me about I am not quite sure but gel (or some type of substance) that would burn the kids which they were running away from. The very last movie we watched fully immersed you into the environment with its sound and imagery and delivered the war and action clearly. Because Wilhelmina and I had the lovely honor to debate GPC (Great Power Competition) and obviously the Cold War plays a large part it was really interesting to see more in depth information on a topic I have already researched. 
The church in Caen was actually insane. The architecture and stain glass was so impressive. I sent photos to my mom because that’s what I have been doing throughout the trip to keep her updated and she said it was a beautiful place. What impressed me the most was this stain glass at the back corner. It stood out to me more than anything else mainly because of how prominent the bluish-purple background and it’s contrast against the person on the glass. It was so incredibly stunning. – Ana Mier

World wars museum 
Lots of history
Everyone walking
Not much talking
Walked through footage
Of chaos and destruction
Pictures of hurting
All so serious
Noisy other-schoolers
In the way
Trying to read
I’ll go the other way
My only question is
And this may not be simple
Is why?
Why the declarations?
Why the invasions?
Why the bloodshed?
And these questions can be answered
But can they be prevented?

– Skyler Bickmore

What we saw in the Caen memorial museum never hit me until we read journal entries during the last night at the hostel and people spoke about how absorbed they were in the history of World War 2. Hearing these people share their emotions about the horrors of our past opened up all the feelings I repressed when I was at the museum. I wish I sat down and read the names of everyone who passed. I wish I listened to their stories and could leave them a special place in my heart. Instead I blocked it all out because my brain couldn’t even begin to fathom that this was a real thing that happened. 65 million people died. It’s hard for me to process, even after all of the studying and lecturing we’ve had on this topic over the course of the trip. I  wish I could go back and redo the way I viewed the museum. The next museum I visit on this trip, I want to feel the history, and spend more time really looking at the attractions. 
– Ava Dean