Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pom Pom Girls 4L Trophy

It is absolutely unbelievable how many wonderful opportunities this year has presented. I have been able to meet so many wonderful people, see gorgeous places, and create memories that will last forever. One of the coolest opportunities I have received this semester is becoming a part of the ESC Rennes Pom Pom Girl team! It is such a privilege to spend time with these wonderful girls and really try to integrate myself with them.

Our first performance was south of Rennes for the 4L Trophy previllage. The 4L Trophy is a fundraiser in which students from ESC journey across the Moroccan desert to deliver school supplies to children in need. To understand more about 4L, visit

We spent the day at the kick off and got to perform three times. It was so much fun to speak with all of the French students, play games with them, and indulge in my love for dance. I have danced my entire life and had started to really miss it after not being able to do anything during the fall semester! I love the way the Pom Pom Girls handle themselves and act as a team. It is so much different from my previous experiences and I feel truly blessed to be a member of such an amazing group of girls.

I feel like this opportunity is allowing me to get a more authentic experience of what it is like to be a French student and has popped the “Erasmus bubble” that many foreign exchange students experience. Merci beaucoup les filles!
Dance with your heart!

Bordeaux avec les Filles

As I am studying in France, I want to become familiar with the country and its different regions. Several weeks ago, a few of my friends and I decided to have a cultural weekend in Bordeaux. Five of us girls went to indulge in wine and beautiful country side.

We left on Friday and took the train to Bordeaux which is a 5 hour trip. We bought yummy snacks, met a cat on the train, and prepared ourselves for a great weekend together. Once we arrived, we found our way to the youth hostel to get ready for a girls’ night out. I love how Europe treats their younger citizens; there are discounts for almost every museum, hostels designed for young people, and different reductions for transportation all for being a student. This differs greatly from the U.S. where you can hardly ask for your free student drink at Chipotle without getting dirty looks.

Bordeaux was absolutely gorgeous even in the winter. The first night, we went out on the town and enjoyed a nice meal at a restaurant our friends had recommended. There were three things on the menu and all were meat based so I got to eat fries, salad, and plenty of red wine (a Bordeaux of course). After a long day of traveling and a nice meal together, we returned to the hostel to rest up for the next day.

Saturday, we enjoyed walking around the city and seeing a few sites in the morning before going on a wine tour. With history all around us, it wasn’t hard to find interesting sites and points of interest. After a quick lunch, we hurried to the office of tourism to head off on our wine tour! We drove through beautiful French countryside, journeyed into the Medoc region, and saw fields upon fields of vineyards and a few chateaus as well. The first winery we stopped at, Chateau Kirwan, was a gorgeous estate with well-kept grounds and plenty of scenery to take in and enjoy. We learned how the wine was made and stored and got to try two different wines. One was a younger, fruity wine and the other was more mature and had a richer taste. To learn more about Kirwan wines and how they are produced, visit

The second winery we visited had a lot of history. It was built by monks in the 16th century and who decided to settle in France and make wine. The wine is still made in the same building that the monks made it and there are laws protecting the building and the land used in the production. We got to try two wines here as well, one red and one white. The white, interestingly enough, is not allowed to be called Bordeaux even though it is produced in this area. All Bordeaux wine is red and the other types of wine fall under a different name and classification.

We returned to the city of Bordeaux and did a bit more sight-seeing and walked along the river before we returned to the hostel to prepare a picnic dinner in our room. Sunday, we ventured to the Notre Dame and the public park where we played on the playground and wandered around. The rain began to pour so we decided to get some lunch before heading to the train station. It was a short trip, but we definitely made the most of our time and really enjoyed ourselves! 
Chateau Kirwan