Everything was going great… until it spectacularly wasn’t.
Monday started out well: I met some of the pupils in my lycée for the first time, and they were great. They were all really interested in what I had to say, and were keen to ask me questions about my life in the UK. This week in my classes I’ve been introducing myself to pupils, but in the safety blanket of another teacher’s classroom. It’s been nice to ease myself in slowly, and to not have to worry about lesson plans!
In the afternoon I drove to Roanne, to meet another British language assistant, which was really nice. Helena goes to the University of Leeds and lives not far from my boyfriend, so we had plenty to talk about. On the way home, I stopped to fill up my car, and was a bit baffled by the pumps. What were all the numbers about? Which one was petrol? Forgetting my A-Level French lessons in a moment of panic, I asked the pump attendent if he knew which one ‘petrol’ was, and he confidently told me which one to use. But I had a sneaky feeling that something wasn’t right, and after driving the 3km home I quickly looked up the translation. Gazole is diesel, not petrol. I had put diesel in my petrol car. Merde!
At the time it was the worst thing that’s ever happened. I had a really important meeting for language assistants the next morning, and it was the other side of the department, in a small town called Firminy. Thankfully, my super lovely neighbours Jérôme and Estelle were able to save the day and help me organise my life. We drunk some red wine (of course), and they phoned the local Peugeot garage for me, discussing when my car could go in to get fixed and what it would cost. They helped me look up the public transport for getting to Firminy, and generally made the situation bearable.
On Tuesday morning I struggled out of bed at 5:45, to get the first bus to Roanne at 6:30. It was absolutely freezing (winter is coming!) and generally quite miserable. Despite leaving so early, I was still late because the bus and train times meant I couldn’t arrive in Firminy station until 9:02, two minutes after the stat of the meeting. However, things picked up after Helena and I finally arrived in Firminy: we met some lovely assistants from all over the world who live in Roanne. In fact, we got on so well that we’re going to Lyon together this weekend for a few days of touristy fun, yay!
Luckily I had the day off on Wednesday. I was knackered after all that travelling. Jérôme and Estelle borrowed a tow-bar from one of their friends and helped me tow my car to the garage, which saved me 100 euros. Thank goodness they’re so kind and helpful! Today (Friday) I went back to the garage for my car, and it has cost me more than 150 euros to empty the tank, refill it, and recycle the unwanted fuel. My first paycheck couldn’t come soon enough…
Aside from all the car stuff, I’ve actually had a good week and I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I taught some French teenagers the meaning of the word ‘ditsy’ (unsurprisingly describing it as one of my flaws), have finally sorted out a load of paperwork required to work/ live in France, and managed get my car fixed in time to drive to Roanne this evening. As a reward to myself, this afternoon I bought a Praluline Individuelle from the Pralus Boutique in Charlieu, and it was delicious. Praluline is a local speciality: sweet, soft brioche filled with crunchy, nutty rose sugar praline.
Featured image is a side street in Charlieu.
Bon weekend à tous!