This week I’ve really become adjusted to my surroundings. I’ve met the majority of students I’ll be working with for the next few months, got a lovely group of assistant friends in Roanne, and feel much more confortable speaking French than when I first arrived.
Last weekend I went to visit Lyon with my Language Assistant friends. We stayed in Lyon overnight on Saturday, which meant we had a full weekend of touristy fun to look forward to!
Lyon was beautiful and full of character. We started our visit by taking the funiculaire up the hill to see La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. Nothing quite prepared me for the swirling patterns and colours covering the enormous basilica, it was truly fantastic! The hill-top of the Fourvière also has amazing panoramic views of the whole city.
We then strolled down the hill to the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre, which was also open for free to the public. It is a huge space which is still used for outdoor concerts, more than 2000 years after original construction!
From there, it was another small walk to Vieux Lyon, where tiny cobbled lanes lined with Bouchons (Bistros that specialise in Lyonnaise cuisine) lead us to the river Saône. Across the river, we struggled up the steep hills of the Croix-Rousse, and attempted to find some of the traboules (hidden passages) that riddle the city.
In the evening my UoB friend Ellie met us for some dinner and drinks, which was really lovely. It’s good to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. We stayed in an airbnb apartment overnight, which was really confortable and super cheap too.
On Sunday we woke up quite late, and headed to La Confluence, where the Saône meets the Rhône river. After brunch in a café, we spent a few hours in the Musée des Confluences, a new and very interactive anthropology museum which is free for students!
Returning to daily life as a language assistant felt very laid back after such a busy weekend. Especially because I’m still just presenting myself to classes, which is a bit repetitive but nice and easy. The students in my Lycée (sixth-form plus year 11) are really nice kids: they all seem to be genuinely interested in my life and life in Britain in general. They appreciate my Harry Potter nerdiness and think it’s the coolest thing ever that I saw Red Hot Chilli Peppers at Reading Festival over the summer. I originally thought that it might be a disadvantage being so close to their age, but actually it makes me much more relatable to the students.
In other news I’ve been keeping busy outside of school. I only work 12 hours a week, which is wonderful but means I need to make sure I’m filling up my time with other things. On Tuesday I went to the cinema in Roanne with the girls, and we were quite impressed with how much of the film we were able to follow. On Wednesday I went for a run with my mentor teacher Lydie, and actually enjoyed it! I’ve always hated running, but outside a competitive school environment with the beautiful countryside all around us it’s a completely different experience.
Yesterday I went to Roanne again and we went to an anglophone cultural exchange meeting, which was fab because I met people from all over the world who wanted to share and learn about each other. Also it was Maddie’s birthday (hooray!) so we attempted to sing her happy birthday in French and ate some yummy chocolate gâteau.
It may be a while before I post again because the two week half-term break (Toussaint holidays) start on Wednesday. I’m planning on spending some time with UoB friends and my boyfriend is also coming to see me for a week, which is super exciting! Two weeks of barely working and then two weeks off… sounds like a great ratio to me!