I’ve been keeping myself busy this week, and even though I’m six weeks into living in France, I’ve still been able to do plenty of new things. From working at the Collège (middle school) to taking a trip to Annecy, it’s great that I can still feel excited about all the stuff I’m doing!
On Monday and Tuesday I worked at the Collège for the first time since arriving here. My twelve hour contract was condensed into two days, which was nice because I got the rest of the week off, but meant I was very tired on Tuesday evening! The level of English in the each class really differed; many of the older pupils were very good and able to ask me fairly complex questions about myself and the UK (and understand my responses) while the younger pupils really struggled to ask me anything at all. They were adorable though so I forgave them!
In one class I had on Monday with the sixième (year seven), the only question they could ask me in English was what my name was. The pupils were learning numbers 1-20 and the months of the year, and we ended up chatting together in French. It turned out they had a lot of questions, they were just unable to ask them in English!
Unlike at the Lycée, pupils at the Collège are not allowed to leave school unless someone is outside to collect them or they have written permission. Not knowing this, I was very confused on Monday when a teacher followed me out of the gate and asked me for a signed permission slip. She had mistaken me for a fifteen-year-old, and I don’t know which of us was more embarrassed when I told her I was the English Assistant. Having been asked if I have any children earlier the same day by a fourteen-year-old boy, it was a confusing day to say the least.
On Thursday I headed into Lyon to stay with Ellie in her new flat for the weekend. It was such a lovely weekend, and I feel so lucky that she lives just an hour from Roanne. In the evening, we headed out clubbing to a tiny techno club called Terminal. We met some really friendly people who wanted to talk to us because our Englishness made us interesting (apparently), and we had a great time chatting and dancing the night away. In the morning we took the pleine lune (full moon) night bus back to Ellie’s, which was only 2 euros each, and unsurprisingly full of students heading home.
Friday was pretty much a write-off, and we spent the day watching films in Ellie’s bed and napping. It was a Bank Holiday in France, because it was the 11th November (Remembrance Day in the UK). Saturday was much more interesting though: we went on a day-trip together to Annecy! The train took about two hours from Lyon so it was a pretty long day, but it was definitely worth it.
Annecy was beautiful, a kind of Venice meets Lake Garda meets Grenoble. Its old town was charming: cobbled pedestrian streets, old quaint shop-fronts, and little bridges linking the different sides of the river together. However, the lake around which Annecy was built is the most spectacular part of the scenery. As we walked along the promenade, miles and miles of crystal-clear water glittered in the sunlight, framed beautifully by the snow-topped Alps (see featured image).
After lunch we wanted to rent trottinettes (scooters), to explore the lake using what we consider the most French mode of transport ever. Scooters are very popular here and not just for children: in Lyon serious businessmen in suits often weave in and out of traffic on scooters, and ‘cool’ teenagers are just as likely to be seen on a scooter as on a BMX bike or a skateboard. Anyway, unfortunately we had to make do with a couple of bikes, as the rental shop didn’t stock scooters, and our legs were too short for a tandem bicycle. Seriously, the front seat on one of those needs to be sat in by someone who is at least 5 ft 8, or your feet won’t touch the ground.
Bums a bit worse for wear, we headed to a Crêperie in the old town, where I had a yummy apple and caramel crêpe. We then climbed the hill to see the Château d’Annecy as the sun set, before heading back to Lyon in the evening. I made my way back home to Charlieu today, and have spent this afternoon procrastinating instead of planning my lessons for this week. Oops..
À la prochaine!