The past few weeks have not been particularly interesting, but in terms of feeling settled and happy in France, they have definitely been really important. I didn’t realise until now that before Christmas I was still adjusting to the more challenging aspects of my year abroad: speaking French all the time, making new friends, living alone, and living in such a rural location.
That’s not to say I haven’t done anything interesting: a few weeks ago Maddie, Hellie, and I had a great weekend in Lyon. We ate some great falafel for lunch with my friend Ellie, then went to meet the assistants from St Etienne for coffee and a catch up. Lyon is a great city: just wandering around Vieux Lyon and La Croix-Rousse is a great opportunity see colourful topsy-turvy buildings, winding cobbled streets, and beautiful views. We watched the sun set from the top of the hill in La Croix-Rousse, which was both magical and extremely difficult to capture in photos! After doing some shopping and saying goodbye to the St Etienne assistants, we enjoyed some great burgers in Frite Alors!, a québécois restaurant in Lyon. I have to admit I was disappointed by the poutine though, despite being promised cheddar cheese, the little lumps of cheese in my chips were white, flavourless, and absolutely NOT cheddar.
Moving on from that tragedy, we all went out to the Péniche in the evening, which was good fun. Being British and resilient to bad weather when on a night out, we walked all the way back to Ellie’s because we couldn’t all fit in one taxi, and I was feeling too skint to pay for two. Maddie and I lost the others part-way home, but we all ended up safely at Ellie’s house in the end! Sunday was, of couse, spent sleeping and watching TV.
The next weekend was spent in Roanne, but it was great! On Friday night, Maddie, Val, and I went to the bar with some teachers, who were all lovely. We ended up going from the bar to a salsa club, and spent the evening being taught to salsa dance by well-meaning French people. I was NOT very good, but it was fun to try! Luckily, being a woman, all I had to do was follow the movements of my partner rather than thinking for myself, which was much easier…
The next day we went to my favourite café in Roanne (Back to Black) for some delicious food and coffee. They serve freshly-made carrot cake, millionaire shortbread and cheesecake, and also make mocaccinos and thai lattés. Yum. In the evening we had a small party, which was really fun! All the assistants, some students, and some plus-ones were there, and we had a great time playing drenga (drunk jenga).
This weekend was pretty similar, I basically moved in with Hellie for a few days. I went to the bar with the teachers and assistants on Friday (we didn’t go to the salsa club this time). On Saturday six of us assistants went bowling just outside Roanne, which was brillant but also embarrassing because I was awful! Luckily no-one was great. We then had another game of drenga, which was fun if a bit messy.
Hellie and I spent the whole of Sunday watching New Girl (I think we watched an entire season..) Then, because we hadn’t been in front of screens for long enough, we went to the cinema together to watch La La Land, which was wonderful! It was such a feel-good film, the music was amazing, the visuals were great, and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were perfect. It certainly won’t be the film for everyone, but personally I’ve always loved musicals. I’m currently listening to the soundtrack as I type this.
Last week I did a lesson about different British accents with my students, which was pretty fun. Imagine a French 17-year-old imitating a Scottish accent… This week, as requested by my students, we’re going to talk about Sherlock, which I hope will be a success. Most of them seem to have watched at least some of the TV show.
I’m very much looking forward to this weekend, as I’m going to Barcelona for my 21st birthday! My friends from university, who I will be living with next year, are coming with me from all over France, and I’m so excited to see them again.
Signing off from my last post as a twenty-year-old,