Thursday, 14 April 2011

Je ne suis plus assistante

Alors, my official last day as an assistante d'anglais is over. I had a little gathering with the English teachers this morning, and we said our goodbyes and exchanged presents. I had bought a few little things for the teachers as a thankyou, but I didn't expect anything in return! They bought me two novels and two MASSIVE books of French poetry, and a magnet map of 1920's Paris, which will be fun to examine in detail! They also wrote a lovely wee card, saying lots of nice things, and they told me I was the best assistant they'd had in years, and they wished I could stay for next year. So cute!

Then I had my last two classes. Denis, one of the English teachers, said he had to come with me to the first one because he had to tell the students off for misbehaving. It was terrifying. Denis is the nicest, friendliest guy in the world, and as soon as he walked into the classroom he let rip, fully yelling at the students, saying really harsh things that no Northern Irish teacher would ever get away with. I was scared, and it wasn't even directed at me! I'd heard about this strange French phenomenon of shouting at, ridiculing, even insulting students if they've misbehaved, but I'd never seen it. And I'm telling you, it was scary. Then, when he was finished, he turned to me and smiled and was like, "Thanks again Kristina, see you!" And left! Wow.

My second class was with my favourite students; six carrieres girls, who are soooo cute, and hilarious. We did a little exercise where they invented a character and wrote their life story, which they all did really well, and then we played Who Am I (the game during which another class didn't know Joan of Arc was French). Which they loved. Then at the end, their teacher Florence and the other half of the class came to say goodbye, and Florence took my address because she wants to write to me. Aw!

After that, I went to say goodbye to the Proviseure (I was particular about doing this from the start, because apparently last year's assistant left without saying goodbye to anyone, and they were super offended, understandably.) I gave her a little box of sweets, and she acted like it was the nicest thing she'd ever gotten (so sweet!), and told me I was always welcome to come and visit them.

And now I'm sitting in my wee bare studio, writing this post and wondering where seven months has gone. I can't believe I'm going home tomorrow, never to return to the little town of La Chatre (Well, at least for the forseeable future). Once again I'm feeling happy/sad. I'm going to miss the friends I've made, and the students, and the peace and quiet of small town French life. But I am SO EXCITED about getting home and back to normality.

It's been a bit of a suspended reality, being here. Because nobody has seen La Chatre (except Caroline), I feel like it's something special, just for me, unable to be shared with anyone. A whole seven months of my life, completely separate from everything else I know and have done. It's the strangest, most surreal feeling to know that, even when I leave, life will continue here just as it always has, and although I only spent a short time here, I think I've made an impression (however faint) on the lives of the people I've met. The teachers say I've restored their faith in the assistantship, and the students have learned where Belfast is, and what someone from there sounds like. The people I've met have certainly made an impression on me. They have shown me how kind, hospitable and generous of spirit the French can be, and completely subverted all the rumours I'd heard about the "cold, unfriendly French" I'd always heard or been told about.

I'm really grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I've had here, and I just can't believe how incredibly lucky I have been in my placement here. I'm still in a state of disbelief that it's come to an end and I'm going home.

A plus.


I just checked on the school's blog, and one of my students left a message about my blog post, saying thank you for how much he's learned with me, and that even though he's better at German, he thinks that if he'd had more classes with me he would be even better at English. He also said that he wants me to come back and be their teacher again, and I'm not allowed to forget them or he'll come and tell me off. And now I'm crying. *le sigh*

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Top Teaching Moments

1. Student : What's BEYATCH?!
    Me: ...It's beach.
    Other students: Haha, tu veux aller à la sallope!

2. Student: (spelling): g..h...t...
    Other student : T'as acheté quoi?

3. Me: Okay, give me some words associated with Valentine's Day.
    Student : SEX!

4. Student : What's the English for musclé?
    Me : Muscular
    Other student : Yes? Did you call me?

5. Student : My ass!
    Me: I don't like bad words in my class.
    Student : My buttocks?

6. Me: What would you change about the story of 'To Kill a Mockingbird?'
    Student : *hyperventalates*
The following moments took place during a role play between some of my favourite students, three Terminale L boys. They were playing a volunteer, a conscripted soldier, and a peace activist during the Vietnam War.

7. Peace activist : Ahh yeeeesss, I remember it well, I was at Woodstock in '69, during the quagmire of war... yes, I did, I ate a space cake....

8. Volunteer : You're a coward.
    Conscript : Yeah, like your mother.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Things are running smoothly, and yes I Must Be Mad.

So, the title says it all, really. Today has been good, in that I read the draft reference that Olivier wrote for me and nearly wept at all the cute things he said, I wrote an entry for the school blog that made Olivier's wife weep, and all three classes so far have gone without a hitch. I also got called "witty." Which was nice.

I am glad to say that I HAVE NO MORE SECONDES. EVER. *party*

I am so utterly relieved by this fact, you have no idea. They are the most unpredictable, volatile and downright scary age group I've had to teach, no joke. Some classes have been little angels, others the spawn of Satan. Mercifully, today's groups were the angels. I think Olivier deliberately intervened and gave me good ones, after last week's Hour of Horror, and they did pretty well.  Now I have an hour to kill before I go and check whether my two Terminale girls are going to show up, and then a lovely 8:30 start to look forward to in the morning. Awesome.

I have a little nugget of excitement to share now. Queen's sent an email around with information about a French summer school taking place in Co Kerry in July and August, which needed activities organisers (animateurs) and teachers, to help out with 14-16 year olds and give them a Full Oirish Experience. Naturally, I applied straight away ;) It sounds a pretty sweet deal - a Teacher has three hours of classes, five mornings a week, for £12 an hour and full board accommodation, for ten days. Travel expenses are included.

I figured that after this year this summer school gig would be a piece of cake, and Excellent Experience to put on my CV (if I get the job, that is!). I could have applied to be an animateur, which is full-time for a month, but after reading that these folk have to do activities like abseiling, kayaking and hiking, I almost laughed out loud. There is NO WAY I could ever do these things, let alone in front of a groups of teenagers, who would laugh cruelly at my ineptitude. So I am content with being a sensible Teacher, and I'm glad the hours of nicking stuff off the British Council website will come in useful once again.

When I told Olivier about it, he said, "You must be mad." His concern was that, after spending seven months here and then a whole month of Spanish school in June, I would be exhausted, and the thought of voluntarily seeking work over the summer was utter insanity. Ahh, les français.

The lady in charge is going to phone me at home over the weekend to let me know if I've got the job or not. HOW EXCITING! My first weekend home, and I'll learn if I've to leave it again or not. Still, after seven months, ten days is nothing. So I am genuinely excited about this one, and really hope I get it! Wish me luck!

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Just letting everyone know that I am literally DYING for honey chilli chicken at the minute.

That is all.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Twenty Seven Weeks Down, One to Go!

Can you believe it?? I can't! This time next week, I'll be home in wee Norn Iron. And I cannot WAIT to be back. But still, I'll miss everything that goes on here; the market on Saturdays, the cafes, the comings and goings of the school and students and staff. The teachers have been so kind and lovely, which has really made these seven months easier, and the students have been great (with the obvious exceptions!).

 When I looked back over all my blog entries and saw this one, I was blown away by how fast time has flown. I have spent seven whole months in a foreign country, on my own with exception of that one brilliant week that Caroline came to visit, and I've come through okay! Before I came, I couldn't see past this year; I couldn't imagine doing it and coping and coming out the other side feeling both relieved and grateful. Relieved that it's almost over, that I've succeeded, that I don't have to worry about it any more. Grateful for the experience, for the people I've met and the things I've done, and mostly, for the knowledge that teaching is something I can do, something I'm good at, and something I want to keep doing after I graduate. I never thought I'd say it, but my time in France has been some of the most valuable in my life. It's given me direction, a goal, and the drive to go for for it, and not give up until I get it. After all, if I can do what I've already done this year - moving to another country, on my own, living independently and succeeding in another culture, using a different language and having different customs - then I can do anything.

Twenty seven weeks down, one to go. Bring it!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


So, I had a dramatic day yesterday, and the Drama is still ongoing today.

One of the English teachers had asked me to take his secondes and run through Shakespeare in Love, starting and stopping the DVD and having them answer questions. Sounds easy enough, right? WELL, the catch is, the class in question was 30 low-level secondes. Wonderful.

To be fair, the teacher had asked me if this was okay last week, and I had said yes, because he has been really great and nice, and I figured I'd do him a favour. I also figured discipline wouldn't be a big issue, because I take half of the normal class every other week and they are generally well-behaved.

What I didn't know was that to this normally well-behaved class there would be an addition of another half-class of secondes. Now, this class, which I had between Christmas and February vacances, were the single most horrible class I've ever had. For example, one boy made fun of my French and refused to work, preferring to spit on other people's paper and throw things around the room.

Cut to the class; PANDEMONIUM. I shouted and yelled, telling the bad ones to sit down and be quiet (which they ignored), and generally had a terrible time of it. Until twenty minutes in. What I didn't know was that the teachers had stationed two surveillants in the classroom next door (obviously to provide backup!).. One of them appeared at the door and took the worst boy out of the class, never to return. This shut them up for about ten minutes, then they started up again. I managed to quieten them down a bit, and another surveillant came to the door to check that I was ok. I said I was managing, and he said he would be next door in case I needed him. Which was great. I kept the door open and told them that if the surveillant heard them he would come back and they'd be in trouble. They were quieter, but refused to do the work, saying they didn't understand anything blah blah, even when I explained, then translated the questions for them.

At the end of the class, another lovely surveillant came to tell me that I have to write a report about what happened, and why things went so wrong. Which I have done. I also told the two teachers whose classes I had what happened, and they were appalled. They said they were going straight to those classes to tell them off and give them detention, and that they were so sorry I had to deal with it, that it was completely unacceptable. They also told me to put down the names of the worst troublemakers, and depending on the decision of the CPE (who I spoke to as well - she was disgusted), they could get suspended from school. They said that if it had been a simple case of being disruptive, they would just get detention, but because they had been making fun of me again it was a far more serious disciplinary issue, and suspension was the normal course of action.


I've to hand in the report this afternoon. I'll keep you posted on what happens next!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Une Blague

I was provided with this gem during one of my classes today, helpfully translated into Franglais for my convenience.

"Why did Michael answer the door?

Because Jack sonne*."


(*sonner - to ring.)

Things About My Studio

Things I Like About My Studio

  • The Shower. It is the single best shower I have ever encountered. You can control the temperature and power with a little turn of the handle, and stand there getting lost in wonderfulness for hours.

  • Free Internet. I kid you not. I just plug a little wire into the back of my laptop and voila.

  • It is the perfect size; small enough to be cosy, and for everything to be nicely accessible, but not so small that I feel claustro.

  • The posters and collages I have put up on the walls. They are Lovely.

  • The Bed. It is comfy and toasty warm, and at a perfect angle with regard to the TV.

  • The long skinny window on one wall. It is Charming.

  • The Prayer Calendar that the assistant before last left stuck on the door. It has a little heart drawn on it, and when I wake up at a horrible hour in semi-darkness, a stream of light from aforementioned skinny window shines on this heart, making me smile.

  • It takes literally two minutes to hoover.

Things I Do Not Like About My Studio

  • The Scarily Regurgitating kitchen sink. Seriously, it scares the crap out of me.

  • The builders in the appartment above that have been here since November doing God-Knows-What, but always unnecessarily loudly, and at 8.30 every morning without fail.

  • The nights when I have a next door neighbour, and I hear him sneezing/coughing/shifting in his bed. It is super uncomfortable, and I feel the need to be quiet and ninja-like, because if I can hear his bedsprings, he is bound to be able to hear me singing embarrassing songs quite loudly, watching Glee at 2am and Skyping the fam.

  • It can be face-meltingly hot one minute, and absolutely bloody Baltic the next. I'm surprised I haven't caught a cold from the random temperature change :S

  • There is NO OVEN. Microwaved pizza is not good. However, my pasta repertoire has expanded greatly. I feel this is a success. Also, I have perfected mashed potato. Be proud, Dad!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

And Another One

Well, today has been a bit of a gem for Teaching Moments. First the girl who didn't know Joan of Arc was French (see below), and then, after a nice peaceful lunch, I had a Moment that will forever live in my memory.

I had my last ever class with the Terminale STG - awww - and I continued my very successful lesson plan of putting a load of random words on the board and letting them write a story using them. It worked to great effect with the STG last week; they came up with some brilliant stuff and I was dead proud of them, so I was planning to milk this plan for all it's worth!

So, this half of the STG group consists of five girls (two of which never speak) and one boy, who is a bit cheeky, and likes to show off in front of all the girlies. He spent about ten minutes once trying to convince me that blunts didn't contain weed, and are perfectly legal (aye right!), and, when asked for vocab associated with Valentine's Day, shouted "SEX," while grinning proudly. But I digress. I set the class to work on their stories, giving them 45 minutes to write and saving 15 minutes to have them read them out at the end.

When the time was up, the two girls who never speak mumbled something, for which I praised them enthusiastically (as it was the first time I had been given any evidence they even understood what I have been saying to them for seven months), and the three other girls read their stories, all of which were rather good. Then it was our boy's turn. He began his tale with a wife encountering her husband in bed with "two weeman nekkid." Well, I knew what we were in store for from that moment. He continued with the wife going to a sex counsellor/doctor, to find out if the reason her husband cheated was because she wasn't good enough in bed. The doctor assured her she was "veerry beyootiful," and took her for a drink. (Cue suppressed giggling from the girls, and a cheeky grin from our proud story teller). Cut to the next day, back in the doctor's office, he says he is convinced there is nothing wrong with her, as she proved last night. The wife goes back to the husband and says, "You cheat, I cheat, let's have kids." Fin.

Now, maybe it's because I went to an all girls school, and nobody thought to write about sex in class. Or maybe it was because our French teacher was the sweetest prude in the world, and none of us would dare to shatter her beautiful little mind with dirty teenage humour. But I have never heard such boldness in a classroom in my life (including yesterday, when a seconde announced, "I can't write a f**king thing!"). But I couldn't hold in a giggle of my own. He finished with such a delighted expression on his face, I couldn't help but tell him it was my favourite story of the week.

I'm gonna miss that boy, and his lewd genius. Le sigh.

Teaching Moment of the Year

Deciding that getting my seconde carrières girls to write a whole story in English was far too taxing, I set up a game of "Who Am I?", during which a volunteer is given a famous person, and the rest of the class has to ask who the person is, but only with questions that can be answered "Yes" or "No." It goes surprisingly well, until one girl is given Joan of Arc. Bear in mind that we are two hours away from Orléans, where Joan of Arc, or "Jeanne d'Arc," as she's called in French, fought in the 1400's. She is known as the maid of Orléans...

Class : Is it a man?

Girl: No.

Class: Woman?

Girl: Yes.

C: Is she old?

G: Bahhhh.... Je sais pas.

C: Is she alive?

G: Uh....

C: Is she American?

G: Je sais, uh, I don' know....

This goes on for a while longer, until the class have run out of questions and I have lost the will to live. I decide to sum up the information they already have, while adding in a few details to help them.

Me: Okay, so we know she's a girl, she's dead, she's French -

Girl: Jeanne d'Arc is French?!

Me: *facepalm*

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Things I Will Do When I Come Home

*double post* How exciting!

1. I will go for a lovely, sunny picnic in Stormont part with Caroline, Rachel and Mea. She will share the sandwiches.

2. I will re-enact the Epic Muck Up Day trip to Crawfordsburn with Hayleigh Morrison, Laura Morrow, Shona Jemphrey, Fiona Graham and Sarah Rountree. This time, there will be music AND West Coast Cooler. And we will not almost crash in the car park while attempting a three-point turn.

3. I will embark upon a Road Trip with the above persons, most likely to the North Coast. We will have a blast.

4. I will partake in a Daytime Pub Crawl, possibly involving the above persons, should they wish to come (!).

5. I will go to Banbridge, and show Caroline how to get there :)

6. I will go to China China with Chris. We will sit downstairs, and eat our dessert in a leisurely fashion.

7. I will also go to Horatio Todd's with Sarah Menice and Holly Coles. The waiter will bring the right cocktails this time.

8. Chris and I will walk to the very end of Bangor promenade and back. On the sand. With no shoes on.

9. I will take Rachel 17th Birthday present shopping, and inevitably spend an indecent amount of money.

10.  Chris and I will go to the zoo. We will make it in time to feed the lemurs. Oh yes, we will.

That Happy/Sad Feeling

So, I have less than three weeks left in La Chatre, and, as I've read on other people's blogs, the happy/sad feeling is kicking in. For the past few weeks, I've just been happy that I'm leaving soon, but since last weekend, a pinch of sadness has crept in too. The warmer weather makes the town so beautiful, my students have improved beyond my expectations, and strawberries have started to appear in the supermarket. And I only have three weeks left. Happy/sad, indeed.

It's funny to think about all the things I'm looking forward to about going home , and all the things I'll miss about France. I can't wait to get back to my family and Chris, but I'll really miss the teachers here, who have become friends. I'll even miss the students! They are funny and clever, and they do try their best, even though they make me want to rip my hair out sometimes!

I can't wait to have the freedom of being able to drive or get the bus whenever I want, to go somewhere different whenever I feel like it. And to have Chris or a friend to call on to go on a road trip with me. But I'll miss walking into town in the glorious sunshine, past the huge fountain at the roundabout, and saying "bonjour" to people as we pass each other in the street. I can't wait to be able to go shopping. But I'll miss the market on Saturday mornings.

I can't wait to have the easy task of speaking English when I'm out and about. But I'll miss speaking and hearing French everywhere I go. I can't wait to get back to a noisy, hectic, animal-filled home. But I'm sure I'll miss coming back from a busy day to my nice, quiet studio.

I can't wait to go to McDonalds and Chinese takeaways, and restaurants that don't serve tête de veau. But I'll miss fresh baguettes and delicious pastries every day, not to mention the potato-filled pastry that is a delicacy here! I can't wait to go to the pub with my friends, and drink terrible drinks and laugh loudly about our schooldays. But I'll miss the way the French drink a glass of wine with everything, without over-indulging and making idiots of themselves in public.

It's strange to think that I have such a short time left in France, after spending two years preparing and planning! I can't fully get my head around the fact that it's nearly over; I've nearly done it! It's definitely a happy/sad feeling.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Travel Bug?

So, another week has gone, and for some reason, the impatience to get home and back to normality has kicked in good and proper. It usually doesn't kick in until a week before I travel home, but it's back with a vengeance now! I guess it's because I have my flights booked home already, and I have so much to look forward to when I get home; namely, Spain!

I've been feeling really jealous while reading the blogs of other assistants who've been able to take advantage of cheap holidays and trips while here. I've read about people going to Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona etc, and I wish that it could have been practical for me to put my long weekends to good use, and make it to Paris or the south coast at least! But with limited transport, even a trip to Chateauroux or Orleans is a challenge for me :( So I'm really looking forward to my month in Ronda with the uni pals in June. I think I just need a change from La Chatre; I've seen it all and done it all, and I want some different scenery. I'm also thinking ahead to next summer, where travel might also be possible; I definitely want a holiday of some sort. If Egypt werent't so turbulent at the minute, I'd be dying to go there, because I've always wanted to, but it seems my dream must be put on hold, and I'll have to content myself with a beach on the Canaries or an exceptionally touristy Greek resort. But I shouldn't complain, because I'm nearly done with the assistantship (31 sleeps now, according to Rachel's countdown), and I have a month in sunny Andalucia and a whole summer of catching up with friends and family to look forward to.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Where Has the Time Gone???

So, I spent two and a half lovely weeks at home with my family and boyfriend. This was definitely the best vacances yet; Toussaint was so short, and Christmas was hectic and stressful with snow and trying to see everyone before going back to rainy dreariness. But this time, we were nice and relaxed, getting stuff done but not rushing about, and taking plenty of time to chill at home too. For Valentine's day, I booked for me and Chris to stay in a thatched cottage in Bushmills for the weekend. Well, "cottage" was a bit of an understatement! It was a MANSION. With heated floor tiles, four bathrooms, a wet room, a giant flat-screen TV and a four-poster bed. And a thatched roof. Wow.

I arrived back in La Chatre last night, after a teary goodbye, a long journey, and a humourous final car trip from Chateauroux station with one of the English teachers. I had my first class of the morning at the lovely hour of 8:30, with three Terminale L's, and it went fine, except for a boy threatening to jump out the window if I didn't stop asking him complicated questions (like, "What films have you seen that have robots in them", the horror!).

Now, with a two hour break, I'm catching up on my interneting, and marvelling that there are only five and a half weeks left of my assistantship. I can hardly believe how quickly time has gone, and I'm both happy and sad about it. Happy, because I hate being apart from my family, Chris, my friends and the animals, and I miss the normal, hectic things that go on at home. But I've begun to feel attached to France; even though the bureaucracy can be a pain in the ass, nothing is EVER open and the builders are still hammering away in the appartment above mine, I'll be sad to leave the friends I've made and the little life I've made for myself here. I spent two years preparing for this experience to be the most gruelling and challenging in my life, but I've found myself really enjoying the independence and responsibility of living alone and having a "proper" job in another country. It makes me sad to hear about people that I know from uni who have had such bad experiences that they've left France and dropped out of their degree course. I couldn't imagine having to stay here if I hated it; it was hard enough to leave everyone yesterday knowing that I was coming back to somewhere nice!

I'm going to try to make the most of the last few weeks I have here, because I know I'll never have this kind of opportunity again. Despite my impatience to go home again and get back to normal life, I know I should appreciate my time here, and really enjoy it, because it's nearly over; in a year, when I'm graduating from university, I'm sure I'll look back on this year and miss it!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Faith Is Restored.

Well, yesterday was a bit of a bad one, student-wise! I had the a class of carrieres boys in the morning; I decided to do something a bit more fun with them, so I had them create characters, write a few lines of a story, and swap papers to continue each others' stories. WELL, it seemed to be going okay, with the exception of two boys who kept giggling and being generally disruptive, until we got to the swapping. There was an indignant cry from the two best pupils in the class, "This is in French!" I took the page, hardly daring to believe it, and they were right. The two boys that had been misbehaving before had written their lines in French, when I had specifically given them the start of their first sentence in English to avoid this very situation! Argh.

So, I got my Teacher hat on and told them (in deadly calm French) that they were in English class, not French class, and if they wanted to muck about they could go elsewhere to do it. They had the decency to look sheepish, and started writing tout de suite!

Irritating situation dealt with, I prepared myself for my two-in-a-row secondes in the afternoons. I had the, erm, less gifted, ones first, and they were okay; typically distracted but eventually they got there. And then came the ones that are supposed to be the best secondes in the school. The class consists of two girls and nine boys (poor girls!), and they've been progressively worse each time I've seen them. Well, this time took the biscuit. The girls were perfectly well-behaved, doing the work I outlined on the board and volunteering answers. But the boys continually shrieked with laughter, walloped each other with various articles, spat at each other and generally took the piss, completely ignoring me when I told them, first in English and then in French, to stop it and do the work.

Finally, I managed to get them to shut up, and I gave them the severest lecture I've ever had to give in my life (!). I was literally shaking with anger, and it was made worse when one boy started to snigger. So I took him up on it, and demanded that he answer one of the questions written on the board (knowing full well that he hadn't done any of them). He sat there for five minutes with the rest of the class staring silently at him, until he said he hadn't done any of them. By that stage I was beyond talking to them, so I gave them a worksheet and ignored them for the rest of the hour. Afterwards, I went straight to their regular teacher and told her, and she agreed that they've been getting more and more unmanageable, and that I wouldn't have them again. I figured that was the end of it, and was happy to have escaped!

Then, today, she came to me in the staff room and said she wanted a list of the trouble-makers... oOo, they'll be in trouble! I have the impression she can be quite a scary teacher when she wants to be. Haha, is all I can say!

Today has gone much better, and restored my faith in French teenagers! I had three Terminale L's this morning, and they wrote the most amazing poems about getting older. One boy had the lines, "I'm scared to be paralysed by all the things I have not realised." Deep, huh? And with the carrieres girls, I showed them My Fair Lady. I think they thought it was a bit crap at first, but enjoyed it in the end, and are looking forward to watching more next week.

I have three more classes today; hopefully they'll go okay as well!!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Time is Flying.

Well, the title of this post says it all, really. I can't believe it's only two weeks til I'm going home again for the half-term vacances; that means I'm three quarters of the way through the assistantship. How scary is that? I've been planning and freaking out about these seven months for the best part of three years - ever since I applied to do languages on the old UCAS form in sixth year - and it's more than halfway over!

Somehow I feel like I've done loads, and absolutely nothing, at the same time. My French is coming on leaps and bounds. My students are improving (slowly), and love coming to my classes. I've eaten weird and wonderful things, acquired a taste for red wine, traveled on the Paris metro, had a conversation about the colour of chickens with a three year old boy in French, learned to cook... the list goes on. All while (seemingly) sitting on my arse for entire weekends. It is bizarre.

And yet more planning is taking place, namely my trip to Andalucia over the summer. I have a roomie (for a change!) all arranged, we've decided to go in June, where it'll be nice and quiet, just the right amount of heat, and I'm feeling fairly opimistic that Spain should be at least as good as my time here has been. It'll be nice to have a pal - French twenty-somethings are non-existent out in the sticks, it seems - and we'll be able to travel a bit and help each other out with the language (as I'm convinced all the Spanish I used to know has fallen out of my head).

And I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone at home again. I've been feeling a bit out of the loop lately, just because I've been away from home more than there for the last 5 months, so I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone again - visiting the family, shopping with the girls, seeing the animals, maybe having a bit of craic with my friends, which, due to our busy lives, only happened once over Christmas!

I've been pretty terrible at writing this blog of late, so hopefully I'll have another update soon!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Summing Up.

Top Ten Christmas List;

1. BEING HOME. I have never been so glad to see rainy, snowy Belfast. The weather, the chavs, the surly bus drivers; I love them all.

2. FAMILY. Mum, Dad, Girls, Chris. Wonderful :)

3. My AWESOME NEW BEDROOM. Imagine my surprise to find that, in my six week absence, my parents had redecorated my room, transforming it into a Boudoir Extraordinaire. Purple, black and sparkly, with fairy lights and glass-topped units. I cried.

4. ANIMALS. Oh, how I've missed the little doggies and kitty-cat. Tabitha's snuggly, purry furriness was awesome, and Mea has grown into a ginger rascal; I don't think I received a more enthusiastic (or wetter) greeting upon my homecoming.

5. FOOD. What more can I say? Dad's Christmas dinner was Outstanding. I have put on three stone.

6. CHRISTMAS DAY. I must say, it has become such that I look forward to giving gifts more than receiving them. I think my choices went down pretty well this year; Tiffany's necklace, Ugg boots and a London trip, to name a few ;)

7. BOXING DAY. Ayn's house. Home made chocolate fudge cake. Kinnect bowling. There are no more words.

8. NEW YEAR'S EVE. Chris's house. Daytime drinking, DVDs, Jules Holland, champagne and bizarre foghorn sounds at the stroke of midnight. What more could one ask for?

9. NEW YEAR'S DAY. Helen's house for a surprise visit. The purchase of a purple starry dressing gown. Lovely food (again), tea aplenty, a Stolen Scarf and seeing the Lads. Joy.

10. GENERAL HAPPINESS. What can I say? A perfect Christmas, in every way. Except one. That it had to end! Bring on next year!!!