29 September 2012

Smelly Melly

God I’m exhausted, I don’t know how 9-5ers do it! Had my first day at one of the schools I’ll be teaching in, and I didn’t even do any teaching, just sat and ‘observed’. I was quite horrified though when one pupil, in preparing a presentation on Angleterre, began a list of famous English people with One Direction. Seriously?! I later got a lot of pleasure, however, in telling a cocky French teenager that I could in fact understand him after he had proclaimed to the class that I was jolie because he thought I didn’t speak any French. His face was priceless.

On a more serious note, I have never had to understand and speak so much French in one day. The English teacher, Sandrine, refused to speak to me in English, so I am now totally Frenched-out. No idea how I’m going to survive 9 months of this.

I also learnt today that Melle was nicknamed Smelly Melly by previous assistants, and in walking out my front door, it was easy to see - no, smell - why. Apparently it’s the chemical factories down the road. Okay, so perhaps Melle is not quite as belle as I’d initially thought.

28 September 2012

Melle est belle...

After a slight disorientation when my alarm woke me up, wondering where on earth I was, reality struck me once again. Yes, you now live in France. On opening the shutters (yes, shutters, not curtains; I’m definitely on the Continent!), I was greeted with glorious sunshine, so I decided that I should without doubt go and explore my new town today.

So, Melle basically consists of Romanesque churches and hairdressers. I think I’ve already discovered my favourite spot here; it’s outside one of the gorgeous churches, and I just sat there on my own in the lovely weather contemplating life. 
Here it is, l’église Sainte-Hilaire:

Eglise Saint-Hilaire

After another disastrous mealtime as a result of my lack of kitchen equipment, and thus producing a pile of yellow mush that should have been eggy bread, I was excited to hear that I would later be brought a load of pans, plates and cutlery that previous assistants left behind. Sure enough, I now have a fully kitted out kitchen, with not one but two hand blenders!! Very. Excited.

27 September 2012

Je suis arrivée!

Oh. My. God. I’m on my Year Abroad. The most important year of my life is actually upon me. Parents and boyfriend have left me, and I’m all alone in a huge flat en France. Mum and dad have bought me some food, so I won’t starve just yet, and I’ve finished unpacking.

My flat

So, where am I? Well, I’m living in a town called Melle, which is about halfway down the country in the west. Due to it being closer to the equator than Blighty, I was hoping for a bit of sun before autumn comes, but all it’s done so far since we popped out of the tunnel sous la Manche is rain. And rain.

Here’s a map if you ever fancy dropping by:

Biggest challenge of the day was most definitely cooking dinner with only a pressure cooker and a sundae spoon. It was slow progress, but nonetheless I was sufficiently nourished. 

Day 1 survived, check.