07.10.2007 22 °C
So we arrived; has all gone pretty well so far but have been really glad to have Rachel for moral support! So, yeah, parents took us to Bristol on Thursday (with minimal tears and only £24 of excess chargers ;-) !) and flight was only 20 minutes late which isn’t bad I guess. Saw a bit of Bordeaux on the way through on the shuttle bus (defo want to go back and check it out more, particularly a strange ‘square-of-water-on-the-road’ thing), and then got the train from Bordeaux station. The train journey was about an hour and a half; the first half an hour was pretty uncomfortable as the train was absolutely packed and hot…and we had lots of stuff and were wearing all our heaviest winter clothes, but as the ‘citoyens’ got off at their respective towns we were able to sit down, look at the scenery and get a bit nervous. Oh and we had our first real conversation with a real French person, a really friendly, interested Uni student on her way home to Perigueux.
We were met by JP (the teaching advisor), and he was a really nice guy…although it was slightly scary to be taken straight to the apartment I’m going to rent; I thought he was just going to leave me there! But no, we just had a look around and I’ll move in on Sunday. It seemed pretty nice, very close to one of my schools and with the capacity to get internet (AND he reckons a patisserie is moving in underneath….mon reve!) but to be honest it was all a bit too much to take in so quickly. JP took us back to his house, where his girlfriend was waiting for us; their house was massive and they were really nice but it was quite hard-going; French small talk over aperitifs, dinner, cheese etc etc. Was pretty tired and quite glad to eventually head to bed. But unfortunately when I got there my mind was spinning like mad with random French and all the things I should have looked at in the flat but didn’t and it took me ages to get to sleep! But not too worried as JP is a local mayor and knew the guy who’s going to rent me that flat so I reckon he wouldn’t put me in too much of a dump, and the lady who is there at the moment has been for 6 years and told me it was really ‘calme’ and nice. I will write more about apartment when I get there…Rachel’s came with bed linen and all cooking utensils so hoping mine will too.
Friday, I decided to come and lodge chez Rachel in the nearby town of Montpon for a few days rather than staying with JP. Her apartment is lovely, as are its owners who live next door (we reckon they’ll be a good surrogate mum and dad). JP took us to see the schools Rachel’s going to be working at and left us to it for a bit. We had our first French lunch and walked in and out of town 3 times trying to sort stuff out….that’s to say, buy some chicken for dinner (surprisingly difficult) and sort out a bank account (very difficult…). But came across lots of nice surprising stuff on the way including an outside pool, the train station and a pretty little town centre with local shops. Her neighbour down the road (who has made a brilliant light-up map of the departments for his son that I really need!) tried to sell her a bike for her to get a work (after offering aperitifs at 4pm…have learnt it’s all about the aperitif) but was a bit cagey about the price so we decided to try walking to the school to see how long it took (15 minutes). The sun came out and we had a really lovely walk along the river/lake, and even paddled our feet…but weren’t as brave as the Frenchies who were swimming!
So yeah we’re spending Saturday here too, and on Sunday we’ll go into Perigueux. Rachel’s going to spend the first night chez moi and we’ll go exploring on Monday. Then, next Wednesday and the following Monday to Friday, I have training, so I won’t actually start teaching until the 15th.