A Travellerspoint blog

Another few days in a "Funny Country"

Really weird week, kinda feel a bit in limbo or something. Am, tonight, very tired after 3 hours sleep yesterday (we'll come to that), and kinda sad as the goodbyes have begun, it really seems way to soon for our little group to be broken up and really not liking having to say ciao to the Americans who I may not see again for a loooooong time. Work has been tough, the kids are suuuuuper chatty and stuff, they need a break too I guess...in fact on Monday I had the worst lesson I've ever had, my CE2 class were just awful. In fact I don't even wanna really go into it now because there has also been some really happytimes going down and the weather, at last, seems to be looking up.

So last night we had a little Leaving Party for Rachel, Lynn and Katie who are leaving and Hari, Eddie and Patti who are hanging around for a bit but have finished their contracts now. We headed first to Cafe de la Place for an apero, and JP, our responsable, came along which was really cool. Then 17 of us headed to a Chinese Restaurant and had an AMAZING meal. SOOOO yummy and the staff were really good. At 11.30ish the hardcore in the group moved on to the Irish Bar (nightclub closed on Tuesdays...of course) and ordered a few "giraffes", then later headed to Eddie's for a few rum and cokes and morris dancing (Molly went in a bin and a skip on the way!) and before we knew it it was 4am! Was very fun, tres good times...amusing.

However, had to be up again at 7.45 this morning, so yeah not an awful lot of sleep.

This morn me, Rachel, Lou and Stu did some more recording for JP... "I've got guinea pigs and a fish" etc and a funny song. My singing voice hadn't been treated very well yesterday night I guess and it was scary having to a sing a song we'd just learnt in front of people and the first time I tried JP said I sounded "like I was dying" when I got the "Miaow, miaow, miaow" bit, but nailed it the third time.

Then this afternoon I went back to Montpon with Rachel and Molly and Catherine. Very probably my last visit to the funny little place :-( We had a lovely afternoon. Took Rachel's table outside and had BBQ food which was loooovely. Enjoyed the sun and had some good chats. Later we went down by the lakes and had a really lovely peaceful couple of hours chilling out, gouting and playing frisbee. Delightful.

Here is a funny story:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7350193.stm

Oh I'm tired I shall have to save my tales of French customer service for tomorrow... a demain

Posted by LHsugarsugar 12:45 Archived in France Comments (0)

Dordogne en voiture avec mes parents

all seasons in one day 14 °C

Oh dear these tired weekly updates are getting a bit of a regular thing...but for all the very best reasons, has been another excellent one. Parents have been here and we had a really good week, great to see them, weather a bit changable but could have been worse and they hired a car so got to spend lots of time out in the countryside around me which was really cool! Am tired today, have felt a bit down, really looking forward to seeing Joe now and just seems quiet here for a day or so, and doing washing was a bit of a pain as machine was broken and, being a Sunday, getting change was a right old cuffufle...so anyway yeah just going to try and write a quickish overview of a really good week.

So yeah worked on Tuesday morning and got the superduper 2eur bus to Bergerac to meet them. We did the tour of the town...old square, little shops, Cyrano de Bergerac statues, Maison de Vin etc, and then timed it just right to jump onto a boat tour aboard one of the traditional gabarre boats. Was really nice to go up and down the river, and got to see a heron and lots of black kites, really enjoyed it. I managed to navigate our way home in the car later. We found all the driving pretty easy actually, roads in France are really well signposted etc and all the roads were lovely and quiet. We cooked dinner at my place and had a realllllly yummy selection of cakes.

On Wednesday we headed South in the car (after a nice breakfast at their hotel), a lovely journey through the country and little villages, going through the Les Eyzies area where all the Dordogne prehistoric caves and stuff are centred. Sarlat is the cutest place evvvvver! Can imagine its absolutely heaving in the summer, just really picturesque little squares and roads and sooooo many cafes and restaurants. We arrived intime for the market which was full of the local walnuts...covered in chocolate, made into cake, oils etc etc etc, free samples! Was one of the nicest busiest markets I've come across. We checked out the Lanterne des Morts and the church, wandered around and stopped for a nice lunch in a little cafe. In the afternoon we drove back through Les Eyzies and stopped at one of the many caves, Les Grottes de Grand Roc, which was really cool. Firstly a nice little French lady took us into a darkened room and showed us a video all about the excavation of the caves and stuff which was interesting. Have found my French really good this week, like not doing anything complicated but can really feel a big difference just ordering food, buying tickets etc from the beginning, people generally understand me exactly the first time now so I guess my accent or whatever has improved a bit. Anyway, after the presentation we got to look around the prehistoric living "shelter" and see the various levels of rock formation, and then went on a half hour tour of the caves which were full of staligtites, staligmites and 'eccentrics', very cool.

Thursday I had to work in the morning, which was fine and made better by the fact my last lesson was cancelled. Mum and Dad had a relaxing day in town and reading etc, then when I met them we had a wander around a few shops and got an ice-cream. After a drink and a siesta we went out for a yummy dinner.

On Friday (after a good morning's teaching) Dad gave me a lift to Lidls and L'eclerc which was really useful and meant I could stock up on all the essentials and also got to show them my Trelissac school. Mum cut my fringe for me and I packed up a little bag of stuff to send home with them...yup have started the homeward transportation of "stuff" now, wooooo! We had another hour sat outside having a holiday drink, spent a couple of hours reading which was lovely and chilled-out and then cooked a chilli at mine for dinner.

And then Saturday another really cool day out in the car...it was like the world had died and we were the only people left in the Dordogne, all the little villages were just soooo quiet. Excideuil first which was very cute with a nice church and interesting restored chateau. Through another couple of little villages. Unfortuately the apple museum was closed and we got absolutely soaked at one point, but otherwise was really nice to be out in the fresh air...can't believe there's so many miles of beautiful countryside so close to me really, all the little houses and farms...
Then onto the highlight of the day, Hautefort. It's another lovely little town, with a funny old garage and museum of medicine in an old hospice, but the highlight is it's castle and beautifully sculptured gardens. We did the "visite libre", was just a shame the weather wasn't a bit better to do all the gardens, but the clouds make for some impressive photos. Back via a stop at a very closed-up old monestary, check out the road they needed for their early flight back to Berg this morn and finished off a lovely week with an excellent dinner at their hotel.

Posted by LHsugarsugar 23:24 Archived in France Comments (0)

A happy weekend

sunny

Hey hey hey!

Wow, that was such an awesome weekend. The sunshine was out (snow at home!!!) and Saturday was really really warm, proper tanning weather at last. So, first things first, Friday afternoon Lou, Eddie and I went to an "English in Dordogne" expo thing to see a talk by Stephen Clarke. He's a really entertaining author who has written the series of "merde" books about an Englishman in France, as well as "Ten Commandments for living with the French" which is really funny. Had previously read and enjoyed them and was well excited! He did a cool talk with some funny little anecdotes which were soooooo true and, as there were only about 10 people there, we got to have a little chat and get his signature after.

Friday afternoon I had a lovely time chilling out in the sunshine with the 2eLLes (Lou and Lynn) and Molly. We had our first ice-creams of the summer and Lynn took us to this random, run-down building where she thought we could get costumes for the carnival on Sunday...err not quite! But was a nice couple of hours and we got some face paints.

Saturday morning I did a few jobs and stuff which needed doing and then we all headed to the park for a BBQ! It was Molly's awesome idea and was such a good time. We had to hide the BBQ behind a wall because it wasn't exactly allowed but all worked out fine. Had amazing burgers with cheese, onions, gherkins, salad, crisps, potato salad (which I made and was pretty proud of!) and Lynn turned up 2 hours late (as always!!!) but with an amazing fruit platter and melted chocolate. We all ate and sat around, the others played frisbee and I had a good chat and some sunbathing with Lynn, Katie and Helen. When the sun eventually started to go in at 7ish we dropped our stuff off and grabbed jumpers for mine and headed to the fair which had set up in town. But got there at 8ish and, as we're in France, it was just closing for dinner! So we ended up just hanging round for an hour taking silly (but very cool) photos. Was just sooo good to chill out with these guys and not have to worry that there's essays to be written or work the next day or whatever, was happy. But also sad that it's almost the end for our little group...only a week and a half left for 7monthers. :-( We went to our local, Cafe de la Place and sat outside with a plate of frites listening to the really cool local band then hit up the re-opened fair. The crazy people went on this ridiculous ride and we did silly techtonik dancing. Then we all went on the bumper cars, Lou and I, the non-drivers, shared! And I went on The Octopus, singing Mika all the way around.

Talking of Mika, Lynn has made a Youtube channel with all the songs that have accompanied our time in France: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=198A2331E0C883F8

The girls came back to mine for a cup of tea, being rudely interrupted by Heddie (The "Hari and Eddie show") on the intercom, and then Rachel stayed at mine...we stayed up later then we should have with a random religion conversation I seem to remember!

Sunday morning it was all fingers and eyes on the computer for Glasto tickets, and Joe, Me, Katie and Tom all got them! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited, gonna be amazing again methinks. ;-) :-) :-)
Next job= booking final flight home :-)

Then the others came back round and we got face painting! Katie, the artiste, is mega-talented and did me a really cool sea-horse. When we are all ready and joined by Mary Poppins (Cecile) and Heddie we hit up the Carnival. Was really cool...like the floats weren't exactly amazing or anything and the French crowd lacked the party spirit at times but the Anglo-saxons did a good job cheering and stuff. Was some "wicked" techtonik and some genuinely cool bands, love the old samba. I think the tonnes of confetti which were thrown aroud really added to the atmosphere and was just cool to see so many people out and the roads closed and stuff.

It got really windy late in the afternoon so we popped into Cecile's for a gouter. Then at 6ish (and with some warmer clothes) we followed the floats down to the river. Was a bit random, they have a "trial" for the Petassue guy and then burn him. He's supposedly represents all the bad stuff of the city and burning him brings good luck, but the trial involved claiming he'd raped a load of women and stuff...not really very family friendly and let's not even mention the health and safety of the fire! Was all good fun though.

AND Parents arrive tomorrow! :-) so, err, yeah better go clean!

A bientot

Posted by LHsugarsugar 07:53 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paysage Maufacture and My Evaluation!

sunny

Last night I went to see "Un paysage manufacture" (A manufactured landscape) at the cinema. It was one of their film and debate evenings set up to conincide with err...some environmental week, oops can't remember, but anyway if you ever get the chance to see this film: GO! It's really really impressive, and makes you think but not at all in a politically lecturing kinda way.

Today I had my lesson observed. Oh my gosh, my class was AMAZING! It's my oldest class, they'll go to secondary school next year (so they're 11) and have always been pretty cool, I like how their little adult personalitys are developing, but they can be a bit chatty and "meh" at times. Today however they totally did my proud; if I didn't feel it was kinda wrong I would go out and buy them all sweets or something. They came in quickly and quietly, settled down (I think the teacher had lectured them, thanks!), and behaved the whole lesson...PLUS every time I asked a question I turned around to a classroom full of happy faces and hands in the air! :-) :-) :-)

I was doing a lesson on food words, after having introduced "Typical English Food" and revised fruits with them last week. They picked up the 9 words quickly and JP was impressed they could sort them into plural, singular, and ones starting with a vowel/an. Then we moved onto phrases and they soon re-remembered, "I like..."/"I don't like..../Do you like...?". Then they did a questionnaire with their friends about favourite foods etc and back together to recap and start on "What's your favourite...?".

JP and I had a quick little chat beforehand and then he sat at the back and listened and made notes, was quite easy to forget he was there. When they all got up for the oral acitivity he joined in, bless him, so then they were all desperate to ask this funny guy who said "My name iz Jean-Pierre" whether or not he liked ice-cream! One boy, M, loses concentration really quickly and I'd already moved him once to stop him fiddling with ruler, notebook etc, but when we did this activity, finished first and was then happy to do "just one more"...and "just one more".

Afterwards JP and I spoke about it, and he said it was a really, really good lesson. There were several things he picked out as good...the insistance I make on learning the phonology first, the success of the oral work and how I made sure all their cahiers were checked, and he gave me just a couple of suggstions....making sure I don't get "ha hamburger" (its so easy to switch off to these kinda sound mistakes you hear 100 times a day), and a way to get one of the games to work better. But yeah really no biggys at all. He said he thinks I'll do very well in teaching and is going to write me a nice little report for applications etc.

En plus, I checked with him and the plan I think is to finish my contract a week early so I can get the work experience I need at home in order to apply for PGCEs before schools finish for summer. This might also mean I can go to Glastonbury Festival, woooo excitement. Tickets go on sale Sunday!

FINALLY, It's sunny! YAAAAAAAAAAY!

Posted by LHsugarsugar 01:55 Archived in France Comments (0)

today

(in brief)

im tired but stuff has happened today so just a quick update, may come back and write more.

1) Molly's electricity has been cut off because no-one has been paying the bills for 6 months!!! It's gonna take them days to put it back on

2) Last night. Lynn's guacomole. Courgette and tomato salad. Spag bol. Good chats.

3) Rachy bought me a flower :-)

4) New pupil was good. pretty nice, bit shy but keen and stuff. written work seems quite advanced but makes lots of mistakes orally. much better idea what to plan now.

5) Bernard came in so kinda got a better idea how gonna work for finishing contract etc. my french has waaaay improved, could hold a convo with him.

6) Stephen Clarke, author of Year in the Merde etc is doing a talk in Perigueux on Friday. I am well excited,

7) Art expo was realllllllly good. Katie and Guigui amazingly talented, lots of people came and us assistants dressed up prettily and yeah was really nice, gonna miss these guys, they're the best.

Posted by LHsugarsugar 12:54 Archived in France Comments (0)

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