A Travellerspoint blog

December 2007


oopsss..sorry for all the mistakes in last entry, Rachel's keyboard is annoying.

Woke up early this morning, too excited to sleep! Will be in the air in 5 hours,hopefully. Chilling on a sofa watching and talking English tonight and in town shopping with pounds tomorrow!


Posted by LHsugarsugar 23:31 Archived in France Comments (0)

Joyeux Noel!

Hello everyone!

Sorry has been a while since I wrote...have been kinda busy and yet not doing very much so not had massives to write about! I have maybe not made the absolute most of this last week...knowing that home was so close I got kinda impatient to just be there, but there have been some good highlights:

School has been fun...after the lesson on traditions I did:
CE1/CE2: Chrisristmas vocabulary and "We wish you a merry christmas"
CM1/CM2 Lesson on "Father Christmas/A snowman has got black boots/an orange nose/a green scarf etc" and singing "Oh Christmas Tree" (which went down so well they are going to do it in a concert for parents on Friday, real shame I won't be there to see it).
Then with all of them a lesson making Christmas Cards (where I dictated what they decorated the Christmas Tree drawing with) and sining the songs a bit more.

Yesterday we had a fun Assstants' Christmas day! I had to work Friday's lessons in the morning, but then I met with Rachel and we headed down to Lou and Lynn's cake, mulled wine ingredients, Secret Santa presents, cards for everyone and decorations. We met up with all the Perigueux assistants as well as those from Bergerac; was really lovely to be see them. We went ice skating; am not a big fan of the old patinoire so took the offical post of "photographer/bag holder", and actually really enjoyed it. The sun was out so I was lovely and warm and was chatting to a French lady, Cecile. Then we all headed back down for "tea". I made the mulled wine which was yummy and it realy felt like Christmas sat stuffing ourselves with biscuits, chocolates etc. For secret santa I got a VERY well wrapped-up shoebox filled with random cleaning/washing stuff in funny squeezy tubes! And Lynn was so sweet and gave us all little baubles with "Xmas 2007 France"...shall keep that for many years. We played Empires and Charades until decided I really should get back and pack. It was a lovely day...I really am very grateful to have had such an interesting mix of lovely people to share my experiences here with even though friends from home and Oxford mateys me manquent beaucoup.

Today was a lovely day. Firstly because we were paid, a week early...so a great unexpected early Christmas present he he! One of my little English stars, Thomas CE1, gave me a box of chocolates. And then I walked into my last class of the year, CM1...as I went in they started singing a French Christmas song, and then presented me with a few cards which they had made individually, one lovely one which was signed by all of them AND a lovely book "Perigord" with lots of beautiful pictures and descriptions of the region. The teacher had written a little note to "Notre charmante petite anglaise" and it seriously made my day...was sooo happy.

And now I am at Rachel's...stage 1 of the journey home! We've just been round to her neighbours for her to exchange christmas presents with them, they are really sweet and will give us a lift to the airport tomorrow. Really looking forward to being in my nice cosy home with family for christmas, and distracting Joe who has been working FAR too hard of late ;-) . The 2 weeks are already filling up with fun stuff, I know they will go far too quickly, but I do like my little life in France and still have LOTS to learn!

So yeah I hope you all have happy happy times wherever you are for the festive season. Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee and look out for more exciting French blog entries to come soon!

Posted by LHsugarsugar 11:21 Archived in France Comments (0)

Fantastic article

Fluent French


Posted by LHsugarsugar 05:09 Comments (0)

Christmas Traditions

overcast 0 °C

I have to admit my lessons this week have been kind of selfish, although I'm sure also beneficial to the children. In each class I told them all about English Christmas traditions (in French with varying degrees of detail according to age and with the help of 'real' 'props'- a cracker, a christmas card etc), and then asked them to have a discussion with me comparing my traditions with their own, meaning I got a whole load of information about *French* Christmas!

So. My key topics were:
-Giving and recieving Christmas cards (far less "done" over here...family maybe, friends -possibly, but almost certainly not the milkman/that random friend of a friend whose husband's name you're not sure of)
-School carol services/nativity plays (not done here - secular school system although one boy did tell me he was doing one at Catholic school and got to be "le boeuf"
-Decorating houses - christmas trees and kissing under the mistletoe
-Christmas Eve - stockings, leaving something for Father Christmas and Rudolph
-Presents- where? when? from who?
-Christmas lunch - when? what? crackers!

I think the two most popular parts of the speech were the bit about the mistletoe and the crackers! Despite being inspired by French wrapped-up sweets crackers don't exist here (nor in America apparently); I took some in to show them and they were, as you may imagine, very excited by the whole thing particularly that you HAVE to wear your "crown" for Christmas dinner. he he! As for the mistletoe, I think some of them may have left the room with this odd idea that British people go through a very deprived year with no "bises" and then suddenly become kissingmaniacs "catching" people under the mistletoe...and really that's not so different from the typical "Christmas office party" image! err...oops!

For me what was most striking about their "French traditions" was the amount of variation. The class was pretty much split 50-50 those who had their main meal on Christmas Eve and those who ate on Christmas day. Similarly there were children who opened their presents in the evening of the 24th, at midnight or the next day!

It was cute to hear them talking about Father Christmas. The CE1s generally didn't show any sign of not believing in him, there was a mixture in CE2/CM1 I did the "well he visits me in England" card and hope I wasn't resposible for breaking any illusions and the CM2s were all very keen to begin their sentences with "when I still believed/because my little sister/brother/cousin/dog believes in Father Christmas...".

A few weeks ago I asked some of my oldest children to make a few Christmas cards to send to Redhills school in Exeter (am hoping to do some kind of letter correspondance with them next year). They made 6 cards as homework and here they are on display in England:


I've just been to say the Golden Compass. I read the books when I was younger. Enjoyed it....it's a shame to be another one of those books that comes as the first part of a series and so doesn't roll out amazingly well as a standalone film. But yeah nice film. Will have to watch it again in English to get all the voices I think, although was pleased that my French did me proud tonight, understood it all fine! Then Catherine, Cathy and Molly came back here and we had a really nice chat for a few hours.

Miss Joe. Looking forward to being at home a week today!

Has got very very VERY cold here the last 2 days....brrrrr.....

Posted by LHsugarsugar 09:51 Archived in France Comments (0)

Les sapins et le brioche / Christmas trees and err brioche!

Yesterday evening was spent at Muriel and Nicholas' nice house in the country...they have a real fire...soooo good. Muriel is the lovely teacher from school. It's kinda strange because they're both like over 10 years older than me and we probably wouldn't be friends at home, but they are both SUCH lovely people (very young at heart, chatty and hospitable) and I really enjoyed my evening with them. I hope they kinda enjoy my company too...I try my best but its frustratingly difficult to be my(witty, intelligent)self when speaking "que" French (when only speaking French). My comprehension has improved loads I think, and I'm picking up the "way" to speak but still have a LONG way to go, particularly because I tend to get all flustered and screw up if I think about it too hard. I certainly hit it off with their daughter Maya who is 6...


she began the evening with a little test of my French, first of all by showing me pictures of animals and then by challending me to competitions of how high we can count in French! But I think what really clinched it was my rendition of her English book, "The Gruffallo"...she'd recieved it from an Auntie and had only heard it read in her mum's (basis) English, but after I read it with a "beautiful" accent, gestures, silly voices and a bit of translation I was officially her new best friend! We played a couple of board games while Muriel and Nicholas cooked tea, and best of all I helped them put up and decorate the Christmas tree (in a red and white colour scheme). Was really exciting! "Tea" was mushroom soup and crepes; "simple", but all homemade and delicious. Also with Breton cider and spiced tea. These French sure do know how to eat. After dinner Maya was pretty shattered and soon head to bed, so I sat chatting to the adults for a little while before Muriel brought me home.

As if the evening hadn't been perfect enough just as I was leaving she unloads the bread machine and hands me a freshly baked, still-warm brioche loaf for the train journey to Bordeaux today! :-)

So yeah today I went to Bordeaux with Rachel and Molly. Muchos fun but a bit cold. We shopped a bit (although I didn't want to spend too much money as its running out and I kinda have all my Christmas presents almost sorted I think). There was a Christmas market, which was sweet and fun, if a bit pricey and not a scratch on what I saw in Frankfurt a few years ago (I HAVE to go back there soon). We chatted and relaxed. Saw a pretty bad motorbike accident. Oh and drunk vin chaud....love it love it love it, may be one of my favourite things, is synonymous with good December times...although this wasn't the best ever.

Tomorrow I am doing my first of a series of three "Christmas lessons" at school. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of talking in French about my Christmas traditions and the kids making comparisons with theirs. Then during the coming week we'll learn some words using my amazing flashcards, sing some songs and do various colouring/vaguely educational stuff.



Et...un petit résume en français...

Hier soir je suis allée chez Muriel et Nicolas. C'était une soirée superbe! J'ai aidé à décorer le sapin de Noël (rouge et blanc), j'ai joue des jeux de société et lu des livres (français et anglais) avec Maya (la fille qui a 6 ans), on a mangé la soupe aux champignons et des crêpes en bavardant beaucoup, et puis ils m'ont donné un cadeaux d'un brioche d'amener au voyage a Bordeaux aujourd'hui. Ca, c'était aussi plaisant. On a fait un petit peu de shopping (pas beaucoup pour moi j'ai déjà acheté beaucoup de cadeaux et il y a un certain manque d'argent!), j'ai bu le vin chaud, et on s'est reposé bien. Il y avait une marche de Noël...mignon, mais les trucs étaient un peu cher. Tout compris, 24 heures qui me font très content de la vie.

Demain on va commencer a étudier "Un Noël Anglais" a l'école. J'ai fait des affichettes formidables!

Posted by LHsugarsugar 12:02 Archived in France Comments (0)

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