Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wave au revoir to ma petite vie francaise

Well, we have come to the final week of my contract and, in fact, my final week in France (well...I actually have only 2 days left here as I am writing this...but I will catch you up on the week!).

So...since the last my internet had actually been broken for 5 days. I can assure you that 5 days (when you live alone) without the internet/ a tv/ means of talking to people can be preeeetty boring! I managed to read 3 entire books though. And watched the series 1 DVD of Gavin and Stacey about 3 times too. Luckily my internet is now fixed though! (Obviously...otherwise you wouldn't be reading this...)

My last week has passed really quickly. My final lessons with the kids went really well. We just listened to music, played some vocab games and I basically bought their enthusiasm with lots and lots of sweets. Must have a spent a fortune on over-processed sugar, but it worked! The students were generally very sweet and it's been actually quite sad to say goodbye to them, particularly the ones who I have in small groups and they really take an interest. I received a couple of very sweet notes, thanking me for my lessons and giving me their email addresses. I also got given a picture/wall hanging from one of my students whose mother made it! It's lovely and obviously a souvenir I can keep forever! It's going to be so very weird not being a teacher any more and not having those sort of responsibilities or duties.

I could go on and on about how i feels like only yesterday that my parents dropped me off and then buggered off back to England or how I am going to really miss living here... But I don't want to bore your socks off. It is all true though!

Yesterday afternoon I met Luisiadh in Bethune (obvs we went to La Halle...for old times sakes!). Are you ready for this?... I actually handed in my social security paperwork successfully. Yes that's write, 3 days before I leave. But better late than never! And I HAVE been trying to obtain my carte vitale since November. I am assured it will arrive in 3 weeks. Unfortunately I won't be here to judge them on their punctuality. Before leaving Luisiadh (for the last time!) I assured her I would be venturing to Glasgow to visit her in the summer. After all, Stansted - Glasgow is one of ryanair's cheapo deals! I will obviously have to keep my newly acquired scottish slang on the down-low though. Don't want to get beaten up for being an English twat.

Last lessons were yesterday but I was asked to go into school today for a proper farewell, which I did. Thanks god I did as well, as I forgot I had some paperwork to get signed or otherwise have to pay back my erasmus grant!

The english teachers had clubbed together and book me two lovely books on the local area and its history and the things to see in the region. I am assured that one of them in basically the classier version of Bienvenue chez les ch'tis but on paper rather than film. I had a quick look and, low and behold, there are photos of the slag-heap-come-ski-slope-with-quarry-now-lake in all its glory! Gotta love northern France! They had all signed a card for me too and some of the messages were really lovely.

(At this point I'd like to point out that, whilst bitch-teacher did apparently contribute for the present and card, all she wrote was the equivalent of 'have a safe return' and she left school 5 minutes before the farewell thing so as to not have to be present. So that definitely clarifies her position!)

Nathalie also gave me a cookbook with typical french dishes that I can make for my family and friends, as we joke that I just eat cheese, bread and cakes here. I don't know how successful these dishes will be, but I'll give it a go!

I gave 3 of the teachers cards and gifts of english chocolate and goodies (all of which were well-received) and was invited to stay with them if I ever want to come back and visit. It was lovely and I really appreciate the gifts and the kind words they've written. It seems very odd to have made a little life for myself here and then to just be up and leaving it all 7 months later! I want to stay in touch with everyone and hopefully come back to visit again.

Well I suppose that's it up to date! It's now Thursday afternoon and I am leaving on Saturday. So I have precisely one and a half days to ram in anything I want to do! I don't much fancy moping around my apartment in a 'woe is me' fashion, so tomorrow shall be heading to Lille to spend some hard-earned euros and hopefully fill my stomach with all food that is uniquely french.

After that all I have in my mind is this blank that is labelled 'packing'. This is not an area I want to visit. I don't know how much stuff I have acquired whilst here, but I remember thinking I travelled light when I came. And I definitely won't be travelling light to go back. (Myself included!....helloooo extra half stone!). Thank god my parents are driving to get me and I don't have to grapple with public transport.

So now all that remains to be done is to tie up some loose ends, buy my landlady some flowers and then bugger off back to England as if I was never here!

I am going to both enjoy and miss no longer being 'l'assistante anglaise'!

I don't think this will be the last post in the blog. God knows I do love to talk! Shall probably update you again.


P.S. This post has not been even a little bit funny, so i apologise for that guys! Just a drone about the end of my trip! However 2 small anecdotes I did just remember to include....
1) Walking home through my small town today I noticed the window of a shop said 'we sell men's clothes up to 6XL'. Only in northern France would it be necessary for a small town to cater for that level of obesity!
2) Yesterday morning on my way to school and random man (who I do not know and who was lingering on the corner outside a school) said to me 'Good morning!' .... in English. I definitely have never met this man. How does he know I am english?! I must just ooze non-frenchness. I joked about this with a teacher and said that I didn't look english as I wasn't wearing a mixture of different brightly coloured clothes. And he laughed for about a year. Seriously, where did we get this stereotype from?!


  1. seems like you had a great time! it is always sad to leave though! really cute blog, i am sad i missed the beginning of it! :)

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