It’s all coming to an end in France

I am back to work again now after the holidays although this week I had less classes because the final year students are sitting their mock exams.

We only have another two months left teaching in France and so the last two weeks I have tried to get more involved with the locals and speaking French so I regularly go along to Café des Langues at the pub where you meet people and speak French. I also went with Jenna – another assistant – to another speed dating type event where we met local families, spoke French and swapped numbers with those we connected with.

Other highlights from the last two weeks were a crêpe night at Jenna’s house (yum!) and a day trip to Lyon for one of the other assistants birthday’s. The weather was stunning so we spent a lot if time walking around in the sun and enjoying being in a large city for a change.

This weekend I’m in the French alps (Les Deux Alpes). I’m not skiing but here to enjoy the views and snow and hit the bars with Dom. We also spent the morning in Grenoble on Friday. It’s been a really good weekend and as well as the above activities we have also taken a cable car to a traditional village and ate fondue. It’s been relaxing and I don’t want to go home tomorrow!

I have no plans for the next few weekends but the weather is getting better and with my time in France coming to an end I want to get out and see some more cities, so watch this space for more adventures.

Until next time,

Amanda xx

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Snow and inside activities

On Sunday night Ed Sheeran played a concert in regional France for the first time and he came to Clermont-Ferrand! A bunch of assistants went and it was a great concert! All for the bargain price of 30€. Laura another kiwi assistant came too since she was visiting for the weekend. The rest of the weekend was spent showing Laura around and going out with friends, celebrating birthdays and eating lots of crêpes.

The city also has more tourists in it than usual (usually it’s none), because the International short film festival is on. I have been to a couple of sessions and a date to a movie last week too.

The weather has meant it’s a great time of year for inside activities. We’ve had snow almost constantly for the last week or so but it wasn’t until last night that it properly settled and it’s a beautiful white wonderland outside (as I’m writing this I can hear the school kids having a snowball fight).

Lastly for this update I went to Lyon on Wednesday of last week to do some sightseeing. The last time I was there was for the Fête des Lumières, which meant the city was full of people and it wasn’t possible to see all the sights I wanted to. So a day visit to see some things was necessary. I really enjoyed the Musée de Lumières about the Lumière brothers and the creation of films. I also visited the Musée des Beaux Arts which I had almost to myself!

This weekend I am off on holiday again as the teachers in my region get another two week holiday. My first stop is Germany to stay with a friend for the weekend.

Until next time,

Amanda xx

Lyon and Christmas parties

Last weekend I went to Lyon for the Fête des Lumières. The whole of Lyon is filled with light displays, installations and people (something like 3 million per day)! I went with one of the other assistants Naomi and stayed with my old university friend Nick who is there for a post doc. The weather was cold but we had a great time.

During the week I went to a language speed dating night where you get to speak to people in different languages and on Thursday I made Pikelets for an international night. On the weekend I went to a Christmas dinner at one of the English teacher’s houses which was lovely. The meal included the typical 5 courses (aperitif – nibbles and champagne, main, cheese, dessert and coffee). Afterwards the assistants had a Christmas party with lots of party games and festive attire. Sunday afternoon/evening was spent at the pub watching the ASM v Munster rugby game as all the tickets had sold out for the stadium. ASM won, yay!

This week I haven’t had many classes due to teachers kids being sick, students on internships and teachers who hadn’t finished covering the material for the term so I have had plenty of time to rest up before heading away on a two week break this weekend. On Saturday I head to Paris before going to the UK on Monday and then for New Years I am going to Belgium with another assistant Ruth. Before then I have another two Christmas lunches and another few catch ups with the other assistants.

I won’t have time to write again until after Christmas so Merry Christmas!

Amanda xx

That time I climbed a volcano (well kind of)

Following on from my last edition I have not done any more international travel but have been trying to get out and about and see the local area and other places around France.

After a night of drinking wine, Dom (one of the other assistants) and I decided to climb a volcano the next day. After a late start we set off in the direction of the Puy-de-Dome. The walk started very steep and we were a little concerned we had made a bad decision but the trail flattened out and we started to enjoy the walk. Along the route we wandered through a sleepy village, witnessed a cow who had just given birth, ate a pastry from a local boulangerie and enjoyed the scenery. We cheated a little on the last part of the climb as it was getting late and as we are going into winter it is getting dark early in the evening now. The view from the top was spectacular and we stopped for a snack before descending. At this point it was starting to get dark so we hitched a ride with some German tourists.

The next weekend I decided another adventure was needed and decided on visiting the other assistants in Vichy for the weekend. Vichy is a stunningly beautiful resort town with many Art Nouveau buildings and people driving fancy cars or simply walking the streets looking chic.

Before heading to Vichy I had a night out in Clermont Ferrand looking at all the Christmas lights and tree, riding the ferris wheel and sipping mulled wine at the Christmas market. Other highlights from the past two include eating some sushi, visiting Parc Montjuzet (great view of CF), eating Morrocan, a couple of parties with new French friends and other assistants and eating crepes more than a few times.

School has also been going well and I am getting to know all the students a bit better and I have done lessons on a range of topics from The Hobbit to Nicki Minaj. There are only three weeks left of term before we finish for the end of year holidays and I am off to the UK and Belgium.

This weekend I am going to Lyon for the lights festival and to stay with my honours buddy Nick.

Until next time,

Amanda xx