Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Esperanto? ne. singing? jes. French lessons, oui oui oui!

So, like a lot of things in my life at the mo, Esperanto is going on the back burner as it turns out that I am the only person interested to start lessons and they can't do a lesson with just me there. grrr. There is already one class but they are too advanced for me to join considering I'm a total beginner. I have been on though so I can learn a bit on my own! Mi ne Komprenas!! It's refreshing to start a new language and maybe I'll get to go to a lesson sooner rather than later.

On a better note, I go to my first choir rehearsal tonight. They started two weeks ago but wasn't able to go as I was in the UK. That's something to be happy about!

I start my long awaited French lessons on Monday too. We're getting tested and then the lessons will start later in the week. Unfortunately I won't be getting 20 hours a week like I thought, but 5 hours a week. The lessons will last all year and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I kind of wanted to be out of here after Christmas. Being only 5 hours a week means I will have to find something else to do also. A job would be nice, but I won't hold my breathe.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Esperanto-International Language?

So, I'm looking for things to do in Amiens and I find out there are Esperanto lessons in Amiens. Not having a clue what this was (sorry linguists) I look it up on the internet and now I'm fascinated!

But people...have you ever met someone who speaks it? I didn't even know it existed until 10 mins ago and I'm hardly a language recluse! Really why would Amiens (coincé de chez coincé) have these lessons when they hardly do French lessons? I'm totally interested and I might go to one of these lessons just to find out more about these people. Do you think it would mean something on my French CV to say that I can speak Esperanto? Interesting, very interesting.

Linguists, speak up! What's the deal with this language? Why would I go to lessons? Is it really a living language?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Here again. waiting

I'm back in Amiens. I had a good, but brief time in the UK, but it's ok to be back in France. Like I said in my last post, I've come to realise, no matter how much my life is miserable at the moment, I DO have a life in France.

Trying to keep myself busy and not think about lack of job situation as that just makes me really sad. So, I'll be starting a new knitting project and I'm waiting for my French lessons to start. I'm interested to know if I will be considered as a student when they start and whether I would be allowed to do stages in that case. Not surprisingly, I have no idea when the lessons will start. I was told 15th September to 15 October at the latest. I've emailed to ask if they've organised them yet, but no surprise - no one has replied. I've rang too, but no one answers. It's cool. I have no energy to get annoyed at them. I might go to the centre tomorrow but it wouldn't surprise me if they were closed.

so, I'll just wait. I think I'll have to get used to it, I doubt my situation will change any time soon. If I'm waiting for France to be more organised and accepting of foreigners, I'll be waiting a lot longer yet.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

What is family?

I'm back in the UK. It wasn't planned, I only booked tickets three days before travelling but I thought I needed to get out of La France and spend some time with the fam.

In about an hour we are travelling 'up north' 3 hours to go to a family christening this weekend. I haven't seen my family for 2 years (gah, I was going to write 'since 2 years.....shoot me now) so it will be nice although a bit weird too. Being in France makes me realise that I can live quite comfortably without these people. We've never been close, only ever seeing each other once a year anyway, the distance was always an issue, and I think my change in attitude is as a result of being in France and constructing something of my own. I used to absolutely love catching up my them but now?! I now know we will never be close and just because we are family by blood, it doesn't mean everything.

Family is what you construct too. The people you love, who you know love you. That may be my 'grand frere' Damian in Mexico, or my SIL in France. Equally Rachie in Brussels than Cedric in France. My parents in the UK and of course, J, my rock, by my side. These people know me, get me, and support me. I've always chased the ideal fanily group, and I think at last I'm OK with the one I have.

I am looking forward to seeing the fam, but I'm not dwelling on it. Our distant relationship is what it is and I know that when I go back to France, I'll be seeing / speaking to my family, blood or not, too.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Another one bites the dust

or that should be 'another dream eats the French crotte'.

Interesting fact of the day: Every single person who works in a pharmacy in France was educated in France. I know this very interesting point as I was told yesterday that under law 45b, sub law 22g blah that no foreign diploma will allow access to the BTS 'working in a pharmacy'. So, it's official, my searching, reflection and work done with my bilan lady over the last three months has been a big fat waste of time. Woopi-doo. I now know I'd like to work in a pharmacy, but in fact will never be possible. Ever.

Thank you France once more for this beautiful moment in my life.
There are only so many times you can pick yourself out of the crotte before it starts to stick for good.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I don't think I'm alone when I say I am passionate about the degree that I despise mobilettes/scooters/hair-dryer powered bikes. Call them what you like, I hate them.

Ever since moving into the house 16 months ago I've had to get used to the noise of them doing the circuit around our road. But it's got more sinister recently and I felt I had to react.

There is a small park next to my house that connects my quartier with the town centre and it's beautiful walking through it on a crisp cold morning or hearing the frogs croaking in the tributaries of the Somme that run through the park.

But you can scrap this peaceful mental image when the mobilettes pass through. The kids in the area race through the park and pedestrians have no choice but to jump out the way and walk on the grass to avoid getting run over. They very often don't have helmets on, I doubt that a lot of them are actually old enough to ride anything with an engine, and last week I saw one doing a 200m long wheelie through the park. Not to mention the noise that they make - they often tune up their engines so they make lots of noise and which allows them to go much faster than the engine is meant to allow. joy.

Last week was the final straw when I was brushed by the arm of one such mobilette. I'd heard it coming, got out the way by walking on the grass and yet the idiot still found a way to brush past me at speed. I jumped a mile and was frankly a bit shaken up. Yesterday on getting out the way for two very young motocyclists without helmets who were racing each other I decided to do something about it....i went to the police.

I went to the police municipal, pressed the buzzer, and was directed to press another buzzer...the second person told me to go to the police national. So I went to the hotel de police (a little less confident this time) and explained my thing at the desk....and guess what?! Well, I'm sure you can imagine.....I didn't get anywhere! The woman told me that I should call the 17 next time it happened and a patrol car would swing by. It's funny how even with the police, you get the run around and told to go to see someone else. Let's face it - how important is it to send a police patrol car to some idiot kids zooming around a park on mobilettes? Not very on the grand scheme of things.

To be honest, I didn't expect much else for my efforts but I am quite proud that I was brave enough and confident enough to speak to different police departments. That wouldn't have happened a while ago. Ringing the 17 is a different matter though....I think they'd laugh at me!

So, I will continue to wince and jump from fear each time I hear that screechy engine sound approach. One of these days I am sure there will be an accident and I for one will be able to say sadly 'I told you so'.

Friday, 4 September 2009

My non-rentrée

Just as everyone has been gearing themselves up for the return to school/work, I have been gearing myself up for my first non-rentrée since living in France and let me tell you, it's a mixed bag of emotions.

For the more informed amongst you, I've been doing my best to find a route out of teaching and the process has turned out to be heart-wrenching and well, dam hard.

I've been through relief when I finally decided to leave teaching, joy when an organisation took me on for a bilan de competences, and most recently I've mostly been through hell. It seems that it is genuinely THIS difficult to retrain. I have a BAC+4 in all things scienecy and yet my hoop jumping and administrative party tricks are still not enough to get me onto a BTS. Frankly, I'm done with my party tricks and I don't think it's necessary for me to degrade myself further. I still have a little self worth despite France having ripped most of it out of my chest along the way.

So, what's in store for me this rentrée? I could teach.... Only today I've been contacted by my boss at the uni and asked if I wanted to do a second year as a lectrice as they still have space. I turned it down. Tell me I'm brave and not stupid. On the way up to uni this morning I felt physically unwell. I was going to consider taking the job but seeing all the students on the bus reminded me how much I hated it. Yes, I have loads of stuff prepared already but the idea of doing the same things and having the same problems was enough for me to say no. It was hard though. I'm trading in a job for the job centre. It's a gamble but not too much of one considering I'd be in the same position this time next year anyway - jobless with no extra real experience to put on my CV.

People may think I'm mad to turn down a job but I'm never going to get out of the cycle without being brave. So, my rentrée is being dedicated in trying to pick up the pieces after the psychological damage I've sustained along the way during these last 4 years. Someone recently told me that I was too young to be so unhappy with life and I agreed.

I'm starting French lessons this month in order to regain my confidence in myself. I'm sending CVs left right and centre with the motto 'I can but try' to organisations that I think might need a 'me' and later in the year I plan to do more mini-courses at the adult education centre and maybe do some informal 'try-out' periods in jobs that interest me.

I don't think this year is going to be easy, but I have to try and find a non-teaching job in order to save my sanity. And today, just knowing that I have a non-rentrée back to a teaching job is enough for me.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Heaven is....

...finding a little bit of your homeland on your doorstep. A new British grocery shop opened in Amiens today and I happened to be its first customer! (lets not tell the dude I've been stalking it's opening for a while now!) I was worse than a kid in a candy shop...I was walking round with a grin on my face and I wanted to touch everything! Tea bags, biscuits, and wow, cadburrys chocolate bars and ginger beer!
I bought my favourite biscuits of all time HOBNOBS. As a little thank you present for being the first customer I was also given a pretty jar of lemon cheese. So cool!!

So, tonight I will be mainly eating these with my proper cup of British tea :

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