Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Buses, Banks and Blunders

Having survived an entire waking day in France, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of surviving day two. I visited the lycée part of where I’m living with my prof and met what felt like ten million people in the process. It’s going to take a while to learn everyone’s name but everyone at the lycée is very friendly and helpful. It’s a great environment, plus the school has its own beehive. What’s not to love?

I would never have believed this but speaking more than one language is physically exhausting. I expected it to be mentally tough but I had no idea how knackered I would be after just two days. It isn’t so bad when you get to stick to one language for a while – in fact, that’s what dreams are made of at the moment – but the swaps can really catch you off guard. Before I can process what’s been said, first I need to work out what language it’s been said in and whilst that should be easy (one language I know, the other not so much!) it’s surprisingly confusing.

Attempts to speak French have been interesting – whilst I’ve managed the odd successful conversation, there’s also been a lot of games of ‘Guess which word the English Assistant is trying and failing to pronounce’ and rapid shifts into English. The tiredness is definitely not helping my speaking and listening but I’m determined that my French will get better – after all, that’s sort of the point.

I got my photo bus card and managed to successfully open a bank account at La Poste with the help of another of the teachers. I was originally turned down at Banque Populaire because of a new procedure stating a need to be in France for at least one year – annoying! The teacher that was with me pointed out that they get a lot of student business and probably didn’t want to be alienating/annoying college staff – fair point.

The day involved a lot of walking – a trip to the shopping centre and a tour of the town with some students who hopefully didn’t think me rude for not speaking that much – so I was glad to get back to my room in the evening. Something I’d managed to completely miss the first day was the awesome view out of my bedroom window:

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