Monday, 22 October 2012

Cardiff, Castle and Crêpes

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I blame the alliterative blog titles, they’re clearly just too challenging for me to come up with on a regular basis.

One possible reason for this could be that my level of English is deteriorating every single day. ‘Does this sound natural in English?’ is a question which I’m asked all of the time at work and, although I take my best guess, it’s getting harder every time I'm in. I know that when you stop speaking a foreign language it becomes more difficult (Hi there, 3 remaining words from GCSE Spanish) but I’d never have thought that it could happen to your mother tongue so quickly and so easily. Even worse, my English is deteriorating MUCH quicker than my French is improving – they’re completely out of sync. I therefore find myself speaking two languages atrociously without a smidgen of grammar in either – not fun!

Last Thursday we went to the theatre to see an African dance piece entitled Beauty remained for just a moment then returned gently to her starting position. I love African culture and it was exactly the type of show that The Nuffield Theatre where I work back home would’ve had so it was great to go to. I’m not sure I can explain it but Sam’s had a pretty good shot at doing just that here on Letters from Le Havre.

Classes continue. I’m still meeting new students because one of my schools is a lycée professionel. This type of professional school sends its students on long periods of work experience (I have a class who’ve left this week and won’t return for two months) so there are always new classes going and others returning. The other is a lycée technique which means that it doesn’t have this system and therefore I keep my classes and come to know them better. The only real teaching highlight of the last week was managing to do a class on Cardiff in spite of never having been there – admittedly, I did make sure I did my research before delivering the lesson so I was well prepared but it was still an interesting experience!

This weekend I went to Angers to see the lovely Donné (author of Cupcakes and Croissantsover there on the right). On Friday night we stayed up chatting with Donné’s French housemates which was very good fun. The next day, I got to see Angers in the daylight. It is such a beautiful city! For breakfast we went to a bakery as Donné hadn’t yet been to one in spite of living in France for ALMOST TWO MONTHS. I’m not even entirely sure how this is possible but it has now been rectified. Following some lovely almond pain au chocolat, we went shopping. In a toy shop, the most unlikely place, we found our friend Charlotte from Southampton with her friend Alicia. After this, we did a bit of shopping (or Donné did) before heading to the castle. I very much agree with Donné that one castle is much like another but I’m glad to be able to say I saw it and I got in free with my French education card so definitely didn’t lose anything

Angers is stunning.

After this, we went to an amazing crêperie. I wish I’d taken pictures of the food (even though I don’t want to be ‘that’ guy) as it all looked and tasted fantastic. I wasn’t really convinced by the idea of savoury pancakes before coming to France but I am well and truly sold on the idea now. We continued our foodie weekend by going to the FRENCH CINEMA (one of my dreams realised) where we watched Les Saveurs du Palais, a film about former French president François Mitterand’s private chef. It was a really good movie with a lot of warmth to it so I recommend it. We finished Saturday by going to a French meal at the student halls cooked for the Erasmus students by a lovely French student named Marine. I tried fois gras for the first time (didn't really like it) and we had raclette again – if crêpes and raclette become my weekend routine, this will NOT be a bad thing. Dinner conversation changed rapidly between English, French and Spanish with a lot of hilarity, translation and mistranslation. I got to play my new favourite game of making French people say ‘squirrel’ (it’s an incredibly difficult word for them to pronounce, as is suits) but they definitely got me back over the course of the evening.

It was sad to leave to come back to Le Havre but I’ve had a really great day today which has made me glad to have come back – worked with a lovely new class and had a really productive sales class. Let’s see what the rest of this week brings...


  1. Glad to see that the whole 'not going to a bakery in two months' has now been sorted! ;-)
    How did Cardiff suddenly come up in lessons, that seems a bit random? lol x

  2. Any sign of Miserables at the cinema over there yet? x

  3. It's the class that's studying cities and it was the next big UK city.

    Christmas Day in the UK so probably next June here knowing French release dates! x