It’s happening – despite avoiding the idea since September for fear of sounding like an idiot, I’ve finally decided that it’s inevitable so I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and record my life in blog-format. I realise I will probably suffer a lot of abuse for this (take note: I’m not condoning it, I’m just expecting it), but whatever, here we go. I will try and keep this brief.
Here is a little overview of my French life so far.
I moved to Lyon in September. Moving to France for the year is a compulsary part of my degree at uni; that’s right – not only do I get to eat cheese and drink wine for a year, I also get to justify it as an obligatory part of my education. Anyway after the traumatic ordeal of having to pack a year’s worth of stuff into one suitcase(ish), we jumped in the car and set off on the long, LONG journey from Derby to Lyon. In true Perkins fashion, we got stuck in traffic before we’d even made it past London.
My job was already sorted, however I arrived in Lyon, essentially, SDF (‘sans domicile fixe’ – french for homeless. Merde.) PANIC. In just over a week of full-on stress, I managed to find a small flat near the centre of town in a student residence. It’s a bit like living in uni halls, except for a few weirder neighbours, including one who likes to go into the town center and pretend he’s homeless; if I’d met him in my first week we would’ve had a lot more in common. We also have a few more flat inondations (floodings…oh dear). Always have to laugh when there is a sign from the water-man selloptaped in the lift reading ‘FERMEZ VOS ROBINETS‘ (‘TURN YOUR TAPS OFF’). On the bright side fire alarms here are limited compared to first year at uni (despite the fact there was one at 2am last night, grumble) but at least this time round, noone is actually trying to kill us all. I don’t think.
As for my job, I work in a lycée which is very similar to a college or sixth-form in England. The students range from 15-18 and will all be taking their baccalauréat before they leave (French equivalent to A-levels). The lycée itself is up on a hill in a tiny village called Sain-Bel, which is lovely and pretty however as my colleagues fully warned me before I arrived, there is literally nothing to do here. My commute takes me about 1h30 on a good day (and there have been lots of bad days, believe me) but it is worth it; living in Lyon is great and my lycée is very new and swish. It was built with sustainable development in mind – lights that switch off when you leave the room, solar panels, air that recycles itself at lunchtime for heating (consequently making your classroom go BOOM) and the occasional palm tree in the corridors for good measure. I take classes of about 15 students ranging from Seconde (the youngest classes) to Terminale (the oldest). These are essentially oral classes; I am trying desperately to get 150 french kids to pick up my Derby accent without anybody realising…Oh, and Lyon is verrrry pretty. I’m here til April, hopefully longer…