Friday, December 9, 2011

C'est ma vie!

Hello all! After much persuasion and encouragement I've decided it would be a fabulous idea to document my life on this year (or remaining 8 months) abroad. I'm really funny so I'm sure it will be entertaining...
 I'm hoping it will give those of you I don't get the chance to speak to very often the opportunity to keep up with my wild child antics and my general french mishaps.

Autumn in France..

Centre-ville of Bordeaux
Well as I hope you've realised, I've been living in Bordeaux for just over 3 months now. I'll start by telling you all about my job seeing as that's why I'm here. I LOVE it. I'm working at an ecole maternelle and an ecole elementaire which are connected, as an English Language Assistant. Most my time is spent in the maternelle, where the youngest child is 2, and the eldest 5. In the elementaire section the students go up to the age of 11, so like primary school in the UK. The children are amazing, and of course think I'm fabulous (rightfully so). As they're so young, a lot of my work is practical work with them, trying to drum in key themes and words, such as colours, numbers etc. The classes in elementaire however are more formal and taught in a normal classroom style. Seeing as I'm such a child myself, I have so much fun with them. I do find myself getting jealous when I can't colour with them though, as unfortunately I do need to maintain some kind of authority stance, and not act like the complete child I am. Nothing stopped me yesterday though, when I was a tad too proud when my collage bauble was the first one hung on the paper tree in class 1...

Most the children are keen to learn, so are always repeating my english words, the moment I walk into school theres just a canon of 'ello jessicaaa' in the classic french accent. As soon as one says it, the others do....then they all repeat it over and over until the teacher has to tell them to stop. I'm such a local celebrity! The school in one of the suburbs of Bordeaux, called Begles, and we have children from vastly different backgrounds. I was told this week one of the particularly agressive children sees a lot of violence at home; his mother is an alcoholic, drug addict and a prostitute. Heartbreaking doesn't even come close, and when compared with some of the other children, who's parents are really involved in the school, others are university professors, it really shows what a variety we have. All the children are fantastic though, and the school is a fabulous environment for them, no matter what it is they go home to, I really hope the time they spent there helps shape them in some way. Of course I do have favourites (should I be publicly admitting that?!) and they are so so wonderful. I'm jumped on for hugs every day and have to literally pry hands from around me to walk down the corridor, I'm already wondering how on earth I'm going to manage to leave in July...
The Staff at Arcachon

Wine Tasting in St Emilion...pros
The staff at the school deserve a mention too of course. There are 6 teachers in maternelle, plus the head teacher shares some of the responsibility with a class. They are all so lovely and really welcomed me into the school and french life. Francoise, the head teacher was kind enough to let me stay with her and her family until I found a place to live, where I her family made sure I learned everything regarding Bordeaux and it's wines, so I'm a bit of an expert these days....just saying. It's so nice to work with a team who really love what they do, the build up to christmas has me as excited as the children, watching a different christmas themed play every day...the advent calendars at school...songs about 'pere noel'. It's just all ridiculously cute and I'm far too into it.

Martha and Maddison showing Bordeaux's finest
Well that's my job covered for now, next is home sweet home. I live with a lovely little french family. The mother, Sophie and her daughter Marie who is also 21 were who I was initially living with, as her other daughter, Tiphaine had recently moved out, but we now have Sabrina, a friend of a family friend staying with us aswell, who is also my age. I do feel sorry for Sophie sometimes as were all dancing around the kitchen to Beyonce like madmen, but I think she loves that kind of spirit in the house. I'm really lucky to have got the mix of living with friends and family. Marie is so so funny, we get on like a house on fire, and does wonders for my (still failing) french, but then I still have Sophie taking good care of me, doing the airport runs etc, so I've definitely lucked out.
Maddison and I at Dune du Pyla

Hopefully it's obvious I'm having a fantastic time here thanks to my magical collection of photos to show what I don't have time/ the heart to bore you any further to write about.

I feel like this must have been really boring to read, but I wanted to set out my life here to a degree so you understand what I'm talking about when I mention things and people... I'm off to Spain tomorrow so you can expect another entry in the near future with all those fun stories.

Miss you all, love you all,



  1. You're living in Bordeaux!? News to me...
    FELICITATIONS on your first blog, I chuckled a couple of times, and it gets easier I promise! And now we don't even have to talk anymore because I can just get your news on here... c'est parfait! xxx

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and now I can't wait for the next installment. I am very of you.

  3. So funny, I was reading your update then you emailed me to say that the next episode was complete. This was a wonderful early Xmas present. I loved it