At the weekend we went to Beaune. There was about twenty of us made up of English/American and Spanish assistants. The plan has been to go nice and early and while the rest of the group logged off Facebook to get a good night’s rest before getting up early I was still online when one of our group send an emergency message saying that the trains weren’t running until noon (coz of the strikes obviously! ) So I went to sleep safe in the knowledge that I in fact had a lie in, only to wake up to panicked texts from the others thinking they’d missed the train! Anyway we all managed to meet in the end and we made it to Beaune. Beaune is a town not far from Dijon and is on the list of ‘must sees in Burgundy’ mainly coz of its pretty appearance and good wine. And wine (and cheese) was what we went in search of! We went to the annual cheese and wine festival and for the bargain price of 12 euros we were handed a plate, knife and wine glass on entrance and encouraged to try as much wine and cheese as we wanted! Which we did! So feeling rather full and a little bit tipsy we left the festival with the intention of being tourists in Beaune but we were too cold to look at pretty buildings and too cheap to pay to go in to museums so instead we went to a cafe/bar and drank mulled wine with the promise to return to Beaune when the weather is warmer!
Perhaps because it is so cold here the most popular way to spend our free time has been to go to the cinema. In three weeks I have seen 3 films, this is more than I normally manage in a whole year! I have seen Mange, Prie, Aime (that’s Eat, Love, Pray) and I am now ready the sequel en francais , Inception which has now confirmed its place as one of my favourite films ever (I was able to follow the French version because I’ve already seen it in English!) And last night we saw the Social Network (in English because it would have been a crime to see it dubbed when it is a film that embodies our generation and thus so many cultural references would have been lost in translation.)
In other news, I’m still not all that further with my flat. I tried to get ‘une caution’ (a letter that confirms in the event I don’t pay my rent they will) from the bank but the admin takes 3-4 weeks to get one and I wanna move in at the end of this month! So my bank manager (that’s right I have my own French bank manager) suggested I offer 2-3 months rent in advance to show I’m serious. He even offered me an INTEREST FREE loan of 2000 euros to be paid back in 6 months to help me pay the rent which I thought was very generous of him but I’d rather not owe a French bank money if I can help it. The other problem is that the agency also require a pay slip to confirm that I am salaried but as we get paid a month in arrears I can’t get a pay slip until November! But the secretary of the Retorat (lady in charge of the Acedemie – or Local Educational Authority) did say she can write me a letter confirmed I salaried. So the plan is to turn up at the agency on Saturday with every bit of paper I can get my hands on, wave a bit of money at them and beg. But if it fails I’ve found another flat not asking for paperwork!
So I may have only been here 4 weeks but its half term already! And I am going to Lyon to stay with my French assistant from year 13! I wonder if I will stay in touch with some of my older students and host them in a few years time?!?!
And before I sign off, a word about the strikes....it’s actually crazy! Been going on for 7 days now, no buses after 8pm and huge demonstrations in the town centre every day! And when I say huge, I mean an absolute sea of people! And twice now the entrance to my school has been barricaded with bins on fire and riot police – which I find very entertaining!
Anyways its dinner time! Bye!