Participant Updates » Ella in France
I've now been in France for a bit over six months and its almost starting to feel normal.
It was really hard to start out with, being majorly homesick, and trying to be respected by the two little girls, but everyone in the family I live with have been really supportive and I don't think I could have found a better bunch of people to live with for a year.
Chiara and Marie-Lea went back to school at the start of September (yes they are only 3) and so I now have a bit more time to myself during the day and have been trying to work out where are some good places to day trip to on the weekends. The girl’s school is still just 5 minutes walk up the road and they seem to have a good time. Their new teacher knows what she’s doing, has purple hair, and doesn't take any nonsense, she's great. The French school year seems to have lots of holidays though so they're on holidays again on the 20th of this month for a week or two.
Although I haven't been for a big trip across to a whole lot of other countries, I've been trying to see as much of France as I can in the time that I have between looking after the girls. So, so far I've been to, Normandie, Paris a couple of times (going back a few more for sure!), Verdun (the first place the Germans landed in WWI), Thionville (like Burnie but inland), Cap d'Agde - which is next to the Mediterranean and I loved it, also we went by car so I got to see all the towns (Lyon, Montpellier, a famous bridge "le Viaduc de Millau" and lots of castles) and countryside along the way for 10hrs!!! Luxembourg (the city has the same name as the country) and Strasbourg.
I went to Strasbourg last weekend and its super pretty, super old, and super cold, so it has a lot of super powers. I went on a Swiss train and they actually checked that I had a ticket for once! (Unlike Luxembourg where they don't seem to care who goes in and out of their country, they didn't check my passport or tickets both times I've been). The region Alsace and its capital Strasbourg was apparently before the wars between France and Italy in the 1600s a country. The city itself is built on an island in the middle of a river and there are still a few towers around that made up the old fort that surrounded the city in the 1300s. The biggest and grandest thing in the city is the cathedral where you have to stand 200m back to get from top to bottom in a photo and it has over 2000 little sculptured angels and gargoyles and stuff. Lots of carved wooden houses and a beautiful tanner’s village that looks like it should be in a cartoon. I took the little tourist train round the town and it said that some of the foundations date back to 200BC when the Romans were there and they founded the city. Lots of Germans and Italians and English people in the city and almost all speak English as a first or second language, like Luxembourg where it was like someone from every country in the world had decided to visit but they all spoke English as well. Anyway Strasbourg had lots of bridges and little alley ways and puddles. Lots of puddles, it was raining, and bitterly cold it was FREEZING!!!!!! and my umbrella felt like it was going to cave in from the rain (yes I bought an umbrella, it matches my shoes that I have back home :) ) so I invested in a really warm coat that was super toasty, I think it might have saved me from hyperthermia.
I might try and get to Munich for Oktober Fest but it depends if I can get 3 to four days off coz the trains go at extra stupid times.
Oh and I started my language course (finally!!!!) at Metz Uni. Although I can speak limited French I was one of the best in the class along with a Brazilian boy, the youngest, the only Australian, and the only person who spoke English as a first language. It felt so weird.
Ummmm...what’s happening in the next few months, just incase I’m as slack and don't write another email for a while.
October 20 - Girl's are on school holidays.
November (late) - Euro Disney with the family in Paris.
December - 20 to 27th in Madiera (a little Portuguese island off the coast of Africa)
January - try not to freeze
February 26 to March 6 - go skiing with the family, it’s the first time Chiara and Marie-Lea will be old enough to learn.
March - 13 the girls fourth birthday, and catch the plane home to Aus.
- 15 will be back in Australia.
Sounds tough doesn't it?
Don't get me wrong though, looking after two very energetic twin three year old girls is awfully hard work and I have so much more respect for all the Mums and Dads, especially mine.
I'm so glad I'm here and 5 months until March seems like a long way off but I'm sure it will come around quickly.
Oh I almost forgot, Marie-Lea yesterday, got all dressed up in her princess costume, stuffed all her crowns and teddy in a bag and then said
"Aurevoir, my famille,"
et je dit
"ou tu vas?"
"Je vais pour Australia," (with an English accent),...."mais une autre Australie, avec les petit kangarou mais pas les crocodiles, et les serpents."
I asked her to point out on the map, which part she was going to go to, and she was going to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
"oui, il n'y a pas les crocodile et les serpents la."
Good luck Marie -Lea