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I haven’t posted since last Saturday because I wanted to wait until I could look back on the week in hindsight and give a proper, detailed account of my first week rather than a huge rant about how much I dislike children. Most of you who are reading this probably already know how tough the last week has been. I’ve been full of mixed emotions: frustration with being unable to get the children to do as they’re told, despair as the baby screams like she’s being tortured just because she doesn’t want me to put her shoes on, and anger when the little boy is unbelievably horrible. France is great, the children aren’t, and I miss home like mad.

When I was sat in Southampton airport waiting for my flight I got chatting to a lovely Scottish couple who, when I told them about what I would be doing in France, replied with ‘good luck – I don’t envy you!’. I laughed and dismissed their comment in all my naivety . Since then I have been spat at, hit, kicked, sworn at (I didn’t understand what merdique meant until days later and I thought it was a very pretty word up until then – look it up) and had all sorts of things thrown at me. In all honesty, there have been more downs than ups, which is not what I envisaged for my mini adventure!

But there definitely have been up-sides. I’ve tried not to do too many touristy things too soon – I want to draw them out so that they last. I’ve had a nice couple of wanders around the city centre, which ranges from horrendously expensive designer shops…

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…to horrendously expensive little boutiques.

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Is this the land of the rich?! It’s certainly not a ‘student city’ as advertised! I also visited the cathedral that is the gem of Clermont-Ferrand. It’s absolutely brilliant! I think it’s going to be a great escape for me over the next seven weeks – a nice, cool, quiet escape with no children. Bliss.

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The sheer amount of food consumed has shocked me most about France. Lunchtime is practically an eight course meal and cheese and cake are being thrown around all over the place. WHY do you need to have a platter of cheese AS WELL AS a dessert? Have they not heard of the saying ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ because it’s more like ‘an hour on the lips’ here and the consequences could be disastrous. Good job I’m getting myself to the swimming pool tomorrow! Speaking of cheese, the good old ‘English cheese is not cheese’ argument raised its head this afternoon. I sat defending my crumbly Lancashire and Wensleydale and Cranberry (they can’t get their head around sweet and savoury at the same time) cheese whilst they vehemently defended their block of mould. Those who know me will know how strongly I abhor blue cheese. Why, just why?

I’m not too sure if my French is improving yet. I’ve found myself blurting out things in French without realising and also spending ten minutes working up to a five word sentence with my stomach in knots. I definitely don’t understand a bloody word of the world around me. In supermarkets and the like I just find myself nodding and saying ‘oui’ in the hope that it will work. It doesn’t faze me too much, though, because I think I can feel it all sinking in on some subconscious level. Or I’m just so happy I’m not around the children that I don’t care.

One final thing to make you all really jealous: today was 35⁰c. If there’s one thing I’m going to get out of this, it’s definitely going to be a brilliant tan.

Au revoir, Little French Faye xxx

P.S: I will do another in a few days about my first proper weekend!

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