I’m not going to lie, this week has been one hell of an emotional journey for me. I’ve realised now that this is the most difficult thing that I’ve ever set out to do, not because of how hard it is looking after children, integrating into another family and culture, but because I am totally alone and I can only rely on myself. On Friday night I came about two minutes close to telling them I wanted to leave, but chickened out. Part of me thinks that if I don’t stay, I’ll never find out if something amazing is lurking around the corner. Although it’s pretty hard to keep that in mind when you’re being asked not to use too much toilet roll and to get rid of the bubbles in the sink after washing up (I’m not shitting you). I know I’m meant to be a ‘big sister’ to these children, but I never signed up to being treated like their child.
Last week’s rant was mainly about the children and their bad behaviour, but this week my desperate want to come home is mainly due to the parents. Quelle horreur! I know families have their particular ways, but sometimes I feel like screaming. Don’t bubbles disappear on their own? I’m also sure that if they have the money to have a cleaner, nanny and an au pair, then they can definitely spare a few extra loo rolls per week. Apparently not. I always knew the language barrier would be difficult, but I never expected for a voice to be raised at me when I can’t understand the word for ‘nappy’. I’m pretty sure we’re not taught baby terms in our French lessons and maybe that is to deter us away from teenage pregnancy, or maybe because WJEC thinks that more ‘cultured’ topics are much more beneficial. After speaking to family and friends, the only words they can use to describe these parents (and it’s mainly the father) is through using some quite inappropriate expletives. I’m sure you get the gist.
The weekends seem to help make the whole thing more bearable. I have no input into trying to force shoes on the children or stop them from eating plastic pieces of food, and can do as I please. Last weekend was spent mainly doing nothing. We tried to go to the zoo, but we were late and so drove to a small French village of which’s name I can’t remember for the life of me – I think it began with a C. Anyway, look how cute it is!
This weekend we organised a day focused on England. The children and I coloured in flags of the UK, England and, of course, the Liver Birds! I was woken up at 7am by Baptiste wanting to know the word for a ‘boo boo’ in English (a sore) because he was so excited to speak English all day, but this attitude comes and goes. So at 8.30 I began making a full English, and the look on Célines face when she saw two types of meat on her plate for breakfast was priceless. I think I could start using this as revenge. All in all it went down well, and I love how much they are interested in learning more about England and our culture. I always thought us Brits weren’t very cultured or didn’t have much of an identity, but being here has made me realise the opposite, and maybe I’m starting to become a little bit more proud of where I come from (I’ll never go as far as to say that I’m patriotic, though). I think they were less impressed when I produced a meagre sandwich and crisps for lunch. Here, it’s quite normal to have a three course meal for lunch rather than dinner (tea), which is something I’ve struggled with massively.
Saturday night I went to see a film. The film was in English (Starred Up – it’s actually pretty good) and the translation was horrifically bad. I was the only person in the cinema who laughed at the funny parts and I can’t work out whether it’s because the French have no sense of humour or if it’s because they missed out the humour in the translation. What is scary is that it has become increasingly difficult for me to understand thick British accents (Cockney, Brummy, Geordie etc.) I’ve started to notice my brain is tuning out of English and into French and it’s a slow process, but it proves to me that this immersion is working!
My other big piece of news is: I’VE MADE A FRIEND! This is a huge thing for me as I don’t seem to make friends very easily (I’ve been told it’s because I can come across as a bit up my own arse sometimes – sorry!) but she is really interesting and plans to introduce me to her circle of friends too. I’m sure that this is going to make my trip – I don’t know how much longer I could stand seeing the same four faces every day. The bonus is that she speaks brilliant English, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. I’m so tempted to speak in English to her all of the time because it’s such a relief, but I know that that defeats the point massively.
Sorry for the really long post, and I don’t blame you if you didn’t manage to get this far. Here’s hoping that this week brings more ups than downs and I make fewer mistakes and more friends 🙂
A toute à l’heure, Little French Faye xx