Year Abroad: Day 4

Today I woke up later than yesterday and purposely stayed in bed for ages reading French Glamour. When I got too hungry to carry on, I went and found some breakfast.

The trip to Caen next week was stressing me out and, although it is still not completely sorted, the situation has improved. I went to the Tourist Office in Mortain where a kind lady printed me a bus schedule and booked me a hotel in Caen. It’s a bit expensive for one night, but I don’t see what else I can do. When I was walking back I thought I would pop into an art gallery called ‘L’Atelier de la Lune’ because someone told me that it is run by an English couple. That was the best decision I made today. The woman there was very chatty and welcoming. She has been living in France for about 20 years and used to work at the school where I am working. We exchanged numbers and she said I could call her or have coffee if I get lonely. She also said that the best word to remember was ‘absolument’ because a lot of the older people around here speak in patois, which is really hard to understand, so you just have to agree with what they say! In fact, one of the teachers here disagreed with the ‘absolument’ part but even she said that she can’t understand her grandparents when they speak in patois.

I met up with some teachers for lunch at the ‘self’ (school restaurant), which was nice. My meal consisted of only vegetables and couscous, but it filled me up anyway. I asked the girls about the funny way that French people say ‘Bonjour’ to everyone when they enter a room because it is a new phenomenon for me. They said it would be rude not to do it, even when you get on the bus! That’s going to be difficult for me, with my very British sense of personal space.

Next I went for a coffee in the staff room. I didn’t realise that coffee meant a tiny little espresso-type drink, so I loaded it with sugar and hoped for the best. (On a side note, there is wi-fi in the staff room, hallelujah!) Whilst having coffee, another teacher said she could drive me to work when I move to Vire, which is fantastic news. I must find out her name.

This afternoon I went to the bank, where I successfully opened an account and got insurance for my room. I think it’s a bit unfair that I have to insure a property on the school site, but that’s the law. I had most bank-related vocabulary, except:

Contactless payment paiement sans contact

Chip and pin systeme de carte a puce a code confidentiel

Can I deposit some cash? Deposer sur un compte

Shares actions

How do I view my account balance? Comment regarder le bilan de mon compte?

ATM machine = un guichet automatique de banque (GAB)

Another thing to add is that I am exhausted. It seems that having to think about everything I say and do is wearing me out – and I haven’t even started working yet.

Anyway, I’m going to a rock-climbing class tonight, so I’d better leave it there for now.



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