27 October 2012

One-month anniversary

As of yesterday I have been living in France for a month! And so to celebrate, I spent the day trying and almost failing to get back from Poitiers...

You'll know from my last post that I spent Thursday night in Poitiers for another assistant's 21st. Stupid buses combined with a train strike had meant that Mike and I were surprised we actually made it to the city on Thursday. 

L’hôtel de ville de nuit

The party was very enjoyable, allowing me to meet lots of other English speakers in red and orange attire (the theme of the party). The majority of the people present were Erasmus students at the Université de Poitiers, so it was interesting to hear about people's Years Abroad from a studying point of view. I must say, the more I hear about the excessive hours of lectures and early starts for students doing Erasmus, the more I'm glad that I chose to be an assistant. Lack of hours, no essays, and the fact that we get paid way more than we deserve really do make taking part in the assistantship programme seem the right decision.

Having no plans on where we would sleep on Thursday night, Mike and I had anticipated hanging around in Poitiers all night and jumping on one of the first trains back. We ended up being very lucky in that Bethan ever so kindly let us sleep on her floor. Not waking up until 10am on Friday meant we needed to re-consult our train and bus timetables and work out what the best option was. Once we'd figured what train/bus combination we were going for, we had about an hour and a half to spare. We killed time by having a coffee and pastry in the main square followed by a spot of sightseeing.

Mon chausson aux pommes ;)

One of Poitiers' many rues jolies
We ended up killing too much time and missing our train. PUTAIN! Consulting our trusty timetables encore une fois, we opted for the next train, which was an hour later, but we'd then have to wait 2 hours in Niort for the next bus back to Melle. And it was now raining. Add this to the fact that we were tired (and for Mike, hungover); still in last night's clothes; with unbrushed teeth; and, for me, make-up still on from the night before, these were bad times... So we sat in a nearby café for 45 minutes feeling sorry for ourselves, kind of like that bit in The Apprentice when the losing team sit in the Bridge Café debating where they went wrong.

Luckily we got on our train in good time (which then took years to actually leave the station) and got transported to Niort. In Niort we took the opportunity to spend the couple of hours before our bus was leaving by doing some more sightseeing. Although no French people I've spoken to seem to think that Niort's anything special, I really like it. The pedestrianized area in the centre has got a nice quaint feel to it, the city's relatively buzzing (OK, living in Melle, that's not difficult in the slightest) and it's got a pretty river.

I've never really appreciated autumn in the past

La Sèvre Niortaise
...And 24 hours after leaving Melle, we arrived home.

My next excursion takes place on Monday, when I will travel north-east to the city of Tours, where my housemate from last year is currently an assistant. My other linguist housemate from uni, Morgan, is also coming down from Paris, so I can't wait to see them both again and find out how their Years Abroad are going! I shall return on Wednesday, so it is highly probable that Wednesday shall be the day when you next hear from me. Until then, goodbye and keep warm.

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