This week I’ve begun my cours de Francais. A Paris, naturellement. I have lessons 3 times a week on a Mon, Tues and Thurs in a lovely central Parisien suburb. Every morning after the school run has been completed efficiently, lovingly and without complaint, I take the car down the motorway to the station (about 20mins drive) and park the car. FACILE. Or not. Although you don’t have to pay for most station car parks in France, and although this one is fairly large, at 9.30 in the morning there is literally no space whatsoever. I have to manoeuvre the car into places that look like they’re not even big enough to fit Angus’ bike, and then fight my way out at the end of the day between cars parked up the kerb and in the middle of the road. And then drive at 110km/h down the motorway home. Exhausting. There’s a photo of my ‘nannymobile’ just there.
The train takes about half an hour and leads me directly to Gare du Nord, where I then Metro-hop for about 15mins until I reach my school. I don’t mind this bit because it gives me chance to plug my iPod in and forget where I am for a little while. My lessons are fairly good too and remind me a lot of doing my A Level French exams. There are about 12 of us in the class and we all use English as our lingua france when we’re not talking French! I’ve met a few lovely Swedish girls, a German girl and another girl from England. It helps to talk to other people who are in the same situation as me – sharing tips and feelings with other au pairs is relatively reassuring. The only problem is that I appear to have joined a class in the last week of the semester, so I’ll have to do the end of term exam in a fortnight when I’ll have only had 3 lessons! Luckily I’m free next week to revise…
I’m also incredibly surprised/ grateful for how welcoming they have all been. On Monday I was taken to WHSmith (where I filled my boots with English biscuits, chocolate and Jelly Babies) and to the lovely park area by the Louvre/Place de la Concorde for my first croque monsieur. I always find it funny paying for things in Euros – it just doesn’t feel like proper money! Yesterday I was taken by another girl to the Saint Lazare shopping street to buy my textbook. I even managed to find an H&M which appears to be serviced by it’s very own Metro station (Havre Caumartin). Things are starting to feel a bit more comfortable.
I’ve had a little more success with the boys over the past couple of days too. They’ve let me bath them, wash their hair, get them their after school snack… I think things are finally beginning to feel a bit more ‘normal’. Now that I’ve been here almost 2 weeks I think they’re accepting me as part of the family and are much happier to share things with me. I even walked Hector to his music lesson this morning and he talked to me the whole way there! Things are looking a bit more promising for when I go solo with them next week.
And finally – thank you to all of you who’ve sent me post/talked to me on Skype or Facebook over the past week. You’ve all been an incredible help! And thanks to my fantastic petit-ami for the Valentine’s card, je t’aime beaucoup x