“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato

Je suis arrivée! Je suis en France! My year abroad is officially underway and, so far, I’m having a pretty good time. I appreciate that it is only day three but, y’know, small steps.

My attempts to more concretely nail down what exactly I’ll be spending the next six months doing have been fairly fruitful. The company is called Langue & Nature and is based in a beautiful chateau (pictured above); I really don’t expect to ever live and work in a chateau ever again after this. They offer five-day-long residential English language immersion courses for adults all year round as well as stages (basically the same but longer and for teenagers) a few times a year. The first fortnight (from today) will be spent helping with a stage and living in the chateau, and then I will move into the foyer (kind of like a complex of accommodation for 16-30 year-olds) in Laval. When there isn’t a stage on, the work will consist of supervising with the adult courses and doing a whole variety of office-based tasks – which I guess is considerably better than the standard internship tasks of photocopying and making coffee and will be great experience for the good ol’ CV.

I write this feeling considerably less than fresh because last night was spent bonding over (all the) wine and cheesy music with the four other assistants. We’re all here for year abroad purposes: Laura and Shaun have been here for the past six months and are leaving at the end of this stage along with Daniel, who’s been here for the summer, and Matt and I will take over from there as the company’s “Senior Assistants”. The five of us get on so well, as evidenced by this selfie which was taken after we had consumed TWO BOXES (each containing the equivalent of four bottles) of wine between us:

Shaun, Laura, Daniel, me, Matt

Shaun, Laura, Daniel, me, Matt

I’m so happy that I’ve already made friends (special shoutout to Laura for being basically the same person as me):

IMG_5061

you can read her year abroad blog here: http://lazontheloose.wordpress.com) and it’s so sad that three of them are leaving in a couple of weeks. However, Shaun and Laura have friends in Laval (including French ones, T H E  D R E A M) s hopefully Matt and I will be able to meet some of them and subsequently make them our friends. The foyer should be great for meeting people from all over Europe, a lot of whom will probably be fellow year abroad-ers, and the five of us went to Laval yesterday evening for a look round and I feel very reassured that there’ll be plenty of things going on to fill any spare time.

I’m also extremely pleasantly surprised by how much French I’ve spoken so far. Even though it teaches English, the company language is French, meaning that the directrice and other staff speak to us almost exclusively in French, and we Brits have even made the effort to parler le français amongst ourselves (Articulate in French, anyone?). I feel like this bodes well for the future. The amount of Franglais is, predictably, hilariously high, et j’ai l’impression que this placement is actually going to be quite good for mon français.

Finally, a saga that will no doubt continue for a few weeks yet: the boss, Aude, seems to have forgotten that I’m vegetarian, and I have no intention of enlightening her any time soon after hearing her rant against vegetarians at lunch yesterday. Les français do not seem to understand the concept and so the next fortnight (we’re catered during the stages) promises to be very carby. The joys.

So it’s going fairly well thus far. I’m happy to be here, I’m speaking French, and I’ve met nice people, and those are surely three of the most important things. I’m feeling positive vibes, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll stick around as I get stuck into la vie française.

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