March 04, 2008

march already!

Wow, under three months to go!
Have been skiing alot recently – tends to be at least twice a week. I’m getting much better – going to be trying some black slopes in the next few weeks, which will be fun. Have only had a couple of minor accidents – one involving someone skiing over me, and another involving me falling face-first into the snow.
Other than that, have been trying (and failing) to get on with work so I can get things done before Tom comes out in a week and a half (and again four weeks afterwards)...hopefully will get it done – his imminent arrival will hopefully be a good incentive to work harder.
Chris, Rich, Eddie and Ed also came out in february – we had loads of fun, and I took them skiing for a day, and to Geneva too. Its just a shame that there’s fairly little to do in Grenoble unless you speak french and are interested in going to the museums and things.
Have booked my vacation residence for Italy this summer, will be living in San Giovanni Valdarno for a month, in a Language school. Its about 30mins by train from Florence, so am very excited to be going there.
Have also been attempting to get somewhere will summer jobs and work experience – but have secured somewhere to live in London for at least July and August, so I dont need to worry about that.
Time to get on with some more work…

me cat and sophia on a rock in the mountains!

bastille caves


December 21, 2007

Strikes – and nearly half my time here gone!

So…since the 14th of november lots has happened! I last wrote on the 14th, when the university started striking with the blockage of the university buildings. For a couple of weeks we had no lectures at all, but the ERASMUS courses soon started up again, as part of a deal – so that ERASMUS students wouldnt suffer from the issues of the french students. So we had to find alternative venues for our lectures.
In the mean time I did some french folk dancing, went to some concerts (AIR and les Vulgaires Machins), went ice skating, went home for Paul’s wedding and Kieron’s birthday, went to a light festival, bought some skis and went SKIING!
The university has been open again for a couple of weeks, but some courses only started properly again a week or so ago. So there’s been lots of problems with reorganisation of the semester – meaning exams are after christmas for non-Erasmus modules, and that the second semester will start a week later than it was supposed to.
I have had most of my exams though, and have passed everything officially so far. Although I did actually fail my italian comprehension exam – but it was really hard and the teacher was really nice and is taking my first mark as my overall mark.
But now the important bit – I’ve now been skiing three times. The first day I had a full day of lessons, and the other two days I went with Jack, Julie and Emma, and the other day with Emma (different Emma), Sara and Laura – the second day was a bit worrying in places, as I was going down blue slopes (green easiest, then blue, red, black) – and I’d only been on the beginner slopes before. But it was great fun falling over lots, until I heard about all the people that had broken limbs – hoping I’m invincible though. May take use of all the insurance I’ve paid for at the end of the season and attempt to break something, hahah! But the third day was much better and I got some confidence up. But my skis are serving me well, and Tom’s thankfully agreed to try and take them back to the UK in april after he visits, so I shant have to find a way to transport them with everything else.
Anyway, I’m going home tomorrow for three weeks, one week at home, then two weeks in coventry (revising, writing an essay or two, and seeing friends) before I come back until mid-late may.

Anyway, here’s some photos of my last few weeks here:

Les 2 alpes

fete des lumieres

fete des lumieres2

ski1

ski2


November 14, 2007

Troubled times (for France anyway)

So. I last updated a couple of weeks ago, have had a few results back since then and I seem to be passing, just about.
Have been doing very little recently, except I rented a bike last friday and have been cycling to uni each day (apart from today-it was raining too much!), and I’ve been attempting to work, but I’m finding that with so little to do I waste far more time. Which makes me want to travel more, which brings me nicely onto the topic of rail travel.

I cant go to Geneva on saturday (as I’d kind of planned) due to strikes of rail workers. This could also cause disruption for my journey home on the 29th november – which is very annoying. THis is all part of a series of strikes against Sarkozy’s programme of reforms (apparently ALL of the French accepted it when he was elected (with 53% of the vote)).
Also, my lectures are all cancelled today, as the President of each of the universities decided to close all of the buildings to prevent damage by protesters about the Loi d’autonomie des Universites which French students and some lecturers believe will end up with something like the American university system, or like the British. They’re concerned about private interests being served, especially when it comes to Arts and Humanities – as big companies who may end up investing will not necessarily be inspired to fund literature or history degrees which dont have direct career paths following them.
So I am at a bit of a loose end today, and feeling tired too, also not wanting to waste my day, but its raining and there are no trains = not the best day to have no lectures! Also will have to go in later anyway just in case my portuguese lesson is on!
So now I’m going to go to join in the protests at the station, I’m going to do one of my extended essays for Warwick on strikes, so it should be interesting to go take some photos and maybe ask some people’s opinions.


October 31, 2007

Update

I guess it’s time to update…I’m on holiday for a week at the moment – for All Saints – I think its just a lame french excuse for having a rest personally – but it suits be just fine.

Since I last wrote in september not alot has happened, I’ve been going to lectures and going to various places on the weekends, not too far afield, but I decided it would be better to explore a bit here before going further afield.
I went to Lyon a while back (must have been beginning of october) and wandered around there. It wasnt as great as I was expecting, but then I think I’ve become too used to having these wonderful mountains surrounding me – Lyon seemed a bit too flat for my liking! Hayleigh, Pippa and Georgia came to visit a few weekends ago which was really really nice, we did all the touristy things and watched the rugby in Place St Andre, it was quite scary as there were a few not-so-nice French rugby fans! Last weekend I went to Voiron for the day to go to the Chartreuse museum – it was really interesting but chartreuse (the original sort anyway) is disgusting.
Mum arrived on Saturday and left today – we had lots of fun, ate lots of nice food and we did a few touristy things, though there isnt a huge amount to do here in that way. Though we went to Annecy yesterday which was lovely, apart from I was ill and tired and it was cold and rainy – not the best combination.
Tomorrow I’m going to Dijon to visit Hayleigh – really glad I decided to go now as most of my housemates are away this week and it would be lonely otherwise.

Course-wise its all a bit boring, I’m not especially interested in many of the subjects – I’m essentially doing all the bits I enjoyed least in first and second year, but more of it.
I’m doing (incase anyone’s interested): French Grammar, Practical french (spoken and written), French/English translation, French Contemporary Society, Italian Grammar and translation (into French!!!), Practical Italian, Italian Civilisation, and beginners Portuguese.
Portuguese is especially good, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the initial learning of languages more than the steady improvement part. Skiing should be starting soon, so I can buy my kit (with help from Grandma and Mum’s donations!) and keep myself occupied with that, otherwise I’ll be going to other exotic places this term to fill my 3 day weekends!

Missing everyone from home and warwick,but I really love it here, and have made lots of friends (only one or two french people unfortunately). My french IS getting better, but I guess the improvement feels slower now I’ve got over my first few boundaries since getting here.

Will sign off now and will update soonish.


September 16, 2007

It all kicks off tomorrow!

My courses start tomorrow – still have to decide what I want to do!
Since i last wrote, I’ve done so many things! Last weekend I went to a party with lots of french people, then did my laundry with Cat from downstairs. Most of the week has been devoted to sorting out courses and things, apart from tuesday when we went to Valence by train and met with one of Gladys’s friends who lives there, and she gave us the tour of the town. After that me and Katie ate in Le Tonneau de Diogène (a cafe-philosophique) and then went on InteGRe’s tour of Grenoble city centre.
On wednesday we went out again and went shopping and things, and thursday was much the same! At the moment, we seem to just go shopping, come back, eat something, go out – but its very nice and sociable!
The last few days theres been this Liberation forum thing, loads of politicians debating over stuff. Saw Fadela Amara debate with Jean Daniel over immigration, Daniel Cohn Bendit with some advisor of Sarkozy’s about the comment made by Sarkozy: ‘liquider 68’ and also Francois Hollande with Piero Fassino on how to reconstruct the European Left! they were mostly boring apart from the one with Daniel Cohn Bendit, he was fascinating to watch, and an amazing orator.
Last night i went to a casino royal themed housewarming party, it was great – I played poker in French (its much the same as in English – not even the words change!)
I have just returned from walking up to the Bastille and back – its very hot today however. so am overheating slightly!

Lots of things have happened, and I’m never bored here but its still difficult to settle, as my courses havent started yet and I dont really have a structure to anything at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll feel better after this week.

Just got to hope I can understand my lectures!


September 09, 2007

Photos of Grenoble

I cant work out how to put lots of photos on here… so heres a link to my other photos on Facebook!

http://warwick.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2106376&page=2&l=8a919&id=61303056

Grenoble

Grenoble 2

Pont en Royans

Moving bubbles!


September 07, 2007

I've already been here a week!

I just realised I’ve already been here a week!
So far I’ve done loads of things – administration stuff aswell as being a bit of a tourist! hopefully going to visit Annecy sometime soon. Getting my courses sorted out gradually too, opened a bank account, moved into my studio (not nearly as glam as it sounds – photos to follow when I’ve got internet chez moi).

Going out later with the people in our accomodation – I decided that we needed to get to know eachother so I’ve kind of arranged a soiree which is quite exciting!

Was a bit of a low on tuesday when I moved into my place as it wasnt quite what I’d imagined and it didnt feel comfortable or welcoming, but now i’ve put some nice things in it its ok!
Have spent so much money on food/stuff for my room its unreal. But hopefully spending will calm down a bit soonish!
Quite excited about my bank account as I will be getting my Allocation de Logement to help me with my rent eventually.


August 31, 2007

Arrived safely!

I arrived yesterday around 8.30pm – met up with Katie’s new french housemates, who helped us carry our luggage to their house. I decided to stay over there, as the hostel is a bit far out of the town for my liking! But now I’m in the hostel – about to have a shower and go to bed – so tired!

Going to explore the town some more tomorrow – we were advised not to bother going to the university today as it is still august and nothing happens until september!

Will update again soon


August 24, 2007

Leaving in 6 days…

Everything seems to be roughly sorted now…I apparently have somewhere to live in Grenoble – if anyone feels the need to send me TEA or anything else that you cant get in France then message me for my address.
Time before I leave is rapidly going: party tonight, Tom’s here all weekend, then a day after that I leave!
Am staying in London next weds with Dad, and we’re hopefully going to a musical/concert or something, which should be nice.
Anyway the fear and excitement are kicking in properly now, I want to just be there and used to it – avoiding the whole ‘culture shock’ thing that the international office are warning us about – basically “you’re going to feel awful, but don’t worry, because everyone feels the same” GREAT!

Next time I blog will probably be when I get there, so wish me luck!


August 02, 2007

Right, so I'm leaving in 4 weeks.

Before I start waffling about everything and nothing: – I shall be using this blog (deleted all my older entries) to keep everyone updated on what I’m doing while I’m in Grenoble, mainly incase I don’t have proper internet access for MSN and Skype etc and I’m only able to use internet cafes and things, but also for friends/relatives who don’t use Facebook/MSN if I do have internet.

I’m leaving in four weeks time, it’s a fairly scary prospect. I’m trying to get everything done, but it’s all so complicated – got to sort out accomodation/bank accounts/travel/insurance/money but it should all be ok by the time I get there. I’m experiencing MAJOR mixed feelings about it all at the moment – am scared/nervous/excited/sad/happy/worried all at once. I will miss my friends so much, I dont think they will ever know how much (I’m used to leaving my family for 3 months at a time, and I’ll always see them in holidays – just incase you’re reading this mother!). Obviously I will see the most important people when I’m back to visit, but all the other people who I never got to know properly will have left by the time I get back in my fourth year – it makes me sad to think I never said bye to most of these people.

My biggest worry is that I KNOW I can deal with the language, and everything the experience throws at me, but I don’t know if i can do that without my closest friends and family there to support me when I’m feeling low.

On the plus side, the place where I’m supposed to be living seems to be completely central, in the Ile Verte quarter of the town – in a “meander” of the Isere river! Can’t wait for the fresh croissants everyday…


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