December 16, 2005

update – karaoke, weekend, work and home again…

Last Friday night I decided to brave the karaoke bar with Tamara, Miguel, Anna, Dina, Paz and Bryan – much fun!

Miguel started the night off with a rousing rendition of 'I'm too sexy', complete with giant afro wig and sunglasses…

Anna sang "What's goin' on" (small girl, big voice!) and then Gillian and her boyfriend turned up just as I was singing "Please Mr. Postman" (yes, by myself – terrifying!)

Before we left we all sang, very badly (as is customary) Bohemian Rhapsody…oh dear! Very embarassing.

The weekend was very nice – Antony came to visit me! We went Christmas shopping in La Defense, and generally had a snuggly time.
On Sunday (after taking him to the airport) I went to see the new Harry Potter film at Les Halles – everyone else had seen it and I was desperate to! I enjoyed it apart from the very cheesy ending and some of the kids' acting.

I worked at St Germain on Monday (only 1 student this week – I worked with one of the teachers for the rest of the afternoon!) and at Antony on Tuesday, singing 'The 12 days of Christmas' numerous times starts to get tiring, I found! But it was interesting trying to explain Turtle Doves, and why the Hens are French, and what 'a-leaping' is! Tuesday was the last meeting of the year of the assistants (plus Julia's friend Karlo) at the Christmas market – lots of giggling and mulled wine drinking ensued! (although perhaps not in that order…)

I came home on Wednesday afternoon, and started work back at the Palace last night, just in time for the Christmas party tonight…! Pictures and stories to come… L xx

December 07, 2005

Ok, only 2 days later than promised…

largely because I'm too lazy to bring my computer to the library most of the time! Plus I am very busy and important (!)

Sunday was really lovely – nearly all the assistants from the IUFM met up at Anna's place (a kind of 'foyer' – little apartments with a massive shared kitchen) for brunch after Julia, Tamara, Beatrice and I went to Auchan (the supermarket) to do the shopping. We (the assistants) haven't really met up all together since our training so it was good to see everyone. We had all sorts of croissants, fruit, yoghurt, cheese, coffee, ingredients for crpes, bread, jam, meats, eggs, juices – a real feast! I made scrambled eggs, and Anna's (French) boyfriend took care of the crpe mixture. Everyone had a great time, laughed, ate too much and sang various songs (I think the mulled wine might have had something to do with it…!) We plan to do it again in the new year, perhaps with an international theme, where everyone brings some food from their country of origin – Anna and I reckon fish and chips! Not really, probably Christmas pudding and mince pies.

Monday I had to work at St Germain – only 2 of my 7 students turned up, so it was a quiet afternoon! In the evening I went to choir (here at Nanterre) and it was nice to sing again, even though the French people's pronunciation of the English words leaves a lot to be desired ("Oveuh all zee erss but wun…")
Yesterday I was working at Antony which, as always, was delightful – the teacher Catherine used me as a bit of a Parrot, reading questions from the board to demonstrate intonation – and we talked about Harry Potter and J.K.Rowling. Afterwards I went to go to aquagym with Miguel and Elena, but the teacher didn't turn up so we couldn't go in. We then went to La Defense to meet some of the other assistants at the Christmas market for mulled wine and much talking and laughing :)

Today I have been Christmas shopping (top secret!) with Miguel, and bought my Eurostar tickets to come home (yay!) – I'll be back this time next week, and am returning to France on the 2nd of January in time to start work again on the 3rd (yuck!) May be going to the cinema this evening, more soon!

Lia xx

December 03, 2005

Disneyland and Tea

Disneyland was SO much fun – there were hardly any queues, too, so we did loads of things! I'll update some pictures into my galleries now, so take a look!

Found this in the book I've been reading by Kate Fox ('Watching the English' – highly recommend it) and thought it would be of interest to some (as tea is a staple for many students…), particularly Andy Inglis!!

Tea is still believed, by English people of all classes, to have miraculous properties. A cup of tea can cure, or at least significantly alleviate, almost all minor physical ailments and indispositions, from a headache to a scraped knee. Tea is also an essential remedy for all social and psychological ills, from a bruised ego to the trauma of a divorce or bereavement. This magical drink can be used equally effectively as a sedative or stimulant, to calm and soothe or to revive and invigorate. Whatever your mental or physical state, what you need is a nice cup of tea. Perhaps most importantly, tea-making is the perfect displacement activity: whenever the English feel awkward or uncomfortable in a social situation (that is, almost all of the time), they make tea. Its a universal rule: when in doubt, put the kettle on. Visitors arrive; we have our usual difficulties over greeting protocol. We say, Ill just put the kettle on. There is one of those uneasy lulls in the conversation, and weve run out of weather-speak. We say, Now, whod like more tea? Ill just go and put the kettle on. A business meeting might involve having to talk about money. We postpone the uncomfortable bit by making sure everyone has tea. A bad accident people are injured and in shock: tea is needed. Ill put the kettle on. World War Three breaks out a nuclear attack is imminent. Ill put the kettle on. You get the idea. We are rather fond of tea. We are also very partial to toast. Toast is a breakfast staple, and an all-purpose, anytime comfort food. What tea alone does not cure, tea and toast surely will.

Today I have not gone out because I have a rotten cold – v sore throat and bunged-up head, yuck – but am hopefully going to the christmas market with various Germans later (!) Maybe mulled wine will cure my cold…
Having brunch with all the assistants tomorrow at Anna's place, so will update on Monday :)
Lia xx

November 30, 2005

Paris encore

am back in Paris safe and have lots to do! (The weekend was very nice and I highly reccommend 'Mrs Henderson Presents', by the way! It's a very charming, very English film.) Tuesday I was working at Antony-val, and went to Aquagym afterwards which was hard work! Seems to be very good for you though, and can be fun.
Today I just pottered around, really, did some laundry and tidying, reading, work, wrote a postcard to mark, etc. They changed the locks on our rooms today, too, so I have a new key (since the pass-key to the residences was stolen about 5 months ago this is a little late but better late than never, at least if I'm going to be burgled they'll have to break the door to get in now…!)

Tomorrow I am going to go to the library in Nanterre to do some researching for my uni essay (at last!) and to the supermarket, I also need to go to the post office and then in the evening I should be going to the Christmas market at La Defense – the cheesy type with mulled wine and twee stalls! Looks pretty though, so I'll take pictures.

Doesn't sound very exciting, I know, as days go, but then on Friday I'm going to Disneyland!! Julia and Tamara (both assistants) are desperate to go so how could I refuse?! Then at the weekend I'm either seeing Harry Potter or going to Cergy to see what it's like on Saturday, and then all the assistants are meeting up for brunch on Sunday (then probably going on to a museum – as it's the first sunday of the month they're free). I think that makes up for my mediochre days today and tomorrow!

Plus I have been watching some episodes of Lost today, that Mark sent me, and I'm totally hooked – I've got up to the end of episode 5, must watch more so I can catch up with Antony! Antony's gone to see Harry Potter this evening – I'm jealous! I have to wait, so I'll have to not let him talk about it on the phone.
Off to have dinner and watch more Lost methinks… Lxx

November 25, 2005

quick update

Hello all,
just to let you know that Grandpa's funeral went off without a hitch – (thanks to all who sent their kind words and wishes) I got through my reading, and it was a lovely service. It was also really nice to have all the family together – it hasn't happened for years, and only one of the 9 cousins was missing, so we had fun chatting and joking and reminiscing afterwards at the golf club.
Antony is staying down here for the weekend, which is lovely lovely lovely, and we are planning to go to see 'Mrs Henderson Presents' tomorrow. Will let you know if it's any good (must surely be worth it for Will Young…yum).
Today is Paul's birthday – he is 36 (ancient!) so Happy Birthday Paul, hope you had an enjoyable day :)

November 22, 2005

Hurrah for UKTV Gold

Currently showing Blackadder until at least 10pm!!! Huzzah :)

Small rant

Webmail is annoying me – as I am living in France, the only access I have to my warwick emails is via Webmail, and recently I've noticed that more often than not I get either a 'The server is busy and cannot process your request' message, or a 'Your post office is unavailable, please contact your service administrator' message. Both of which are very irritating and don't let me see my emails, which might be very important as I am not on campus. Grrrrrrrrr.
Humph. Works today though! (Thank goodness, had to do my campus accommodation application.)
Colds are rubbish.

November 21, 2005

I am going to read

Grannie has asked me to read the following poem at Grandpa's funeral on Thursday, and it's rather moving so I thought I'd share it with everyone;

Do not go gentle into that good night (Dylan Thomas)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

for Antony (for being my steady presence)

"To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be."

(Anna Louise Strong)

random quiz (I know I haven't made a real entry in ages, I will soon!)

A little bit about me
1. Whose thoughts would you most like to read? Antony's – just to see who else he fancies! ;p

2. What have you lost that you'd most like to retrieve? Currently my Bill Bailey DVD

3. What's your favourite red thing? My hair (well, it's just about red!)

4. What are some things that irritate you? Ooh, many things – people being ignorant, full of themselves, people saying 'haitch', ready-to-eat sandwiches having mayonnaise in them (I don't like it and it spoils so many nice fillings!)...etc etc.

5. What's your favourite boy's name? Harry

Girl's name? Bethany

6. What's on the walls in your room? Various postcards – mainly black and white ones, a calendar, a big photo of lilies, a timetable of dance lessons at the centre de danse du marais, and a collage of crazy playing cards that Mark sent me.

7. Name a CD you own that's a guilty pleasure (one you adore, but pretend not to for fear of irreversible negative social consequences). Umm Hear'say's album…I wouldn't say I adore it but it has some happy memories attached :)

8. What item of your friends' would you most like to have for your own? Mark's phone (any of them – he's always got a gorgeous new one) or Julia's sunflower candles because they're really pretty!

9. Where will you be in five year's time? Well if I knew that, life would be a lot simpler…

10. What one thing would you most like to accomplish with your life? Be as happy as possible and make some other people happy too :)

11. What's your favourite scary movie? None of them – I don't like scary movies!

12. Who's funnier, Jim Carrey or Bill Murray? Tough one. Bill.

13. Have you ever been in a school play? Yep – my first role was the messenger in the nativity play (saying everyone had to go to the town where they were born for the census) but I've been in loads. Was it good? Were you good? Of course!

14. What's the furthest place you've ever travelled to? India

15. Have you ever won a trophy? What for? Yep – for getting the most credits (like house points) in my year in one term at school

16. Name a book you'd recommend to a friend. Why? There are so many, but the book I'm currently reading is fascinating – Watching The English, by Kate Fox

17. What's the stupidest thing you've ever done? That's for me to know, and no-one else to ridicule me about :p

18. What's your favourite cartoon? Why? I'm not sure if it counts as a cartoon, but the animation Pocoyo is SERIOUSLY cute! But I think actually Winnie the Pooh is my all-time favourite.

19. Which animal do you most resemble in appearance and habit? a cat.

20. What mesmerises you? Flying.

21. Name something about yourself that people don't expect. I can do a very passable train whistle impression.

22. What's your favourite place on campus? Why? The arts centre, because it's a great place to meet people, eat and drink, read, see great plays and music, or even just sit and be – all of which are things I love doing. It always has a lovely atmosphere.

23. What everyday item is the most well designed? (Fit for purpose and aesthetically pleasing.) Not sure what sort of 'everyday item' this question means, but for me, my mac laptop!

24. What's your favourite time of day? Why? Early evening – fading light, one can start to relax after whatever one has been doing during the day.

25. What is the best thing you have done in a seminar? Listen to some really interesting ideas that I never would have heard anywhere else.

26. What is the best moment you have had in a lecture? Realising we were studying two Asterix albums – both funny and fairly easy to analyse!

27. What was your biggest mistake in your first year? Not doing enough secondary reading to get a higher grade – that said, I had so much fun, I don't really regret it. My first year mark didn't count anyway, so I reckon I was well-balanced. (If we're not talking academically, then kissing one of my hallmates in the union in my first week probably wasn't a great idea!!)

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