All entries for September 2005
September 30, 2005
apologies in advance for any spelling mistakes or bizarre things that come up – French keyboards are still a little confusing!
Today has been very good – this morning I wasn't at all well, perhaps something I ate, but after a sleep and a shower I felt a bit better. However, because of that I didn't have lunch with Paz. We did go to the shops, though, and we took with us another assistant who came to introduce herself to me last night – a German named Julia who is very bubbly and organized! (so much for reducing german stereotypes…) We did some shopping, then came back and had some coffee and cake :)
Julia also knows someone who's friend may be selling a fridge – I'm investigating other options too, as there are plenty of notices in my building where people are trying to sell fridges, TVs and all sorts – probably what I'll be doing in 6 month's time!! But yes, I'm sure I'll have one before long. Julia has done lots of investigating, and found out that we can use the swimming pool on campus, and the library, as long as we take some form of student ID and our 'attestation de logement' which proves we live here! So that's good, and I definitely have holidays between the 22nd Oct and the 3rd Nov so I'll definitely be coming home for a bit!!
We noticed that there is a 'soirée couscous' on the third floor of my building on Sunday night – 'pour ne pas rester que des numéros' : so that we don't stay just numbers! We went and met the guy who has organised it, and he's really nice – a pianist and student of music. He chatted to us for ages, and we're all going to the soirée; 3 euros for dinner sounds like a bargain to me!
Tomorrow I think Paz and I are going to go shopping for French mobile phones (we definitely need them!) and then the three of us (plus whoever else we can find to come) are probably going to the 'nuit blanche' in Paris – the museums and things are open almost all night, and there are lots of expositions, musical acts, shows etc going on all over the place – so we think it would be a great experience.
Then, after the soirée couscous on Sunday, we have to be in Versailles for 9.30 am on Monday for our first training day! It's all happening now…
Must dash, more soon (no post yet, I'm still waiting guys! :p )
lots of love,
Lia xxxx :)
September 29, 2005
To catch up, and perhaps repeat myself somewhat:
Yesterday I went to Nanterre-ville, but it was fairly late in the afternoon, so I have not yet attempted to open a bank account. I did, however, find a supermarket, and bought a kettle along with other things, as I think I’ve already said. I also bought stamps to send my postcards from Monday, and a phone card so that I could phone Antony last night. In the evening, as well as phoning him and discovering the half-hour’s free internet I get at the internet café downstairs, I spent a pleasant evening getting to know the girl opposite me, whose name is actually Ketty (I thought it was Katie at first). We watched some episodes of a program called Tru Calling, about a girl who has the power to see deaths before they’ve happened and then re-live the day and stop them. Sounds strange, but it was quite good! It was good to spend a whole evening speaking and listening to French, at any rate, and we chatted quite a lot, too.
Today she offered to show me the shops nearby – the post office, bakery, little supermarket, pharmacy, hospital – so that I know where things are and I don’t always have to go into Nanterre-ville on the train. I will have to go to Nanterre-ville tomorrow, at any rate, to go to the bank, but it didn’t take long to get to ‘petit-nanterre’, and it was good to get my bearings and realise that there are shops and things nearby! I also learnt today that there is an oven on the first floor that everyone can use, so that may come in handy, since there isn’t one in our kitchen!
Apart from that, I’ve done very little – having a bit of a miserable day today, feeling down – I watched 3 episodes of Buffy in French, though, that Ketty lent me, which was ok, and I’m going to start my research into French sayings with her dictionary! I also had a brief visit from another assistant at the IUFM – he’s Spanish, but speaks very good French, and his name is Lucho (or Luis). He’s in a building nearby, so at least I’ll know someone to travel with on Monday morning to our first training day.
I’m tired and a bit fed up of having no fridge and no tea! I want a cup of tea quite a lot. I’m sure I’ll sort something out soon. All contact welcome – missing everyone! L xx
I'm actually feeling fine now, a Spanish assistant called Paz came to visit me and she's really sweet! She's going to be teaching at one of the same sites as me, and she says it's nice. We're going to have lunch tomorrow :) Have also worked out how to keep milk cold, thanks to mum… :) xx
September 28, 2005
I've found the internet café in my building! It's free too, but you only get half an hour so I think I'll be writing blog entries on my laptop and transferring them as with the previous!
Typing on french keyboards is hard! It's almost the same as an english one but the letters are in the wrong place when you don't expect it!
Anyway, today I'm a bit better. I slept in late to relax, then had a shower – however basic the rest of the accommodation seems, the showers are lush! I went to a supermarket in Nanterre-ville and bought a kettle, and other bits and pieces (bottled water – most important!) except i think it was the kettle that made my electricity go off…so I'll have to be careful! I still definitely need to get a fridge.
The girl who lives across the hall from me, (who I met yesterday briefly) is really nice and has invited me to watch TV or DVDs with her this evening and whenever I like which is really nice! :) I have a friend, hurrah!
Still missing everyone lots, can't wait to get all my administrative nonsense out of the way and get a routine…sitting in your room isn't much fun! Not without internet on tap anyway!
More soon, lots of love,
(written on laptop Tues 27th, transferred to CD then posted on net via internet cafe in my building Weds 28th)
Well, I’ve arrived, I’m installed in my room in the university residences at Nanterre, and I’ve recovered from the culture shock enough to write about it!
I caught the 9.09am Eurostar from Waterloo to Paris Nord, which was highly civilised. I had a continental breakfast from the buffet car, including a tiny jar of jam! And I updated my calendar on my laptop, listened to the rest of The Hitch-hiker’s guide to the Galaxy on my iPod, and generally had a nice relaxing time.
The journey from Paris Nord to Nanterre wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be in terms of the route (on the RER, one stop south on one line, then change lines and it was 5 stops) but it took me a while because I had to negotiate escalators and things with my big suitcase and rucksack. The RER was hot, too!
When I arrived at Nanterre university, I found my way to the residences, and eventually found the reception after some wandering about and asking people. I had to fill in a form, pay my money (€311) and then they gave me my keys – Pavillon C, room 206.
Room 206 is on the second floor of the block, so running up and down all the stairs at the Palace was good preparation! My room is on a long corridor, which has toilets at one end, and kitchen and showers at the other. The numbers run from 1–17 up one side (towards the kitchen) and from 18–34 down the other. My room is small, and pretty basic, but it’s OK – the layout is very much like a room in old Rootes; wardrobe next to the door, sink opposite the wardrobe, then a partition, behind which is the bed, and on the other side there’s a stack of shelves next to the wardrobe, and next to that the desk. The window is on the end wall, through which I can see some trees and another building that used to be residences but is being refurbished at the moment. Hence, it’s a building site…so a little noisy during the day!
The kitchen is surprisingly basic – there’s a sink on one side, and a row of electric hobs on the other (I’ve learnt that you have to leave them to heat up before you cook on them, as they take a while) – no fridges or freezers. Everyone has their own! Luckily my neighbour has let me put some things in hers…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So after I’d moved myself in yesterday, I put a sign on my door saying, basically, hello, I’m English, feel free to knock on my door and say hi! I went out to try and find a supermarket, after wandering around the campus and discovering that there’s no shop and no student’s union (weird!), but spent too much time going the wrong way on trains, and then clearly went too far into Paris, as I didn’t find a supermarket, but I found a big shopping centre! I had a coffee and something to eat, bought a few postcards, then came back.
A guy on my corridor asked me to help him with a translation into English, and at the same time chatted to me and gave me tea and cake, which was nice, but he was a bit odd! I made my excuses after eating and left. Just as I was getting ready for bed, other people came to knock on my door – having not lived in halls for over a year, I’d forgotten that they only really come alive at night. First there was Julie and two of her friends from other blocks – they were really sweet, and offered to show me around whenever I like, then there was Gianne (pronounced with a French J) who lives next door to me, the girl on the other side of her (Hacia I think), Mohammed, Greg, and a random guy who’s name I can’t remember! They were nice too – Gianne has let me put some milk and cheese in her fridge, and Hacia gave me some food to start me off, which was really sweet of her – spaghetti, apples, tuna and peas J
Today I filled in some more forms to give back to the accommodation people (inventory and signing the rules of residence), and tried to get an ‘assurance logement’, but I need a bank account before I can get one. They said that was fine, though. Then I investigated the theatre in the culture building, but it wasn’t open, and there were no leaflets around, so I’m not sure whether it’s a real theatre or a student theatre.
Then I managed to find a supermarket – the weird guy had told me last night where there was one, so I went and bought a saucepan, a plate, a bowl, a sieve, a cooking spoon, some washing powder (hand-wash, so I can do stuff in my sink), food, fruit, milk, tissues (there’s no loo-roll in the toilets here…), envelopes and writing paper, and a very cheap computer bag (like a briefcase with space for a computer) – only €10! I also got myself a Carte Orange (travelcard) so I can go wherever I want whenever I want J This evening I have relaxed – chatted to Gianne and the girl who lives across the hall from me (Katie I think), and a girl from down the corridor came to chat, too, but her name escapes me! I’ve been watching a DVD, and I made a cup of tea, but it didn’t taste right – maybe the water. I shall have to buy bottled water, a kettle and a fridge! I’ve also thought of lots of other things to buy, but I’ll try and spread them out a bit. Tomorrow I’m going to attempt to open a bank account, and maybe do some more shopping, this time nearby in Nanterre the town (only one stop away on the train).
Time to make dinner! I miss everyone lots, I don’t have internet in my room, so things may be sporadic at least for a while, so I’ll be lonely for a bit! Write me letters! Xxxx
EDIT: my address is
8 allée de l'université,
92001 NANTERRE Cedex
September 16, 2005
I can't remember everything that's happened since the nutter! But I'll try to sum up.
– No further incidences of nutters, apart from an Elvis impersonator and a guy with a flute
– Heather came to stay for several days post-Edinburgh, which was lovely :) She came to see Woman in White and we went to Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus and other such fun places.
– Antony also came to stay that weekend :D
– Heather went on to stay with Chris (Peakey-Weakey-Woo) who has now moved in to his London flat (which used to be a brothel). Met up with them and Bex (who was down for the following weekend) for coffe, twas v good :)
– Visited Antony in Cov last weekend (coach up after work on Saturday night, and home Monday afternoon in time for work) which was also very lovely
– Have decided I'm now a bit bored of work, especially since we have to sit in and watch the show for aaaaaages as there have to be two members of staff inside the auditorium at all times on each level.
– Have finally received all information about France, including that I need to take sheets and a pillow, kitchen utensils (eek!) and plenty of money for room rent and deposit for when I get there. I have my new passport, my eurostar tickets, and I'm all set.
All I have to do now is pack…I have a list, but I need to start making piles of clothes and sorting things out.
-Antony is coming down for a final farewell weekend from Thursday to Sunday (hurrah!)
-Have done vast amounts of ironing for mum (she's going to pay me :D )
That is all
September 02, 2005
Quote of the Day:
"It's like when you're a kid and you believe in Santa Claus and Phoenixes" (Josh)
So today saw the arrival of the (now infamous) Nutter at the Palace Theatre. We had heard of him yesterday, when he got chucked out of the Queen's Theatre on account of pointing a laser pointer at the stage and throwing rubbish, and where his last words were: "I'll go up to the Palace and see the second half of the Woman in White"
Naturally, our manager was immediately phoned and told to be on the lookout for a man with a shock of orange hair, and striped underpants on. We got very excited, and all stood in the foyer waiting for him to turn up, but he didn't.
Then today, there was some hoo-ha in the box office. A man claiming he was the Duke of Sollovia (not a place I've ever heard of…) and a close friend of Andrew Lloyd Webber's was trying to gain entry, saying he'd spoken to Sir Lloyd Webber's people and they had invited him. The box office (not realising he was a nutter) got someone to check – Michael Johns, Duke of Sollonia, had never been heard of by Lloyd Webber's people. They then told him he would have to buy a ticket to see the show (hoping this would get rid of him) but instead he produced a large gold coin, apparently a 'crown', saying he'd made it himself, and claiming it was legal tender.
Someone decided it WAS legal tender and accepted it as part of payment for a ticket in box H, in the grand circle. He also casually mentioned that he'd left some fruit for the cast at stage door, and the people in the box office were 'welcome to help themselves to a fig or two if they liked.' He came in through the foyer, and when his bag was security checked, it contained a large number of ginger wigs.
So once he was in the box, both the fireman and a member of the front of house staff were put on 'nutter-watch' to keep an eye on him, with radios, and since nothing happened for a while we assumed he really did want to watch the show. Error. Josh the stalls supervisor (to whom I am indebted for most of this story) got a call from the front of house member on the radio saying he was by the nutter's box, and the nutter was nowhere to be seen.
Josh duly ran outside and checked all the fire exits, in case he'd slipped out of one of those. He hadn't. He was still somewhere in the building. Meanwhile, front of house staff and fireman had spotted Nutter going down a back staircase, and caught up with him in another box in the dress circle, the one closest to the stage. Nutter was now wearing a black wig (along with his bright orange shirt and white trousers) and standing at the very front of the box, looking as though he were drawing breath either to sing or shout! Fireman quickly took him by the shoulder and asked for a word.
Nutter was frog-marched to the foyer, and once the manager had spoken to him (when he told the story of how he was removed from the Queen's after announcing during the interval that he was a 'member of the royal family' and that he had been 'denied his royal box') he was politely asked to leave the premises. He went quite amicably.
However, deciding he was not to be trusted, Paul the redcoat chose to patrol the outside of the building during the interval to check that Nutter didn't try to get back in. He did in fact return, but only to give Paul some Christmas cards (one for 'Front of House', one for 'Cast and Crew' and one for 'Lord Lloyd-Webber Owners and Managers') and to tell him that he 'should be King, really, but [he] would make do with Duke.'
The cards made little sense; the one to front of house said something along the lines of 'Sorry I couldn't stay to the end, I'm saving it for the Gala'. The cast one made less sense, along similar lines. The Lord Lloyd Webber one said 'You have the Queen's Crown in your possession. Take good care of it. Love Michael' NUTTER! I think he also claimed he would go to the Woman in Black, since the Woman in White was no good.
I tell you, working in that theatre is great – the audience is more entertaining than the show!!! Simon Callow starts tomorrow. Earplugs at the ready, everyone…