13 weeks (and 4 and a bit til I’m home for Christmas!)

Salut!

I’ve now been here for almost thirteen weeks- I can’t believe it!  Paris is now cold cold cold, and so I’ve bought two snoods (both of which I thought were scarves at the time of purchase) and I’ve had to put my heating on (Bertrand the property manager suggested this wouldn’t be necessary but his cold threshold is obviously different to mine).

With the cold comes the most wonderful time of the year…I think Christmas here is going to be magical.  The Christmas lights on the Champs-Élysées are getting switched on tonight apparently.  The Christmas market between the Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde is already up and Craig and I went for a wander last weekend.

What's a trip to a Christmas market without bratwurst...
What’s a trip to a Christmas market without bratwurst…

The stands cover about 2km- plenty of mulled wine, sausages and scarves to buy!  Our highlight was probably the Canadian stand- picture anything and everything maple syrup flavoured and you’ve probably got a pretty accurate idea!  They were generous with their free samples there too, always a bonus in my eyes!  I also loved hearing the Canadian French accents- the French students totally mock them in my classes at uni as they’re really different to French in France accents.  They’re a lot more nasally than how French in spoken in France.  One of my highlights from oral classes at Edinburgh Uni was when we were discussing French Canadians and my lovely French (from France) tutor insisted we all talk holding our noses for a minute to try to get the accent…

(If you’re interested, there’s an accent tag video on youtube where a woman from Quebec says a word with Canadian French pronounciation and then with French in France pronunciation.  The link is here, skip to about 2:15 to get to the list of words https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2lC–Jni_8)

The department stores are all looking very sparkly too- I’ll put a Galleries Lafayette photo in below- and I’m very excited by the fact that the confectionery section in Monoprix has at least quadrupled over the past fortnight.  I’m going to have a difficult time picking an advent calender, but I’ve got my eye on a Milka one…

At certain times they play loud music and the lights change in time. FAB-YULE-US.
At certain times they play loud music and the lights change in time. FAB-YULE-US.

Last week we had a day off uni- like a proper holiday.  The first line in the Edinburgh University DELC Handbook is that vacations are not holidays, but the 11th of November is a holiday in France to commemorate Armistice Day.  Katherine and I went as close as we could to the Arc de Triomphe, where Francois Hollande gave a speech, laid a wreath, and shook hands with a lot of people. This was all shown on a big screen so we could try to understand what was happening!

We learned that there are no remembrance poppies in France; instead the bleuet de France (a blue cornflower) is worn to symbolise memory and solidarity.  

We didn’t see many people wearing these though, and I didn’t see anyone selling them until Armistice Day.  They make the wreaths look beautiful and very patriotic- here is Clemenceau at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées.

Babylangues is going well.  Benjamin is just so chilled and happy to cooperate with activities and speaking English.  We managed to do a few of the Babylangues workbook tasks, which is a good step.

He couldn't understand why I laughed at the ears and claimed his and mine were in exactly the same place as Mr Tumnus' here.
He couldn’t understand why I laughed at the ears and claimed his and mine were in exactly the same place as Mr Tumnus’ here.

The other day when his mum came in he rushed to show her the plane he had built with lego (lots of colours and numbers vocabulary!) and she remarked on how happy was.  The parents are warming to me- I think the dad is quite self conscious about his English but we’re getting there.  He pops in on a Monday session for ten minutes, and this week he came through to Benjamin’s room to ask me if I’m allergic to eggs- not that I understood what he meant, I can’t remember how he pronounced ‘eggs’ but it sounded nothing like ‘eggs’.  It was only after some chicken actions and some squatting miming that we got there.  What can I say, I’m a hoot.  Anyway, once we established that I’m not allergic to eggs he made me try a dessert which his pal who works as a chef in a restaurant gives him from time to time.  It’s called œufs à la neige (eggs in snow) and from what he told me it was basically poached whipped egg whites (just imagine how we got to that conclusion).  It’s served with custard and according to him it’s très Français and he was very insistent that I couldn’t possibly leave either their apartment or Paris without trying it.  Luckily for me, queen of the picky eaters, it was very tasty!

À bientôt!

Lisa x


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