Ellen Ingram

    Ellen Ingram is in France with the British Council. She is linked with Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire.

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    Christmastime in France

    I cannot believe how fast these three months have flown in and that Christmas is next week! I am flying home on Friday to Scotland to spend the holidays with my family and friends but before I do I thought I would let you all know what I have been up to recently.

    Where I am in France everyone seems to love this time of year. In most towns there are Christmas markets selling all sorts of Christmas trinkets as well as delicious food and gluhwein. Ever since the market in Sarreguemines opened there has been music playing in the streets and the town is covered with decorations. It’s also lovely as the town centre is a lot more busy than usual. On the first Sunday night of the Christmas market I went with the German assistants to have a look around and try some of the lovely food. The best thing that I ate there was called a tête choco, which is much like a teacake but they come in lots of different flavours.

    One Sunday I met some of my Scottish friends, who are assistants in France, in Strasbourg to visit the many Christmas markets in the city. Strasbourg is known as the Christmas capital of the world and is the place where Christmas markets started a long time ago. The city is beautiful already but looked absolutely stunning with all the Christmas decorations and chalets selling lots of different things. That day we also climbed to the top of the cathedral to see views of the whole city as well as visiting the European Parliament building.

    One Saturday I went to a town in Germany called Saarlouis with a teacher from school and her family. We walked around the town together and went shopping as well as visiting the Christmas market. I love how close Germany is to Sarreguemines, it’s really cool to visit a completely different country whenever you want to.

    Last Friday night I went bowling with the teachers from the lycée as it was our Christmas night out. It was a really good opportunity for me to practise my French and get to know the other teachers, however it was very difficult to listen to different conversations and try to speak French at the same time! On Saturday the German assistant and I went on a road trip to a town called Colmar in the region of Alsace. The town is a typical Alsatian town and looks like something out of a fairy story. The town is famous for its Christmas market which was bustling with tourists. We spent the day exploring the town and shopping in the markets for things to take home to our friends and families and of course sampling the cuisine!

    So now I am spending my last couple of days here in Sarreguemines teaching my pupils about Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland. There are some differences between Christmas in France and the UK, the main one being that they have their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. Most people in France also open their presents on Christmas Eve too. Today it was the Christmas dinner in the canteen and it was much the same as the traditional British Christmas dinner. We had smoked salmon to start with, followed by turkey, potatoes and vegetables then Yule log for dessert. There was also some red wine too (for the adults)!

    Well that’s what I have been up to in France lately. I am so excited to go home and be with my family and friends but I can honestly say that these last three months have been amazing and I hope to keep having a great time and keep improving my French in 2015.

    Joyeux Noel et Bonne année tout le monde!


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