Lauren Gane

    Lauren Gane is in France with the British Council. She is linked with Borestone Primary in Stirling.

    Entries for April 2015

    C'est fini! Its finished!

    It is definitely bittersweet to be writing this from Glasgow after returning from my 7 month rollercoaster in France. The last few weeks flew by in a whirlwind of frantic packing, tearful goodbyes and of course much paper work! I must admit, despite a slow start in Les Herbiers, I was quite gutted to be leaving and was actually hoping for a continued airstrike for a precious few extra days in France. No such luck though!

    My last few weeks in France fell on the Easter Holidays and allowed me to celebrate a typical Easter Sunday in France with my friend and his family. This took the form of an Easter egg hunt in the garden, primarily aimed at the two little cousins, but did not stop the older generations getting stuck in! After 2 baskets had been filled with chocolate treats that had been hidden in trees and behind rocks in the garden, and with inevitable stomach ache looming, we all sat down for a typical French Easter feast. Starters took the form of bread and oysters, which are often eaten on special occasions or holidays such as Easter or Christmas. Having never tried oysters before, I was a little apprehensive, especially under the watchful and critical eye of the other 10 diners during my quick masterclass on how to separate the oyster from its shell. Although a bit of an acquired taste, I actually quite enjoyed it! Nevertheless, to the amusement of my companions, one was enough for one day. Next, as is customary in both Britain and France, was lamb with potatoes and salad.  Dessert was, of course, much chocolate from the spoils of our earlier hunting spree in the garden and ‘pouding au pain pommes’ which is bread and apple pudding. Despite not normally celebrating Easter myself back home, it made a lovely change to be included in such a family affair with great food and surrounded by even better company.

    The last few weeks were a whirlwind of packing up and saying my goodbyes, which with my students consisted of playing games with the added incentive of sweets. I definitely feel lucky to have been posted in Lycée Jean Monnet and College Jean Rostand as I have had the pleasure to work with some fantastic pupils who are motivated and eager to learn. Despite difficulty with my accent at first, they persevered and had no problems by the final weeks, even picking up a few Scottish words to add to their vocabulary. The teachers were equally welcoming and I even received a few unexpected goodbye gifts, which was touching.

    As for the running club, they were kind enough to organise some drinks and nibbles after training one evening as a farewell. It was really great to spend some time with everyone and it was a great opportunity to chat to everyone, without having to catch my breath as usual. I have really valued all their support and friendship during my time in France and they were even kind enough to give me a Les Herbiers running club t-shirt as a souvenir which I will treasure, along with some great memories.

    It is great to be back in Glasgow and I definitely missed the Glaswegian accents.  I am also enjoying the novelty of being understood when speaking unhindered, with the dialect and colloquialisms I am used to. Being able to spend quality time with family and friends is great, as I missed them all lots! Despite this, I am missing France, and not just the French sunshine, as I have been welcomed back to Scotland by rain, hail and snow this week. I really enjoyed immersing myself in another language and culture and striving to get to grips with the language. Although my French has improved significantly, there is still a way to go before I consider myself fluent. My year abroad has further highlighted the significance of learning languages, and more importantly, how much I enjoy it. Besides the advantage of increased employability, learning French has allowed me to gain a better understanding of different cultures and most valuably, to communicate with people I would otherwise not be able to and make some lifelong friends.

    For the moment, I am enjoying catching up with friends and family, but I am also excited to be heading back to France in just a couple of weeks to work in Biarritz for a month. I hope this will allow me to continue to improve my French and of course make the most of the glorious weather in the South of France. I hope to visit you all soon and show you some pictures of my French adventures.

    A bientôt!