Wednesday, 10 October 2012

10th October, Laval, France

Word of the Blog: le cavalier/la cavalière. Traditionally this referred to a horseman/woman, but now means male/female dance partner. It confused me the first time I heard it, as I thought it meant knight, and wondered what knights had to do with Rock'n'Roll dancing.

I'm trying to think of an excuse as why I haven't yet updated my blog despite being in Laval for over a month now...but my mind's drawing a blank. I reckon I could get away with saying I've been too busy (which isn't entirely untrue, it does feel like I've been here much longer than a month) but at the same time if I've had time to watch Russell Howard's good news... (thank goodness for UoB's VPN (no idea what it sounds for though) otherwise I'd haveve missed both good news AND mock the week!) I've probably had time to update my blog. So  yeah, sorry about that. I'll try and be better in the future.

Anyway. Laval. France.

If you type Laval into Google, it'll come up with Laval, Quebec, which pretty much sums up how small Laval is. It's also kinda in the middle of nowhere, which I'm only just starting to get used to, as how much I've complained about how small Cheltenham is, it's actually quite big compared to Laval. Laval is in La Mayenne department of France, which is techincally in the Pays de Loire region of France. However, the majority of Lavalians that I've met don't seem to let a little thing like geography bother them, and instead that they live in Brittany, the region along from the Pays de Loire.

 Still, the fact that Laval is small means that there aren't many Brits/Americans here so all the friends I've made so far are French (or at least French-speaking). I live in a Foyer in the centre of Laval, but I actually work in a Chateau which about 10km from Laval, but more about that later. A foyer is a bit like a university hall of residence, except anyone between 16-30 can live here, whether you're a student, working or unemployed. It's subsidised by the French government so isn't very expensive and there's an activity arranged every night Monday-Thursday, so it's been very easy to meet people.

Amongst the friends I've made at the Foyer is Mariant, a Spanish dentist who arrived to work in Laval at the same time as I did and we originally bonded over the fact that we are some of the only people who are actually around at the weekends (seriously, the foyer is dead Friday, Saturday and Sunday) as we don't go home like nearly everyone else.

Mariant (right) and Me

We've become good friends and are planning to go to Mont St Michael this weekend, as Mariant, who has got a proper job and isn't an improvised student, has a car.

Moving on the job, which is the actual reason I'm in Laval. I work in an actual Chateau, which is quite cool, and since its family-owned I feel like I'm living in a Jane Austen novel half of the time. I work as a general assistant, doing all sorts of things, from translating to processing applications, for a language centre called Langue et Nature that specialises in immersions. This basically means that people come to us to learn French/English.

I'm lucky that everyone I work with is lovely, including my boss, though it is quite an experience being in a car whilst she's driving. She's one of those women who you know must be fairly old because she has children in their thirties, but it's impossible to judge her age more than that as she has more energy than anyone else I've ever met. She was also born and bred in the French countrysides, so drives down the middle of the road and it seems like that she considers speed limits optional, which is great fun whilst going down a hill, but less so in the middle of a town.

Anyway, I've just realised I have to get up at 7.30 for work tomorrow (if anyone has sensed something off in my tone whilst they've been whining about 9 o'clock lectures, this is why...) so I'm off to bed. Hopefully I'll  update tomorrow night, in which I will describe the weirdly efficient/inefficient Laval transport network which means I have to get at a bus and a taxi, followed by a 20 minute walk to get to work.

Despite that, I love it here!

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