Well my Easter holidays are coming to an end and I’m struggling to keep the rising apprehension and back to work nerves at bay. Do most people who have jobs outside of education feel the same way after their holidays? I don’t know… But what I do know is that it’s at this stage in my teacher training that I feel comfortable enough to have pure me time during the holidays and to get to the point where I feel like I don’t even have a job!
And that’s exactly what the last 2 weeks have been like. Honestly I was like a kid pre-annual family holiday the last day of term, I could barely contain my excitement at the many adventures that were surely ahead! I felt like a right jet-setter, with my 2 suitcases and Sky Priority tag on show, ready to reap my pitiful rewards after spending what must have been thousands of pounds with the company. And low and behold there’s been a major power cut in the north of The Netherlands. Great. Great start. Then, just to rub salt into those fresh wounds there’s an accident on the motorway. Traffic. Traffic everywhere. But really, what did I care?! I was on holiday! My partner however was not too impressed with my optimistic outlook.
Anyway, like all stories that was the beginning. The real excitement was to come… Bordeaux, Nice, Marseille, Monaco, Cannes, the French countryside… they were all awaiting us! I hadn’t been back to Bordeaux since the end of my year abroad, so 3 years on it was pretty exciting to go back and put my degree into practice.
As we race-walked through the airport (cos, you know, it’s a race to the baggage belt and be the first one out, only for your bag to be the last one) I retraced the steps I took 3 ½ years ago and the weight of how much I’d changed in those years hit me. I was a completely different person back then and I honestly think that the unique challenges of a year abroad, final year of uni and Teach First have all really shaped me into the resilient, determined and adaptable person I am today.
Staying with the headteacher of the school that I worked at and her family was like nothing had changed. Except the boys were much, much bigger. And far, far more boisterous. It was touching that the eldest son (now 6) remembered me. It took me a while to realise what “Maddy doudou” was and what a relief to know that it didn’t mean some derogatory term like “Maddy bitchface”. Context: it could have meant that, certainly to my partner who doesn’t speak French (although he took a very could stab at it!) seeing as we were woken up with pillow fights, farting and a few slaps here and there. The sheer look on my partner’s face said it all: no kids! Well, for the next 5 years at least. If we had to sum up our stay in a couple of words, one would be wine, and the other contraception…
We braved a family outing on the Sunday, and it being our 6 year anniversary celebrated it in an extremely not traditional way (as incongruously seems to have been the norm over the last few years what with body wraps and nose piercings…) by wining and dining at one of the many châteaux in Bordeaux which, like most others, had opened their doors to the public for the day to feast, taste and inevitably buy their wines. Imagine my excitement at the idea of spending our anniversary at a stunning château tasting expensive wines in the wonderful spring sunshine. But then again, it’s us. My fantasies never quite turn out as anticipated, and we dined at a rustic table with plastic plates and a live, bizarre French singer (who actually wasn’t bad, but not good enough to buy his CD on the way out) in a barn on a grey windy day. Despite this, we had a great time and continued our mini road trip wine tasting and being big kids (whilst the little ones threw business cards underneath all the barrels…).
This is where the bordelais adfrenchure ends, but read on to find out the meaning behind the On the Blog title…