So the big news is that I have somewhere to live! It's in a suburb of Nice called Cimiez, up in the hills about a 20 minute bus ride from the centre. Yeah, I had hoped to be living it up down by the Med I suppose, but this has the advantage of being quiet (except when French drivers go on a 5-minute non-stop honking spree like they did several times last night when we were trying to enjoy France's fab show "Who will be the best celebrity impersonator?" - hilarious btw, and I challenge you to have a better Saturday night in Nice), spacious, equipped with all the mod cons like washing machine and dishwasher, plus THREE balconies, one of which I can call my own, away from the tourists etc. etc. But the best thing about it is that I'm in it. If you've never moved to a foreign country where you know no-one, speak the language to an adequate but not fluent extent, and have a limited supply of funds, well - I'm sure you can still imagine the stress inherent in finding somewhere to live, so very very pleased.
Also set up with a bank account and mobile phone, so we have only to negotiate the horrors of signing up with social security, trying to get internet installed at our flat, trying to wring some housing support money out of the government, getting a badly-needed advance on my first month's salary... and the small matter of teaching. Tomorrow I go in to the school for the first time, meet my contact person, get shown around etc and hopefully start on some of that pesky paperwork the French are so fond of. Then the rest of the week is made up of two training days and two class observation days. I am, frankly, terrified. At the orientation (which was conducted entirely in French, but which I think I mostly followed) they said you should expect to spend about 6 hours per week preparing lessons, which is fair enough - so that's 18 hours' work per week. They also belaboured the seriousness of the whole affair, thus terrifying me further. Deep breaths, I'll be fine.
I haven't seen much of Nice so far, at least not 'tourist Nice' - too busy running around trying to get a life. Yesterday, buying sheets, a towel, rubbish bin and a laundry basket and finally getting my room in order represented a huge achievement. My money supply is vanishing rapidly - we had to give 2 months' rent as a security deposit, plus 1 month rent in advance, total of 1050 euros, which represented probably two thirds of the money I had left. I'm dreading having to pay for things like my bus pass, but has to be done... Good news there is that I'll get 700 euros back at the end of the 7 months, supposing my landlady isn't evil and/or we don't burn the place down, so there's a little nest egg for whatever my next move will be after the assistantship.
Okay, I could probably ramble on further but I think I should publish now as my battery life is draining away - using the free wifi at McDonald's until such a time as we get the net at home... Talk soon I hope!
First of many views of my bedroom!
My very own balcony, one of 3 in our flat
View from our balcony, on the hills above Nice
View the other way from the balcony
Amuse! The French ACTUALLY have "match of ze day" ha ha!