Counting down…

25 Nov

The past couple of weeks seem to have been taken over by the sudden influx of work I’ve been given since half term. Along with obscene amounts of translation each week, I’ve been attempting to start a linguistics essay every weekend since the end of October, but only managed to actually get going on Wednesday. As is always the case, it’s surprising how much other stuff you can get done when you really need to write an essay. Hence why my room is now tidy and I’ve finally managed to relace the Converses I undid to put in the washing machine 18 months ago.

A few recent highlights include the Établissement Français du Sang setting up camp at the uni for a few days last week. This seems like a genius idea, as setting up on campus right by the tram stop meant everyone knew about it and there was a massive amount of interest. I try to give blood as often as I can in Bristol, but this always means trekking up to the zoo of all places. England could definitely take a leaf out of France’s books on how to get donation levels up.

I was amused by the choice of taglines used to try and lure potential donors in: instead of being called don de sang (blood donation), which would imply that it’s voluntary, it was called collecte du sang (literally ‘blood collection’) which put the image in my head of some sort of blood taxman coming to chase up all those who hadn’t given their fair share yet this year. The subheading translated along  the lines of  ‘give blood to receive it’ which hopefully was more of a suggestion than an enforced rule!

Being a massive lover of all things festive, November is the time when frosty days where I can see my breath remind me that it’s not long to go, and combined with going to see the lights in town in the evening, I start to feel decidedly Christmassy. Here however, the temperature has stubbornly remained in the low teens, with no signs of dropping in the next couple of weeks. Like an ungrateful teenager who complains about getting the wrong car for Christmas, recently anyone I have encountered has been moaned at about the relatively mild, pleasant sunny weather, when what I really want is icy roads and frosty trees. I’ll probably regret wishing for a white Christmas when a freak snowstorm prevents me from getting home in 4 weeks!* Either that or the world will actually end on the 21st, a day before my flight, which will be a bit of a setback.

On a similarly gloomy note (don’t worry I’m saving the cheery things until later), one thing that has become very clear since having had a few exams is how hostile some French students are towards Erasmus students. Despite the fact that most of them will be heading on years abroad themselves, they have been known to point-blank refuse to sit next to us, and openly swear when put into groups to work with us. I’d like to think at Bristol the students are pretty welcoming to Erasmus students, trying to get them involved socially and helping them out in class with any tricky vocab/misunderstandings. Here I’ve found that the only students willing to talk to us are other Erasmus students from different countries (we all tend to stick together and speak bad French at each other) or mature students.

A lot of us have had to put up with some pretty childish behaviour, such as French students getting stroppy and having a go at the teacher over us being allowed French monolingual dictionaries in exams (given that these exams were usually translations between French and another foreign language, this seems fair right?)

One a more positive note, last Saturday a group of us went to see The xx live, one of my favourite bands. I was so happy to find out they were playing here, although I found the venue was a bit big for their genre of music, they seem more suited to intimate gigs. Here are some terrible quality photographs which won’t really give you a great sense of what it was like:

On Friday we went to the opening day of the Christmas market, which was lovely although a little bit small and lacking in a certain German-ness we had all been hoping for. Still, I got my fill of crepes and mulled wine (just called vin chaud here). Most of the Christmas lights are on in town now, and what’s nice is that not just the main areas of town are lit up, but also lots of side streets and areas further out. I managed to get a few shots although I’ll definitely be making another trip specifically to go look at lights!

In the continued theme of Christmas, only 1 month to go!

 

*Update: I intended on posting this yesterday, but the countdown now stands at 3 weeks 6 days.

Sights of the day

At the tuck shop on campus (didn’t know about it until last week) they sell lots of weird items individually, such as tampons, plastic cutlery, and those little lemon handwipes that are usually free on planes. While shopping with Lucy we found this single KitKat bar…for those times when a whole KitKat is just too much?

I finally got to fulfil my wish to eat a Royale with Cheese from a French MacDonald’s (actually just called a Royal Cheese here, I’m guessing the double whammy of trying to pronounce a ‘w’ and ‘th’ in the same word is a bit tricky for many French people). For those of you who don’t know what this is a reference to, you really need to get up to date with pop culture. Here’s an explanation. I have to say that the beef here, even in a Maccy D’s burger, is amazing. Far superior to the English version. Plus you can have a Heineken as part of the meal deal.

Yesterday I got on to a crowded tram and found myself standing next to a cardboard box with a few small holes in, and noticed I could see something moving inside. Combined with the pungent smell of pet shop, I assumed there was some poor animal trapped in there waiting to be turned into a roast dinner. After a few minutes it moved enough to stick some feather’s out, so I’m guessing it was a chicken. You’d never get away with bringing live poultry on the tube.

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One Response to “Counting down…”

  1. chyroch November 25, 2012 at 19:18 #

    Because of the metric system.

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