Intense….

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The month-long intensive English training ‘gig’ has come to an end. It was indeed very intense but I think everyone (including myself) learned a great deal. My lovely trainees presented me with a basket of yummy local goodies on the last day…..I think I must have mentioned my interest in food at some stage!?

In my experience, many French folk think that they have the poorest English skills in Europe. There are probably many factors contributing to this belief (fact?). In any case, teaching English here needs to include a big dose of psychology, along with humor, role plays…..and a little grammar.

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I attended my ‘Ceremonie de Naturalisation’ where I, and 30 or so others, sang the French national anthem (or at least moved our lips) , shook hands with the local Prefet*, received documents regarding what it means to be a French citizen (which included -somewhat belatedly –  the words to the national anthem), and toasted the occasion with a glass of champagne. It was a really nice event which balanced ceremony with conviviality .

However, in the very same week that I was officially welcomed into French society, I saw these flyers posted on cars parked in our town as I walked to the local market:img_8318img_8319img_8317

Following what seems to be a world-wide trend, many people seem to be looking for scapegoats or to be wishing they could go back to ‘the good old days’ rather than looking for solutions for the future. This is a concern as there will be the French presidential elections in April next year.

At least I’ll be able to vote this time!

Meanwhile my dad was whisked into hospital to investigate blood clots on the lung. The tests took a week but did not reveal the cause. The doctors were able to find treatment to reduce the symptoms.

He is feeling better and I send a big THANK YOU to friends and family for their support. The bad news is that long haul aeroplane travel will no longer be an option for him…..which puts an end to our plans to have him visit here in France 😦

*’The prefect (prefet) is somewhat of an odd entity: standing between central and local government, their official role is to ensure local branches of state services function properly and they represent the state and ministers.’ 
‘Often spotted in their official uniforms at opening ceremonies, commemorations and other important events, prefects are public figures but there is a lot more to them than meets the eye. Besides running what amounts to their own business with between 300 and 1,000 staff, the prefects have three main missions: to work with the police and the gendarmerie coordinating security issues; to manage the local branches of state services and their contacts with local government; and to work with different local bodies and companies to support the economy and pass on information on local affairs’.

‘Today, their role is to act on behalf of the government, defend the national interest in their area and implement the government’s policies, free of political pressure’: http://www.connexionfrance.com/prefet-france-what-do-they-do-10662-news-article.html  

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4 comments on “Intense….

  1. Jérôme says:

    Hi Jenny
    Glad to see that you’ve become my “compatriote”. But please do not push your integration too far and keep your differences and fresh view on who we are (the “we” including you now). Enjoy!
    Happy Christmas to you, Sébastien, Blanche and Antoine. Hope to see you soon to celebrate

  2. johnshess says:

    Welcome to the French Citizens With Strong Accents club, of which I am the founding President ! ;p Very interesting to see how the ceremony has changed since I got my papers in 2001. Then, naturalization was relatively easy, but it was also uninspiring. I was summoned out of the blue to the Tribunal, and summarily given my papers by the presiding magistrate. There was certainly no champagne. I’m not sure he even shook my hand !

    • That’s interesting. The Prefet actually spent time talking about the length of the naturalisation process. Given that the requirements have become so tough, the champagne was well deserved. I’m not sure what you mean about ‘strong accent’ …everyone assumes I was born here (ha ha)

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