So what have I been up to since mid January I hear you ask, well that is indeed a very good question. On January 21st the assistant girls packed up and headed to Amsterdam for a few days. This included a very moving walk around Anne Frank's house a very fun stumble round the Bols cocktail museum ending in a free cocktail of choice and two free shots. We went ice skating, danced to Punjabi MC and I managed to leave my entire makeup and toilet bag at the hotel. It was a wonderful weekend, with wonderful company.
I managed to return from Amsterdam with some form of Dutch plague, so marched myself to the doctors on the following Monday. I was given a giant prescription and a note giving me the rest of the week off work. Having spent the week resting I felt better by the time Saturday (my birthday) came around.
Both Rowan and my lovely Sheffield friend Alice came to help me celebrate and to my absolute shock/delight we stumbled upon my entire (almost) family sitting in the same restaurant we were going to for lunch. Coincidence? That sneaky Rowan Brunswick. So we had a wonderful lunch and day in Lille with my parents, grandparents and little brother then went home to prepare for the evening's party. Lots of Lille friends came and we danced, drank and had a lovely time. I was so sad to see my family leave on the Monday, as it had been so lovely to see them all again and I knew I wouldn't see them again until I leave France for good.
Everything in Lille plodded along after that weekend. School was fine, the weather was fine and my year abroad project was anything but fine.
Then we get to the winter break. Us lucky teaching assistants in France got a cheeky two week holiday from the 18th February to the 7th March. I decided to use this time wisely to get out and see some more of Europe. So my epic fortnight of travel begin with a 3am wake up call to get to Charleroi airport to fly to Turin. My friend Rachel from the Lakes works there as an assistant so agreed to take me up into the mountains for a few days to ski. I am pleased to say that after 6 or 7 years of not skiing, I still have my skillz :) Despite a poorly leg due to bad ski boots I had a cracking time. We went to two different resorts and skied some great slopes. I'd been really lucky because it had snowed just before I arrived and the slopes were parfait!
After a quick trip to Brussells I came back to Lille ready to head off AGAIN to Prague with the assistants. Lots of beer was involved and Hana and I became members of the Prague drinking team :) We went on a boat ride along the river and were given lots of gluhwein. The Charles Bridge was pretty spectacular especially discovering that Kanye had filmed a video on it, eh Hana? Downsides to the trip? The freezing weather, despite running like a mad person missing the Astronomical Clock and Alice being ill :( Highlights? The castle and stumbling across a Jacobean Ruff..... brought back so many memories.
So, a week of holidays had passed, another to go. Rowan's uncle was kind enough to let us stay in one of his flats in Neckagamund near Heidelberg for a few nights. It was so nice, really modern and well done up and it was, of course, in a beautiful location. We met up with Anna and Sean in Heidelberg and braved the Bergbahn up to the castle and beyond. I'm not going to lie, I was scared. We went on a lovely bike ride, ate lots of schnitzel and drank plenty of beer. It was a lovely relaxing few days.
For the last few days of my holidays were spent in Luxembourg city with Rowan. He booked us into a hotel for part of my birthday present which was a lovely surprise. We arrived to discover our room had been upgraded and then headed out for a walk around the park. We found the tourist office and went in to see what was going on in the city that weekend. Rowan was close to persuading me to go and see Stromae, of alors on danse fame, until we saw the 30Euro price tag, we opted for a night of tapas instead. The following day we lazily strolled around the market, looked around a museum and wandered around some ruins. Then went to a yummy mexican restaurant and enjoyed cocktails and burritos!
So now I'm back in Lille and counting down those last 5 weeks until I get to see all my lovely English lot again! In the mean time I have a project to do and a visit from miss Hannah Willis to look forward to.