This year in general, and especially recently, I have been doing new things. After all, what is the fun of having a new life, new friends, new places, new jobs, etc, if you don't take it as an opportunity to change how you do things. So far in my new things list (in no particular order):
1) I play football most Sunday afternoons, with "the girls", who are mostly English or German.
Most of you will know that I am *not* a football fan and probably never will be but it's great fun to play.
2) I go to student parties to meet random French people (see a few posts back).
Not just that, I have also learned to drink beer and we have been to a 'peniche'.
3) I went rowing.
Once. Who knows if I'll go again, but it was jolly good fun!
4) I'm improving my snowboarding
(this is not entirely new but doesn't happen in Britain)
5) I've been to see both Snow Patrol and Razorlight live, in little French venues, which was fantastic. I probably ought to go to an entirely French gig at some point!
6) I go running with Claire (and sometimes Hattie)…
and the two of us are going to do a 10Km charity run in April!
7) I am expanding my knowledge of French music, gradually
with the help of Jérémie's enthusiasm
8) I am trying, for the second time in my life, to learn solfège (stupid foreign system of music notation)
oh and not least
9) I am teaching.
I have never wanted to become a teacher.
Number 10 in the new things list has got to be about doing voluntary work. Since Christmas on Bellecour there has been a colony of Quechua tents. And yes, it's been very cold. These are not some kind of freak tent-lovers, but homeless people that the state can't house, including a number of young people around our age. There was a lot of press about this at new year and so the colony has gradually got smaller as the city made an effort to house some of them, but the rest are now stuck there, and people have generally lost interest in them. The other day I was in Carrefour and realised that a single duvet cost only €10. A moment's thought told me that split between 6 of us, the cost of this was nothing, and so we could replace the old one we use for guests with a new one, and donate the old one to the tent people. So I got it, and last night Mylene and I popped over with the old one, and met a young couple. She was called Vanessa, I forget his name, and they were nice, normal people, to start with I even thought that he was helping out rather than living there! Intelligent, polite, really very normal. They've been homeless for two months (we didn't discover why–maybe we will next time), and in the tents for one, but they're not mad, or alcoholic, or dirty like a lot of the older tramps they live with. They were very grateful for the duvet and chatted to us for a while about life in the tents and how people were gradually losing interest and stopping bringing them food etc. Mylene and I, on our way back, wondered just how it was that they came to be there, but it certainly makes you think about how comfortably you're living, just two minutes away. We won't be wasting any food in this flat now! Interestingly, this venture came just a day after Claire and I had been talking about voluntary work and decided to investigate whether there was something we could help out with just one or two hours a week. Of course, we have dissertations to write, but if you're keen to do something new, as we all are this year, then this is a good way to go about it.