The last day of school before the Christmas vacations is Friday, December 21. I will not be leaving for vacation immediately because most tourist attractions won't be open and it would just be more money spent on hotels. Also I have things to do!
Christmas Eve I will be attending Christmas Mass at the Eglise de St-Martin in Ussel with Blandine, one of the high school English teachers, and her family. I enjoy church services in French because it helps my listening skills, and because I get to sing in French which is silly. I will also be spending Christmas Eve with her family. Hopefully there will be some bûche de Noël.
Christmas Day I will be opening up the Christmas presents Mom and Dad sent. I will also be doing video chats via Skype with anyone available. Hopefully this means Mom, Dad, Peter, Nicholas, and Oma and whoever else is around. Christmas is hard without your family around, but they're always in my thoughts. :)
Wednesday, December 26 - Sunday, December 30:
Clermont-Ferrand is the big city around these parts. It is known for the mountains, being central, a little Roman history, and bleu cheese that is too good even for Buffalo wings.
I will be staying at Grand Hotel du Midi.
Sunday, December 30 - January 3:
Lyon is the third-largest city in France and the gastronomic capital. It is known for puppets, silk, bouchon restaurants, and hopefully museums and churches and other historical sites. I will be meeting up with Shannon and Mira, fellow assistants from way up north with whom I've been in regular internet contact for a few weeks now.
For the first night, I will be staying at the well-recommended youth hostel. When Shannon and Mira get there on the 31st, we will be moving to Hotel Normandie. Hooray for wifi, private bathrooms, and all sorts of starred hotel goodness! And double hooray for travel buddies! We will, among other things, ring in the New Year together like mature intelligent young ladies, eat entirely too much, and brainstorm the future February in Spain trip.
January 3 - January 5
Dijon is known for mustard, beef burgundy, and Burgundy wine. Hopefully there are also museums, churches, and pretty things for me and Shannon to look at (Mira may not be continuing).
We will be staying at Hotel Chateaubriand with the most pleasant hotel concierge I've ever spoken to on the phone.
And then I come home for six straight weeks of serious elementary English as a foreign language. I'm so psyched!!!