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First cuckoos

I heard my first cuckoo of spring last Thursday, and another one this morning. The warmer mornings have been much welcome for me, although I would appreciate a run of a week of blue skies. I sat out in the garden this afternoon and although I was in a jumper and t-shirt, it was so lovely to feel warm again in ways that didn’t involve duvets and electric blankets. You’d think a northern girl would be more used to the damp and the cold, but I’ll take blue skies and warm spring afternoons any time.

Although spring might be on its way, it certainly feels like there are some hurdles ahead in the year. This week we will all learn what Brexit means… a cloud that has been hanging over us for 9 months: a pregnant pause indeed. I just want to know now what it all means. I want to know how it impacts my life here, how it would impact my life in the UK. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a foot in both countries, and that uncertainty has left me restless indeed.

And it looks as though the final two for the French election will represent a France that is worlds apart. On the one hand, Macron with En Marche! and on the other, the terrifying figure of Marine Le Pen. After Brexit and Trump, I’m sure we’re all of the opinion that anything could happen.

Personally, I will end up more in the UK this year, as work pulls me back. Changes to the GCSE syllabus under the reign of Michael Gove led to sweeping changes once again at GCSE. That too makes me a little nervous, though I have every faith that it will work out okay for the students. It’s little wonder my books are full of UK students wanting lessons by Skype, and fewer English-speaking French-based students. If the UK leaves Europe, the reality will be that there will be much less of a prerogative to speak English as a second language. I think my French students here are committed to a life where English is necessary, if only for the research and science. I personally find myself struggling for translations of books and research into French and I wonder just how easy it would be to study entirely in French at an advanced level if your subject is research-based. Much as I would have liked to study in French, it seems futile when most of the research is in English, be it Hungarian, Japanese, Dutch, Australian, American or British in origin. There also seem to be fewer parents of English-speaking students who are wanting to invest in ensuring their child’s bilingualism. Perhaps it matters less in a world where we’re being forced to choose where our allegiances lie. Personally, I feel like I have one foot on dry land and another firmly in a boat that is drifting further and further away. Either it’ll split me in two or I’ll end up falling flat on my face.

As for the cuckoo, how joyous indeed to be born into a world where none of this rests in your mind. How tempting it is to enjoy those single moments of sunshine and live in the moment, without worrying at all about what is to come.

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