Bonsoir mes amis!
I am pretty exhausted tonight (not going to lie!) but I have decided to update my blog as I have realised that since I have been in Grenoble I have told you a lot more about traveling than about my time in the work placement. Therefore, I have decided that it is time to give you more of an insight into what I am getting up to the majority of the time! This week has been a challenging and interesting week in many ways so I thought it would be a good one to share with you!
It started off with me working the whole weekend alone in the hostel! And when I say alone, I mean absolutely no other member of staff there to back me up if anything went wrong! So yes, just imagine the terrified British intern arriving at the reception desk at 8am on Saturday with five lots of eight and a half hours of constant communication in French and using a VERY complicated computer system ahead of her! That was me! In fact, although there have been other members off staff around on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I have still tackled the task of running reception alone which now feels quite rewarding but was honestly pretty stressful at times. I even felt like curling up in a ball and crying sometimes but luckily held that in and can now sit here and tell you all about it. So this is the story of my linguistically stimulating yet rather chaotic five days at reception unaccompanied.
Although working alone seemed scary and daunting to start with, I told myself on Friday night that I had already proven to myself that I could just about manage running reception for eight and a half hours at a time with people in the offices behind me. However, I couldn't help but feel that something was bound to go wrong on the day that an English intern was running the hostel. Unfortunately, I'm afraid to say that my feelings were correct. I know I have already told you about this incident in my last blog post but I am going to tell you about it in more detail now that I am focusing on my adventures at work.
Saturday morning was quite busy in terms of the number of phone calls and customers at the desk that I dealt with but was running smoothly with nothing out of the ordinary occurring. It felt good because I was getting in a lot of French practice and also having to make very rapid decisions on the spot which is not one of my strong points in life. This productive and motivating atmosphere continued until about 2pm (6 and a half hours into my shift!!!) when the fire alarm went off completely unexpectedly! As you can probably imagine, it was very hard for me to keep calm with this situation on my hands because I had about 200 people staying in the building who's safety was in my hands! I therefore decided off the top of my head that the best thing to do would be to evacuate the building. I therefore went around asking all of the clients to go outside whilst I went to check where abouts in the building there was a problem. When I saw on the screen of the alarm system that the cause was in chambre 207, I was still panicking so could only think of phoning the boss on her home phone number and finding out firstly how to stop the alarm, and secondly how to go about sorting the issue out. I spoke to her in a massive state of panic and she told me to go and check the room that was causing the alarm to go off and that the alarm would turn off automatically if there was not a fire. Once I realised that the alarm had gone off as a result of a client having a shower with their bathroom door open, I felt slightly embarrassed about the fact that I had evacuated the building and would have to tell everyone to come back inside. I was so relieved that it was nothing though!
The next three days were much less chaotic to my relief! There were some things that I didn't know the answer to and taking food payments continued to be stressful as I had to work out numbers in my head very quickly but it was fine so that is the main thing! I also ended up breaking into a toilet cubicle with a pair of scissors in order to save a woman who was locked inside which was strange and a little amusing too! These things happen I guess!
Now that it is all done I can safely say that it was not too bad on the whole. There were a few things that I either did badly or didn't know how to do but I am going to continue reminding myself that I am an intern and therefore cannot expect to be able to do everything. In terms of the language, these last few days have been fantastic for my French and I look forward to doing more shifts similar to those in order to continue building my confidence and preparing myself for my oral exams when I get back to Bangor! But for now, I will say goodnight as I feel like I have quite a lot of sleep to catch up on. But please do take a look at the 'photos-Grenoble/Rhone-Alpes' page in the meantime as you will find lots of photos of my travels there!
A tout a l'heure!