I’m not the most organised person. I will willingly admit this. However, when I took it upon myself to ship a maaaaassive suitcase full of my stuff home a two and a half weeks early, I felt proud.
Needless to say, things are not going to plan. Continue reading
There are probably a lot of things that shouldn’t be done, but I’d say that #1 on the nightmare list is losing your passport. But somebody’s got to do it, eh? Continue reading
As every good follower of old fishwives’ tales knows, bad things happen in threes. Recently, I left my phone in Wales, left my keys for my room in France at home and then my bag fell off my desk and smashed my laptop screen into a spider’s web. HOWEVER, on a positive note I think I’ve used up pretty much all my bad luck for a good few months because everything else is going very extra well. Continue reading
It would be impossible to be ignorant of the events that have pushed France to crisis point in the past couple of weeks. As the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris were attacked, I was on a plane making its way to Charles de Gaulle airport. I got off the other side, picked up my luggage, made my way across Paris on the metro and back to Rouen after a few delayed and cancelled trains. But it wasn’t until I was sitting in the back of a taxi listening to the radio that I learned the full scale of what had happened that day, Wednesday 7th of January 2015. Continue reading
Don’t worry, I haven’t actually started exercising or anything.
HOWEVER, the most common questions I get from my friends and family are related to that ever-present elephant in the room – the language barrier. Coming from a non language degree background it’s even a bit of a mystery to me as to how I’m doing this, but seriously why not just throw yourself in at the deep end from time to time? There’s no better way to be learn a language than to be immersed in it and I’d been learning (/attempting to learn) French for such a long time that coming on a year abroad was really a last ditch attempt at being able to communicate in the language.
The best way I’ve found to describe the actual work side of things so far, is probably that it’s not so much ‘UNAAAAY’ as ‘university.’ – emphasis on the full stop. Hopefully this gives a sufficiently clear impression to most people.
My sensitisation to all things French actually began this summer when I spent a month living with my good friend Lorène. I was meant to be learning about Indian culture and life, but she probably educated me a lot more. She was constantly direct – no need to worry about crossed wires – and also stylish. This sums up most french people very accurately. Especially in Paris! everyone in Paris is good-looking or, at the very least, they know how to dress. At least I knew what was in store from an early stage.
Okay, so I’m two and a half weeks in now and I don’t even really know where to start! I felt relatively well prepared for french bureacracy before I arrived, but it’s so slap-dash that you never actually know what’s around the corner. I’d put money on it that the saying ‘expect the unexpected’ came from someone who was dealing with the French. If I start at the beginning, I basically lucked out on my first day here. That morning leaving Paris, I got an email saying that there was an email with my file and so I had to provide more documentation. Problem…? Yep. I had my details filed away, but my mum and dad’s stuff was all back at home and CROUS claimed that I wouldn’t have anywhere to live until they got them. This all led to a stressed out train journey sans Wifi and trawling the university campus until I found the administration building. To top it all off, there wasn’t actually a problem just the first of many miscommunications and so the director whisked me the the front of the queue without an appointment and handed me my room keys there and then. Nailed it.
So I’m currently on a plane to another country, about to start studying a subject at university that I’ve never had any experience of before – but I’ve got déjà vu.