Cultural Guilt

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After almost 11 weeks in Paris, one of the things I’ve struggled with the most is the guilt of not making the most of my time here. When I’m relaxing after university, eating tinned soup and even when I’m studying I have the feeling that I could be using my time to see and experience more of Paris.

This feeling was growing towards the end of October as I’d spent a lot of the month worrying about and sorting wifi, my bank account and then even more so when I had a mid-term exam for each of my modules. Mid-terms at my host university count for about 20% of the module mark and normally take place between 18:00 and 20:00 in the evening. This is probably my peak procrastination time so really isn’t when I’d choose to take a relatively important test.  This meant staying in and studying for these, taking more time due to the language difference and resulting in more guilt. The other side of this is guilt for not studying. I was in a bit of a vicious cycle, yet to find a balance between everything.

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I will admit to a quick visit to Le Musée de l’Orangerie when I should have been studying.

However, with midterms over and everything finally sorted, I’m planning to assuage my guilt by getting some more cultural activities under my belt. The next week is looking hopeful with plans to visit the Catacombs of Paris as well as an organised run through the heart of Paris and a birthday party with lots of other Erasmus students.

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At the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

This past weekend also allowed me to experience some fantastic food and discover what there is to do in Paris other than visiting museums. Despite being vegetarian and most menus listing only meat and fish based meals, asking for a vegetarian alternative normally results in some delicious food. On top of the incredible food, a highlight of my weekend was seeing a classical music performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. This was a brand new experience for me and was such an exciting opportunity to get dressed up and discover something a bit different. With tickets as cheap as 5 € I think I’ll go again!

Finally, I was lucky enough to be invited for a meal in the Eiffel Tower, by far the coolest thing I’ve ever done. This was an experience of a lifetime made all the better by exceptional food, breath taking views and great company. While we were up on the second floor, the weather changed from rain to fog and then cleared to give an amazing sunset. This gave us some dreamy photos (see below) which I’ll be showing to people for a long time to come.

 

 

 

 

 

Moving to The City of Lights

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Bienvenue à mon Blog!

In the first of many blogs I want to fill you in on my experience of moving to a different country, trying to remember how to speak French (it seems the words disappear from your head when you want to use them) and starting at a University where everything isn’t quite as clear as Durham.

I was lucky enough to have my family help me move to Paris, and so my first few days here were filled with sightseeing and more importantly food shopping for when I moved into my temporary house. Note the word ‘temporary’, as in I haven’t found anywhere to live yet… This is but one of several things I still need to sort out. Given that I’ve only been in Paris for 11 days, I’ll let myself off.

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A classic Eiffel Tower selfie.

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Top 10 Moments (so far)

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15000762_1170867532969204_8375154948438180072_o-1Hello again fabulous readers!

As the semester is coming to a close (it’s the last week, where has the time gone?!) I thought it would be nice to go through my highlights of the semester. There is an unreal amount of great moments but I miraculously managed to narrow it down to 10 so you won’t get overwhelmed by how much fun I’ve had. Here goes…don’t forget to scroll over images! Continue reading

Blog 7: Happiness is a Cold Country

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This month I visited Stockholm, the beautiful city in Sweden which is the biggest in Scandinavia. One million people live there, which isn’t very much compared to say Berlin (at about three and a half million) or even Paris (at two million). In fact, considering it is the biggest city in Scandinavia it’s quite small. But that’s quite reflective of this part of the world. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is only a little bigger than Liverpool (although it has a far lower rate of Beatles/capita). In fact, the Nordic countries made up of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland (and a landmass that would make them the 7th largest country on Earth combined) are as highly populated as the South of England. Continue reading

Ways in which I am now a Japanese person

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I’m well into my second month here now, and I’ve begun to realise that I’m feeling very settled-in. …TOO settled-in.

The people of Tokyo have quite a distinct set of mannerisms to other places in the world, and I have definitely adopted basically all of them. I’ve been told several times BY Japanese people that I’m very Japanese, or have a Japanese spirit. It’s a relief to know that I fit in, especially since the white-person stereotype here is something along the lines of too loud, too open, socially tactless, overly-sexual, not Confucian in any way at all… Yeah, you get the picture. But I’m sure that when I return home, I will be renowned as the girl who acts really weird. So here is a brief account of what happens to you when you come here and you’re susceptible to picking up mannerisms… Continue reading

Just one more bake-off till Japan 

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That’s right, I measure time in Bake-Offs now.

As you may have guessed from the title, I am not yet in Japan. I’m still sat at home jealous of all the Australia year-abroaders who jetted off forever ago. But my departure is just a few tiny days away and now it’s definitely far more real! For the past eight months I’ve actually doubted that I would even get to Tokyo, dreaming up every ridiculous scenario ever that could possibly ruin my year abroad plan. I guess it felt too good to be true? Well, now everything is actually completely 100% sorted. I’ve even paid my first two months’ rent (to the detriment of my bank account lol). Anyway, since I’m not there yet, this is a blog entry dedicated to those little pre-departure things.  Continue reading