The funny things that happened to me this week:
- A man nearly stabbed me (with the sharp end of his umbrella)
- I threw my disposable contact lense packet into the toilet instead of the bin (then had to fish it out..)
- I tripped face-first over a massive rock and have bruised all down my shins and my feet – the rock was knee-height and I still didn’t see it, Specsavers c’mon now…
- This is more of a sad thing – I have run out of Baked Beanz and my heart is breaking because I cannot get any more until I go back home at Christmas
So, my first night back in Grenoble after a week in England got off to a great start, we got tacos delivered literally to the bedroom door, bless the charmer of a Deliveroo guy for the A* in effort. It was absolutely fab not actually having to move anywhere in order to get a takeaway, maybe not so fab for my health though. I’ve since had another taco this week as well, so I think my Grenoble taco count is now up to 6? And it is definitely going to increase significantly more and more this year, they are to-die-for. I am aware I mention tacos a lot but really, you all need to try one then you’ll see why I’m so obsessed..
Now, it’s time for me to be a bit grotesque, sorry. I’m going to start off with the BO stereotype, YES, it seems as if a lot of French people do not know what deodorant is or how to use it. When you’re packed onto a tram like sardines, the slightest gust of air just brings an almighty shockwave of BO right up your nose, ew. Next, the mixed-gender toilets.. I really cannot get used to the fact that on campus, we have to use the same toilets as smelly boys (granted, girls can be smelly too) and boy-oh-boy the smell of urine is minging, and it just feels weird going to the loo in the same place as boys?! Now I sound properly British pahhh, be proud of me Queen Lizzie. Furthermore, there appears to be a massive lack of toilet seats in France, I mean toilet seats just don’t seem to be the norm here?? It’s either sit on the cold porcelain, or squat and hover. I actually had to go out to IKEA and buy a toilet seat for my ensuite when I moved into my halls, honestly what do the French have against toilet seats??
Enough of the toilet (lack of) humour, it’s now time to let you guys in on the reality of the last week. The whole purpose of this blog is that I’m truthful about my year abroad, and basically, it really is ok not to be ok. Emotionally, the last week has been my biggest struggle yet; I’ve felt quite alone and anxious and although I’m surrounded by lovely people, there’s still nothing like being surrounded by your best friends at home who know you inside-out. I’ve had a lot of issues with my French bank account and card, and the language barrier always worries me with banking stuff in particular as it’s such an important thing. Also, as per, I’m worried I’ll be laughed at for saying the wrong thing or something like that – some French people really do think English people are so dumb and even when you’re trying so hard it still feels like you’re being ridiculed sometimes. I’ve still not got a proper daily routine or sleeping pattern, or even eating pattern; my life continues to be a bit jumbled really. Going home for a week was great but now I almost miss home comforts and my friends and family even more; I’m not trying to come across as ungrateful whatsoever because I am so happy to have this Erasmus opportunity, but there are always going to be moments where you wish you were at home, or where you just need a big cry to get it all out of your system, and I’ve had my fair share of those moments this past week. Also, my year abroad project is very much stationary, I really have not been doing any work on it as I’ve been focusing on classwork instead, and now I have less than two weeks to do the tasks that are due in, balls..
Despite all the negativity bouncing around in my head I still had a good weekend, although Evie and I turned up to the supermarket on Saturday evening to find the majority of the shelves empty – because France effectively goes into lockdown on Sundays, everyone does a panic shop on Saturday evenings. So no baguettes for us and baguettes are life really. We then went out on Saturday night for Laura’s birthday and of course I was the one who bought rounds of raspberry vodka shots, I’m such a bad influence, woops. We lost track of time and proceeded to miss the last tram home by about an hour (we really did lose track of time) so I had to walk home in my new gorgeous heeled boots, which look nice but holy cow did my feet hurt after the hour-long walk home.
A lovely river we came across whilst exploring a new part of Grenoble on Monday:
On a completely unrelated but positive note, I have FINALLY got a completed and signed learning agreement, it’s only taken 2 months since I actually started studying here.. Both Southampton and Grenoble uni have been as bad as eachother with signing learning agreements and that has been very frustrating as I spent so long picking my modules and making my own timetable here, only for my learning agreement to just be forgotten about really. But it’s done, finitoooo and I am so relieved.
On another unrelated note, we have had SO much rain in Grenoble recently, and today we finally got some snow!! A dull grammar lesson was made much more interesting by the fact that I could stare at the snow falling all lesson, I’m still a little kid who gets SO excited by snow, yes. Unfortunately, the snow was mixed in with sleety rain so none of it settled but it definitely means that the mountains are getting more and more covered for ski season (which I am beyond excited for)! I know that Grenoble is going to look even more beautiful in the winter when we have heavy snowfalls and I cannot wait. I brought all my ski stuff back with me from England last week in my hand luggage, and had the joy of looking like a fashionista in public by wearing my massively chunky walking boots because trying to fit them into my hand luggage was really never going to work.
All in all, a week that has really opened my eyes to just how difficult it can sometimes be to live abroad. I’m really going to try and find more effective ways of dealing with my anxiety and nerves, and I need to remember that I’m doing just fine – completing a year abroad is a great achievement and I figure that once I’ve done this year, I can pretty much tackle anything. So, time to explore some new coffee shops, some new bars, some gorgeous walks in the mountains, and just remind myself how truly lucky I am to be in such an amazing part of the world.