And thus it ends, on its 27th blog post my year abroad saga is coming to a close. ‘Franglais the day away’ will remain the title and URL of my blog, but my blog will no longer be about my year abroad (which is now finished!) – I will keep all of my year abroad posts on my page of course, but just transition this blog into a blog about my action-packed summer this year, and my final year at university come September. Then after I finish university next year, who knows the direction in which my blog will go! So yes, you can’t get rid of me that easily.. I am going to continue blogging!
Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase now.. so my year abroad is officially over. My parents and I had a fantastic weekend in Grenoble last week, and it was the best possible way to end my dreamy 9 months in Grenoble. We had ice cream in the afternoon, cocktails in the main square (Victor Hugo) then had crêpes for dinner on Saturday, then on Sunday we had a beautiful breakfast at Pain et Cie, for lunch we had the most delicious salads at Tonneau de Diogène – a brasserie with 27 different types of beer available.. so of course we each had a lunchtime pint, then we had ice cream that afternoon too, followed by a perfect dinner at Ferme à Dédé which is the most typically French restaurant you can find in Grenoble; it’s so quaint and lovely.
(My Dad loves a good selfie)
On top of all the yummy food we did also do lots of exploring because my parents don’t know Grenoble particularly well; of course we walked up to the top of the Bastille and it was the most perfect weather for it, so we got some fab pictures. After a busy Saturday and Sunday, at 6.30am on Monday morning Mum and Dad drove to my residence and we packed the car up (early risers us Collyers!!) and we had left my residence by 8am in order to go back to Mum and Dad’s rather suave hotel in the city centre for showers and a buffet breakfast yaaasss! Does my life appear to revolve around food? Yes, it really does.
At about 9.30am we set off on the road heading north; the journey wasn’t so bad apart from some traffic around the Dijon area, and we got to Saint Quentin at a rather sociable time that evening. We went to Buffalo Grill for dinner as we were all knackered and this restaurant happened to be just opposite the hotel and required minimal effort.. a big juicy burger and a plateful of fries later, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. We set off the next morning to get to the Channel Tunnel, it only took us 2 hours to get there from St Q so we arrived early, got put on an earlier crossing than the one we had reserved, and boom off we went to England!
The drive home the other side was slightly more strenuous.. English motorways are way worse than French ones anyway, and the sheer amount of traffic on the M25 was barmy. To cut a long story short (I haven’t done a good job of cutting this story short at all), we got home in one piece, just all in severe need of sleep. A massive thank you to both my parents for coming over to get me, and for all their continuous support whilst on my year abroad – it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be half the person I am now without them behind me 24/7.
It felt strange to be back at home, I’d even forgotten where certain things go in the kitchen (mainly because the new kitchen was only finished in October…), but I soon got back into the swing of things. The day after I got home I went straight back to work at my summer job; keeping myself busy from the word go since arriving home was definitely the right thing to do because it kept my emotions at bay. It’s such an emotional experience moving back home after a year in another city that you learn to call home. However, I’m already looking back on my experience in Grenoble with nothing but a smile on my face and happy memories.
Also, managing to get down to Southampton for a night to see Jen and by chance some old uni friends was so enjoyable and made me realise how much I love being at university in Southampton – I cannot wait to get back there in September! I had a brill 24h in Soton with the best hostess ever (thank u Jen) and I’m so glad I managed to fit it in before I jet off again. A night out in Switch was just what the Doctor ordered and although it was surreal to go back to nightlife in Southampton after having spent 9 months in French bars and bizarre clubs, it was fab. A picnic and a pint of pimms in the sun on campus the morning after our night out was dreamy.
A year abroad really does change your outlook on things, develop you as a person, make you realise what’s important in life and most of all it completely throws you in at the deep end and you have to find your way on your own two feet. If you ever get given the chance to spend a year abroad, I really could not recommend it enough. I have come back feeling prouder and more accomplished than I ever thought I would, and feeling those two things makes all the struggles you encounter whilst on your year abroad worthwhile.
Anyhow… straight onto my next adventure, I start my interrailing journey this Thursday with Naomi in Lisbon and I could not possibly be more excited for it. I’m finalising my packing tomorrow.. yes I think I am actually going to be able to make it all fit into a backpacking rucksack.. go me! I have the most amazing summer ahead of me and so I’m celebrating the end of my year abroad in style really.. by simply going abroad again, but just to multiple different countries! I am all set up for the most unforgettable summer and therefore entire year of my life really if you include my year abroad.
Goodness knows when my next blog post will be, I won’t be taking my laptop with me interrailing, and typing out a 1000+ word blog post on my phone could be very strenuous so maybe it’ll be when I return to England at the end of June.. who knows!
On a final note, in the last 2 weeks this beautiful country has been targeted twice, in two different cities, by senseless and barbaric murderers; attacks that have torn apart both families and communities. I want to send all my love and wishes to anyone who has been affected and I cannot even imagine the pain that you are all experiencing at this time, no one ever deserves to go through what you have gone through, but you are all so so strong. I also want to say how utterly proud I am to live in this country, and how proud I am to be British – our recovery after incidents like this really is something beautiful. Us Brits get back up and stand together as one; we are still able to radiate so much love (eg. One Love Manchester) and overrule any hatred that has been fired at us. Furthermore, our emergency services are in utter need of neverending praise, they put their lives on the line for us and they give this country the care, security and hope it needs at the times it needs it most. Let’s hope that one day all of our love put together is enough to change the minds of those who decide to hate us.
Thank you for reading everyone, adios! X