Au Revoir Angleterre

À la every other language student, I am attempting a blog to document my year abroad as an English language assistant in Colmar, France. As a resident technophobe (look no further than my friend of 17 years, Sarah, for confirmation!) this will probably be something of une catastrophe, but it’s the thought that counts, n’est-ce pas?

The pre-departure panic has begun; admittedly this is not helped by my parents’ incessant need to visit Wales and our house that has intermittent wi-fi, is disconnected from the gas, and has an electric immersion heater deemed ‘unsafe’ for use en ce moment. Parfait.

After a day’s successful packing (and with almost everything packed, JE SUIS ENCORE SOUS LA LIMITE POUR LES BAGAGES EN SOUTE!) it feels like these last few days are going to go by at une vitesse similar to a rocket’s take off. I have known (due to endless emails from my school/the British Council/easyjet) that (in the words of the most recent easyjet email) “it’s really not long until your trip to Basel” but until this last week, it hadn’t really hit me that this was all real.

Then it began to hit me that, comme d’habitude, I’d forgotten beaucoup de français during the holidays. Maybe I should have actually kept the good intentions of reading Le Monde and noting down potentially useful (mais probablement, inutile) vocabulary for future use. Besides that, I am also questioning my competency in my langue maternelle. After several electives in which I attempted to learn the very things I will have to teach to French children this year, it appears little of it has sunk in. I strongly doubt I will become a “grammar expert” (exact words used by a lecturer to describe the international students who had a better grasp of English grammar than those of us who spoke it as a first language), but hopefully I can avoid a total disaster. Maybe that extra space in my suitcase should be used to bring along une dictionnaire.

Saying goodbye is a strange thing; yet stranger when you consider some of your friends may no longer be in Leeds upon your return. Pour mes amis in Chester, it has meant I am now a plane, bus and train ride away, rather than a trip on the Transpennine Express train service (which is in fact far from an express service. Proof: my flight to Basel takes the same length of time as my usual train from Chester to Leeds. Ironique, n’est-ce pas?). My sister is probably the only one who gets excited about these things – I hope purely because she likes a good excuse to make cake, and not because she can’t wait to be rid of me.

For those who know me well, I have eating habits which are totalement bizarres. My Dad has spent the last year mocking me, wondering how I will survive in France sans fish fingers. Ironically, I have discovered that mon appartement n’a pas un four (therefore no fish fingers will be eaten). Not only am I without iPlayer (and thus en train de mourir sans The Great British Bake Off) but I also have no oven. This means only one thing: after growing up without a microwave, I now have to master how to use one (as second year housemates can attest to, I once attempted to heat up wraps with the microwave on the defrost setting…il n’y a pas d’espoir pour moi).

So, as I prepare to miss the quarter finals of the GBBO, board the first flight of my life alone, and embark on what tout le monde says is “the best year of your life”, au revoir, et à bientôt…

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