This one's pretty self-explanatory: things I'm going to miss, and things I can't wait to get back to! You can tell I'm about to finish my year and head back to the UK due to the sheer number of blog posts coming your way at the moment: I'm trying to squeeze them all in before I leave!
Great Frenchy things:
- speaking French and seeing my language improve. I genuinely learn something every day, and there's nothing like being in the country to feed your enthusiasm for the language!
- restaurants. There's this one pizzeria in Rennes that we go to all the time (seriously, they recognise us in there now) which is cheap, friendly and the pizza there is potentially the best I've ever had. Then there's the crêperies: crêpes in the UK just aren't the same as French ones, and the savoury galettes are fairly unique to Brittany
|Our final visit to the pizzeria|
- shopping. I've bought quite a few souvenirs from my time in France, but I'm really going to miss a few shops in particular when I'm home...
- this cute little shop that sells kitchen things and really French-looking tins
- a shop similar to Boots called Yves Rocher which does the best nail varnishes: amazing colours, they last all week and they're only €3
- the Breton brand shop à l'aise breizh, which has so many nice clothes among other things
- France's answer to HMV/Waterstones called fnac, and the easy access to a wide range of fiction books in French, both original French works and translated ones
|My pile of souvenirs|
- bread and cheese, pastries. I don't think I need to explain this one: France is the king of bread, cheese and pâtisserie
- travelling at weekends. There's such a mindset on YA that if you have a free weekend, you hop on a train or even a plane and go and explore somewhere new. It took me a while to get in to, but now I love that I've seen so many places I probably wouldn't have gone to otherwise, and the freedom of just deciding to go for a weekend in the South of France and being able to do it is amazing!
- trains. French trains are spacious, efficient, comfortable, and easy-to-use, and because the system is nationalised the trains and ticket system are the same over the whole country, making travelling really easy! The only system I think the French beat us at hands down
|My set-up on the long journey to Metz|
- living in another culture, and feeling really British. My sister laughed at me when she came to stay and we walked past a British shop, and I almost cried seeing Cath Kidston and Pip Studio stuff. For me this year these little glimpses of home have been so exciting and nostalgic because they're so rare, and I love it when French people ask me about the UK or how to say something in English and feeling really British
Great British (see what I did there) things:
- everyone speaking English. Although I'm so much more confident in French now, there's nothing like the feeling of walking in to anywhere in the UK and knowing you can immediately understand and be understood
- being at home. Again although I'm more comfortable in France and the French culture than I ever thought I could be in a country that wasn't my own, there really is no place like home. I can't wait to not feel foreign and different, but be back with my own people!
- friends and family: this is the biggest one. I genuinely could not be more excited to be back with my parents and my sister, and then with my uni friends, and to know I don't have to leave them again in a week. It's going to be the best!!
|The last time our whole family was together!|
- people apologising. French people generally don't seem to have much spacial awareness, whereas British people will pretty much always move to let each other past, and if heaven forbid a British person accidentally bumps into another British person they'll both apologise about ten times. Yes it's excessive, but I miss it
- uni. I've got to say, after this year I'm convinced that university in the UK really is the best in the world, and especially campus unis. In my opinion, the teaching is generally better quality, you're more encouraged to think for yourself and take hold of your own degree, and the experience of moving out of home, living with your friends, everyone being based on campus, and the sheer number of societies and social events just make British student life unlike anything else. If I loved it before, I love it even more now!
- pubs and Devon cider. I don't think a proper British pub can truly be replicated outside of our grey, tea-obsessed island, with its unique atmosphere and character and good, cheap food. And I miss real Devon cider so much
- National Trust places and English bookshops. These are two of my favourite weekend activities, and again they just don't exist in France. I can't wait to go back to all my favourite National Trust places (for free I might add, because I'm a member) and spend hours in the tea shops drinking real tea and eating cake (I've given up ordering tea in France, it's always a disappointment) and peruse the shelves of Waterstones for hours on end. So if you need me in the next few weeks, that's probably where I'll be
|Technically not National Trust, but still one of my favourite|
places in the whole world: Jane Austen's house