Week 8 Au revoir, la France!

August 25, 2015
My ruby slippers are on, and I've clicked my heels three times. There's no place like home, I've announced. The week of my departure is upon us. Like Dorothy, I too am saying goodbye (or au revoir, in my case) to a magical place and I'm not 100% sure how to feel about this. The city lights are calling but I'm finding myself grasping onto the vineyards of the Dordogne, reluctant to let go of the simplicity of life here. I've not made any real plans for nine weeks now, just taken each day as it comes, whereas already I have so many plans with people back home upon my return- the contrast of lives has hit me hard.

Charlotte tried her hardest to teach me Dutch...
In the past 2 months, I've learnt a lot about the country with so many cheeses and their language of love, particularly the inconvenience of it. For example, there is no word for heart burn in French so explaining that you have a pain in your chest thanks to too much rich food leaves the French believing you have a broken heart. Not quite what I'd been wanting to say. Furthermore, the language of love may sound beautiful on the ears but what they're saying doesn't always seem right, especially to an anglophone - another example, after reading Harry Potter in French, I noticed that Tom Marvelo Riddle's name has been changed to Tom Elvis Jedusor. Elvis. Now, either the mother of the most villainous and powerful wizard also frequented to the same corner shop (owned by an Elvis) that my mum did growing up, or Madame Jedusor was a big fan of Mr Presley. Harry Potter aside, what I'm trying to say here is that the French language is a funny thing which sounds beautiful but is sometimes frankly a bit silly.

I shan't miss getting hit on by French chavs
I've never really believed that you think in one language- in my opinion, they all blend into one and you just have to understand that certain words don't work very well with others. Speaking French for the majority of the summer has only encouraged my beliefs. What started out as Franglais for me has now because (mostly) French, and I'm no longer just an expert on topic specific vocabulary. Speaking three languages is great because I'm a nosey bugger and hate not knowing what people are saying, but I would definitely say that English people are at an advantage. Whilst it is a well known (and slightly embarrassing) fact that English people can generally only speak the language of their county, people abroad-not just in France- are literally falling over you in order to practise their English. People want to learn from an actual English person, and consider your accent adorable. Although I will reiterate, it is embarrassing that most of the country speak only English (and some struggle with that) and expect the rest of the world to understand, so if you have just a tiny want to learn another language, do it. It'll be in the top best 5 things that you've ever done. 

Goodbye beautiful sunsets

What am I looking forward to about home, I hear you ask. A thing that I'm not sure I ever really quite appreciated enough in England is the paucity of insects and animals around the household. I don't think I've ever seen a snake in the wild in England, nor have I been unlucky enough to have lived in a house with mice. Here however, for the past nine weeks, I've woken up to a variety of animals running around our home; spiders, mice, grasshoppers, praying mantises etc. (Apparently, singing to them doesn't encourage them clean up- Disney Princess I am not.) And no, we're not living in squalor, it's completely common here to have mice in the house- my manager had one living in her sofa for some time. Sometimes it's felt more Bush Tucker trial than alcohol fuelled year abroad as promised. I think this goes without saying, I won't be missing the French wildlife at home one bit.

And au revoir to doing nothing.
Furthermore, I am looking forward to a generally less racist and sexist society where I can wear red lipstick and generally whatever the fuck I want to without being judged and feeling like a call girl. As well as this, getting rip roaringly hammered is also on my agenda because whereas French people frown upon drunkenness and binge drinking, the English encourage it. I know what you're thinking- you can take the girl out of England... Essentially, the busy life that you want to escape from is exactly what I'm looking forward to coming back to.

So for now, whilst it's bientôt to France, I'll see you all soon on my small island.

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home

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