February 4, 2014, by Guest blog

Well… I’ve been home for a while now, and it’s probably time for an update.

Hi everyone!

As the title suggests, I’m back in England, and I’ve been here for a few weeks now: all settled in and ready to write another post. By the end of the placement I was completely ready to come home, mostly because of a wisdom tooth that made my face swell up and left me walking around Grenoble with an incredibly swollen, wonky face. Not to mention the pain, lack of emergency dentist and unhelpful pharmacists. This brings me nice and swiftly onto my second point: how different it is to be back in England.

One thing I missed painfully while I was in France was the lack of Dairy Milk. Actually, this was probably the main thing I missed, although if I really was in need there was a small Irish store in the centre of Grenoble, and one bar available in Casino (at a rather elevated price). If I’m totally honest with you though, I’m not entirely sure I actually missed the chocolate, I think it was the fact that I wasn’t able to get it there, because having been back already 3 weeks, I haven’t had the slightest urge for chocolate at all. Maybe it was homesickness. Anyway, onto a couple of the other things that I can remark on, now that I’m back home: public transport, supermarkets, university/administration, good television and the weather.

I no longer need to take public transport everywhere, because I have my trusty little car back (boy have I missed Cyril & the freedom he brings). However, I do miss the fact that the public transport there was so reliable, and I could just hop on a tram and almost be guaranteed to get there when I need to. Supermarkets: now this was a point that often came up in conversation (Merryn can back me up on this one). There were two things that I can remark upon with regards to the supermarkets in France, the smell, and the opening hours. The former never really bothered me, although I can say that Casino smelt far better than Carrefour. The second caused me huge problems: Not open on Sundays, and not open after 9pm (NOT USEFUL FRANCE!). I love knowing that I can just get in the car and head to Tesco whenever I want. However, this has made me think on a much higher level, and in some respects I think the UK would benefit from a change towards the French way.  Think about how nice it would be to have a Sunday, where nobody in retail had to work… and lorry drivers didn’t have to trek around 7 days a week to deliver the food fresh. It would just mean everything slows down a little and gives us the chance to take a breather, and have Sunday to ourselves. That’s my thoughts anyway. University and administration: already covered that in my first rant blog. With regards to Television, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to ask some French people about their favourite French TV shows, so that once I had left France I would be able to carry on listening to a good amount of French, and also continue improving. They came up with nothing, at least nothing worthwhile. I loved les revenants, which I watched with my grandparents last summer, but that’s not on at the moment, and I found the ending so frustrating that I’m not sure I could sit through it all again. So I tried Plus Belle La Vie, which I just couldn’t suffer, that might be because of a minute language barrier though. I’ll try again at some point, and I would LOVE to hear more suggestions if you folks have any. Finally the weather: it hasn’t stopped raining in England since I got back, and the south seems to be ever flooding.

I think one of the other major things that a few people, and I have remarked upon is the amount of canoodling, and public displays of affection that take place in Europe. Can a girl not just sit in the laundrette and listen to her music without re-enactments of steamy love scenes that I didn’t particularly feel comfortable watching in the first place, is that too much to ask? That’s definitely one thing that I don’t miss.

Now, however, that I’m back in lovely wet England, I can see how much I’m missing being surrounded by the language of it all, and already have a trip planned to Paris for a bit later in the month. France: this is not the last you’ll see of me.

In the mean time, I’m going to have a mini freak out about Russia (you guys seen the news recently), and pray that most of that is sorted before march, and I can be happy that my visas and whatever else are here pretty quickly, allowing me to travel off to Europe for a little while.

Sorry that there’s no mountain pictures this time… not waking up to a stunning view any longer…


Posted in Cultural challenges