OTT English Christmas
Sure the shops start putting displays up in October and Christmas ads come not long after that, but it’s the little things like the Starbucks Christmas menu (yes yes slave to consumerism etc. etc.), Sainsbury’s Christmas sandwiches, and the John Lewis ad which make November/December that bit more fun when usually you have a tonne of deadlines.
I’m a massive lover of curry, but here even the biggest hypermarchés seem to have very little in the way of ingredients. I ended up forking out a fiver for the one type of Patak’s imported curry paste they have to offer at Auchan as a special treat. The same problem applies to Thai, Chinese, Mexican…basically anything that isn’t French.
My parents will be shocked to hear this, given that I tend to show disgust at the idea of going for a walk, but I actually miss things like fields and trees and the like, since it’s not as easy to find a nice bit of park or woodland here (apart from Jardin Public).
This is probably the most difficult one to deal with, especially when I get texts from friends at 3am saying how much of a great night they’re having and how they miss me. I’ve also missed out on the milestones of my brother turning 18 and passing his driving test while I’ve been away 😦 Thank god for Skype!
As I may have mentioned, my apartment seems to have been designed with comfort as the last thing in mind. There are no sofas, my bed is up a ladder so I can’t just collapse somewhere after a long day, and even if I sit on my makeshift ‘floorfa’ (floor-sofa, made of 2 blankets and a pillow on the floor, sounds bleaker than it is) the walls are stippled which makes leaning on them pretty damn uncomfortable. I dream of cushions and quilting.
The closest thing to Primark-priced clothing can be found at the big supermarkets here, but they tend to be unfashionable and outdated, meaning if you need some cheap but nice socks you have to go to places like H&M, where you actually have to think about whether you can afford them before paying.
THERE IS NO BACON HERE.
A good night’s sleep
Unfortunately a combo of many little things revolving around my living situation has meant that I haven’t woken up feeling well-rested since I spent half-term in England.
My bed squeaks whenever I roll over, which wakes me up in the middle of the night.
My balcony opens up onto a busyish road where people aren’t shy about using their horn if it looks like the driver ahead has slowed 1mph below the speed limit.
Emiliya my Bulgarian flatmate has a tendency to have Skype conversations at raised volumes at 1am. Bulgarian is one of those languages which tends to sound angry regardless of what they’re saying so I honestly can’t tell whether she’s shouting because she’s very upset or very happy. Plus her bed squeaks so loudly that it sounds like it’s in my room, which adds to my permanent state of semi-consciousness.
The couple upstairs also have a baby. A very angry one.
It’s not all doom and gloom though! There are many many things I will miss about living in France, especially Bordeaux, which I will write about soon.