Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Reality Kicks In!

It is day 5 in France and the reality of the year abroad has started to kick in! This does not mean that I am not having a good time, it just means that I am starting to notice how exhausting it is speaking a foreign language all the time. In fact, I have not seen or met one British person since I arrived on the Cote D'Azur so it is proving to be challenging but extremely rewarding at the same time. In general, people have been very patient and I have even managed to find excuses for being clumsy due to the language barrier :)

In terms of clumsy moments, I can definitely say that it has taken longer than I would have liked to get used to the French public transport system. I use the buses every day now to get around Cannes as I have a bus pass of my own (Which I asked for myself in a Bureau du Tabac!!). The first thing that I found confusing is the way that the French buses have ticket machines in which you slot your ticket each time you get on the bus. I was so confused the first time I went on a bus in Cannes that  a kind woman had to show me what to do. However, this is not all! On Tuesday, I decided to visit the town of Antibes which is just outside of Cannes and thought that travelling by bus would be the easiest method. But I was mistaken! I managed to make an absolute fool of myself when I tried to get off of the bus at the front when there are one way systems on French buses. The driver soon saw me and was not amused. When he started shouting "Allez Allez!" and pointing at the back door I quickly realised what I had done. I was a bit upset for about twenty minutes but soon got over it when I got to Antibes. I managed to have a laugh about it with the people that I am staying with later that day which put it into perspective.

My trip to Antibes on Tuesday was very pleasant. I finished my course for the day at 3pm and then spent about 3 hours in Antibes. It is a beautiful little town along the coast that is composed of lovely narrow cobbled streets, water fountains, and old fashioned French boutiques (Shops). It was very different to Cannes because of the tranquillity and the old buildings. Once I got back to Cannes, I went back to the house, ate with my hosts, and then went to bed feeling very happy.

Yesterday after I had finished my course for the day, I went to the beach and had a lovely walk in the sunshine. I love walking along the seafront in Cannes as it has a buzzing atmosphere and the weather is always wonderful! I also had a drink in a café with some friends that I have made on my course which was lovely. It is funny because we are all from completely different parts of the world and different age groups but we are getting along very well and speaking in French if that is the common language. Very good practice!

Apologies in advance as I am now going to tell you about my journey home from the seafront and how I had yet more trouble with the buses :) This time, I did something much worse! I managed to get on the complete wrong bus! However, it was not until we had been driving for about ten minutes that I realised that I did not recognise the places we were driving through. This led to momentary panic until I decided to use my common sense and get off the bus at the next stop. This turned out not to have been such a bad detour in the end as I ended up finding the shopping centre in Cannes which was very glam! I walked around for a bit but then decided to find my way back to the city centre on foot in order to get the correct bus back to the house. I managed to find my way in the end but only because I asked loads of people where it was!

Today, I have felt much more at home in Cannes as I have started to understand how things work and have got used to the place. This is very important as I will be here for quite a bit longer. Although I am very happy, I have started to think about the reality of the year abroad and the fact that I am doing my course for thirty hours per week here but will be working 40 hours per week when I get to Grenoble! I know that it will be exhausting but I hope that this time in Cannes will prepare me for the working world and continue to enable me to improve my French as much as it already has.

So there you go! My adventures in France continue to be very positive (with a few natural slip ups) but I have made some friends and am now feeling much more confident in many ways. Thank you for reading my post. Please keep watching for further updates on all of the pages :)

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