I literally cannot believe that I have done six weeks in Grenoble already! September did drag (I'm not going to lie), but to be able to say that I have managed to work 40 hours per week in a foreign language and settle into my new environment in that short amount of time feels good! The work continues to challenge me each day but it is a rewarding sort of challenge that I can look back on positively when I see the language benefits and general skills that I am getting from it.
However, I will now tell you about what I have been up to since I got back from Belgium as that is probably what you would rather hear about!
I will start with telling you about the challenges I faced when I got back to France and how I got through them as I believe that this is important for my fellow Erasmus students as well as future languages students.
Ok......so when I got back to work on Wednesday after a perfect little holiday in Belgium with my close friends from Bangor, I felt the most homesick that I think I have felt in the whole two and a half months that I have spent in France (including my time in Cannes) so far. I did a nine hour shift and felt on the verge of tears pretty much the whole time which was not good. I then felt similar on Thursday probably because the reality of facing the everyday challenges of working abroad was hitting me once again. However, on Thursday evening after my shift had finished, I logged onto my university email account and found an email from one of our French lecturers encouraging us to continue keeping our chins up whilst we are abroad. She also listed some questions about our day to day lives for us to think about and that actually really made me feel better! It was lucky that I got this email at that point as I then had to go to a staff meeting and a staff party which I had previously been dreading as I was feeling so down. It was amazing how one email changed my attitude towards everything! I think sometimes it just takes thinking about all of the positives to see how much they take over the negatives. In fact, I obviously felt so good after that that I ended up attempting to salsa dance in front of a group of my work colleagues which I would NEVER have dreamed of doing in my whole life (believe me!). Dancing has always been something that I am very shy about :) I kind of regretted it afterwards due to the embarrassment but everybody seemed to enjoy it which is the main thing :)
I worked up until Sunday and luckily everything got back to normal and the homesickness gradually became under control (thank goodness!). I have had Monday and Tuesday off this week and have done SO MUCH TRAVELLING! That is enough to cheer anyone up :) Yesterday I went to Geneva in Switzerland, so not only got to see a new city, but to also experience another French speaking culture and country. It was an interesting day as I made friends with a Chinese lady whilst walking around lake Geneva and to my utter horror, she thought that I am in my thirties!! Seeing as I am only 20, I was not sure how to take this but I suppose I should laugh it off really :) It is funny though because I also got her age very wrong. I thought that she was about 24 but it turns out that she is really in her 40's! She looked so young though!! Anyway, back to the story of Geneva! Whilst I was there I managed to see the lake, the old town, and the river so had a really good day. It was also sunny and warm :) The lesson I did learn though is to always research a country before visiting it as I found that many shops would only accept Swiss Francs and not Euros and ended up looking like a true foreigner when I expressed my surprise at this multiple times. I did manage to get some lunch though as I paid by card so I didn't starve :)
I had such a lovely day in Geneva yesterday that I could not help but go and visit yet another new place today! I went to Valence for the afternoon as it is only one hour away from Grenoble on the train. It was lovely because I walked around the city, took lots of pictures (as usual!), and had some food. I then went to choir when I got back to Grenoble which was good fun as always!
So there you go! Another week has passed and I am still encountering lots of exciting things every day! Even when times are hard, you just have to think positively and eventually you will feel much better! That is my advice this week :) So as I finish this post, I would just like to remind you that there are lots of pictures on the 'Photos-Grenoble/Rhone Alpes' and 'Extra Travelling' pages of the blog so please do take a look at those :)
I will be back next week with more stories to tell and more achievements to look back on. But in the meantime, bonne semaine et a bientot!