Just imagine hearing these words sung to the tune of happy birthday to you and you will be able to hear the first thing that I heard when I stepped out of my bedroom on Tuesday 9th December. My French birthday had truly begun!
As I may have mentioned in past blog posts, I was a little bit worried about celebrating my 21st birthday in France as I thought I might feel down as a result of being so far away from home. However, I was very chuffed to find that the people here in France made such an effort to make it a very special day and it will certainly be a birthday that I will not forget.
When I woke up in the morning, I opened my cards from my family which was lovely but I did feel a real sense of nostalgia sweep through me which I expected would happen. Once I had done this, I was very surprised to step out into the corridor or the Auberge to find my work colleagues singing 'Joyeux Anniversaire' to me. I was then even more surprised and touched when they gave me some presents. I actually felt quite emotional as I had been worried for so long that I would feel a bit lost on my birthday but their thoughtfulness really made me feel like I was not so lost after all. In fact, it showed me how much I have settled down in Grenoble since I started working and living here in September.
Once I had thanked everyone for their kindness, I set off to spend the day in Lyon with my friend Ffion from Bangor. The journey all went smoothly apart from when I got told off by a member of staff for forgetting to validate my ticket at the station. However, I would like to add that I was in a rush to get the train so would have missed it if I had lined up at the yellow machine. Once the journey was over, going to Lyon was a lovely way to spend the day as we had a huge catch up, visited the Christmas market, and some other places that I had not yet visited in Lyon which was lovely. We also could not resist treating ourselves to a hot dog at the market and then some cake in a cafe later on as it was my birthday so we felt we had an excuse :) It was lovely to see Ffion again but also very sad when we said goodbye at the end of the day as that was my last visit to Lyon and probably the last time that I will see her until we go back to Bangor as I will be off to Spain in just a few weeks time.
Once I got back to Grenoble, I was incredibly touched to find a card with a message from all of my work colleagues inside sending me birthday wishes! In fact, I was so chuffed that I almost cried :) Just before I went to bed I phoned home and had a chat with my mum which was a very nice way to end the day as I told her all about the day and heard news from home too which I always like to receive.
It feels strange saying that I am 21 now as it feels much older than 20. But I have a lot to look forward to as a 21 year old as I will be going home for Christmas next sunday, doing work placements in both Sevilla and Cannes, and then returning to Bangor for my fourth year next September! I think this is probably the penultimate blog post about Grenoble as I only have a week left here but the blog will be continuing again once Christmas has passed and I am getting ready to go to Spain. So for now, thank you for reading my post and I will be back again soon with stories of the last few days of my work placement at Auberge Grenoble.