Finding my feet

Bonjour! C’est moi. FINALLY.

Writing this from my unexpectedly comfy bed as a means to pass the time and ease my guilt due to my neglect of the blogosphere. Did you know that everything, apart from some musuems and restaurants, are closed on a Sunday in France? Well, you do now. So here I am.

It’s time to face the facts. I think I was a little too ambitious with my plans for this blog for my lazy personality. But I’m not lying when I say I had great plans, I can even show you the notebook if you want. But exams started, and then I obviously had to recuperate in summer, and then I worked, went on holiday, worked again and moved to France. And I forgot slash didn’t do any of the big things I had planned. For that, I apologise.

But I don’t want to waste this space. (I think I start too many sentences with the word ‘but’). I know how useful it was to have old blogs to read on when I was researching the move, and I would love mine to be included in that. However (heh) I don’t think I’m the right person to detail every single thing. Frankly, I’m too lazy for it. What I do think I’m capable of is just telling you about the experience. How I’m finding it, how I’m enjoying it, what I’m learning etc. So perhaps the aim of this blog is changing. And perhaps it will change a few more times during the year, but that’s the beauty of a blog anyway, isn’t it? That you create this space to mold it how you want to. The only guidelines are the ones you give yourself.

So, without further ado, here is my first blog post from the sunny Nantes!

I moved here last Saturday with two suitcases and one father in tow. Papa et moi had ventured here previously in the summer for one week, pour trouver logement. I’m living in Rezé, a town that is a 10 minute tram ride from the city centre, in an apartment with a Chinese and French roommate. So far, I’m liking my accommodation. My room is nice and big; a bed, a DESK (be still my inner writer’s heart), a wardrobe, with still plenty of space for me to dump my clothes everywhere and spill crumbs in between the empty spaces. I’m happy in my little room.

The apartment has a shared sitting room which is, from what I can tell so far, is only really used to dry clothes in, a kitchen, a toilet, a salle de bain. In France they seperate the toilet and the shower; there’s la toilette which is literally just a toilet in a room. Which only magnifies that you’re sharing this one toilet with everyone else. It works best if you don’t think about it too much … The salle de bain has a shower, a sink and presses for your toiletries. As the late-comer to the group (the two had moved in two weeks prior to moi), I had to make do with what was left. What’s that I hear? It’s an anecdote!

The first weekend I moved in, my French roommate was gone back home for the weekend. I was getting myself set up, and put my toiletries in the spaces I could find. Two of the big shelves were taken, so I compromised with just having the smaller one. There was an empty cup beside the sink and I thought, perfect! A space for my toothbrush. So I put my dental friend in there and went to sleep. Fast forward to Monday morning when my roommate was back. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and found a stranger in my cup, and my toothbrush on the counter beside the sink. I had obviously committed toilet blasphemy … So now I keep my toothbrush with the rest of my stuff. First impressions, eh?

No, in all seriousness I laughed at it. The girl is lovely and I have zero problems with her.

My accommodation is grand, I like it. What I’m having trouble with is the big bad world outside. I have trouble finding the motivation and the courage to go outside and actually do things when I don’t necessarily have to. Like this weekend, I had no plans. I could have gone to the city and had a look around, or a wander, but the thoughts of doing that on my own only make me want to hide further down inside my duvet, where I stayed for the whole day yesterday.

I think part of it is the fact that I study French. I can understand, I can speak (poorly, but still) so where’s the problem? The problem is that I’m placing such high standards on myself. It’s almost like I feel I walk around with a big sign saying “I study French, I should be good, but I’m not!”. I feel this pressure to be fluent and to go around this city with ease and to have no problems whatsoever. So I hide. I talk as little as possible because I don’t want people to see that I don’t have perfect French, far from it. But that’s just how I am, unless I can do something really really well, I don’t do it, or rather, I don’t showcase it to other people.

I go on the tram and feel like everyone can tell I’m not from France. I feel like they know I’m an outsider, and so I feel even more out of place than before. It’s easier to stay in my apartment. But in the long run, I know that will be detrimental to me. I need to get out and do things, but it’s hard. I feel like a visitor who’s not wanted.

As a whole though I’m not unhappy. I feel fine here, I don’t mind venturing to Lidl where I keep my head down and count down the seconds until I’m out of there. I’m sure all the other stuff will come with time. And I know, I know that staying inside doesn’t help. I actually was prepared to go into the centre today, but alas, it’s closed. I can do it. I went to IKEA the other day, and maybe it was the hunger, but that was tough. I felt so stupid on the tram on the way, for no reason in particular. It just felt like there was a big yellow arrow pointing to me saying “Not from here!”. When in reality, they’re probably used to foreigners, and even more likely, they don’t care.

I need to get outside my head, and get outside the apartment. Tomorrow is my first day of observation in the school so that’s something. And this blog post has helped a little too. I shall leave you with a quote that’s on a post-card I bought when I was here which I loved.

Puisque ceci est une page blanche, pourqoui ne pas y écrire un mot? – Victor Hugo

My translation: As this is a blank page, why not write on it?

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