I’ve been lucky enough to meet some super-awesome people this term, most of whom have just the one major flaw of inconsiderately being Not French. One particular group is departing en masse, which will leave me bereft, as I’ve been enjoying a linguistically disastrous amount of time with them, only for fate to cruelly and prematurely tear us apart. If you think that’s melodramatic, you clearly aren’t familiar with my attitude to goodbyes; I’m terrible at them, and react by going into either denial or mourning. To the survivors: please do not be alarmed if I cry profusely every time I’m in any way reminded of the fallen – this is to be expected.
On the plus side, Suzi’s leaving! (Don’t worry Suzi, that isn’t in and of itself a good thing – miss you already.) However, it does mean I get to move into her FABULOUS apartment with her equally fabulous flatmate, and escape the hellhole that is French student halls. To commemorate this particular parting, here’s a tenuously-90s-romcom-inspired list of the various things I will not miss about my old accommodation. Unlike the original, it’s not in poem form as I’m to lazy to condense this much resentment into a sensible rhyme scheme. And it doesn’t end in a declaration of love.
Ten things I hate about Voie Domitienne
1. My room: 10m2 is not enough space for a clumsy hoarder, especially when it’s entirely filled by a desk the size of the moon.
2. The sinister metal blind and the plastic-coated mattress: The blind gives an overwhelming impression that the walls are closing in, and results in alarmingly rapid changes in temperature. I have on occasion woken up thinking that I was in a sweaty coffin.
3. The internet: or frequent lack thereof. You’d think this would motivate me to be productive and sociable, but it instead results in entire days disappearing into a black hole of frustration and bitterness.
4. My corridor: which is always ominously empty, and usually smells of weed.
5. The kitchens: Things I’ll have in my new kitchen that I didn’t have in Voie Domitienne: Oven, microwave, kettle, cupboards, utensils, fridge/freezer, bin, will to live.
6. The campus: There used to be trees, but they cut most of them down. Now there’s just tarmac and a strong sense of the inherent futility of everything.
7. The deeply unpleasant walk from the tram stop: which produces the same effect on my mood as the abundant quantities of dog crap adorning the streets of Montpellier.
8. The apparent impossibility of all amenities working simultaneously: They took the table and chairs out of my kitchen early on. Then they put them back, at which point the hobs stopped working for 3 weeks. Then they fixed those and my shower went on strike. Then they fixed that but took away the chairs again… you get the idea.
9. Demon Woman: who, yesterday, along with her evil cronies, stood and watched my five-minute struggle to single-handedly get my ludicrously heavy electric piano through the Acceuil doors. To be fair, she’d have had to lean over slightly to open the door, and I suppose she needed to conserve her energy for evil death-glares.
10. The barefaced lies: Voie Domitienne supposedly boasts a canteen, a laundrette, a gym, a multimedia room and WiFi. None of these things exist.
In summary, despite the extra cash I’ve been able to irresponsibly spend due to paying minimal rent, four months was enough, and I am completely delighted to be moving. I will live the high life next term. And I will be able to make cakes.
|Early Christmas dinner with these silly bitchez. My contribution was, unsurprisingly, cake.|
|Sightseeing. The town is still shockingly beautiful. Incidentally, I’ll be living next door to this park as of January.|
|Being edgy and French. We are definitely not tourists. Would tourists sit in cafés and look disenchanted in black and white?|
Finally – because hitting the half-way point provides an excuse for over-analytical musings – I’ve remarked that the other Erasmus cliché remains true. While I have the odd day where I’d rather gouge my own eyes out with a wooden spoon than have another stilted conversation with someone I’ll probably never see again (but then, who doesn’t?) my “interpersonal skills” have improved immeasurably, to the point that I’ll now cheerfully and immediately bond with near-strangers. I do conversation exchanges, for goodness’ sake. I’ve also become thicker-skinned than a rhinoceros as regards uninvited grammar corrections or looks that say “Why on earth is this foreign idiot asking me X question?”
Unfortunately, my memory for names hasn’t improved at the same rate as my networking skills, which doesn’t facilitate initial encounters, given that during small-talk I’m usually panicking about the fact I was too busy trying to look like I’d got their name to actually listen to what it was. Add to that the variety of possible nationalities and you get something like this:
Can you remind me of your name? (ALWAYS account for the possibility you’ve already met and forgotten them.)
Me: Great! What a lovely name *makes mental note to ask someone else later*
|Bonus picture: La Vallée de la Vis, where me and Susi (not Suzi, this one is staying – yay!) went with my walking group last week.|