Hullo there Internet People! I really hope this post finds you warm and content on a (hopefully!) sunny June day (I don’t know what the weather is like. I’m writing this in advance, at 4.25am on a May morning, and I’m not a psychic wizard. Sorry).
First things first, I’m terrible. Really, frustratingly terrible at keeping you up to date with ce qui se passe in my life. But honestly, I’m so so determined to make that change! I’ve been writing all manner of blog posts- just not these monthly updates, which people really seem to like! I think that maybe they’re popular because I inform you of all the cringey or stupid things I do, and you can walk away feeling not-so-bad about yourselves, am I right?
(DISCLAIMER FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO NORMALLY DON’T READ THESE: I do a LOT of very embarrassing, silly things. Stay tuned).
So, I’ll try to keep it short, and tell you the bare minimum of what happened. In fact, I’m barely going to tell you what happened in March, because to be honest, not much did. I worked loads, I made many a lesson plan, and bored many a French teenager with oral exam prep. I DID however, book several holidays with Bekah, and slip home for a cheeky weekend with my boyfriend and his family, to celebrate his sisters’ engagement (congrats, Kathryn!). Oh, and I almost became a tad homeless.
(During my quick trip home, a trip to Derry means you HAVE to visit Pyke n Pommes. It’s just TOO good!)
To cut a long story short, I was told by the owner of my building that getting insurance didn’t reaaaaaaaally matter that much. But then, she decided six months later that it did, and then she gave me two weeks’ notice. Either I showed her my insurance documents, or I was getting the heave ho. I almost heaved and had a mild cardiac arrest reading the letter. TWO WEEKS?!?!
After several tear-filled conversations to insurance companies, I got sorted (with two days to spare). The moral of the story here, dear readers, is that it’s better to be safe than sorry- GET INSURED FOR EVERYTHING IN LIFE.
To be honest, guys, I’m not even going to tell you that much about April. We got our Easter holidays, and so Bekah and I decided that there was no way we were spending more than 2 minutes in Compiègne for that fortnight. We jumped on 6 different flights, and saw Budapest, Barcelona, Stockholm and Oslo, and it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done in my entire life. That’s how you do a holiday. I’ve got so many stories about my travels, that I’m going to dedicate a separate post to each of them- one travel blog per week in June. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you guys! I’ll leave you with these photos as a little taster…
The end of April saw the end of my stage en France. It’s almost been a month since I’ve finished, and if I’m being totally honest, I still don’t know how to feel. I’m just really relieved, that I made it through to the end. The adventures were awesome, but it made my anxiety horrendous at times, and so the thought of getting back to my safe, comfortable little life in Northern Ireland appealed a lot to me.
I had cocktails with one group of teachers, and dinner with some others- all their treat, which was really thoughtful and lovely. They also bought me some gifts- really precious gifts- and gave me a card, full of lovely words of encouragement. I almost wept reading the card, and it’s now sitting on my bookshelf, as a little reminder that I am fabulous.
One thing I will tell you about leaving France though, was my dramatic struggle to get to the airport. I had two suitcases, a holdall and a backpack to lug, from Compiègne to Paris, all by myself. Altogether, they were almost the same weight as me, I might add. Chris begged me to get a taxi, my parents pleaded, but I was DETERMINED to get there myself, via trains and metros and à pied. When there’s a difference of seventy squids, Amber’s going to try to save dollar. I almost put my back out doing so, but I did it. I DID IT.
(PS, I stayed at a hotel by the airport on my last night, and it was SO cool. The bed was like a fluffy paradise, and I was in HEAVEN. It was the first time I’d watched TV and showered in a nice shower for a loooooooooong time)
Saying goodbye to France was so weird, and I spent that last day with Bekah wandering around Paris, mentally saying goodbye to everything. Already I miss the novelty of hopping on a train and being in PARIS, the flipping capital of fabulosity. Saying goodbye to Bekah was even more bizarre- my confidante, my fellow native English speaker, and my travel-buddy for the last 8 months. We decided to pretend like our goodbye wasn’t our LAST goodbye, and to act like we’d be seeing each other the next day, back in the Lycée. I’m still not used to the absence of Very Pamp nights.
OH, we also went to DisneyLand. That was flipping BEAUTIFUL. (My favourite was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.)
Let’s move on to May, however. May has been a breath of fresh, clean air. May has been the first dose of the medicine my soul needed- i.e. being surrounded by familiar faces, that delightful brogue and food- DELICIOUS FOOD. Chris met me in the airport on the first of May, flowers in hand and a half-eaten Cuban sandwich in his backpack. I saw him and fell in love all over again. That was him, my him, and he was all mine, from here on out.
You can put the buckets away now and stop gagging.
That night saw us munching dominos in our student house with Liam, Ùna and Jack, whilst I drank flavoured cider, lucozade, and a gallon of tea Liam so lovingly made for me. PERFECTION.
I’ve spent May catching up with as many people as possible. I feel as though there’s a big rush to see everyone; force of habit left over from Christmas and half term. I’m impatient to see faces I know, as a marker of normality. I crave simplicity- my old, familiar life.
This month also saw me start back to work- I headed back to the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery a little earlier than expected, but hey, when you’ve been on a two-week, round-Europe holiday, you can be expected to be a little low on cash, right? Bushmills has been my second course of medication- it stayed the same while I was away, and I needed that. I’ve also been having the loveliest tours- groups saying it’s the “best tour” they’ve EVER been on, slipping me cheeky fivers, telling me what an amazing experience they had, when really, I’m the one who’s been having the amazing experience, getting to meet them and tour them while they listen to my truly awful jokes.
“Some people will try to tell you the distillery’s haunted, but the only spirit around here is maturing in those casks”. (Thank you, Ryan Ennis!)
If France has been good for one thing, it’s this- I am no longer afraid of French tours. Finally! I’ve done maybe 6 since I came home, and they’ve all been magnificent. I’ve received the sweetest compliments- people telling me I don’t have an accent when I speak, that I sound really good, that I could use my French in the future… it just means so much. France was clearly worth it.
Between working and sleeping, I’ve been trying to spend as much time with Chris as possible. Reunited, and it feels so good, as they say. I can’t wait til my friends’ exams are over, and we can all relax and unwind together!
Some of my other favourite things about this month have been:
- Finding a dress to wear to my friends’ upcoming wedding
- My new pet shark, Feargal
- Reading Amy Poehler’s Yes Please
- Writing more often
- DECENT CUPS OF TEA
- Exploring new places in Belfast
- Preparing to go on an adventure with two of my work girlies
- Discovering Depop
- Iced coffee (I have seen the light!)
- My new writing notebook (my obsession with Paperchase grows and it cannot and will not be tamed)
(Chris turned 21 this month! Look at his wee face)
And that’s about it! Thank you so much for reading this- these rambly, senseless posts ooze their way onto the page through my fingertips, and you guys are more than kind for taking the time to read them. I appreciate it always!