Home Comforts!

Hello Internet Peoples! How goes it? Well I hope!

I know that some of you out there will be getting ready to move away for your Year Abroad, and so for the next few weeks, once a week, I’m going to do a YA themed blog post, covering a different aspect of moving away and settling in a different country. I really hope this helps some of you guys out there!!

And please, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Moving away from home on your year abroad. That’s a scary thing, right? You literally have to pack up your life into a few suitcases, trail said life through airport security (trying to decide what make up items count as liquids and what you could part with should you be told you have too much), and then you haul everything to France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, or wherever you’re going. Packing can become a very clinical process; suddenly even for those of us who are HUGE sentimentalists, we have to sort things by their practical use, and get rid of those “aww but I just NEED it, mom!” things. For me, this was TORTURE. However, there are one or two petits trucs you could take with you, which will make you feel a little less like a fish out of water when you head across the pond.

  1. An e-Reader/some good books

An E-Reader is just the best thing ever invented, am I right? You have a huge library all tucked into this tiny little machine, which you can take anywhere. I’d definitely advise taking one over taking several books- think of the weight restrictions on your suitcases, people! However, I only got mine recently, so at the beginning, when I moved to France, I did in fact take several books- a very battered copy of Harry Potter, my Bible, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, and a few other comfort reads. Now however, I have loads of books at my finger tips, and can easily download more. How fabulous is that?! There is nothing like a good book to distract you if you’re feeling a bit lonesome, or you just need to step out of the host country language, and back into English.

2. Perfume

There’s nothing like smell to trigger memories, eh? I am kind of obsessed with buying new perfumes when I start new stages in my life; for example, for me, Britney Spears’ Midnight Fantasy will always remind me of my lower sixth year of school, of parties and a lot of firsts in my life, whereas Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb will always make me think of starting uni, meeting new friends and work. For moving to France, I bought La Vie best Belle in the duty free on our way out, so I know that smell is always going to trigger memories of my time here; I also brought some Flowerbomb as a little home comfort for when I was missing my friends/family/boyfriend.

3. Good Teabags

If, like me, you enjoy a cup of tea or twelve every day, YOU NEED THIS. I brought a disgusting amount of teabags with me to France, because I just had a feeling they wouldn’t cater to my needs- I was right! Grab at least two boxes of your favourite teabags before you go- you’ll be doing yourself a massive favour.

4. Chocolate

Lindt chocolate finds itself in abundance in France, but if you’re craving a cheeky wee bar of Dairy Milk, think again.The guy who served me at the till in Belfast International gave me a serious eyebrow raise when he saw the amount of Boost bars, twirls and other Dairy Milk gloriousness I flung onto the counter. Honestly, for those days where it’s went a bit wrong, you will THANK YOURSELF.

5. Nurofen and womanly products

Okay, so the pharmacies in France are known for being somewhat notorious- you have to go through a series of questions when all you really want is two nurofen and a nap. So take as many boxes as you can, because they will NOT go to waste. I live in a building with mostly girls, and we got through a good five boxes in no time.

Also, I’d strongly advise you stock up for that “time of the month” (in French, they say “the English have landed”, hehehehe!). I know, you can easily buy pads or tampons in your local monoprix, but here’s my reasoning for taking so many sanitary products, you could sink a ship-

  1. Most shops in France are closed on a Sunday, so if aunt flo comes to call, and you’re not ready, good luck, sista.
  2. It’s just nice to have brands you know well when you’re not feeling yourself, yeno?
  3. My worst nightmare is buying knicker stickers in Monoprix, and seeing one of my students. And them knowing that I’m an actual, real life woman with a functioning uterus. I just don’t need the students knowing when I’m on the rag, you feel me?

6. Photographs

Take LOADS of pictures with you, stick them on your wall, and voila! A little shrine to your family and friends can make you feel like they’re not so far away after all. I’ve actually stuck all of my plane tickets, train tickets, museum/exhibit/monument passes and pictures on my wall, and any time I feel a bit distant, I look at it and it always makes me smile. It’s kind of like a “look at all the people you love back home but don’t be sad because look at all of the AMAZING things you’ve done while you’ve been here!”

7. Your Good Luck Cards

You will undoubtedly receive a billion good luck cards for heading away- keep them, and take them with you! I placed mine around my room when I first got to France, and it was yet another wee reminder that I had a great bunch of cheerleaders back home, rooting for me even when I wasn’t.

8. Hot Water Bottle

Here’s the deceiving thing about living in the North of France- you arrive in September, it’s lovely and warm, and then suddenly, you’re attacked by this insanely cold weather, as if out of nowhere! A hot water bottle will keep you toasty in bed, and makes sure you get a good nights’ sleep.

9. Jewellery

This might sound silly, but it’s a good one! I’m not the biggest jewellery wearer in the world, but my parents bought me a beautiful necklace for my 21st, and my boyfriend got me a few rings which I love to bits. Wearing them makes me feel like they’re not so far away; as if I have a little part of my loved ones with me.

10. Other brands of things you love!

If there’s something you’re super obsessed with- biscuits, make up, a random shower gel, a favourite candy you love- take it! Having little pieces of things you love makes the experience of moving away a whole lot easier. I remember the Americans I lived with in my first year of uni took Kraft mac and cheese, jerky, and other random american things you couldn’t get in the UK! If there’s something you feel like you’ll need, even if it’s the most random thing, bring it with you!

So that’s everything I can think of! If you can think of anything else, please add it to the list in the comments. I hope this helped some of you out there!!

Once again, thank you, as always, for your love and support. I’m sending love to you all, have an amazing day!


A Bientot!


Amber xx

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