Back again

It can simply be said that, when I left Grenoble, Grenoble ceased to exist. Spending Christmas with my family in Wales with such British things as crackers, mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding, it became very difficult to imagine that I had ever been abroad at all.
But, despite the denial, I got back to France yesterday: to an empty room in a large hall of residence, with a letter from the French insurance and a few old Christmas cards. It was a saddening sight.
In a paroxysm of homesickness, I’ve worked out that I have 19 weeks left of Erasmus. That, to put it more positively, is 19 weeks of potential. While not one for resolutions, certainly this year would be a good time to meet more French people, get involved in some projects outside of university and generally make the most of the ‘French holiday’ weather that I hope won’t be too long a-coming. There’s some more skiing to be learnt, croissants to be scoffed and hopefully some warm-weather dips in the local lakes.
After exams, I’ll have another week or so of Christmas holidays. That is, after the exams. Certainly, the four hour whopper I sat through today was no mean feat. With the entire third year literature cohort, I was bundled into an old lecture theatre to write one very long essay. Even then, while the French exam lengths are intimidating, rules are very lax. Sitting among the Erasmuses, no one blinked twice at our spread out lesson notes; there was no scary clock on the wall and, after four hours, no real time pressure at all. The joys of French academia are, thus far, a mixed bundle.
So, I’m hoping that next week will bring experiences more edifying than exams. There are plans to visit Lyon, the Alps and the Red Cross food bank lurking about and, friends back, the semester will really begin.

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