Thursday, 21 November 2013

Late November update

The surrounding mountains are covered with snow. My never ending summer has finished. What do the Starks say now? I am admittedly considering rethinking my weekend plan to visit Lyon, and instead take a day out in the mountains to play in the snow.

I have experienced many changes recently, as it seems have many others around me. I think it's seasonal. Autumn is a time for renewal, the leaves fall of the trees, many cycles end, decay is rampant. At the same time, there is still that cosy need to cuddle up in bed with a mug of something warm, preferably hot chocolate or mulled wine, and watch a good movie.

I think it's worth also observing the changes in myself. I read the earlier post which I wrote about myself. Whilst it is still clear to me that I am an introvert by nature, I think I am capable of occasionally showing extroverted qualities. I went to a club for the first time in ages on Friday, got comfortably drunk and had fun with friends and strangers. The music and company made it fun. Not saying I am going to engage in this kind of thing every week, but every so often it's fun to let yourself go a bit.

I miss hardly anything about home. Other than my cats and BBC iplayer, but only for what will be airing on Saturday: the Day of the Doctor. How can I not watch it as it appears on live television? How can I go out for the day, knowing that there is a risk that I will not make it back in time? Oh the problems of being an expat.

My recent silence on this blog was mainly due to university work. I don't actually have too much of it, but the knowledge that I had it made me feel guilty about wasting time on "trivial" pursuits such as blogging. I had three class tests and a commentary. The commentary was on Descartes' le Discours de la Méthode. I think it was pretty dire. I got pretty good pass marks for the linguistic history and Italian translation exams, and am still waiting to get my French grammar grade. For the non-credit bearing optional French intensive language course I got a certificate in the post saying I am at B2 level. Not so bad :)

I have also started volunteering at a hospice every Friday and I guess I will be able to write a blog post looking at that in more detail.

It's hard to believe that my mother will be visiting me in exactly a month, and a week later I will be leaving Grenoble. I am kind of tempted to stay for New Year, having had such a lovely time here and having met some really great people. My flight is already booked though, and it'd have to be a damn good NY party to justify paying £100 to modify the flight date. As an alternative I am considering London. It would be nice to catch up with some old friends who I haven't seen in years, and set foot in one of my favourite cities with two of my favourite people after 4 years of abstention. 

The Christmas market is popping up this weekend.  Exams are looming on the fast-approaching horizon. Too much chocolate is being consumed (reminder to self, buy some cereal this week)...

Friday, 8 November 2013

My personal little moment

That moment on Erasmus when all your life as you know it changes, you feel a strange yet familiar feeling, that feeling which shows itself once a year at most. Your body and thoughts seem disconnected, you feel lost in a crowd in which everyone else has a direction. The setting sun is filtering through the trees, evoking that beautifully descriptive Japanese word, komorebi. Breathlessness, fear, the end of a phase and mingling emotions fuse with the atmospheric sound of the accordion, which is clearly being played just for me. I feel like I am in a movie, my consciousness is in slow motion whilst everyone else's lives continue at the normal pace. I take in the scents, the sounds, the low and blinding light. A gush of nonsensical thoughts come racing through my mind one after another. I am fine. I am feeling genuine feelings, and that is promising.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Les vacances de Toussaint

I had such noble intentions for this reading week/holiday, I really did: Read Corydon, get further into Loin de Médine, start analyzing the text for the commentary which I should be writing soon for littérature d'idées, learn some Chinese characters... But no, after an all-day hike on the Friday before the holidays I decided it was time to sleep, eat, and climb out of bed at the last possible moment. It was pretty warm and sunny for the majority of the week.

Did I do anything productive? Aside from sleeping, which was much needed after so much time being everything and doing everything, I met a girl who has agreed to be my Chinese tandem partner. We spent an afternoon together chatting and walking around the park at the foot of la bastille. I also got through a large chunk of game of thrones with a friend who had avoided the hype up until recently. On Wednesday I finally engaged in some more exercise, trying out the via ferrata in Chartreuse with a few couchsurfers. Not as scary as expected and worth any vertigo for the amazing views and close contact with the waterfall.

The next day I left Grenoble with a few friends from halls for a trip down to Provence, starting off in Avignon, heading to Aix-en-Provence, and finally Marseille. The first night was spent couchsurfing in a student dig 5km outside of Aix-en-Provence, where we ended up in an unexpected house party fuelled with alcohol, Hungarian soup (there was a Hungarian guest) and cake. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep, lying out on mattresses in the party zone. The next day we explored Aix-en-Provence, buying olives, window shopping, soaking up the Provencal café culture and singing in the street, before heading to our new pad in the centre. The generosity of some people knows no boundaries apparently, as a stranger from couchsurfing had left us his key for the weekend, trusting us to stay there without him. It was a tight squeeze but worked for cooking pasta, showering in the kitchen and getting some much needed sleep, after a sing song, bad cider and good wine. It didn't take long to get to Marseille, and we were rewarded with 22 degrees celcius in November and a beautiful sunny sky, perfect for walking around the port and up to Notre Dame de la Garde.

Back to Grenoble, the temperature is starting to drop, currently we have 9 degrees celcius and drizzle. Back to courses and looming deadlines after a brief flashback to summer.