It’s hard to believe that in a few months time, I will be doing the one thing I have been thinking about, waiting for and basically freaking out about for the last four years. It’s been on my bucket list for a while now, but like much of the other items on my bucket list (Zac Efron I’m looking at you), I thought it wildly unlikely. Sure, everyone wants to move abroad in their twenties have those wild experiences you hear about. However, if it weren’t for my college course, I wonder would I actually put the plan in action, and actually do it.
I’ve spent the past few weeks worrying about my application, partly because references and police certificates take so long to get and the deadline is coming on fast and I don’t deal with pressure. But mostly, it’s because sending off that application cements it. In September, I’m moving to France for a year.
Yes, it’s only a year, and yes, it’s still in Europe. But… it’s a year away from home, and from everyone who’s there. Thinking about moving away really brings on a heap of feelings. I get terrified, then I look at Google Images and I get excited, but then the fear soon comes back. It’s become kind of a ritual really. At the moment writing this, I’m excited. Excited to be living in such a faaaabulous country as France, away from the dreaded ‘rents and to eat as much cheese, bread and wine as my body can handle. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, really.
But the thoughts of leaving everything, and everybody here behind make being excited hard. Besides my double bed, there are a couple of other things that I can tell already I’m really going to miss:
This goes without saying. I’m not going to name any names, but leaving all the people in my life at the moment makes me not want to go. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I think it will just make things a whole lot harder. What if it changes things? What if it changes me, and when I come back things won’t be the same? What if I come back unable to drink 4 euro Aldi wine, because I’ve become such an expert wine conoissuer? What if things become different between us? I know I’m lucky enough to have such special people in my life, and that most of the time it doesn’t matter if we don’t see each other every day, or even every month, because it’s just a given our relationship has stayed the same. I don’t know why I think it, but I worry that somehow moving countries will change that. Like actively leaving people and moving away will cement the fact that not only will you not see these people, but that you can’t see them. And the calls turn into messages, the messages become less frequent until they’re just … gone. But at the same time, this is a welcome break away from some people, giving us all the chance to breathe, maybe have a reality check so when I come back things won’t be the same as they are now. So be prepared for countless FaceTime and Skype calls, because I don’t know how I’m going to do it without you. Y’all aren’t going to forget this face any time soon.
Let’s not beat around the bush. The point of me spending this year abroad is to improve my French. The real aim, in my eyes, is to get over my fear of putting on a French accent. Is there anything as intimidating? Making those ‘r’ sounds scares the beejaysus out of me. I will never forget the time in my Language Lab in college, when we had to go around one by one, say a few sentences in French, in front of the class, record them, and have them played back to us while our teacher told us what to correct. Mortifying. I have no doubt that my fear of speaking French, let alone with an accent, will multiply by a ridiculous amount as soon as the plane lands. I also have an inkling that I will forget every French word I ever learned. Ever. However, what I don’t want to do is waste my time there speaking English. Any student who spent the year abroad told us that what you put into your time in France, is what you get out of it. So why would I go over there, only to speak English the whole time? Oh yeah, because speaking French to the natives terrifies me. I can’t even speak it in front of Irish people. I have to face my fears though, and try my best. From afar. At my desk. On my laptop. Does writing French e-mails counts?
Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I have little to no geographical knowledge or awareness. I am always saying that I need to take map-reading classes, and I’m serious about it. Me and maps, don’t mix. It’s like trying to read another language. I either end up twisting the map around at least six times, or trying to step into the map like Joey from Friends. So the thoughts of trying to navigate French public transport, with only the support of the Metro maps kind of makes me break out in a sweat. Plus, there are no bus drivers to ask if you’re going in the right way. And even if there were, I’d have to ask in French. So basically, I’ll just stay in my room the entire time. Seems more safe than me wandering France’s metro trying to find how to get to the nearest Carrefour.
While most people in my French class are heading to France to go to college, I am hoping to get a job as an English teaching assistant in a primary school. (Any primary school. Anyone who will take me, PLEASE.) And while the prospect of working for 12 hours a week and getting paid is an alien and exciting concept for me, I have this little fear that I’ll be … bored without college. Or lonely. Not that I have a huge circle of friends in college over here, but to work 12 hours a week is not a lot. What am I going to do with the rest of time if I’m not falling asleep in lectures and falling behind on my reading? I’d feel guilty if I were to spend my free time over there watching Netflix, like I do at home here. I don’t waste my glorious free time in a beautiful country, but I’m a lazy ass, so I might, if I don’t have college to distract me. *GASP* Does this mean … next year … I have to grow up?
This will be my first time living alone, away from Mammy and Daddy. And while this is one the main reasons I want to go to France, it’s also going to be stressful, scary and expensive as hell. I may give out about the lack of food for me in the house, but I
rarely never go out to the shops with my Mum to fix it. Next year, I’m going to have to do exactly that. Buy my food. PAY BILLS (with what money??? Moving to France does not change the fact I’m a poor student). Wash my clothes. And generally just … adult. Something I haven’t reaaaally done before. I’m sure it’s easy. Please tell me it’s easy.
The Little Things.
What I think I’m going to miss most is the little things. I’ve listed the big obvious things I’m going to miss, but what about the small things I don’t notice? Like staying at home with the heating on, in my dressing gown, waiting for my boyfriend to come over so we can watch Netflix. Or giving out about the weather. Or following my cat around the house. Or even just dodging my Dad’s work friends when they come over to the house, and I’m in my pyjamas. It’s the little things that make up my life, and how it is now. And when I move away, I’m probably going to miss those little things, because my life will change. I know travel is good, it’s supposed to open your eyes and expand your horizons and all those other clichés, but it’s also hard. While in some ways I hope the year will make me appreciate these little things, like going to Penneys for some clips and accidentally spending 70 euro on shite I don’t need (it happens), or giving out about the crap Wi-Fi in my house, I also don’t want to be stuck with them forever. Maybe next year I’ll discover some new little things that I’ll bring back with me to Ireland. But I’ll probably just bring back cheese. Sorry Mam.