Saturday, 4 January 2014

La Saint-Sylvestre, the last week and coming home

So, it would seem that France is not the best place to bring in the New Year. There was no public firework display in Grenoble, private firework displays are illegal, and it just generally feels like any other day. The shops you don't need are all open, the restaurants and swimming pools that you really want to visit are all closed. C'est la France... Still, despite a somewhat challenging environment, we managed to enjoy ourselves. We had a mini gathering/party in a flat, with music, alcohol, good food (someone was cooking roasted pumpkin with onions, garlic and spices, good company and illegally imported fireworks from Germany, the most expensive of which was lit upside down which caused much amusement to my "joyeuse" self and another guy who was a little "pompette". Under the influence of drink, we were both encouraged to drink vinegar after having enjoyed regular salted crisps with balsamic vinegar a little too much. That made me feel a little sick, but apart from that it was an interesting evening.

It's a little sad that the only from the night are those of the sickening vinegar concoction 

 Oh, and some of the people I shared it with.

I moved out of my flat on the 31st to avoid having to get out of bed too early on the 1st to hand over my keys. We made pancakes, and ate them with a variety of delicious savoury and sweet fillings. They served as breakfast and lunch. Dinner was a rebellion against French culture, a veggie burger and chips with a mound of barbeque sauce and mustard at the highly authentic and atmospheric American diner. This was followed by a trip to see Nymphomaniac. I came out both wowed and heavily disturbed. It made me feel strange, sad, pity. But that's what a good film should do right? Influence one's emotions? With no desire to buy ingredients and make more things dirty, I also found myself eating out for the next couple of days.... Indian at the Maharaja the next evening, Pizza with Bonnie, a friend from Edinburgh the next day, followed by a final lunch at the Bombay today. Mon copain drove me to the airport. It was a sad but inevitable goodbye, or rather, an "à bientot". It turns out I will be going to Germany at the end of the month! Apologies for the Franglais, it's less awkward sometimes.

I had one of those tragically cinematographic scenes, sitting at a window seat looking out at the none-existant view (the mountains were blocked by the low clouds and rain). My mind blotted out the English background noise as I felt sad. I wrote in my slightly more private journal, read and thought. I arrived in Edinburgh at 16.05, it was already dark and quite a bit colder than Grenoble. After a 2 hour drive with my dad who I hadn't seen for half a year, I am back in the highlands with my cats, opened a few late Christmas presents and realized nothing has changed. I will spend the next week taking in familiar sights and smells before jetting off again.

Agenda for the next month...

-A week in Scotland
-10 days in the Gambia and Senegal
-3 days in Berlin, a few days in Osnabruck, followed by about a week in Karlsruhe. 
-Heading to Milan from Frankfurt on the 8th February

No new years resolutions, but here are some language goals for 2014:

1. Keep up French by reading le Monde, procrastinating with French buzzfeed, using Duolingo, Memrise and Verbling.
2. Read some modern novels in Italian, with the aim to change my mind about reading in Italian...
3. Learn Chinese with new massive and complete grammar book, live mocha and memrise.
4. Learn German with youtube children videos, live mocha, duo lingo and a combination of two grammar books.
5. Find new students to teach English to in Italy.

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