In October I went through a stage of serious homesickness. I think it’s pretty common for everyone studying or living away. After the initial thrill of being in a foreign country and meeting new and interesting people wears off, the routine of everyday life kicks in. Truthfully, as soon as I was used to being here, I wanted to leave. Being at uni here is much like being at uni in the UK – I go to lectures, I take notes, I come home, I eat, and I go out every Thursday night for the student night. The only difference is that Avignon is far away. Oh, and everything is in French here, but you get used to that surprisingly quickly.
Last October I had this overwhelming desire to go home. I spent a lot of my time watching Friends in my room, because Friends always makes things better, and because I feel surprisingly at home in my little French bedroom. It was comforting to know that there was a French equivalent of half term at the end of October, les Vacances de la Toussaint. So if I wanted to go home for a week, I could. And I did. It was around the same time as my birthday too, so I was lucky to be able to celebrate my birthday here, in Leicester, and at home.
As I said in my last post, I had a month at home for Christmas, so coming back and starting all over again with new modules and new people seemed very unappealing to me. I’m here now, and everything is going well. I got my results, which I was very happy about. I’m happy with the group of friends I have here. Most people from last semester have left for pastures new so the group is a lot smaller, but we’re all the closer for it. But despite this, recently I’ve started to feel the homesickness creeping in. Seeing as I can’t go back home to the UK again just yet, what better way than to bring home to me?
This week my cousins, Lowri and Catrin, came to visit. They stayed at Hotel Hâf (that’s to say the three of us squeezed into my bed for four nights. It was cosy to say the least). I was eager to show them the best bits of Avignon, so I took them to my two favourite restaurants, Chez Mimmo, which is the nicest Italian I’ve ever been to, and Ginette et Marcel. The latter is probably one of my favourite places to eat, and not just in Avignon. It’s a tartine restaurant. At first I thought this meant desserts, you know, like tartes. I was wrong. Tartines are pieces of toast with stuff on them. Not exactly selling it, am I? But trust me, they’re really good. And their homemade desserts look and taste incredible. I’d recommend the salted caramel tarte. Even if the food was awful, I’d still love this place for its shabby chic interior. It’s quaint and very French. I think my cousins liked it there too.
We did go on a little excursion outside of Avignon. I took them to Nîmes, having been before and enjoyed it. We were lucky that the sun was shining, it was just a shame that the mistral decided to grace us with its presence. Nevertheless, we had a lovely day, and I think my tour guiding skills were adequate enough. I think their trip was successful. Over the course of the 5 days we took lots of touristy photos, and we ate and drank well. That’s all you really want from a French holiday, isn’t it? When we weren’t out and about doing touristy things and eating in restaurants, we relaxed in bed watching films, lip sync battles, and James Corden’s Carpool on YouTube. Perfect, I reckon. I just hope they enjoyed it all as much as I did!
They’re back in Wales now, and I’m carrying on here. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when I next visit home, but for now my homesickness is cured and I have my bed back to myself.