Well knock me down with a bottle of prosecco can you believe that it’s actually 2015?! My very first memories of 2014 are centred around receiving a text from my course bestie at university saying “THIS YEAR WE’RE ALL MOVING TO FRANCE OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, it was crazy a year ago, and it’s still crazy now.
Rather conveniently, January 2015 meets my six month mark for my year abroad, and so with the reinvigorated excitement of New Year’s resolutions, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on what I’ve achieved (or not) so far in France. Being away from home I find that there is constant room for improvement in all sorts of areas, and so though I might have hoped to be the perfect cookie cutter Erasmus student, the reality is far from. I am currently sat in the departure lounge of Heathrow airport with a delayed flight, so what better time to take a step back and make sure I tick off as many things as I can in the next six months.
Résolution numéro 1: Keep my vocab book up to date
Now this one is so obvious, and it’s not that I don’t HAVE a vocab book…. but keeping it proves to be another matter. In full flow of conversation you make an agreement with yourself to jot that new word down later on, but this inevitably never happens and I wonder how many words I’ve picked up that I will now never know. For the remainder of my year abroad I vow that you will not see me without my little vocab book, furiously jotting away at each opportunity.
Résolution numéro 2: Suck it up and get out of my comfort zone
I have really surprised myself with how little I persevere with my French while I’ve been away. This is because while I might initially try to engage in French conversation, I get embarrassed soooo easily and this hasn’t really shaken much since I arrived 😦 If I stand any chance of actually writing my dissertation when I get back to university, I really have to grow the f*** up and throw myself into conversation, mistakes, British accent and all. Sure I might look a bit over eager, but rather be the keeno for the next six months than the only one who can’t say they’re fluent in French having spent a year in France. I’m really going to try.
Résolution numéro 3: Get my money’s worth from my gym membership
I signed up to my local gym Movida shortly after arriving in Toulouse, and though I go through periods of going regularly, there are plenty of evenings where I’ve bailed through being ‘tired’ after work or from sleeping in too late at the weekends. If I’m paying the money then I really do have to get myself into more of a consistent routine, and I also find that when I’m organised with my workouts then the rest of my life tends to be pretty organised too. Weird isn’t it?
Résolution numéro 4: Book flights as soon as possible
They’re just so so so much cheaper. My genuine advice to any year abroader is to book flights as soon as humanly possible, no flights are expensive if you buy them far enough in advance, and I would really like to get some cash money behind me while I haven’t got it disappearing into vodka cokes every Wednesday in Rubix. Get organised with booking flights.
Résolution numéro 5: Read a newspaper article every single day
Every day I walk past a lady giving out free newspapers. Every day I am too British to decline and I take the paper graciously merciiiii bonne journéeeeeeee!!!!!! before shoving it into my bag. Sometimes I read it and sometimes I don’t, but from here on in I do not have the time to waste half asleep or staring into space on the bus each day, that paper is not going to know what’s hit it once my highlighter is out and all those unknown words are going straight into my vocab book once I get to work.
While my resolutions might not be profound or exciting or particularly wild, I find that the resolutions involving discipline for me are the hardest to keep, so the challenge starts here to get the academic most from my third year abroad in order to (fingers crossed) minimise somewhat the heartache and pain of final year study.
A bonus of having boring resolutions is that chocolate is very much still allowed in 2015, and if anything it’ll help to soothe the brain ache of learning so much French 😉