The Week of the Panicked Email

Bonjour à tous !

As the title of this blog suggests, this week has been the Week of the Panicked Email. After it hit me that I had 2 essays and 9 exams approaching imminently and that I knew neither the content nor the form of any of them and that I hadn’t even chosen a topic for my year abroad project which we were supposed to do before we even left, I had a bit of a meltdown during which time I ate a lot of chocolate. Then, I pulled myself out of my meltdown state enough to send hundreds of emails.

I sent them to French lecturers (along the lines of please help me, I’m a poor stupid English student and I don’t understand the lectures and I’ve never done an exam in France before and I’m going to fail), to UCL year abroad people (along the lines of please help me, I’m taking too many courses, how many can I drop) and to my year abroad project supervisor (along the lines of, please help me, I’m sorry for missing all the deadlines, here are 6 potential year abroad project topics I’ve halfheartedly made some notes on). The responses varied: some French lecturers didn’t even have email addresses but some sent very sweet replies that said don’t worry, I always have Erasmus students in my class and I’ve never had any problems with them (read: I’m going to pass you, leave me alone). The UCL people gave a rallying pep talk and advised me to drop philosophy (which I wish I’d done sooner because I now finish at 12:45pm on a Friday rather than 6:15pm). My year abroad supervisor, bless her, read all my emails and sent me a response that said simply, “Are you sure you’re ok?” (I am ok, just to clarify). In my weird state of Sorting My Life out, I also accidentally found myself a job for when I get back and possibly set up a buddy scheme at UCL for Erasmus students next year. I also started my application to Roma III, my university in Rome, so every cloud and all that.

Let this be a lesson to all of you: panicked emails work. I have now chosen a year abroad topic, dropped a course and been reassured that no matter what we write in our exams we’ll probably pass and that even if we don’t, UCL aren’t really that bothered. So basically my life just became a thousand times easier and I can continue living that Erasmus life.

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Chantal’s gorgeous pal (and a cat lol)

Last week was Huy’s 12th (haha) birthday and we celebrated with an international dinner: wine (French), chicken (American – well, Candice made it and she’s American so…), sushi (Japanese), garlic bread (an English speciality, apparently), fried rice (Vietnamese), and an amazing speculoos tirimasu by Celia for dessert (Italianish). We had such a nice night eating together and of course we ended the night on a game – this time the good old Je n’ai jamais… (Never Have I Ever…).

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In classic French style, we also went to a wine festival this week on the Esplanades which are being set up for Les Hivernales (the winter version of Les Estivales, I can’t wait!!!!). A wine glass and 3 wine tastings set us all back a mere 2€! It did mean that I had to pretend to be interested in wine for a bit though – some of the vendors even made me swill it around and smell it before I drank it. The wine festival came just in time – we’ve just about broken all of our wine glasses from Les Estivales and we were in need of some new ones.

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The classic Huy smile (aka not smiling)

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We had another food themed evening on Wednesday when Chantal, Ruth and I went to Al-Andaluse for some tapas. It’s been a favourite bar amongst our friends and us for a while now because they sell litres of mojito for 7€ and they’re not stingy with the rum, but apparently that’s not all that’s good there; the tapas was DELICIOUS. We just asked for one of everything and it was all so tasty. We also made the most of the mojitos and sangria (pretending it’s still summer) which resulted in literally hundreds of selfies of us pulling faces which are so bad that I can’t even post them. I didn’t even know I could look that ugly. All you need to know is that the night ended with us hugging a life-sized plastic cow.

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And the final great food-themed thing that happened this week was a Chinese meal in town with some pals, who paid for my dinner as a birthday treat. My birthday treat was also supposed to include ice-skating, but as I was in a mad email-sending frenzy and then had to wait ages for a tram because it was a Sunday (and then had to wait a second time because when the first tram arrived, I realised I’d left my tram card in my room so I had to go back and get it), by the time I actually arrived the ice-skating rink was basically closing. I know, I’m the worst, I missed my own birthday present. The Chinese food was really good though, so good in fact that I was too busy eating to take a picture, so here’s one I found on google images.

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Ours looked similar to this

With just four weeks left to go in France, I’m beginning to feel homesick. I’ve been ok up until this point, but now that it’s rainy and grey here with only exams to look forward to, Christmas at home in front of the fire with my family, friends and dog is a very attractive prospect. I was so lucky last week and received more birthday presents and care packages from mum, personal jokes from my brother and flowers from Matt in the post, which really brightened up a stressful week because I love receiving things in the post, but also made me miss home. To cheer myself up, I’ve been planning things for my final four weeks – it looks like a trip to Lyon, the Haribo factory, the Pont du Gard and a seriously over the top Christmas are in order. Watch this space.

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Presents though

Thanks for reading fans, until next week!

Bisous xxx

PS. Got some free samples from Lush this week. On closer inspection of the label, it appears that while Lush products are not tested on animals, they are tested on English people. Um…

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