I’m now 6 weeks into my time abroad and it’s fair to say I don’t want it to end! Everyone is lovely, I have and am continuing to make lovely friends and I’m learning so much – what more could you ask for?!
I thought I would give you all a brief description on what I’ve noticed so far in my 6 weeks of being here;
- Bread is taken very seriously and is a separate food group.
It is not uncommon to see someone trek down into the town (it’s a pretty steep trek back) just for a baguette! I thought it was just a stereotype of the French but no – I haven’t gone a single day without seeing someone carrying a baguette or two – or as I once saw – six! Now I don’t know if there’s some secret bread society or something but six seemed a little excessive for a family of two. Apparently a loaf of bread which we are used to in the UK, is not classed as normal bread either – I once went food shopping and put a loaf in my trolley and was then asked if I wanted proper bread too, I mean how much bread is one person expected to eat in France?!
- Coffee is also a no-laughing matter.
As a devoted tea drinker, I can honestly say that their coffee is amazing. No other words, you just have to try it.
- Lunch is a lengthy affair.
At school, kids get an hour and a half for “le déjeuner” and I have made many a trip to a shop or the bank to realise that, in fact, they are closed for a 2 hour lunch break. That’s right closed. They don’t rotate staff for your convenience, lunch is a civil right.
- Wasps are friends not enemies.
Now I don’t know if it’s because the people here are accustomed to wasps due to the almost constant warm weather but I was once having coffee with some colleagues and I refused to sit down because there was a wasp (I have a very strong fear of them, okay!) whilst the others treated it as it was their favourite pet whilst letting it crawl all over their hand!
- Corsicans are language gurus.
They’re already bilingual throughout childhood. They learn French and Corsican as their primary languages. Then almost everyone learns Italian, then some go on to learn Spanish and then in last place comes English! That’s just insane, I’m très jealous! It puts it into perspective just how lazy the U.K is when it comes to learning languages.
- Sign posts and information points do not exist.
Okay so that’s not entirely true but it definitely feels that way! During the Toussaint holidays I cannot tell you how many times we got lost due to lack of sign posts. I mean dangerously lost – we thought we were doing a nice scenic 2 hour walk in a forest. It turned out that due to lack of sign posts and information points we were actually doing a section of the famous GR20 hiking trail. If it weren’t for me speaking to a lovely Corsican lady about the route we would have actually been stranded up a cliff, overnight, freezing to death. Thus, a map/travel guide/hiking guide is a must in Corsica.
- A notebook is a must!
This is a necessity for anyone travelling abroad. Always take your notebook with you wherever you go because I can assure you that you will have forgotten that word you wanted to look-up by the time you get home.