Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Over the past few weeks I have been watching the street decorations appear slowly. First the overhead lights on each of the streets around the square, then the sapin branch archways dotted along the streets, the construction of the patinoire (ice rink) in place carnot, the luge (toboggan slide) for the little children on the square near the train station and the fair on place gambetta. Yesterday was the opening ceremony, I’ve recently discovered that there was a traditional march and would have loved to have seen it but wasn’t informed about it so didn’t get to, which is a little sad. I did my own little march today though. Christmas fair on Square Gambetta

This morning, after I lay in bed for a while sleeping off the previous night’s Dutch Sinterklaas soirée, I got ready, cleaned my apartment and then headed out for a wander around Christmassy Carcassonne. As I entered the square I could smell, hear and see Christmas (and many children!). The queue for the patinoire was long and there were many many faces wooshing around the rink, I even spotted some of my students. I weaved in and out of all the people and huts selling various things and I headed towards Pont Vieux – Cité bound. I leisurely strolled up the hill to the beautiful castle, found a bench and alternated between reading my book and watching the world go by, it was a really nice relaxing afternoon! I strolled back down after about an hour and a half, weaved back in and out of the huts and people. Now I’m home, I’m relaxed and I’m about to eat a samosa I bought from one of the huts. It’s 2 weeks today until I return for Christmas, and whilst I absolutely cannot wait to be home I know I will miss this little town for the 2 weeks that I’m not occupying it.

The view from my book-reading bench.


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Anxiety. That’s what it’s all about. It has finally hit me, that feeling that washes over me and brings me to the brink of breakdown is due to my over-worrying nature. If I didn’t worry about things this year would be amazing (although, of course if I didn’t worry about things I wouldn’t be human). Despite being more prepared for lessons than ever, thank you to my bedridden Toussaint holiday, I headed off to school, for the first day back after Toussaint, worried about everything I could possibly worry about. Everything went fine. There was no need to worry, at all, so why do I do it so often? I’m not sure if I think so little of myself that I’m sure I’m going to screw up majorly. Surely I don’t have that little faith in myself!

I’ve got ulcers and bad skin as a result of the fact I am quite stressed and run down at the moment. However, in my breakdown curing skype call to my dad last night we talked about a lot of things to take my mind off the fact I was actually having a breakdown and one of those things was cooking. I’ve recently realised that cooking soothes me, I really enjoy it and also is the key to not only physical but mental health, I’ll be doing more and more of it. I’m going to teach myself to cook different meals in order to relieve my tensions.

45 days until I go home for Christmas and I am really looking forward to it, if only to see my parents again. I’ve got many things to do in this time to make it fly. Italian cuisine night tomorrow chez another assistant, my best friend is coming to visit me in 14 days, I need to visit La Cité to do Christmas shopping for my family, regular lesson plans, Christmas lesson plans (I must admit, I may be a little more excited than the children) and other mundane daily/weekly chores/living/rituals. Things like this make me realise that I can definitely do this, no matter what this experience throws at me I’m in it until the end. Definitely not getting off this ride until it is over.

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So you may initially think this blog isn’t entirely year abroad related but when I read this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8286939.stm I could not help but feel like I knew exactly what the writer was talking about. Even though I’m not particularly anxious about money or getting a job, as I already have both of those, I am still worrying about a lot. Particularly disappointment. Me. Being one. I’m worried that I don’t know enough French, that I might not be able to cope, after yet another weekend meltdown. There definitely is too much stress involved in this year that is meant to be an enjoyable experience.

I settled down early on Sunday afternoon to fill in paperwork in order to receive my erasmus grant payments through the university erasmus program. I filled in all the simple parts; name, address, university, course. Then I went on to do the rest, with the guidance notes up on the screen in an email sent by the international office, but could I do it. No. No I couldn’t. There just wasn’t enough guidance to fill in all these forms. I wasn’t aware that Britain had become a bureaucratic nightmare like France. Cue stress, self-doubt, panic and then eventually many tears. It’s almost as if they want us to crack under all this pressure. I’ve never doubted my mental health as much as I have these past few weeks. Eventually, after plucking up the courage to tell my mum that I was having yet another breakdown and having yet another pep talk, I put the papers back on my desk and they’ll stay there until I have a day confident enough that I won’t crumble. Instead, I booked my flights home for Christmas. Giving me a countdown and event in the future to look forward to, or if… no! WHEN I start to love this experience, to dread. I think I need one of those posters with the kitten dangling from the washing line. Hang in there, baby!

It’s 07:53 right now (06:53 for all you Brits) and I am preparing myself to leave my apartment to commence my first day in my language assistant post. Whilst I’ll only be observing the class and finalising my timetable j’ai toujours peur!!! Bon chance à moi!

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