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Welcome to my personal blog. Documenting life as an expat in Lyon, enriching and active travel experiences in France and further afield. Enjoy!

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One month in

One month in

It's been about a month since I moved from France. A pretty hectic month of furnishing the apartment, setting up the usual basics, going to school 9 - 5 and getting my first kidney infection. 

First of all, the course is going well. Being back at school aged 31 and 3/4 is pretty much what I expected. Actually showing up to class, doing my homework the night it's set and rolling my eyes at people who aren't taking it as seriously. I don't know whether I was too immature at 18 to have been as concientious, whether it's because I feel more financially invested this time round, or whether I'm just actually enjoying this course more than the endless verb tables and dead French authors of university. 

Early morning coffee in the garden (My first ever garden! Well, decking)

Early morning coffee in the garden (My first ever garden! Well, decking)

The workload is more than I expected - I really didn't think we'd get homework for some reason - but it's manageable for someone like me who has no dependants, no social life and lives five minutes away.

I got the usual surprise at my age, and then the usual protestations that I'm lucky, which I can never wrap my head round. Why is youth so coveted when people in their 20s are (usually) such idiots? I certainly was, and I have no desire to be back there. I'm really glad of the wisdom of every passing year, and every new experience it brings.

I find it rude when people continually comment on my age. It wouldn't happen if you looked older than your years, so why it is acceptable if you look younger? In fact, why is it acceptable to talk about someone's appearance at all unless they have brought it up first? I think it's because people assume I find it a compliment, but youth is not an achievement, and if I were a man I don't think people would say to me that "I'll be so glad when I'm 40 and look 30." When I ask people why they think that, they usually can't answer other than to say that it's good to look younger.

And I do get that it's a silly thing for me to moan about.

But I do feel that I am sometimes overlooked and interrupted because I look young. From debates in the pub to getting good customer service, or being told by a receptionist at the doctors to come back on a Monday when they have an under 24s clinic (this happened to me last week).

I definitely have a chip on my shoulder about it and undoubtedly some of the times when I feel like I'm dismissed it's unrelated to how I look, but it really bugs me that my opinions may not be sought or given as much weight as they would be if a random DNA sequence meant I were a bit louder, a bit taller or looked older. 

And yet... I know I can be a bit of a people-pleaser which sometimes makes me hide my opinions. In fact, my husband once asked me why I let a man at a wedding explain something to me for an hour - when in fact I knew a lot more about the subject that he did - and I realised I didn't want to appear rude or a know-it-all. Add to that the fact I spend a good chunk of money on skincare and therein lies the paradox of my relationship with my face. 

But enough of this tangent... back to Brighton.

Sunday morning beach stroll

Sunday morning beach stroll

At the moment I'm in the bubble of the course. My husband is also going through training and not living here full-time yet, and I've been pretty wrapped up in learning shorthand and the IPSO code. 

But it's only been a month. I remember my first few months in Lyon were much the same - busy with work, busy arranging a wedding - it took me a about four months to realise I actually lived there. 

And living back in the UK has been nice. I mean - yes, the weather. Yes, my beautiful Lyonnais view - but apart from that I've not had too many pangs of missing France.

I think I'm lucky (or possibly a little psychopathic) in that I don't really ever feel sentimental. I really really do not get the nostalgia of school and university. I have a fondness for certain places, and of course I have the 'remember when..?' conversations with old friends, but I'm pretty much always focused on the present. Perhaps it's because I'm lucky enough that my life feels like it's going in an upwards trajectory (typing that sentence is really asking for trouble) but the 'good old days' mentality has always been a bit of an icky concept for me - I always want to feel that the best is yet to come and I dread the day when I feel wistful for the past. 

Plus, my memory is shit. I genuinely have forgotten most of what happened in my first 25 years on earth, so that helpfully avoids any rose-tinted reminiscence.

So... Brighton. Britain. So far so good. I just need to keep this momentum up for another three months, survive my first British winter since 2014 and keep my fingers crossed that my husband passes his training and can come and live with me. No sweat.

La rentrée

La rentrée