Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Home!

I am a changed woman after living in Nice for a year.

It was pleasantly disorienting to see all of the people and things and places that are very familiar to me, that I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was also strange eating all the things I’ve missed – after pining for my favourite foods for a year, they are somehow less delicious to me just because I know I’ll have access to them for a good while from now on.

Also, the first night I was home, I stepped into the washroom to take a shower before going to bed and nearly wept; I could hardly believe that I wouldn’t have to worry about not having hot water anymore! Not getting to take a hot shower in the dead of winter in an apartment where the central heat isn’t on yet is something else. I’ve also made the following discoveries:

*European boys are generally more smooth, polished, charming, interesting, cosmopolitan, multilingual and better-dressed than their North American counterparts, but

*I have a renewed appreciation for the relative conservativeness for my homeboys because I don’t have to worry about getting harassed every day when I go out

*the contrast between Major Brand Name Schools and public schools in France (and in the States too, I’d imagine) is so stark; more than ever, I’m grateful for the fact that all higher education institutions in Canada are public – I can’t imagine the despair I’d feel if I were at a disadvantage simply because I couldn’t afford to go to a good school

*“art deco” is apparently code for “old, disintegrating piece of crap” in terms of describing apartment buildings

*renting property in France is super, super sketchy and one must never rent a place with out-of-country landlords

*BNP Paribas is officially The Worst Bank in the World if their branches in Nice are fair representation

*Ni├žois post offices are the best places to learn how to swear in French, because even if you only have two or three people before you in line, the wait could be up to 45 minutes

*you learn to develop a sense of humour and an elevated state of patience from French bureaucracy – the other choices are to go mad or to move

*many French people – especially old ones – are charmingly honest and therefore politically incorrect

*growing up in Canada makes us a super aware and appreciative of different cultures – I’m super grateful for that as well

*Yellow Fever is a Very, Very Serious Problem in Europe

*Dutch people are very tall; my eye-level in the Netherlands is chest-level of all the locals

*the cultural atmosphere of Germany is very similar to that of Canada in that people are very laid-back and down-to-earth – but they are more punctual and their beer is better :P

*when there are Ferraris zooming around everywhere, a dime a dozen like in Monaco, they aren’t nearly as impressive

*living right on the Mediterranean with palm trees everywhere is just intoxicating

*I’m not done with Europe yet; I’m going to go back there to live temporarily again

It was an indescribably wonderful year – what a way to end off my undergraduate career! Now I’m home spending quality time with my mama, studying my tail off in the hopes of going through another four years of school. Wish me luck!

XOXOXO