60 kg of my life – packed. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it, (everyone on Facebook who saw these empty cases definitely seemed to think so!) but it still took a few repacks and playing with the idea of stitching my jewellery (and various heavy plugs) into my clothes to manage it. I’m still standing by the stereotypical excuse of ‘I’m a girl? Duh.’ for why I needed so much luggage… And to think, just two weeks before this, I was holidaying in Greece with the girls from home, and half a week ago I was playing Fresher (round 3) in Leeds. My move to France definitely crept up on me. The next morning I feel too tired to be scared, and said my goodbyes to my mum, brother, (and cat of course), almost like I would be seeing them a couple of hours later.
The journey to my new city took the rest of the day. I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland first of all, to be presented with a lot of adverts for watches and banks. Surrounded by clichés I decide to go with it and order a pain au chocolat (en Francais). Little victories people, little victories! More impressively, I managed to negotiate the time of my coach forward by about 4 hours, thank god. So after a 2 hour drive through gingerbread house and wood chop country I made it to Grenoble, France but fairly soon after went straight to bed, already exhausted.
Next morning my induction into my halls of residence was at 10:15am, so naturally I turned up at 11:45am. Not on purpose! I’m just very good at getting lost… I was already worried that my accommodation wouldn’t want me, didn’t have room, had never heard of me or that my £240 deposit hadn’t come through, so now was the time to officially freak out at having potentially missed any opportunity to live there/anywhere. After the woman at the desk initially mistook my full name for my email address (can a name even have an ‘@’ in it?) everything got cleared up and I had a home! I’d even paid too much deposit so apparently my first month’s rent is already paid. (I’ll come back to my room/new home in another post.) However, a quick look-over of my lodgings made it clear that some decoration/furniture was needed which was when I usefully remembered seeing a guy with an IKEA bag on the tram earlier.
Google confirmed it; there was an IKEA in Grenoble. Day = Made. Again, managed to get lost though, and to the extent that a man pulled over in his car and asked if I was OK. He tried to verbally direct me for about 5 minutes but then decided it would just be easier if he drove me there. Now I’m not normally one to take candy from a stranger but I’d say I’m quite a good judge of character and this guy seemed genuine, besides I like to think I know enough self-defence to seriously break any guy’s face if their intentions turned sour. Thankfully, ‘Taken’ was not on the cards and the lovely French man told me all about where the best nearby ski resorts are for winter, and wished me luck on my year abroad as he dropped me off outside the giant blue and yellow warehouse he had promised to take me to. Phew. Another early night, under my IKEA duvet in my new bed, I woke up the next morning for one final meet up with my Dad, who had come over to France with me to help with the move etc. He keeps offering me Orange Juice and food, but it’s too early for me to want either. I guess he just wants to make sure I’m OK in his own way. A goodbye hug and his tram pulls away, and I’m finally on my own in this strange new place.