Moving Back

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’ve been on a year abroad in Rennes for the last 9 months, and finally, last weekend I was able to close that chapter of my life.
At. Long. Last.
Frankly, I don’t think any year abroad is ever going to be easy – you’re moving away from your family, most of your friends and in many cases you’re forced to speak a language on a daily basis that isn’t your mother tongue. Add the culture clash to this, and the occasional, or not so occasional French man who doesn’t like the English and you’re already set for a pretty difficult experience.

So there are two ways this post could go:
1. I rant and rave about how I just couldn’t deal with the French admin system (it’s as bad as, and probably worse, than the stereotypes make it out to be) and how the university really wasn’t helpful, welcoming, and how we were woefully under prepared for what we had to face.
2. Or, I can tell you that I’m a much stronger person that I thought I was; that my flatmate, and one of my best friends, is an absolute gem of a human being, that I had the best support network at home that I could have asked for and that in spite of all the hiccups* we managed to make our own fun.
And I choose option 2, because, well, option 1 is a bit boring for you and frankly, I firmly believe that I’ve got to be more optimistic and learn to move on.
It was by far the hardest year of my life, academically and emotionally, and to say that it was a challenge is a gross under statement. But, I’m still here aren’t I? I passed my year (hurrah), Mihiqua and I discovered some amazing restaurants and had a lot of fun in the process. 
There was probably too much wine consumed, there were a lot of chick flicks watched, and there were more tears than I would like to admit, but … we made it! 
And now, I certainly realise how strong I am, and that I can do whatever I put my mind to – but sometimes, you’ve just got to struggle through and work for it.
Have you ever had an experience that made you realise how strong you are?

*Hiccups include but are not limited to, no boiler for all of January, a gas leak, exams moved forward a day…on the day of the exam, waiting 45 minutes for exam papers, still not having our Erasmus grants, only having one hob ring that works. The list is pretty endless to be honest.

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  • It sounds like the Kelly Clarkson song should definitely be your theme song of the year. You should be proud to make it through of that & still pass!

  • Loving your attitude. I can't wait to hear what else you get up to now that this part of your journey is over.

  • Going to university is always going to be hard and moving abroad must be much harder. I had a boyfriend at home who used to come and visit me at university at the weekend – though it didn't work out in the end.

    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

  • Catherine Lux

    I agree with the others, love your attitude and you should be so proud of yourself!

    I've had a fair few experiences that have made me realise how strong I am, although a couple very nearly broke me. One was when my ex-boyfriend and I were forced to do a long distance relationship (UK – Australia) for 2.5 years, the shortest time we spent apart was two weeks, but the longest time we spent apart was 5 months, it was awful! And the second was one year where a few very special people in my life passed away. They say these things come in threes, right? The final one was my Aunty who I was really close to, she was more like the big sister I never had. She passed away very suddenly from a heart attack (she was 36), and I will never forget that phone call. For a year after that I hid myself away and barely left my room, that grieving process took a long time, and I felt like I'd never get out of it. But I came out the other side so much stronger, and now I'm living for them all. They can't be here, so I can't just live my life for myself anymore, I have to live for all of them too.

    C x

  • It sounds like you had an extremely tough year but well done! You made it! x

  • You go girl! You should be super proud of yourself. Not many people would have put themselves in the position that you did in the first place and head abroad to the unknown, let alone endure it for as long as you did…endure isn't the right word actually – make the most of it like you did. You won't ever look back on that time and regret it. Promise. I feel the same about Doha, it's been two hard years but the benefits I'll get by the end of my time here will make it more than worth it. Big respect to you!

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

  • YES! Can't beat a bit of Kelly can you? When is she NOT appropriate?! Thanks, Emma! x

  • Thank you! I'm so excited as well!

  • It was never going to be easy was it? Moving away was much more challenging that I ever expected – but I also didn't expect to have that many obstacles thrown in my way either. xx

  • Catherine, I'm so sorry it's taken so long to reply! And thank you so much for leaving such a long comment. As you say, sometimes you've just got to put a brave face on and think positively – it's hard at the time but it's necessary I think.

    It certainly sounds as though you've had some tough experiences, but to move on from them is the important part, and frankly, I think you've done incredibly! I know exactly what you mean on the long distance front; Andy spent 6 months in Africa last year and it was horrible. Sadly, bad things do indeed seem to come in threes.

    I love YOUR attitude! You do have to live for them. I'm so sorry you lost someone so close to you, but I'm also glad that the experience made you stronger – I'm sure your Aunty would be very proud of you and all you've achieved, Catherine! xx

  • You had to do algebra?! That's nasty!! Oh my goodness that's so harsh! I love that I can speak French properly now – it's such a delight after learning it for years! x

  • Thank you, Claire! x

  • Big respect to you lovely, you moved further away and to a totally different culture. You go girl! Can't wait to see you on Friday! xx

  • Catherine Lux

    That's ok! Long distance really is horrible, it either makes or breaks you.

    Thank you! It was my Grandma that made me realise that, she lost my Grandad really young and she told me 'I thought about ending my life because I hated my life without him, but then I realised I have to live for him' so now she always goes off on holidays and does amazing things – even now at 82! She's definitely an inspiration.

    C x | Lux Life

  • Totally agree – make or break is the exact way I would describe it!

    She sounds like such an amazing woman!! Such an inspiration! xx