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So I am currently sat in Southampton airport waiting for my connecting flight, which isn’t anywhere near as glamorous as it sounds! Travelling alone isn’t half stressful (mostly because you have to take your bag EVERYWHERE with you because there is nobody to look after it) but by some miracle I haven’t lost anything yet, apart from half of my sanity. Obviously some retail therapy in the duty free is called for now. I even managed to not shed a tear saying bye to mum and Will but no doubt I will be bawling my eyes out within the next two weeks on Skype!

My last week at home has been manic but I’ve savoured every minute of it. Between finishing off exams and moving the mountains of possessions I seem to have acquired during the past year back home, I’ve tried to see those who mean most to me as much as possible. I think Will may be a bit sick of me after four days of being followed around like a snivelling koala bear. This little adventure has, however, shown me how many brilliant people I am surrounded by!

What to expect ahead of me is a whole different matter. The family are lovely (as I’ve probably said a million or so times) and are really excited to welcome me into their family. I wouldn’t be surprised if I arrived in Clermont-Ferrand to party poppers and welcome banners. I have had three lovely, sweet, smiley Skype chats filled with talk of cuddly toys, books and Baptiste showing off how he has mastered English colours… until Sunday morning. This was when maman (Céline) confessed to me that Mathilde ‘cries very easily’ (at this point Mathilde is, in fact, howling). This just adds to my list of apprehensions:

1) France does not have bacon as we know it. A bit surprising really, considering it is renowned for its gastronomy (or so they say… I’ll let you know).

2) They don’t know how to make a proper cup of tea (this goes for anywhere in Europe really). I’ve armed myself with my own stash of Yorkshire tea bags and mum is on standby to send them express delivery.

3) My French is probably worse than a five-year-olds. I can aptly hold a conversation on topics like the environment, immigration or politics, but ask me to translate a children’s story book and it is all downhill from there.

But everything has a silver lining (apart from point number 1, because chances are from all the cheese and pastries I’m going to put on about 2 stone) and, although I’m shit scared, this experience is going to be amazing. Hopefully I’ll come back thinking, dreaming and speaking French ten times better than I do now – with a tan!

I just have to keep in mind that anything worth doing is scary, and it wouldn’t be worth doing otherwise.

Little French Faye xxx

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