11 January 2013

Je suis de retour!

I had an absolutely wonderful whirlwind of a time back home at Christmas, but three weeks just wasn't long enough. Or it was, it just passed by far, far too quickly. I didn't get to see everybody as much as I wanted to and I didn't get to dance as much as I wanted to (dancing at home is always so much better for some reason? I have no idea why, I just prefer it), but it was just so nice to have some home comforts around me and to eat good old stodgy, English food again (although I did order a takeaway every other day as well - oops! I now have some sort of adolescent crisis happening on my chin i.e. a cluster of spots, but hey ho, I ate well).

It was great just being able to slob around in pyjamas most of the time with my boyfriend, Paul, and do absolutely nothing for the most part, get really ruined at a couple of parties and tell all of my friends how much I love them and have missed them and then go for some home-cooked goodies (Nana Pat's Sunday dinners, Mama B's bacon and lentil soup and our very own pre-Christmas Christmas dinner - see below) to recover from being an absolute hungover mess.

Left to right: Paul, Jonesy, Karl, Joe and Coady. Christmas dinner jazz hands!

All of the food. In the world. Ever. This consisted of 5 joints of meat, two jugs of gravy, a bowl of boiled eggs and several other things that I just can't remember. 

I was, however, disappointed to find that a couple of Christmas gifts that I brought home from France could, in fact, be found in England. Paul's Mam really loves l'Occitane products and buys them from QVC, so I thought I'd buy her (and my own Mam) some from the real French store, only to find that, when finishing my Christmas shopping at home, they had constructed a l'Occitane store in Eldon Square. I also managed to find the la Rustique camembert that I brought home, in the cash'n'carry in the arse-end of Walker, which is the least exotic/French place you could ever think of, for those of you who don't know it (you don't want to) when we were buying bucket loads of drink on the cheap for one of the parties.

In total, I managed to bring home 2kg of cheese (2 wheels of camembert, 5 large babybels - for which I got stopped at Marseille airport because security weren't sure if babybels were allowed through) spread between my suitcase and my hand luggage, which at the end of the day was a fruitless endeavour because globalisation now means that you can find "authentic French goods"  even in the most smack-rat/Jeremy Kyle-candidate ridden part of town! Good! I think people enjoyed their gifts nevertheless.

And so, after clawing onto the threshold at the front door of my (cold) Heaton/North Shields home because Christmas was too good and I really, really, really didn't want to leave, I am back in the South of France. My body and brain are confused again because Newcastle is so dark, wet and cold, but here it's like a Summer's day at the end of August to me, I just don't know what to believe. God help me when I get to Spain in a week's time (yes that's right - a week!) I think my hypothalamus will go on strike because it just won't be able to cope with all of these weather changes in such a short amount of time.

So about the Spain thing; I've booked train tickets with Lauren and Gareth (Pardon my French) and our journey will take us two days in total. We'll be going from Marseille to Montpellier, spending a night in Hotel Ibis in the centre of Montpellier, then catching the early train all the way down to Tarragona, non-stop.  We could have flown, but I am really the world's worst flyer so if there's another option that's cheaper or just as expensive, I'll take it. Plus I've never been on a really long train journey before, (just Newcastle to Edinburgh but that only takes about an hour) so it'll be an adventure.

A map to illustrate our journey from Marseille to Tarragona.

As of yet, we have nowhere to live but thankfully we have friends who are already down there and are willing to help us out until we get ourselves sorted, which is really, really nice of them. We'll have to take them a "thank you" Camembert... (or not, because you'll probably be able to find it in a dingy corner shop thanks to import/exportation.)

IN OTHER NEWS... I now have a pet turtle at home in Heaton. He's called Donatello. Isn't he lovely?



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