A quick catch up!

Hi guys! First of all, I’d like to apologise for not posting in a while. Long story short, there’s not been much going on worth talking about. 

There’s nothing new from my host university, apart from the fact that I have to make an appointment to collect the key to my room, and take out insurance. In preparation for moving down, I painstakingly took a personal inventory of everything I own. Looking back on how long this took, I can safely say I own a lot more than I thought. For example, I came across a handheld fan and a packet of dental floss in the bottom of a box full of stuff. Trust me, you most likely have stuff somewhere that you’d forgotten about.

Don’t get me wrong, I think doing an inventory is a great idea, especially as a student abroad. Not only can I see what I own at a quick glance, but going through everything forced me to realise I probably didn’t need some of it. I’m definitely not a hoarder, but I tend to buy things on a whim, then never use them again or feel I might need it later. When I’m in my room in Clermont-Ferrand, having my inventory there with me will be very useful when I take out insurance. On the off-chance that anything should happen, such as theft or fire, I can show them exactly what I own without missing anything. And it’ll hopefully stop me from buying too much stuff when I’m there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that we had to say goodbye to our dog Oscar at the beginning of the month. He was struggling to lay down and sleep due to swelling in his chest. We felt the best thing for him was to put him to sleep and out of his misery. I grew up with Oscar, as we got him when I was nine, so he was a great loss to the family. Evenings were quieter, too; there was no snoring while I was trying to sleep, nor was there the constant sound of claws on the tile flooring. It was too quiet, and I missed being able to scratch him behind his ears as he sat by me on the sofa.

While I personally felt it was too soon to get another dog, having only recently said goodbye to Oscar, and if it was up to me, the time wasn’t great; after all, we have builders working on the house and there are plenty of other things for my parents to stress about, everyone else disagreed with me. Being outnumbered four to two (my mum wanted a cat), we all went out to a house about an hour away to look at puppies. After being licked, nibbled and jumped on, we ended up choosing a tiny white Labrador pup. We all decided on the name Chester. Guys, meet Chester:

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So I have to admit, he really is adorable. While I still haven’t got over Oscar, I at least now have company on a night, albeit very wriggly and restless. We’re also apparently getting a kitten as well, a tiny black thing. Considering how noisy and manic the house is already, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like trying to look after three arguing children, an intuitive puppy and a black fluff-ball.

I’m now counting down the days until I go to Paris. I’m writing this on the evening of the 13th August, leaving me three full days until I leave on Friday. Now, I bought all my tickets assuming I’d be receiving my Carte Jeune well beforehand. Well, once I realised it didn’t seem to be coming, I got straight onto customer services. It turns out, somewhere along the process I’d chosen ‘Borne Libre Service’: Self service. It’s like buying tickets online; you can either have an e-Ticket, have them posted or collect them from a machine in the station. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to change the way I get my Carte Jeune once it’s been paid for. Luckily, you can get it electronically, by signing up for a SNCF Voyageur account. This gets you the ability to view your tickets and cartes de réductions (discount cards, such as YoZone cards in York) in-app, as well as a physical all-in-one card for all your discounts after a few weeks, depending on the speed of the French postal service.

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We have very friendly neighbours around here, not that you’d expect any different. Next door to us we have Jean, a lovely old man who loves to pop round for a chat, and also to bring us grapes from his garden. Then there’s an older woman who comes round every now and again. While I still haven’t got her name, she often appears at the door with a bucket full of vegetables. First it was seven courgettes, then it was a load of juicy tomatoes. None of us know much about her, but we’re still speculating on whether it’s her own produce, or if she slyly nicks it from other people.

On the subject of produce, it came to my attention on the last weekly shop how invested France are in the environment. Not only are they due to hike up prices of products packaged in non-recycled plastic, but in major supermarkets at least, the usual plastic sacks for loose fruit and veg have been replaced with a 100% recyclable, biodegradable, compostable  bag. And apparently, many of France’s bin bags are also compostable. This is great news for everyone. I found when I went to London for New Years, there was a massive problem with rubbish, black bags everywhere. I know this is a problem everywhere, so if black bags take a few months, and not a few centuries, to decompose, the environment will be better for everyone.

If you’ve got this far, thank you so much for reading through! I’m going to leave this post here, but I’ll be blogging again on Friday evening once I’m in Paris. À bientôt !