So, it’s October, spooky month, the time of year when it’s acceptable to pop to the shops dressed as a witch.
And while leaves are falling and the temperature’s dropping, I’m doing the opposite. Things are definitely starting to look up. I started from the ground, now I’m a good height above it on my broomstick. All I need to do now is learn to get the Quaffle in the goal hoops. (If you don’t get my references, please look them up!)
I say the temperature’s dropping, but weather’s still pretty erratic. One day it’ll be cold enough for a scarf and gloves, then the next it was a bad idea wearing a jacket. It’s not only annoying for deciding what to wear, but after multiple cold days, you catch a cold, then it’s suddenly warm again. Today, for example, it’s suitable October weather. I can go out in a jacket and jumper and not be too warm, but no doubt the mercury will nosedive again to under 10°C. Hopefully we’ll get a lovely spooky mist before or on Halloween. That’d definitely set the mood.
Speaking of Halloween, from what I’ve heard the French don’t celebrate it as much as the English-speaking Western societies. According to some articles which I have currently forgotten, many French feel Halloween is too Americanised (or should I say Americanized) and another holiday to prepare for. To be honest, they’re kind of right. Some places really do make Halloween seem really tacky, but it can be fun as well. I don’t know if there are any Erasmus students organising a Halloween party, but I’d love it if one turned up. I wouldn’t mind rocking up to a bar dressed as Dr Frank N Furter or Ron Weasley. Not only this, but Halloween falls in the same week as Toussaint (or All Saint’s Day), which is the traditional Christian Halloween (kind of like The Day of The Dead (Día de Muertos) in Mexico) where they celebrate the lives of the dead and lay flowers, especially Chrysanthemums, or wreaths called couronnes de toussaints at each grave. This is on the 1st of November, and the following day is called Le jour des morts, or All Soul’s Day.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for 31 days already. That’s a full month. Time really does fly by when you have no idea what you’re doing. I feel like as soon as you start doing things for yourself, time suddenly speeds up. I find myself in the supermarket wondering where all the food went, or looking at the fruit bowl and wondering why everything is going ripe so quickly. Every time the milk runs out I wonder if anyone else has been drinking it. Is it just called being an adult? Because I’m not sure if I’m ready to meet the milk-vanishing fairies just yet.
I finally went to an Erasmus event the other night. We met at a bar in the city centre to chat with some French students. In the end, we mostly chatted together because there weren’t that many French students taking part. They were there alright, but sat inside watching the football while I ended up speaking a lot of German instead of French. The only negative of the night was a weird guy that stood near our group, not saying a word. Apparently he’d been talking to some German girls earlier, and said he ‘wanted to see their residence’. Creepy, right? We all thought he’d follow the girls when they left, but instead he stayed behind. As the rest of the bar emptied, we started to wonder who he was waiting for. Once we left and he stayed where he was, we were even more confused. But we much preferred him there than following us back.
Have I mentioned before that I’m sick of pasta? Because I still am. All I want is something exotic, like pad thai, sushi or gyudon. You may be wondering why I’m still rambling on about it instead of making it for myself. The problem is that if it turns out I don’t like something, I’ll have a shelf full of ingredients that I might never use again. Believe me, I love to try new things and experiment with food, but it’s hard when you don’t have much income and you need to pay rent. Maybe I should try to get a job in the sushi restaurant in town.
This week should be interesting, as there’s an Erasmus event starting midweek. I only know this because there were stalls around the university buildings advertising it. Since I missed the welcome day, I never got any information on events like this. It’s annoying when it’s not forwarded to me, because I would also like to know about events held for people like me. Anyway, on Wednesday evening there’s a ‘welcome’ for international students, apparently with a cocktail dinner and a welcome by the town mayor. Afterwards, there’s going to be an ice party which involves ice skating. According to the booklet we were given, entry is usually 2€, but is free for fancy-dressed students. I think. That’s what the dictionary says. I don’t want to turn up as Mr Bean and get turned away. Although that would make a funny story. “Hey, why weren’t you at the ice party?” “Oh, I turned up as Mr Bean and they said no.”
I still can’t get used to the differences between UCA and York St John. Mostly just how outdated some things are. For example, to print anything here, you have to use a dedicated computer, then once you’ve sent the document to print you need to buy a ‘card’ from a dispenser nearby. It only takes coins as well. You would have thought that everything would be done with our student cards, since we use them for laundry and CROUS restaurants. It would make things so much easier if we could use the same balance for printing, like we can back home. And I understand that it’s expensive to overhaul every computer on campus, but there really aren’t enough PCs to go around, and some don’t even work. To make it worse, they run on Linux Mint. Ever heard of it? No, neither had I before I came here. There aren’t any USB ports, and even when you’ve managed to access documents, you can’t use Microsoft Office. Nope, you’re stuck with LibreOffice, a free version of Office, or you have to use Microsoft Office Online, a watered-down version for when you don’t have Office installed. It’s really annoying trying to create an hour-long Powerpoint online, on an already slow computer. I much prefer working in the library, because I’m closer to resources and feel more productive. However, it’s hard to do that here with limited resources and outdated technology. I also think I got too used to the library back home being open 24/7 during term time, because I kind of miss sitting at a computer at midnight researching for an essay. Okay, I won’t deny this sometimes happened the day before it was due. But I’m often more productive at night, and the library here shuts at 9pm, which isn’t that bad, but it still leaves a few hours to get distracted at home.
I mentioned a few weeks ago about a YouTube channel, and I said I’d have content by the start of October. I’m working on it, I need to find time to make anything. Once I’m in a proper routine and have worked out how to balance everything, I’ll have something up.
That’s all folks! As usual, the next post will be Sunday 14th, but if you’re desperate for updates in the meantime, check out my Instagram at @hughmillerr. I’ll leave you lovely people to enjoy your breakfast, lunch or evening meal* whatever time it is where you are! À bientôt!
*I’m going to refer to it as such, I don’t want to get caught in the whole ‘tea, dinner, supper’ argument.
GIFs sourced from giphy.com.