So, as you probably guessed from the title of this post, I have officially arrived in my second year-abroad destination: Biarritz. "Where?" you ask. Good question. I had no idea either until I accepted the job here (about 3 weeks before my placement was due to start - last minute, anyone?), but thought I should probably look up where it was before attempting to travel there. (As you may have guessed from the last post, travelling there was quite an undertaking!) Biarritz is right on France's Atlantic coast, and right in the south, about 40km from the Spanish border. So far so good!
You might be forgiven for imagining a sunny seaside town with beautiful sandy beaches. That's certainly what I thought. And what google images led me to believe. Turns out that the sunny weather only happens in summer, and right now it is definitely still March. Biarritz is currently in the grips of the stormiest storm I've ever seen. Imagine constant rain, thunder and lightning, and gales to make you re-think your decision to accept a ride to work on the back of your colleagues definitely-blow-about-able moped. Umbrellas are a definite no-no. Sad times.
|Bit different to how I imagined...|
|So much rain :( Let's hope my camera forgives me for taking it out in this weather!|
Adding to the list of pros about Biarritz (the weather is the only real con at the moment, but it's a big one!) is my living situation. I'm staying with a friend of my work colleague's, along with her 3-year-old son. Now, I won't lie. The prospect of living with a 3 year old did not exactly fill me with joy. But, assured by the previous intern (who also lived there) that it wasn't a problem for her, I decided to take the plunge and just go for it. (Who was I to turn down an offer of accommodation which would mean less long-distance organisation on my part!?) So far it has been great! Oona, the lady I'm living with, is really friendly and relaxed, and she keeps offering me more things to make my room feel more like home. I got home today to find that she'd sneaked a rug, chair and lamp into my room. I'm certainly not complaining! What's more, her son is absolutely adorable (well, so far anyway!) I helped him put together some Lego yesterday, so hopefully that put me in his good books! Fingers crossed...
All in all, the transition to France has been much less painful than it could have been, although this could be partly due to the fact that I'm too busy with my sudden full-time job at the moment that I don't have time to think about much else!
I have noticed a few small differences though. So, in the same way that I did when I arrived in Germany, I think I'll list them here:
- Kissing. It's a big thing. Whenever anyone arrives at the office they have to do the rounds and kiss everyone (once on each cheek, which I'm told is relatively few kisses compared with other parts of France!). Sometimes they even do this when they leave the office as well. That adds up to a lot of kisses! I think I prefer the Germans' handshaking. Much less awkward-potential.
- No one here waits at the red man! My inner-German is scandalised.
- Sugar. So much sugar. Cake everywhere... Bit of a contrast to the German salt-obsession. (Not complaining!)
- French - Here I am back in the oh-no-people-are-expecting-small-talk-and-I-have-no-idea-what-to-say situation. So many times I have bitten back (or not quite bitten back) an ach so! which (sadly) is only met with confusion here. Darn those Frenchies for not speaking German!
- Weird milk. It tastes different. I do not approve.
I'm sure there will soon be many more things to add to this list! I will keep you posted.