As everybody who reads the blog already knows, I think, I'm outta here on the 20th December, owing to the general awful suckiness and stressfulness of this job and my brand-new plans to go back to uni for another Masters - this time of Library and Information Studies, in Wellington.
Can't say, to be honest, I'm really looking forward to living back in NZ, but it's far far far cheaper than studying over here, so looking at it as one year (plus, realistically, a bit of working to save money afterwards) as an investment in the old future, and then back Europeward. But plan to have some fun over the next 6 weeks or so before I finally get on that plane, stay tuned!
In fine blog tradition, however, I will now present my list of things I will and won't miss about France, and Chamonix in particular. I suspect a lot of it will revolve around food.
Will miss... snow, when it's around!
Won't miss... getting into the office/home and having to divest myself of hat, gloves, scarf, coat, jumper and boots (and change into another pair of boots in the case of work). And then follow the reverse process when going out.
Will miss... the beautiful mountain scenery
Won't miss... the "Good Moooorning Chamonix" ritual of blowing several litres of blood out of my nose upon rising - apparently a side-effect of altitude
Will miss... "Americains" - a baguette filled with hamburger/kebab meat/chicken etc and topped off with hot chips - they vary from having the chips tucked inside to ones where basically there's a whole bag of chips dumped half in/half on top of the baguette. Either way, they're damned good, although what's so "American" about them, I don't know. Will miss frites and mayo in general, actually.
Won't miss... never being entirely sure that any given menu item isn't made up of lamb's brain with a side of tripe
Will miss... 101 (or more) varieties of delish cheese, readily available - reblochon, chèvre and port salut being particular favs
Won't miss... lack of cheddar - yes, there's lots of cheese, but they really haven't nailed the 'perfect cheese to sprinkle on your hot meal' market. All the ready-grated cheese in France has this odd, sweet flavour
Will miss... chatting French when pissed and feeling like I'm fluent
Won't miss... talking French on the phone at work, to a general response of "can't you speak French?" "can I talk to someone who can?", meanwhile I just want to sink into the ground
Will miss... going out clubbing in big chunky snow boots lol - high heels are dead!
Won't miss... never getting to wear a skirt
Will miss... cheap but good bottles of rosé
Won't miss... the gasp-worthy cost of a glass of vodka and sprite in a bar
Will miss... French music - not that I've actually heard much since leaving the chateau land of constant MTV
Won't miss... not having a TV!
Will miss... French gossip mags - how will I live without knowing what the star academyciennes got up to this week?
Won't miss... living in a town where the few English books available are exclusively on the subject of mountaineering
Will miss... baked goods, especially the ease and convenience of fresh bread daily, if so desired
Won't miss... getting to about 12.30 and thinking "I'll just pick up a baguette for lunch" only to remember that all the bakeries (and, indeed, most everything else as well) will be closed until about 2 pm. And everything being closed on Sundays - although here isn't actually as bad on that score as in the north, where the nearest shop that was open would've been in Belgium
Will miss... talking of which, the ubiquitousness of Belgians for me to shake my fist at and go "stupid Belgians, get out of my country!" - even in Cham, there are regular occasions for such shenanigans. *Note - although I actually DO do this, it's just a joke - I really have nothing against our Flemish/Walloon friends. Heh, Walloon.*
Will miss... obsessing over why the guy at the friterie 'tu'ed me - friendliness or rudeness? Should I be offended or pleased?
Will miss... (do miss!) shopping in French clothes shops
Won't miss... that Chamonix is the exclusive preserve either of ski-wear shops or designer brands and thus nowt for me
Will miss... being able to stumble home on foot from anywhere in Cham
Won't miss... not having a car - I'm not sure if I'll actually own one back home, but hoping someone'll let me drive one, it's been a while!
I'm sure there's many more. Hard to believe I'm leaving, really, France me manquera! Maybe one day I can come back and work in the English dept of a French university library, that'd be the dream!