Well, I’ve been in France for about a week now, and I’m now pretty well bien installée in my accomodation. I’m staying in what has turns out to be a big student residence complex within a 19th century fort, which before that was a roman viaduc or something like that. It’s old and walled by any means. My room is technically a ‘studio’, but it’s pretty small and basic. My ‘kitchenette’ consists of a fridge, sink and two hob rings, so I need to forget about oven-cooked food for the next four months! I’ll maybe post some pictures another time when I’ve made it a bit more homely, I need to get some posters or something cause it looks a bit like a prison cell at the moment! Anyhow, I don’t have internet in my room yet, so I’m using the free but very unreliable wifi at the Macdonalds down the road, which isn’t up to uploading photos. Now I’m here I’m kind of regretting opting for a room with a kitchenette, because it means there are no communal areas in my building, so it’s difficult to meet people. The only other people I’ve met so far have been English and Canadian, which isn’t going to help me improve my French.
I’m kind of worried that my language isn’t going to improve enough in the four months I’m here, which isn’t very long, because the French students don’t really want to talk to us internationals, and people I’ve spoken to in shops and the bank etc just talk in English, even when I’m carrying on replying in French. The guy serving me in Starbucks earlier made me repeat my order, then went “oh I see, you’re English” in quite a disdainful way, but I was hardly going to put on a French accent to order a ‘grande mocha frappuccino’ when none of those words are French? Starbucks is a total rip-off here by the way, it was €4.80 for my drink, when I swear at home it’s like £3 or less! What with the crappy exhange rate at the moment, I shalln’t be going there again. I bought Vogue Paris to look through whilst I was having a drink and waiting for the bank to open, but I wasn’t too impressed with it.Firstly, I thought there were way more adverts than British Vogue (which I’ve stopped buying cause it’s boring), and the contents were kind of haphazard? Like there was the beauty section, then all the editorials, but there were random beauty articles in between them, not in the beauty section? A couple of the editorials were good, but all in all I wasn’t blown away. I doubt I’ll spend another €4.90 on that.
It seems like most things are more expensive in France? Like even really basic food in the supermarkets is pricey? I have a feeling I’ll be living off plain pasta this term! I went into H&M though and that seems cheaper than in Britain, which is good as I think I’ll be going back there soon to buy up a load of t-shirts. Because this is the autumn/winter term, I’ve only really brought more wintery clothes with me, but it’s really hot at the moment, so I’m kind of struggling. I really hate the heat anyway, my idea of hell is a holiday to Spain or something to sunbathe for a week, so I hope autumn comes to Lyon soon!
I pretty much managed to stick to my grunge-inspired capsule wardrobe idea. Pretty much everything I’ve brought with me is black, white or grey, apart from a pair of denim shorts and a leopard-print top. I had a bit of a giggle last night at a room party we had with other English people (and a couple of Swedes), and one girl was saying something about how she doesn’t like the “all black, goth look, with heavy boots. You know, like horrible Dr Martens” and another girl agreed with her. I just kept quiet and thought about my black maxi dresses and skirts and ‘horrible’ Docs sat in my wardrobe waiting to be worn... She’s not going to like me once the weather gets colder...
Everyone here seems to dress so casually though, I’m worried I’m going to stick out in my maxi dresses and leather shorts. It’s just a sea of jeans and t-shirts, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I haven’t even brought any jeans with me! I normally wouldn’t worry about what I wore, especially as going to uni in London pretty much guarantees that no matter how ‘extreme’ you go with your clothes, there’ll be someone else there with an outfit which makes yours look tame, but I feel self-concious enough being in a foreign country and not being completely comfortable with the language and the way of life, so I don’t really want to draw attention to myself in any way if you understand me? Maybe I’m being a bit neurotic, because my style is hardly ‘out there’ at all, but there are definitely differences between everyday British and French style. I don’t want to be harsh to French people, and maybe I’ve got it totally wrong, but I feel like this widely-held belief that French = chic is not really true. Maybe in Paris, but from walking around Lyon for a few days, I feel like British girls seem to care more about what they wear than French girls. (I hope I’m not pissing off any French people here... ) I’m not saying that in a negative way, even as a fashion blogger sometimes I wish I just didn’t give a shit about what I wore each day, about trying to keep up with trends to some degree etcetc. I just feel like ‘fashion’ (I use the term loosely) is maybe more ingrained in the psyche of British youth than that of French youth? Perhaps I’ll be proved wrong and I haven’t seen a full cross-section of French style yet, after all, there are lots of British people who dress the same as the description I just gave of the French.
I’d probably best wrap up this post now because it’s very long, and I don’t want to piss off the Macdonalds staff too much by sitting here using the internet for ags having only bought one iced tea! I’ve been trying to catch up on your blogs, but the dodgy connection is making it quite difficult, and I will be replying to comments as soon as I can. I’m going to go and hunt for more stable internet this weekend.
If you’ve gotten this far, well done and thanks for still reading my kind-of-boring currently pictureless blog! You’re the best!