Friday, 6 September 2013

My Third Year Abroad in Cannes - Looking Back on Life!

To quote one of my favourite films, Grease (note to self, I haven't seen this recently enough - find DVD when home!):
"... is this the end?"
"Of course not; it's only the beginning."
Girls pre-Cannes by car packed with suitcases
Sophie and I, 29/08/2013
I have now spent a year and a week exactly in Cannes, with about a total of a week in days spent in the UK, and when I wasn't on the Riviera I was skiing, and now it's time to say goodbye.
I can't believe that so much has happened in a year. There have been highs and lows, ups and downs, but I wouldn't change any of it.

We were discussing highlights of our years abroad the other day, and as much as there have been individual great things, and I could definitely name a long list of them, my personal highlight was that I had the chance to spend a year abroad in France and was lucky enough to get to do all of this.
I know I have been to France plenty of times - moving to Cannes last September was the fifth time I had been in France that year - but whether visiting family or friends, skiing and sunbathing, living here has been amazing. Despite how well I know a few towns in France, Cannes has well and truly become a home to me; I know it like the back of my hand!

Things I have learnt from my year abroad:

  1. Say yes! Don't hold back, you may never have this opportunity again. Unless it's something illegal... Then you should probably say no...
  2. If you don't enjoy it, get out of it! I spent 3 months working in a hotel in Cannes, and I was meant to be there for a year. But scrubbing toilets, hoovering, mopping, washing up and once even an eight hour shift spent ironing, was not my thing. I quickly made my mind up that I was going to find something else that actually involved using my brain and found myself a new internship and handed in my resignation. I'm so glad I did it though, because I still learnt from it all; boring manual work, finding something else and quitting. I wouldn't have he it any other way as I can now say I have done it.
  3. Don't take things for granted. Yeah I have lived in Cannes for over a year, blah blah blah... I think I got a bit complacent and stopped making the most out of the beach and the sea... I wish I had taken the chance to head to the beach straight after work more often just to relax and enjoy the late evening sun. I doubt I'll be living by the sea all my life!
  4. Meet people. Obviously you're going to do this, but when I think of the friends I have made and people I have met over the past year, I'm so glad I got to meet them. People have played such an important part in my time here and helped make it what it was.
  5. It's alright to be afraid/nervous/worried - don't worry! Obviously a lot of people are a bit apprehensive about heading off for the year abroad, but remember, everyone is in the same boat and you're not the only one. It's daunting being in a different country, new job, new people and not your mother tongue. But it's ok to make mistakes, everyone is human an everyone does. So what if people judge your language skills? If they do, they're an idiot, but most people don't. Some of my favourite compliments I have received this year are when people tell me I speak really good French and are interested as to how I have learnt it and what I am doing here. Especially when the other compliments are sleazy guys in the streets with greasy hair saying they love me... I have learnt to ignore that now!
  6. Enjoy it!! Have fun! This is the most obvious thing to do, but everything I have done this year I have loved. I have learnt so much about myself, let alone the country and language and I think that it has been one of the best things I have ever done.
So some of my highlights this year.. (Note 'some' - I can't name them all!)
- Being in Cannes - Working at the hotel - Finding a new job and quitting the other - People I have met - A weekend in Milan - Going out on small boats - Going out on big boats - Monaco - Beach days - Paddle boarding - All I have learnt from work - Bâoli - Les Marches - Nicky Romero - One Direction on the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals - Cannes Filom Festival - Friends visiting - Plages Électroniques - Twizys - Being close to the Alps - The food - The weather - The best tan I think I have ever had - My birthday - Speaking French (that was the whole point in coming here, yes? Was I not allowed to have fun at the same time?!)
Hotel de Ville Cannes Town Hall Airport Bus
Waiting for the bus, 05/09/2013
It may be the end of the year, but it's all only just getting started! There's so much more to come and this year has just kicked it all in to action.
In the words of Alexander Graham Bell:
"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened or us."

Of course I'll be hanging on to my year in Cannes, but I also have so much more to look forwards to. Next week, New York, New York!

p.s. Now I'm home and it's raining...

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