As I am leaving Strasbourg in two weeks (Time flies doesn’t it?!) I am gearing up to write some non-listy, serious articles for you. I will FINALLY tackle a city review and talk about the Christmas markets, as well as do a guide to French universities. If there is anything else you would like me to discuss regarding France or Strasbourg, please comment below!
However, if you are a regular reader you will note my penchant for lists. The list today is compiled through stalking myself, after accidentally clicking the ‘history’ tab on Firefox and reading deeply into my internet history, which was surprisingly insightful. Here are the 10 which I feel best sum up my time in Strasbourg, my lovely city I am so sad to leave!
1) ‘Will the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode be shown in France?’
Doctor Who seems surprisingly popular here. In many classes where I’m by myself I’m known as ‘The English one’, and more people have asked me about Doctor Who than the monarchy. There’s even graffiti in the toilets (with no lids, I will never get over that), in the main campus building, scrawled with ‘BAD WOLF’. I have lots of people coming up to me asking my opinions on the new Doctor, which I am always willing to talk about for hours on end.
When the 50th anniversary episode came around I spent a night of frantically searching whether there was a cinema which would play it in France as I knew someone who was seeing it in Germany. It turns out it was shown, but not in a cinema as I had hoped and prayed. I had to endure three days of waiting until I finally managed to see it, but it was definitely worth it. I’ve even asked for a telephone box Pandora charm for Christmas JUST to ‘commemorate my love of the doctor’.
2) Relearning French GCSE vocab
One of the worst things about doing a degree in a language is that you learn lots of posh words which are appropriate for a high-register context, and then you forget the word for ‘spoon’. At various points in my stay here I have decided that enough was enough, and I’d go back on GCSE websites and learn all the vocabulary I’d forgotten. I felt a bit pathetic as a person supposedly near-fluent in French having to learn the words for “pencil case” and “shirt” again, but it just goes to show that language learning is a painfully continuous process!
3) ‘Calories in a chicken kebab’
This has proved to be a regular and pathetic search. I KNOW I live in the country of cuisine. I KNOW Alsace has the most michelin stars in France after Ile-de-France. I KNOW, I KNOW. But have you ever TRIED to go to a baguette shop at 12pm in France? HAVE YOU? (If you have, never mind) But if you haven’t – it’s chaos. I don’t eat usually until 2pm now and because I lack an oven/cooking ingredients/an imagination this is usually my main meal of the day. I am not sure what else I eat for lunch, except maybe other types of meat kebab when they don’t have chicken. They probably aren’t even meat. I don’t even want to know.
4) ‘Dolphin Olympics 2’ and ‘Jumpers for Goalposts 3’
Every Monday at 9pm I have been calling one of my best friends who is living in Paris. I’m the sort of person who has to be doing SOMETHING when I am on the phone, and it seems to have resorted to going games websites I used when I was 15 in school and Facebook was banned. If you don’t know what Jumpers for Goalposts is, it’s an epically amazing football game where you have to please your manager, get a girlfriend, and play in some matches. I know absolutely nothing about football and always end up playing for Chelsea or Manchester United, as they’re the only two teams I know.
5) “What is _____EUR in GBP?”
Google is my lifesaver when it comes to converting money, which is useful as I’ve almost completely forgotten what the lovely Great British Pound is like. In my head I usually make a straight conversion from Euros to Pounds, so I ALWAYS think I am spending far more than I am and end up being pleasantly surprised.
As a side note – Euros are a bit boring aren’t they? All British currency comes in such interesting shapes, but euros are round and dull. I may write to the person in charge of making them and ask if they can create a new exciting one for 2014.
6) ‘Can you put brie in the microwave?’
Google told me no, but I tried anyway. In this search I almost exploded the microwave and the kitchen floor smelled of cheese for about a week and I never owned up to it.
7) ‘What is the difference between foie gras and duck liver paté?’
This was a Google search in mid-October and since has proved me well. I am the sort of person who has to have an interesting and cultured fact to slot in a conversation when it turns awkward or quiet. My one between March and September this year was “do you know there are 100,000 wild camels in the Australian outback?” Unfortunately I’ve used, and explained, this AMAZING fact to almost all my friends and they had started to cotton on. My current one is now “you DIDN’T know the difference between foie gras and duck liver pate?! Well gather around, my friends, gather around!”.
N.B: Foie Gras (like Champagne only being from the Champagne region of France) can only be called Foie Gras officially if it’s made in France. Also Foie gras is a goose/duck which has definitely been force fed – with duck liver pate the duck isn’t NECESSARILY force-fed. Duck liver pate isn’t also as creamy, and tastes nicer. In my opinion.
It just occurred to me I have revealed my current ‘interesting fact’, so now I will have to trawl across the internet for a new, exciting fact. THE THINGS I DO.
8) Lord of the Rings related searches
There was two weeks before the half term where I lost all lust for life. I barely left my room and had hit a brick wall. This also coincided with deciding to re-watch the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy – the extended editions of all three. I didn’t talk about anything else for about a week. It was like my ‘Harry-Potter-week’ in the summer where my dad would bribe me to spend time with him by saying “we can watch a Harry Potter film if you like…”
I realised how bad it got in a conversation with my friend from my Don Juan class:
9) Various badly spelled pop-culture questions
When I am sad about being in too much French atmosphere I seem to google the most inane things. Note how my spelling and punctuation seems to get worse. I particularly like ‘BITISH’ and ‘MIRaNDA’.
10) ‘What is a Commentaire Composé?’
This is what I googled yesterday. IN MY EXAM. his, amazingly, wasn’t even as bad as the exam I had two hours later: an exam in which I burst out laughing, wrote about 5 sentences, cried, and then left.
10.5) “How can I wear broken glasses in France?”
I’ve broken my glasses and am currently writing this squinting as my daily contact lenses have been worn for too long. I am trying not to go down the sellotape route but I’m getting more and more desperate.
…If I’m honest I’m not really sure what I was trying to achieve with this one.