So I’ve been in Bordeaux for just over a week now, and boy has it been fun.
In my last post, I kind of touched on how I perceived and now perceive the decisions I’ve made which have led me to Bordeaux, and it allowed me to reflect a lot more on why I’m here. However, don’t worry, I’ve written endless pages in my journal so I went get too soppy in this blog post.
I’ve had a few moments this week where I’ve felt down; Sunday when my Aix friends left me in the big bad city toute seule, Monday when I realised my Airbnb was in a crap area, and Thursday morning when I still hadn’t heard from the place I wanted a job from. However, amongst that, there’s been a crazy amount of great times that have only eliminated the sad feelings.
Also, I was expecting a lot more down moments. And I’m so proud of myself for not letting these bad feelings take over and cripple me, ruining my time in my new city. Every single time I’ve felt down about something, I then think of what I can do in order to make that feeling go away, or no longer matter. For example, when I felt down about the Airbnb, I worked ten times harder to find a flat, and ended up moving in to the perfect flat the next day.
Also, and for this I’m very proud of myself, I woke up feeling pretty down about not hearing from the pub that I wanted to work at. I’d had a great feeling about the bar and it’s the only place I’d put my CV in to (sorry Mum) in the hope of getting in. This was on Tuesday and I still hadn’t heard on the Thursday.
Instead of moping around all day about it (and about having to go out and hand out my CV’s everywhere), I sent them a message on Facebook, because why not? My message basically just said that I’d like to work with them and when they were going to start hiring, because if it would be in a few weeks, I’d look seriously elsewhere, despite them being my first choice.
I got a phone call an hour later. I had a trial shift on Saturday.
I was ecstatic when I got off the phone and for the rest of the day, but by Saturday morning I was pretty nervous. I’d never done anything like bar work before, having always done office jobs, and I wanted to get on with everyone really well. By the time I got to the pub, I was awfully nervous, but put on a brave face and tried to be as outgoing and friendly as I could.
When I first walked in, no one that was working was actually expecting me, but they took me on anyway (great way to steal yourself a job, just walk in and pretend you have a shift!). At first it’s always going to be awkward, making small chitchat with people you’ve known for ten minutes, awkwardly shadowing a man walking around the bar full of locals, and not knowing what to say to your first customers.
Skip to four hours later and I was strolling around the bar, effortlessly clearing away tables and making sure everything was in order, chatting away to customers (and getting a €4 tip from one customer), and getting on really well with the other staff members on my wee five minute breaks.
It just goes to show that no matter how much you build something up in your head, if you don’t let your fears take over, they won’t happen. I made sure I put in as much effort as I could, not only to work, but get along with everyone else working, and my efforts reaped results. I not only have another four shifts next week, but I feel excited to be going in to work and getting to know everyone more.
This is the infamous Mollat bookstore, which I’ve spent hours at already.
Despite that I’ve pushed myself on the work and flat-hunting front, I’ve also managed to meet tons of people, and pushed myself in social situations. On Wednesday night, there’s a weekly event called FrenchMeetsEnglish where there’s a language tandem. About an hour before, I considered not going and just chilling with my flatmates. But, I pushed myself and headed out.
Again, at first whilst it was awkward, I had so much fun as the night went on. I spoke way more French than English during the tandem (every single one commenting on how great my French is, yay!) and met some interesting people. At the end of it, despite a bit of anxiety telling me to leave, I made an effort to chat to the regular group.
We ended up heading out to another bar until the early hours and I’ve been in contact with them since. Sadly, I’ll be working on Wednesday night so I won’t be able to go to it again, but I’m going to try and convince them to come to my bar after the conversation.
Also, on Friday, one of my flatmates said there was an international night at one of the bars and said we should go. Having stayed in watching TV and eating pizza the night before, we decided it would be great to get out and meet different people. Although I wasn’t exactly nervous for something like that, there’s always a risk factor that something might go wrong. However, I made my best effort to get involved in the group and chat away, and I met some really interesting people. Again, we didn’t head home until the early hours of the morning, and I discovered a new group of photographers that I’ll hopefully get the chance to go out with soon.
Whilst all of this madness is going on, I’m also having a great time with my flatmates and making an effort to get to know them more and get out the flat with them. My French is also coming along nicely too, and chatting in French 80% is amazing.
Phew, it feels mad writing that all out. I’m really proud of myself. It would have been so easy for me to come here and not make an effort and curl up in to a ball, which I’ve been a victim of before in Glasgow. I’m pushing myself and challenging myself on a daily basis and I couldn’t be more happy with the way things are working out right now, and I truly owe it to myself. You go Jenny (or Jedi as everyone at work now calls me).
Now I just need to get a lovely French man to improve my French even more, right? (I joke… a little)