So I’m sitting on the train about to leave Lille Europe station. Headphones in, notes app on my phone open, deep breath; type.
It was only the day before yesterday that I made the journey across the entire country of France to the city of Lille in the north, next to the Belgian border. Friends from home are there working as language assistants (like me!), and it’s the school holidays in France so I needed something to clear my head. Okay okay it was meant to be a way to relax and de-stress that turned into chaos when I almost missed my connection train at Angoulême and then my phone died… but I made it and spent two fantastic nights in my friends’ cosy flat. We drank wine, played games, ate biscuits and talked about everything under the sun (babies, weddings, travel and general gossip were all mentioned!).
During the day, I was lucky enough to be taken on a guided tour of the city, and it was stunning. The Flemish architecture there reminded me of one of my favourite cities, Amsterdam, and I immediately felt at ease there. Getting lost a couple of times did result in us passing infront of the Opera House at Place du Théâtre around five times but I was in good company so I didn’t mind. We ate lunch at a gorgeous little crêperie (literally called ‘La Crêperie’) where I sampled my first ever savoury crêpe and loved it. The afternoon was devoted to a touch of shopping (I picked up a beautiful vintage poster from the outdoor market and some makeup bits in Sephora) and then a jaunt round Lille’s free zoo. It was genuinely the most perfect day.
Homesickness and long distance relationships are difficult, but there was something about seeing people from home and speaking in our own thick Scottish accents about things that are comfortable and ‘normal’ for a while. I’m glad we have each other to get through the down days as well as enjoy our new adventures in France.