What to do when you’re Homesick 

I think being homesick is inevitable when you move to a different country. I’ve been homesick here in France more times than I can remember. It strikes at inevitable times: the birthday of someone close to you at home, when you’re feeling ill or when you’ve got a pile of uni work which you only understand about half of. But it also hits you at the most unexpected times, like when you’re travelling somewhere new and exciting , or at least getting on with your everyday routine.

I’ve been in Grenoble for seven months now and sometimes it feels as alien as the first day I arrived. I was talking to Clare, one of my best friends here, and we realised that we’d both felt pretty homesick at times but hadn’t wanted to say anything to each other. The thing about moving abroad is that you have to start all over again in terms of friends so when things get really shit sometimes you don’t feel like you can talk to the people around you because you haven’t actually known them all that long. This is a catch 22 because you then end up talking to people at home and feeling even worse, wishing you were on a plane back there.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

So here’s a list of some things you could try to beat homesickness:

1. Go into a shop that you also have at home. I went into lush the other day just to look at all the bath bombs that I recognise. It’s surprisingly comforting I promise.

2. Talk to someone in the same position as you. It’s helpful to talk to any friends who are also on their year abroad as they’re likely to understand what you’re going through.

3. If you can’t talk to anyone then write it down. It’s amazing how much easier it is to deal with how you feel when you can see it physically written down in front of you.

4. Have a day off. It’s ok to spend all day binge watching your favourite series instead of immersing yourself in the target language.

5. Make a bucket list of things you want to do in your year abroad destination before you go home. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut so this can help to remind you of all the great things there is to do where you are.

6. Go to your favourite coffee shop or anywhere that has become familiar in your new home.

7. Try not to idealise your life at home. I think we can all get stuck in the ‘grass is always greener’ mindset, especially with the increased physical distance when we are abroad.

8. Do something cultural even if your friends don’t want to.

9. Think about how far you’ve come in your target language and feel accomplished. Remember when you first arrived in France and you couldn’t understand much more than bonjour?

10. Send postcards as a more personal way of keeping in touch with people back home.

Advertisements

January Highs

Getting back to normal life after Christmas is always hard and after two weeks at home, and exams in the first few days of the new year.That being said, I’m excited to be back in Grenoble and to throw myself into this term.

So, what’s on the cards for the next few weeks?

Veganurary 

Veganuary has reminded me of the benefits of whole foods and a plant based diet so this month I’m eating 80% vegan. I eat a lot of vegan meals anyway so this isn’t a huge challenge for me but I’ve been searching for lots of #foodinspo online. These are some of my favourite food bloggers who are either vegan or create a substantial amount of vegan recipes:

Veganuary on a budget: Cooking on a Bootstrap

Jack’s recipes are unbelievably cheap and delicious. From Beetroot Chocolate Loaf Cake to Mushroom and Spinach Bolognese, Jack is unafraid to tackle innovative recipes but also shows us how to recreate old favourites in the thriftiest way possible.

Fancy Veganuary: Minimalist Baker 

This is my all time favourite go-to website for vegan recipes. Everything Dana and John create is beautifully presented and exciting to look at, especially when you’re on the third day of a batch of five bean chilli. While  some of the ingredients used are expensive, this is a great site for inspiration, or if you’re in the mood to try something different.

Not really Veganuary: Lorraine Pascale 

Lorraine Pascale isn’t a Vegan but she often puts together vegan recipes, and more importantly she’s one of the most inspiring women I follow on instagram. Lorraine’s philosophy on life centres around self love, positivity and eating well. Oh, and her work out pics are enough to make you drag yourself out of bed and get down to the gym!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Amsterdam

I am so excited to be visiting my friend Carys whose studying in Amsterdam. I’ve already booked my tickets to Anne Franke’s house and she’s promised to show me around all the main sights like Amsterdam square and the Red Light District, as well as the other museums of course. Amsterdam’s somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for ages as it seems to have a unique charm, different to anywhere else I’ve been in Europe.

Ski Season 

Ski season is upon us and although I have all the coordination of a baby gazelle I will be attempting to get myself down some mountains in one piece (namely in Lex Deux Alpes and Chamrousse).

IMG_0236

 

Mindfulness, Meditation and Me Time

Sometimes, being control of the way you feel can be an endless uphill struggle. As I intermittently write about mental health it will be no surprise that I’m vowing to spend less time on social media and more time  doing things that will benefit my brain (or allow it to calm the fuck down every once in a while). I would love for this to be the year that I actually learn how to meditate and enjoy it properly.

So do I think of a new year as a new start? Not really, but I do think of it as a chance to get back to the way I really want to live. Good food, travel, creativity and calmness seem like a great way to kickstart the year after a hangover of negativity from the end of 2015.

Hope you all had a wonderful new year, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

Dita

 

 

 

Festive Grenoble and Xmas Countdown

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks because its just been so busy with the first semester winding down here in Grenoble. I think everyone who goes to uni can relate to end of term exhaustion, but I’ve really felt it this year and now that my last exam is over instead of celebrating i’m sat in bed with a lemon tea, nursing an oncoming cold (très festive, I know).

I think the tiredness has really hit me this term because it’s been a long three and a half months of constantly throwing myself into new situations. From dealing with French bureaucracy, to adapting to a new university system, to going to language exchange, to travelling and of course meeting new people. The highs of this term have been unbelievable but lows have been really hard and I think that living on a constant flux between the two has become increasingly wearing as the end of term, and the familiarity of Christmas at home, draws closer.

 

On the positive side, my parents visited for the weekend in late November which was lovely and gave me a few days to appreciate how beautiful Grenoble is at Christmas time. We had rubbish weather but braved the marché noël in the rain for crepes and hot wine. We also did a tour of the museums which was lovely, especially the Georgia O’Keffe exhibition at the museum of Grenoble, which runs until February 2016.

My last couple of days in Grenoble are going to be spent packing, eating too much at our flat Christmas dinner and saying goodbye to friends who aren’t coming back next semester 😦 Hope you’re all having the most lovely festive season!

Dropping out of Uni – Two and a Half Years On

A couple of weeks ago one of my favourite bloggers, Katie Oldham wrote a post featuring seven university ‘drop out’ stories, including her own. This inspired me to think back to my own drop out story and consider all the things i’ve achieved since I made that difficult decision.

  1. Confidence. My confidence has improved tenfold since I started trying to make decisions that are right for me.
  2. Travelling. Quitting uni made me think about what’s important to me and one of the main things is travel. I went back to Mauritius after almost ten years to connect with the island again and spend time with my family. I went on badly planned trips in Europe with my best friend. I’ve been to rainy English beaches and the glorious English countryside and appreciated each experience even more than the last.
  3. Restarting uni the following academic year and accepting that it’s ok to start over.
  4. Studying a course that I actually enjoy.
  5. Moving abroad – I honestly never thought i’d be able to do this and I don’t think I would have done if it wasn’t a part of my degree but so far its been one of the best, and most challenging experiences of my life.
  6. Volunteering – supporting a cause that I believe in has become and important part of my life and something that I want to continue doing.
  7. Finding practical solutions to combat anxiety : walking, reading, writing, meditating, mindfulness. All of these work for me in some capacity but the hardest part is remembering to do them.

Nowadays university is seen as the norm and we’re pushed into making huge decisions about our lives when we’re barely even eighteen. I still consider university to be the right path for me, but I think that most young people need a lot more time than we’re given to think about what decisions to make about the future.

Wildfox Lust List

If i’m being honest, it’s winter and its freezing which means all I want to do is eat carbs and wear layers. I’m forever stalking (and pretending I can afford) Wildfox’s baggy sweaters as they’re perfect loungewear for this time of year. These are my faves at the moment:
Wildfox Lust List A/W 2015

Wildfox sweat shirt
£67 – saksfifthavenue.com

Wildfox top
donnaida.com

Wildfox top
£70 – bloomingdales.com

Wildfox sweater
harrods.com

Wildfox oversized sweater
£95 – dollskill.com
Which is your fave out of this bunch?
Dita

Today’s Face: Asha

This week i’m talking to one of my closest friends, Asha. She’s one of those people that always looks put together in an understated yet gorgeous way. Whilst not being massively into make up, she uses selectively chosen products to create a polished and wearable look.

What does make up mean to you?

 To me, makeup means that I’m done up and ready for the day. It helps me feel put together.

 When do you feel the most beautiful?

 Surprisingly perhaps, after a really good yoga class, even if that means I’m all sweaty. I think it’s the endorphins!

 

How do you feel when you wear make up?

It makes me feel smart and like I’m ready to take on the day. I think it definitely helps complete an outfit. As a student there’s some days where I’ll just lay around the house and wouldn’t even consider putting on makeup, so for days when I’m heading out to classes or the library, it makes me feel ready for the day.

What’s your earliest memory of make up?

 As a child I danced a lot, so when I was six, I was in my first pantomime show. This meant wearing a full face of stage makeup, and was my first time ever wearing makeup. For months afterwards, I would put on that makeup every day – red lipstick, blusher, pink eye shadow even… everything!

 Do you think that people perceive you differently based on whether you are wearing make up or not?

Yes, I think for most people makeup is viewed as a signal of how much effort you’ve made, and how smartly dressed you are that day.

What’s your favourite make up look and why?

I think I’m quite low key – and lazy – when it comes to makeup. I like the natural look, just foundation, bronzer, mascara and a neutral lip. For a night out, I might add a bright pink or red lipstick. Growing up I had typical bad teenage skin so for me makeup has always been about having the appearance of an even skin tone. While I also appreciate exciting make up looks, my favourite is just when people use makeup to enhance their natural beauty.

DIY Budget Beauty Station

Since moving to my new flat the state of my make up area has been a complete mess. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder but I do have quite a few items that I rotate for my daily routine, and many more which are stored away for ‘going out’ make up. This week I decided that enough was enough and headed over to Ikea to try to improve the situation.

As many students will know, being at university is expensive. A year abroad is ten times worse, I feel like I’ve been hemorrhaging  money since the minute I got here. The last time I went to Ikea was a financial disaster so this time I was really strict and I think I did quite well!

Billingen drawer insert

The first thing I bought was this Billingden drawer insert for easy make up storage. It only cost €1.50 which is great for a disposable storage solution.

Smyka flowers

There’s so many decorations to choose from in Ikea but I ended up settling on these artificial flowers from the Smyka range and this milk bottle style vase.

budget beauty station

Lastly I picked up this mirror, although my lack of self assembly skills mean it’s threatening to fall over at any moment. I’m super happy as these few small bits have transformed my getting ready area for a total cost of under ten euros!