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Montpellier: Thrown In At The Deep End

19 Sep 2014
Three weeks of sky high stress levels in France and I am finally (albeit very slowly) settling into my new home for the year. My patriotism and general love for England has increased dramatically after so many things have gone wrong here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, right?

Now don't get me wrong, Montpellier is a beautiful city, but my oh my is it different to England. It's completely and 100% out of my comfort zone, and I've very quickly had to adapt to certain things. 

There has been so much to sort out with my new apartment and with the (amazingly disorganised) University I'm studying at and there have genuinely been times when I've felt like everything that could go wrong, has. Having said this, I have at least got quite a few amusing stories to tell (already) so I think I'm going to write about them here because then I can look back and laugh at my misfortunes, and remember how I got through them all, right?

In amongst these chatty posts I am also gathering photos and stories of the great things about being here, because it is by no means all negative! The endless cafes are one amazing thing, and I will definitely be writing lots of blog posts about them.

Left me first explain my apartment situation:

I signed for an apartment in this beautiful building, right in the centre of the old historic town, with many many flights of stairs but in the perfect location (see photos above). Too good to be true, right? Correct. Things are never simple in France, and I arrived to discover many, many problems with this beautiful building:

1. There was no electricity, and after having promised that electricity was included, I was then completely thrown in at the deep end and told by my landlady that I needed to phone up EDF France and set up a frickin electricity contract in my name! My family left on the day I found out I would have no electricity for days, and I was left bawling away in the apartment.

2. The landlady said she'd furnish the apartment before I moved in. This was another thing that wasn't followed up and I ended up in the this dark, electricity-less apartment, in a strange country, with only a mattress, a chest of drawers and a kitchen table.

3. We had no mailbox nor door buzzer, so I had to tell my mum she couldn't send me anything to cheer me up as I wouldn't receive it!

4. I was told that 'all apartments were equipped with wifi', which ended up meaning that they'd all equipped themselves with wifi individually, and I have been without the internet on my laptop up until now!

5. There is no oven. I repeat, no oven. So no more baking until I either get an oven or go back home. Luckily I'm surrounded by boulangeries and pattiseries to make up for this.

Now the happy part of this story is that I had managed to meet some lovely people by the time I was moving in, and was able to stay with one of them for the next two nights until I had electricity. I now have more furniture (the landlady told us she's been ill recently and that was the reason for the delay), electricity, wifi and my lovely flatmate has turned up and provided some much needed company. The other great thing is that I now feel a hell of a lot more appreciative of little things and I no longer feel like running away whenever I have to phone someone up to sort out a problem! My advice for anyone moving abroad would pretty much be to expect a lot of things to go wrong, and to remember that they will be put right... eventually!

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9 comments on "Montpellier: Thrown In At The Deep End"
  1. It sounds like you have had a tough few weeks but I'm glad to hear you have got everything sorted :) I'm sure things will get better from now on, just think of all the experiences you have gained already! I look forward to hearing some more positive news from your year. xx

  2. Awwwwwwww nightmare! Well done you for getting through it, I would have really struggled when I realised there was no electric! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures, it looks so beautiful!
    Chloe x

  3. Oh my. It sounds so scary, but I really do hope you settle in very fast. We're always here for you Imogen, to help you smile through this change you're going through! :)

  4. Wow this sounds stressful! But think of the stories you will be able to tell! Glad you are settling in now and I can't wait to read more posts about your new home! xx

  5. Thank you :) Yes exactly, it's all about the experience, even the stress is a good experience in the long term! x

  6. Thank you! :) Oh I really did struggle... big time! It's a wonderful place, I've just been so busy I haven't even been on the ball with pictures! x

  7. Thanks Jes, this is such a sweet comment!! x

  8. Exactly, at least it's something interesting, right? Thank you :) x

  9. That's some serious stress! When we moved to Belgium, there was also no oven in the place we rented, we had to buy and install it ourselves. Apparently, that's how they do it in Europe... I think that's strange.
    No electric? What?! That's crazy. We just had to change the name but our landlord sorted that, even then we were still sent bills for the next year for the previous tenant. Sigh.

    Yes! Everything goes wrong... But you'll be alright!


Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x