I don´t know why, but lately I´ve been thinking a lot about Bordeaux and I´ve found myself being flooded by this huge nostalgia tsunami. The thing is, my life in Bordeaux was idyllic, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that it was truly one of the best times of my entire life.
First of all, I worked 12 hours a week (officially, I actually worked like 10, and sometimes when the teachers cancelled class, even less!) at a job that I loved way more than I thought I would. I have never felt like such a rockstar! Whenever I came into the school the children would scream “C’est Marianá!!!” and would rush to attack me with hugs and love and adorable “ello! ow ar iu?” Then they would say the funniest things in class which would make me crack up and love children so much (even if sometimes they were so awful I wanted to never see them again). It was also really rewarding at the end of the year to see how much progress they had made. The older kids were able to form full sentences on their own where before they were struggling to say “my name is…” On my last day, so many of them were crying and giving me notes and thanking me. In one class, they literally grabbed my legs and refused to let me go, even though they were going to a gouté to try out different cakes. This little girl I loved kept saying she was coming with me to the US and repeating “t’es ma Mariana, a moi!” and one boy took out his clarinet and played me a goodbye song. Did I almost die? Yes I did!
The stars also aligned to find me the perfect housing situation. Not only was it a movie-like French apartment in the old center of town, with a gorgeous balcony from where you could see la fleche of Saint Michel lit up at night, and where we would eat breakfast when it was sunny, but it was also literally 5 steps away from the bus that took me directly in front of my school. This combined with long lunch breaks meant I could go home to nap and eat before returning to work. I vivdly remember one day when I was alone in the apartment. It was sunny and I put on an Aznavour Vinyl record. A song came on that said something about the perfect day, and I listened to it at full volume as I started at the river from my balcony, feeling the sun, and drinking wine.
But even more than the beauty and the location, what I loved about that apartment were my roommates. I got to live with two French guys who were the definition of cool. They were alternative, funny, smart, cultured, loved to party, and were creative. And then there was Celine, our honorary roommate, who rented a room out in our apartment for a couple of months, and who was the coolest roommate on earth.
The apartment was full of funky decorations they found in the street, like zebra masks and mannequins, and a box of wigs that were left over from a wig-party we threw (and which always provided good fun). Besides the awesome house parties, I loved that they had dinners with their friends at least once a week. At first, I thought it was overwhelming, I was like “damn, chill people, you see each other all the time!” But with time I learned to really love and appreciate this, the simple act of cooking together, sharing meals, and talking for hours afterwards, I never really did this with my friends back home and it’s something I really miss. I think the best dinner was the one where one of my roommates got the idea of passing a string through where a lamp used to hang from the ceiling and tied grapes to it, and then swung them around to see who could catch one with their mouths. After the grapes were gone they tied the plastic sheep to it, a sight which always perplexed visitors.
I also had the greatest thing I have ever owned in my life: My UGC Illimité card. What is this you ask? It’s a magical, magical thing that allowed me to watch unlimited movies at the UGC movie theaters for only 20 euros a month. I know it sounds exagerated but this is literally one of the things about Bordeaux that made me extremely happy. I would go to the movies all the time. Had to do groceries? Well, might as well go to the one close to UGC. My French Alliance class was close to UGC? Might as well pass by. Just got back from a trip and the bus from the airport passes close to UGC? Yup, you guessed it. And this amazing card allowed me to watch movies like Hiroshima Mon Amour, Bonnie and Clyde, and Vertigo in theater. I watched VERTIGO in theater! Needless to say, I left the cinema shaking.
Since I was working few hours a week I had time AND money at the same time, something that happens very very rarely in this life! Since a lot of my friends were also doing TAPIF it meant they also had lots of free time and no school on Wednesdays meant that Tuesday and Wednesday were party/day trips/fun in the sun days. I don’t think I’ve ever gone out so much in my life!
And then there was the best thing about Bordeaux: My friends. I met so many amazing people from all over the world and with whom I know I will have a long-lasting friendship. Especially with my tight group of friends. Sometimes when you’re abroad, you kind of have to be friends with whomever you find, even if you’re not too compatible, but the group of friends I made there…well let’s just say sometimes the first thing I do when I wake up is send them nostalgic love voice messages on WhatsApp. In those short seven months I grew closer to them than to a lot of people I have known for years. We seriously just had such group chemistry and constantly made these insanely fun plans. Or maybe the plans were ok and the group just made them insanely fun. I swear I have never laughed at a game of charades so much as one random Saturday they all slept over at my house, and we were drinking tea! When we went to Scarly’s summer house we played Come Dine With Me and got into pairs and competed at which team could make the most elaborate meal. Let’s just say, that weekend was full of 6 course meals, guitar playing, and games. Then there was the time we had a wine and cheese night where we all brought a different wine and a different cheese. I ended up drinking a whole bottle of wine but hey my resistance was so high I was fine! I keep thinking of doing acroyoga and picnicking at Jardin Publique, and getting together to do collective paintings in Aye’s garden, and getting pints of beer and burgers at the Cock and Bull, and drinking white russians as we saw The Big Lebowski, and taking long walks down the river on sunny days, and making couscous with merguez, and going to Yen’s house for the apero before going out, and signing the Beatles loudly as we waited in the cold night for the bus to come, and the support they gave me in some really rough times I had to face, and the million, million different memories that make me creepily in love with them.
And of course, I can’t leave out the city. The gorgeous, amazing, fun, lively, international, picturesque city that is Bordeaux, and everything it had to offer.
I know this is a long rant, sorry guys! But this is my way of saying, thank you. Thank you and you’ll always be one of the brightest memories I’ll have.