Film of the Week: Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy

ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
BBC3, Thurs 1st January (New Years Day) 9.00pm

Credit: Empire

Before seeing this film I thought for sure that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It is, after all, a film that everyone says you should see, and that it’s amazing, and that it’s hilarious, etc. And I just wasn’t sold; in fact, I thought I wasn’t going to like it at all.

I was wrong.

All those quotable lines – they’re quotable for a reason. You should see it. It is amazing. It is hilarious. It may not be my favourite comedy, but it is a film I would watch again and again, especially on New Years, because it just makes me feel good.

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Away for Christmas

Being away from your family during holidays is, honestly, a bit of an odd sensation, especially when it’s a different country, different timezone and the internet is terrible. I’m not sure if it was lucky or not, but the experience was made easier by the fact that it didn’t feel like Christmas – in the Alps there just hasn’t been the build up that we have at home. It was however tough being away from my family.

This year is the first time I haven’t been at home for Christmas. My brother isn’t at home either as he’s spending six months in New Zealand, so my sister is the only one with my parents during the festive season. This has resulted in two things: less presents, and my mum has taking it pretty hard. The first one was easy to deal with, the latter not so much. All this has led me to re-confront an old foe: the travel guilt.

Now this is a different travel guilt to the one I have talked about previously; that was me stupidly feeling bad about not doing things I felt I had to do as a ‘traveller’. This guilt is the guilt I get at essentially abandoning my mum (at least, that’s what it feels like). My mum finds it difficult to let us go, and me (being the eldest, and thus usually doing things first) usually  gets the biggest hits of sadness. When I first went alone to Nepal for a month, that was tough for her. When I went to uni, that was tough for her. When I went to work abroad in America, that was tough for her. Each time it’s been a little bit further, or longer, or more serious, and this was the next milestone – missing a holiday.

I’m not saying it wasn’t tough for my dad, he just is more accepting of the fact we do have to grow up. And it was tough for me too, though funnily enough it was made easier by a raging hangover (Christmas Eve is a big night for seasonnaires). But I still feel like I have abandoned her, and so in comes the grief.

More than anything that was my defining feature of my Christmas away. I had fun, but that guilt was still at the back of my mind. I hope to be halfway across the world by this time next year, so I should expect a similar situation then too. I can only hope it will be a little easier next time.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season!

Film of the Week: Dad’s Army

DAD’S ARMY
BBC2, Sat 27th December 5.55pm

Credit: Mirror

A classic Christmas film. In fact, a classic Christmas series. Who at Christmas doesn’t do a bit of a binge on Dad’s Army, Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers? The film version of this BBC series may in fact be my favourite helping of the series. If you are unfamiliar with the show (if you are British, I ask how?) it follows a regiment of the ‘Dad’s Army’, a group of men during the Second World War either too old or injured to fight overseas, and they take their job very seriously. If you missed the announcement, they’re about to do a remake with an excellent cast, which can only hope to be as funny as the original. It’s hilarious, and a must see film this Christmas week.

Rep Life Part Un – Getting Settled

Wow. A week and 2 days in and wow. I feel like I am in a state of exhaustion, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I am essentially a waitress for the resort, trying to please customers, suppliers, head office and my managers, all at the same time – a difficult, tiring feat.

And I am loving every second.

I had been told that doing a ski season would be one of the best experiences of my life, that it was incredibly fun. That is, after all, one of the reasons I decided to do a ski season. But being a rep – or customer service staff, which is the new term – involves always being there, always being ready, and, above all, always being friendly. It may sound easy. It’s not. Luckily my waitress training got me ready for this, because you never get tips as a waitress if you don’t smile. Likewise, you can’t survive in customer service without a cheery demeanor (and like I said, I am the resort waitress).

I just can’t handle the night life at the moment. How do people go out every night? I feel I got that out of my system at uni, and getting back into it is tricky, especially as I keep falling asleep on nights out (not even joking, it’s getting bad). Going out, even if only a few times a week, is a highlight though, a definitely feels well deserved after a busy day working hard. I especially like going out in Alpe d’Huez – my resort – because it isn’t as crazy as resorts such as Deux Alpes, it is more of a sit in a pub or bar and drink your drinks while being able to talk to someone. Does this make me sound old? I feel old sometimes next to all the 18 year olds here on their gap years who seem to have an energy I feel I should still possess, but I like sitting and socialising and then finally getting round to the dancing at the end. It helps in actually making friends instead of simply drinking buddies.

All this rambling is basically a way to say I’m enjoying myself, and if you’re thinking of doing a ski season in the future: do it. I am loving my time here in France, but it is difficult and it is trying (some days more than others). Working over Christmas might be a bit difficult – feeling homesick and everything – but I’m going to guess that I’m going to be too busy to really notice all that much!

Blogging with no internet – a bit difficult

So I usually try to post twice a week, maybe three times. Friday is the day when I absolutely must post something, being the last day of the week and all, and last Friday I was getting ready to type. Luckily, I was even feeling in the mood to write, ready to commit to paper (or screen) a riveting post on the American rail company Amtrak (I will repeat, riveting).

But then I experienced something that happens to everyone on the road at some point in their travels/life – quelle catastrophe – no internet.

I know. The horror.

Even in a fixed place this can be a problem for those off on their travels, especially in the more remote destinations. For example, I am not exactly remote, but being in a mountain range – a location not naturally suited to internet cables – means that the web connection isn’t as reliable as, say, in the middle of a town in the UK. And travelling around America I had to have a lot of forward planning if I wanted to post something because I had no SIM card and was therefore completely reliant on public internet in hostels and McDonalds to update my blog.

This has been an unusually long stretch without the web, and it is bad how reliant you become on it, but what I have missed the most is communicating with my family (and Instagram, but mostly the family stuff). I missed blogging too, but the break may have done me good. I was starting to feel a bit thin, like I was running out of ideas. But a week and a half with no WiFi has forced me to read, something I would say I didn’t have time for had I had internet, and think about things to write that are both interesting and that I want to write about.

So, my painful stretch in the WiFi-less wilderness has led me to see that while I may love to write a detailed post on trains in America, there may be more interesting things that I’m dealing with right now in France that I’ll let take the front seat. No worries though, that Amtrak post is coming, and it will knock your socks off. I promise.

Film of the Week: Good Will Hunting

GOOD WILL HUNTING
Film 4, Sun 14th December 9.00pm

Credit: Miramax

This is my brother’s favourite film, and so he would be severely disappointed with me if I didn’t put it as the FOTW. It’s not my favourite movie ever made, but I would be lying if I said it was a bad film, or that it wasn’t enjoyable, or that I don’t watch it every time it’s on. It is also a film that you should just see, like The Godfather or The Dark Knight. It adds something to the movie business that other films don’t have, at least for me, even if I’m not entirely sure what that is. Plus Robin Williams is phenomenal in it. The whole cast is great. And the plot is good. And it won Oscars.

Essentially, just watch it.

Speaking French in France

I think that trying to tackle the French language in its own country may be one of the scariest things I have ever had to do. I did French at A-level, but it is now very rusty, and it shows. Every time I’m at reception and the phone rings, my heart sinks. I know I have to answer it, but I am simply dreading the French person on the other end of the line who will speak quickly and is almost unintelligible thanks to the crackly reception we receive in the Alps.

I went on the bus ride from hell in Nepal. This is worse.

I am scared, terrified even, of flying. This is worse.

It’s not because I don’t want to speak to people – I actually love meeting new people and having a conversation with them. But there is so much technical language about hotels and ski passes and ice skating that, even if my French wasn’t shaky (at best), it would still be incredibly difficult. I had to ask a priest about church times and attendance – don’t ask – and I was terrified. How do you even address priests in France? Père? Ministre? And then you have to negotiate the minefield that is pleasantries, and simply reacting to the conversation that is being thrown in your face at such a break-neck, rapid speed.

I had to work unexpectedly yesterday, and thinking it was my day off I had got pretty drunk the night before. Negotiating a conversation in your mother tongue is a bit tricky when tired and hanging; in a language you can barely just remember sober it is close to impossible. Add in your boss sitting next to you as you try and you’re on to a winner for “Worst Day of the Year Award”.

I’m not an overly confidant person. Put me out of my comfort zone and I’ll adapt, but it may take a few days. But that’s in English and now I’m juggling a completely different language while trying to adjust and negotiate rock climbing prices.

For people  who complain about the person at the other end of the phone not being fluent in slang and having a strong accent – yes, I agree it can sometimes be annoying, and it will raise your blood pressure. But at least be thankful that it isn’t me answering the phone saying, again and again, “Je suis désolé – répétez s’il vous plaît?”

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