I arrived in Cannes mid-January, not really sure what to expect. Although I was really excited for the move, I was nevertheless nervous as I had just come from 4 of the best months in Paris, and honestly I didn't think Cannes could match that by any means. Fast forward 7 and a half months, and I'm sat in the airport lounge waiting to catch my flight home. Although I can't wait to be back in the UK - 7 months is a long time even for me, and I'm excited to be back in the English countryside with some cooler weather and good food - I'm already anticipating how much I'll miss this all considering how I feel now.
The reason I moved to Cannes in the first place was because I needed to have a job for part of my year abroad. I had just finished studying in Paris, and I was nervous about moving into an office where I had to work from 9 - 5, at least 5 days a week. Fortunately I settled in pretty quickly, and slowly I was given more responsibility which I've really loved and appreciated. While applying for the job, living in Cannes and working with boats sounded like a fun time, and I thought that if I had to get a job this job could be a good way to go. Truth be told, it's turned out to be 10 times better than I thought possible. I have a great boss and a good team, and every day brings something different. I always knew that the summer period was going to busy and stressful (I didn't realise how much until the Monaco Grand Prix in May) and so I'm super grateful for those first few months in winter where I could learn everything before the panic hit. There have been times when work has certainly been tough and I've just wanted to close down my laptop and switch off my brain, but I've found that these toughest moments are usually when I'm most proud of my work! The weeks have flown by and it will be strange waking up tomorrow back in my own bed with no office to go to or emails to check. Technically I'll still be a part of the 212 team as my boss has asked if I can continue growing the company on social media (follow us at @212yachts) whilst I'm at university, with some more marketing over the winter period. She has also offered me a summer job for 2019, but we'll see where I am in January when I'll need to make a decision.
Outside of work, I guess Cannes itself doesn't make time off any harder. The whole area and coastline is stunning, and sometimes I still pinch myself that this place has been my home for 2018. I love love love being by the water, surrounded by the mountains, with the sun on my skin, and it's made me realise that this is all I really want and need in life to be a happy bunny. I've been trying to appreciate all of this in my last few weeks here, consciously knowing that it would soon be time to leave.
I've also met some really wonderful people here, friends from all over the world and from different corners of life. I was very lucky to have Will here, and he introduced me to the crew side of Cannes - Janine, Chante, Caz, Jaak, Dingo, Tristan, Jackie.. and many more! All friends that I'm grateful to have spent the winter with mostly tucked away in a small Irish pub in the centre of town. I was so lucky to have Anna, one of my best friends from university and also on my course in Cannes with me, and we've had some of the best times throughout the past 6 months - skiing, endless beach days, and I don't even want to know how many bottles of wine we've consumed together. Along with Ellie, Ana and Rob also from uni, we had some brilliant nights out together! In the office, one of my friends from Paris Erin joined the team and we have become very close over the past two months, and I'm so grateful to have had her and Hannah in the office!
Life in Cannes has been incredible, mad, calming and sometimes overwhelming. What is most peoples' weekend holiday, this was my everyday. Life is but a dream as they say. A few Friday's ago, a group of us drove along the coast from Cannes to Cap Ferrat in an open-topped car, picked up take-away pizza and hopped on to a friend's rib and cruised to Monaco. This kind of thing only happens in movies right? We swam at at midnight and it was one of the best night's I've had, floating in the ocean under moonlight with good company and lots of laughter.
There are so many things that I'm going to miss. I'll miss watching fireworks every week from the beach. I'll miss Tuesday yoga in Antibes. It takes place next to the statue of the head and there's always a gentle sea breeze at sunset which keeps you cool. I'll miss having almond croissants for breakfast and ice cream for lunch. I'll miss the islands, and I don't really understand why it took me so long to get out there. I'll miss living 3 minutes away from the beach, and my 9pm sunset swims when there's nobody else out and it feels kind of adventurous. I'll miss all of the great people that I've met out here. I'll miss golden hour, my favourite time of the day, when the sun is close to the horizon and the heat is gone but the whole of the bay and the mountains are lit up. Maybe I'll miss the sunsets the most. I'll miss walking along the croisette and through the rose garden to get to town. I'll miss the way the sun shines through the palm leaves. I'll miss the warmth against my skin and floating on my back in the ocean with my head half under. I'll miss having a 4 euro Provence rose in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. I'll miss living in a bikini or swimsuit, and I'll have to get back into the habit of being fully clothed when out in public! I'll miss the chou-chou man who looks like Albert Einstein. I'll miss my little space on the rock so the sand doesn't get on my things. The list is endless.
I wonder when I'll next live somewhere like this. Give me the mountains, the ocean, warm weather and I'll be set for life. Oh and maybe through in a sunset every now and then.
France has been my home for the past year, and I am utterly grateful for all of the memories, both good and bad. I didn't realise how quickly 12 months could pass by, and how happy I could be away from what's been home for the past 21 years. I knew I was going to be sad when leaving, but it really hit home whilst I was in my taxi on the way here - this place feels like home and honestly my hurt hearts saying goodbye not knowing when I'll next be back. As the saying goes, how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. The verdict? Very.