Two months, but it feels like so much longer. I'm not sure when it happened, but one minute it was the height of summer here and the next I looked around and everyone was wearing coats and there was the first dusting of snow on the mountains and I was nearly killing myself riding over conkers on my way to uni in the morning.
Today I booked my ticket home for Christmas, and as much as I'm having a wonderful time here (and, as I realised last night, my French has made a marked improvement. I'm not saying I'm fluent or anything, but I feel it would not be too much of a stretch to start responding to the question Parlez-vous français? with Oui, without my usual appendage of un peu.) having a solid date and time when I will be returning to that green and pleasant land has given me butterflies. It feels like looking forward to Christmas when I was little, before I got jaded and cynical. It's this kind of half-stinging, half-lovely longing for the people and places I miss - which is painful, but at the same time I'm aware that the missing of things is a symptom of loving things, and that makes it warming somehow.
There's nothing quite like moving to a different country to make you appreciate everything you have. I can't quite believe what a change I've seen in myself the last few months. It's been like an epiphany of happiness and gratefulness. A happiphany, if you will.
There are lots of things I like about living here. The café-lined streets, the way people dress up for lectures, the vast selection of jams and preserves, the very cheap wine. There are also a lot of things that make me realise that I couldn't, as far as I can see at this moment in time, ever really live here. I never considered myself a patriot before and I still don't really - it's just that I already belong to another place, and all the wine and cheese in France couldn't lure me away from that.