Year Abroad Diaries: 17 September 2012

I’ve left my job.

I really wasn’t feeling anything other than oddness towards quitting – I don’t mind my job, but I’m not in love with it. I was happy going quietly, or so I thought, but just before finishing all the tearoom staff marched through and presented me with a massive present and lots of hugs.

I’m not sure whether it was the shock or some deeply suppressed emotion but for some reason I couldn’t help bursting into tears. Inside the cellophane was a Kindle voucher (the only really practical bit!), a tartan Wee Jimmy hat and a beret. Also included was a white vest top with the words “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” which of course I can never wear outside my own front door. (Actually, even inside that would be rather bizarre.) But, in the name of good humour, I donned all the gifts to the laughter of the staff and the monotone clicking of Blackberry cameras.


At that moment, I felt my goodbyes were complete and I was hazy with contentment. I grabbed my bag for the last time and rustled out the door. The usually empty car park was dotted with yellow tearoom t-shirts, holding swollen water balloons. The final hurrah. I was soaked but didn’t even mind, because it was a send off that will not easily be forgotten.

The beginning of the following week was Freshers, and so I spent the majority of my time canvassing on campus. Once I jumped over the initial shyness, it was fairly enjoyable. Then I caught the flu (the annual Freshers virus.) I was unable to attribute that solely to recruitment; it was possibly a hangover from the Monday night out in the West End.

So I sniffed and sneezed through the following days as the dates fell off the calendar, approaching the end of the month. After Freshers, I extracted myself from university life and the isolation began. This was the introduction to the coming year, distance from the educating social scene that would manifest itself hundreds of miles away in time.

I feel I should write something about C and I and my departure to France. Mother questioned me today, “How is he feeling about you leaving?”

Too many people have asked or alluded to this standard year abroad situation that I barely consider it any more. Thought and analysis won’t change the circumstances.

“Obviously he’s a bit sad,” I replied. “I am too. We don’t really discuss it though because it’s upsetting. We just have to get on with it.”

As everyone’s telling me: I’ll be back before I know it. Obviously it will be difficult, but challenge makes a stronger person. And when I come back, time will recommence, the faraway moments passing like the unconcious slumber of night.

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