Year Abroad Diaries: 27 February 2013


I’ve been waiting for this day since New Year; I don’t even know what to feel. I’m currently sitting in Southampton Airport, drinking a cup of tea at my usual café, feeling like the past two days have been a bit of a blur.

On Monday morning, I woke early again and pissed around the empty flat until it was time to collect J, one of my long-time best friends, from Granville station. I’d gone through waves of differing emotions about being in the apartment myself that weekend. One hour, I was exalting at the peace, the freedom. The next, I was feeling alone, down and annoyed I wasn’t at home in Scotland.

Travelling to meet J was no chore at all. Just getting out the house was nice; a sense of purpose made me happy. The bus was late by fifteen minutes, so when I arrived in grey Granville I sped towards the station. J was sitting in the salle d’attente, looking no different in the months we’d been apart; this was comforting. Smiling, she closed the book she was reading and stood to embrace me. As we began to wander through town, I had the distinct impression that I was back at high school, or in our local town. It was strange, yet so serene.

Nobody would serve us a meal, as it was late in the afternoon. J had to grab a Subway (not exactly French haute cuisine) and after we moved to a brasserie (hot chocolate and nutella crêpe). We had a really good chat, catching up with everything, but most notably our other halves, the people we were missing.


We boarded the bus with a box of macarons, direction my ‘hometown’. Unfortunately, in my preoccupation with J’s suitcase, I didn’t verify the bus number – so we ended up on the coastal route… I had disastrous visions of winding roads and sick bags, but the gods intervened. As we drove through the minuscule Norman villages and past dropping cliffs, we rounded a bay and saw the spire of le Mont.

The Mont Saint Michel! J was almost beside herself, shutter snapping as she clicked her camera. I forget that the Mont is somewhat of a tourist attraction. In my town, it’s just a quirky backdrop.

We spent much of Monday evening and all of Tuesday relaxing at the flat. I cooked risotto; we went on a walk around the town and jardin on Tuesday; concluded with dinner at the crêperie; watched films on the couch like old times. It was really lovely to see her, to spend time together and bizarrely, I felt like I was home. I’m so used to being with J in Scotland, it was like being halfway across the Channel already.

Now though, I am en route, yet in such a fatigue that I barely noticed the bus, or the flight leaving Rennes. It’s strange that C shall be waiting from me, that in 8 hours’ time I’ll be in my own bed. I have difficulty understanding how the past seven weeks have gone so fast. Not that I am complaining: there’s not much to hold me in France; no partner, no family, no future prospects, only the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread, which I know I’ll miss.

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