Year Abroad Diaries: 27 March 2013

Thursday 21st

I am thinking always of summer. One month tomorrow shall be my final day of teaching. In my classroom, I have pictures of Scottish beaches tacked to the walls. They remind me that in a matter of months, I will feel the northern sun on my face and the cool water at my ankles. And I will be right next to those who I love most in the world.

Saturday 23rd

For a change, I’m diary writing in my bed, fatigue weighing like heavy clouds over my tired body. After a rainy week, the three of us trooped off to the little farming village where another English assistant, R, lives. She was waiting for us at the bus stop, and after an arrêt at the supermarket, we returned to her flat.

I had a really enjoyable evening. We snacked loads: crisps, imported Tesco raita and dry roasted peanuts (my favourite). K donated a curry sauce and we made an amazing spiced vegetable main, concluded with caramel rice pudding and a cup of hot cocoa.

Y came back to our town with me this morning on the (very) early bus. We both had to return to bed once we got in. After drifting slumbers, we surfaced in the afternoon and grabbed our cameras. Spring is here: the jardin is alive with colours, bright crocuses, light daffodils and sprouting trees. We stood for an hour in the sunshine and chatted. It was nice to be out of the flat. Quality vitamin D, sometimes lacking in my grey Scotland.

Tuesday 26th

Yesterday was a day of sorting, managing and fixing. The morning mission was to speak to Mademoiselle in the lycée office about leaving, as we are all departing on different days. The three of us padded towards her door, tapping it nervously. She was acidic as usual, and refused to examine the flat during half term. ‘You are asking me, Mademoiselle, to interrupt my holidays? That is like asking Y to fly back from America.’ I ignored that expected exaggeration. Y and K remained silent, so I was left to stand our ground and triumph in the bitchy boxing ring. Flat inspection is scheduled for April 19. ‘Nickel’ – it better be super shiny, Mademoiselle warned us.

Wednesday 27th

I am allowing a Cadbury’s mini egg to slowly melt on my tongue just now, and the crisp shell has disintegrated to chocolate… it is bliss. Another reminder of home.

On that subject… I had only one class this morning, and thought it went really well. I was speaking about Red Nose Day again, but the students were mostly very attentive. I even showed them the official music single online. Anyway, I returned in the relative chill to the lycée, went on my tiptoes and peered briefly into the boîte aux lettres. There was a huge brown box inside. I knew exactly what it was and rushed to get the key. Brown paper with Gran’s writing; a John Lewis cardboard box which blossomed into a Minstrels Easter egg! Mum had told me this might arrive. It’s the wee things like that which really make my day. Inside too was a card which said, ‘For a lovely granddaughter at Easter.’

So life is still moving here, and though I feel disconnected from family, I don’t ever forget them. But sometimes it’s simpler to concentrate on reality, on the present. Sanity depends on it! But every day gone is one day closer, as C always says. Five weeks today I’ll be home.

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