Today has been another long day; I woke early. Luckily, my classes were fine. Things picked up and although my mood has been low, little aspects – chatting with students, the enthusiasm of some pupils – make up for it.
I cannot say, however, that the little things outweigh the big issue: I don’t enjoy teaching, no matter how kind the students are. And I don’t appreciate being the teachers’ skivvy most of the time (essentially the ‘language assistant’ job description). To add insult to injury, I scroll through numerous online boasts from fellow Year Abroad students. Those who are having a fabulous time, in cities or large towns, out partying, welcomed into a community of foreign students, meeting new love interests and generally being young. Meanwhile, I lesson plan and sit in my room like a middle-aged professional, worn by work and tired of toil. Here I am. One full week to go… but surprisingly, I don’t have any regrets. I’ve done the best with what I’ve got and where I was placed. Now I’ll go home and appreciate things so much more.
Earlier this week, K and I reclined in British tranquillity, largely preparing for R’s birthday (a fellow ELA who’s isolated in a farming village half an hour from us). On Monday evening, we snipped out tons of paper decorations, and on Tuesday I met K at Carrefour and we bought swathes of food for the party.
Y arrived back just before R did, so we were treated to a Lyon-lit monologue before R rang the doorbell. The celebrations began. It was actually really great fun, and R really enjoyed herself, which I was so glad about. It can’t have been easy celebrating a milestone birthday abroad, so making dinner and dancing to some 90s tunes hopefully made up for it.
At six that evening, I said goodbye to R. She looked at me and said, ‘Thanks for being such great fun. Love you!’ I won’t see her now unless I visit England, or she comes to Scotland. That really is sad.
I can’t believe this whole thing is concluding. I do keep saying that but it’s true: three weeks today and I’ll be home. Two weeks on Friday and Dad will be here. It’s a bizarre thought – the circular progression of my stay – but then again, I haven’t gone in a circle. I’ve travelled in dips. And, thankfully, have zoomed vertically out the other side, having learnt a hell of a lot during the past seven months.