Year Abroad Diaries: 15 April 2013

The weekend was a relaxed one, and in normal circumstances, I would have written. Excepting, of course, that I caught a rotten post-curry cold.

I spent Friday night with the three English teachers from the faraway collège. The host, G, had gone all out with aperitifs, made an amazing mango chicken curry with chapatis and delicious lime pickle, and for dessert, another teacher had brought homemade apple crumble. After, they presented me with gifts: three books on the region and a lovely card thanking me for my hard work. Goodbyes and gratitude, signs of the end.

Around this point of the evening, G’s cats came in from the garden, and out of politeness I began to pet them. Half an hour later, my throat felt tight. To my embarrassment, I had to ask for antihistamines. Thankfully all the teachers were tired, so my dinner party broke up before midnight. I sniffled through the front door and clung to my duvet. My flatmates didn’t enter until three from their soirée, but by that time I was unconscious.

So this whole weekend I’ve been battling the cold. On Saturday it didn’t seem too bad, so K and I stuck to our plans and went shopping at the other side of town. We unearthed tons of bargains (notably nice recipe books and biscuits for teachers). Cue the obligatory mile-long march home laden with bags, arms bruising.

Yesterday, Sunday, was a beautiful day. When I woke, K told me to open the balcony door. The air that hit me was warm and smelled of summer. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We rushed outside (I was still sniffling) and anchored ourselves in the jardin, where we sat, chatted and read for several hours.

This week then: the last week. Little parties with nutella scones and carrot cake made by students; thank you notes to teachers; the massive flat-cleaning operation; emotions like a sin graph coasting high and low, from elated to rueful. To my surprise, these goodbyes are making my eyes water.

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