Year Abroad Diaries: 25 April 2013

I haven’t bothered writing for the past few days because, as everyone knows, relaxation doesn’t involve much. And ‘nothing’ is a fairly dull subject.

But I haven’t ever felt this relaxed whilst being in Normandy. I’ve been doing a bit of organisation, reading, and just enjoying me time. Since K’s boyfriend arrived to spend her last few days abroad together I’ve hardly seen her, so Y and I have been passing our hours in the jardin. On Saturday, we sat out in the sun (my forehead turning a subtle shade of pink) and enjoyed the views over the bay. On Sunday too, we bought baguettes and sat at the viewpoint bench, chatting away. Things seem lighter – the leaving champagne bottle has popped open and we’re flying on those bubbles.

The time passes. I remember worrying in case I wouldn’t have enough to do. The next thing you know it’s 8pm. Dinner time, in France anyway.

Today has gone quickly, and it’s also highlighted how fast the past seven months have been (in retrospect, anyway). After a lazy morning, getting money out in town and then sitting in the jardin for a while, Y finally packed all her things. Her room was bare. Her boyfriend hauled her suitcase into his car; a life squashed, direction America. We were going through the motions. Oohs and aahs. I waved from the window and a tear fell onto my cheek as the motor roared away.

I walked to a boulangerie after she’d gone. Seeing Y depart, her room stark naked – it really feels like the end now. Dad arrives tomorrow and it will be the end of Normandy as I know it. Today I took all the posters and photos off my wall. My room is now the dull white shell it was when I arrived.

In some ways, I feel like no time has passed since last September when I arrived with Dad to autumn sunshine. Now, I walk nostalgically in the rays. I look at myself and think of how time has changed me. There have been so many dips, so many disappointments and subtle disputes. There have also been triumphs – classes that went brilliantly, friendships formed, being told I was ‘the best assistant we’ve ever had’… Linguistically, I wonder if I’ve learnt enough – but I put myself out there and did the best I could.

The next time I scribble in this cherished Moleskine will most likely be from the hotel, Dad with a cup of tea in his hand. Tomorrow has finally arrived!

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