The 17th of December marked my last day in Avignon. Despite the final few exams in the last week (because by this point we had simply stopped caring) we enjoyed a really Christmassy end to the semester, including a trip to the Christmas market in Orange, and lots of vin chaud – although, frankly, no one does mulled wine quite like the English.
Our final days together were really sad and a tad tearful. We’re so lucky in Avignon to have made so many great friends, despite the fact that we were all Anglophone and therefore spoke almost no French with each other, and we spent the majority of our time together. So, on the whole, spoken French went a bit out the window. It is an unfortunate truth, though, that Erasmus is a predominantly English-speaking network, and English is most people’s strongest second language, so don’t expect to be speaking your degree language 24/7 if you are about to embark on your year abroad in a study placement!
After our final exams, the hectic and inevitably difficult admin that had to be done before leaving, organising and repacking my life back into my luggage, and scrubbing my room clean so that I could reap back every cent of my deposit, there was very little time to actually relax before leaving. I had one whole day to enjoy Avignon one last time, which was actually spent in bed with a heinous hangover after a wine-tasting followed by the University’s winter ball. I also had the horrifying shock that I had two hours in the afternoon to clean and pack my room up for inspection, so suffice it to say that I did not get to relax and enjoy my last day much at all.
Repacking my case made me realise as well how much unnecessary shite I brought with me. I did not need the seven pairs of shoes, and I did not need those vintage ornaments. So come next semester, when I pack for Geneva, I will do it practically. I’ll pack only what I need, and hopefully therefore won’t end up lugging a total of sixty kilos on my journey, and won’t end up with the consequent spinal agony.
And so Saturday arrived. The 15-degree sun in Marseille was a beautiful send-off, and I must admit getting off the plane in London was quite an unpleasant reminder of English weather, but it felt good to be home and to properly be able to eavesdrop in public again. And now I’m looking at two months back home, working as a slave to the pub industry as I desperately try and earn back the money that the South of France robbed from me, and try to replenish my overdraft before the even more bankrupting Geneva takes it all over again.
So, for now, it’s goodbye from me for a little while until I start preparing for the next big move. Joyeux Noël à tous!