Year Abroad. Part 10: Home time

So here marks the end of my first semester, and it makes sense to end it as I began: hot, tired and uncomfortable. I’m sitting on a Ryanair flight to Stansted from a terminal in Marseille that can only be likened to a shed, in the middle of three seats because a certain French someone had the cheek to ask if it bothered me that she remained in my aisle seat, and because I, being English, obviously said that was fine. I just hope that she can’t read English as I sit here typing this on my phone.

However, as long as you play the system right, i.e. doing everything right to avoid selling a kidney to finance the last-minute fees, Ryanair isn’t all that bad, not for a 2 hour flight anyway. At least being an English company the people actually do the job they’re paid to do, whereas their French counterparts prefer to work twice as hard simply in order to avoid doing anything. In France, any simple question results in a triathlon around town trying to find someone to answer it. I’m certain the pilot would try and get out of flying if he found out there was a passenger on board trained in aviation. When you do finally get someone to agree to help you, they huff at you for inconveniencing them and ask you not to tell anyone else “because they’re not doing this for everyone”. Earlier, laden with suitcases and clearly in a rush, instead of handing me the parcel I’d come to pick up, the woman at my residence desk decided to refill the beeping printer. There were four other people in the room who could have done this.

And a stereotype it may be, but after three months abroad I miss queuing. Any gap left in a line here is capitalised upon, to the point that people behind you will ask you to nudge forward and fill the space you’ve left. This gap isn’t to imply that I would be more than happy to accommodate a pusher-inner mate, this is because in England it’s weird to be sniffing the hair of the person in front. For a country that moves at a bloody snail’s pace in every other walk of life, they are more than eager to pale Usain Bolt into significance if they feel they could jump in front of you.

But to be honest, I’m not sure I’m going to make it home at this rate. Take off was 35 minutes late, and I now understand why. Apparently, the meaning of “as the crow flies” has clearly been lost on this pilot because I’ve seen drunk drivers make less of a meal out of a straight line. And besides, when you’re in the sky I don’t think there’s such a thing as a scenic route. I haven’t told my mum this however. I thought about it, then I remembered she’s always late anyway. If she’s on time I’m in trouble.


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