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Year Abroad. Part 13: Bridging the Gap

New year, new semester. After a two-week baptism of fire in the French examination system, culminating in a gym furnished with 400 white plastic garden chairs, in which examiners answer phone calls and crack jokes with students, we’re back to class, and the hellish task of choosing them. Registering on a site which neither tells you the credit count of the module or the room number makes for enjoyable mornings spent turning up to classes you hope exist. Of course, this is after you’ve whittled down the “options” into a combination that fits into a serviceable timetable, and which, of course, you find doesn’t work as soon as you begin to rest on your laurels because in fact, 1.5 credit modules are a thing and you have to take them in groups of four to make them legitimate. Thanks again France.

Fortunately, away from administration and aggravation, things have been progressing nicely. My neighbour has gone back to her old self with the former ruckus dying back down to the familiar scrape of a charger being plugged into the wall every now and then, I’ve got some friends visiting from Spain, and my back has yet to ache from the shelf that serves me as bed. More importantly however, clearly fearing the potential future employment prospects, my friends and I have diversified, and are now awaiting recognition from the engineering community for the gaps we’ve bridged this last month.

The Irish sea was our first conquest, and although I would love to claim some credit for this achievement, I can’t. It was a valiant effort on my friend’s behalf though, throwing herself into it like that with a feigned indifference that can only be described as inspirational: “shall we just do it then?” And there we were, friends at last. I will take some recognition for the other bridges however, continuing my work as the real Mr.World Wide. Spain has been thoroughly welcomed into our international network, along with America, to join the Italians and the Germans who’ve been friends since last year. It’s all shaping up rather nicely.

Last night’s global revelries were ruined today however by the sleep they deprived me of, and my neighbour in class this afternoon. A nice enough girl who spent an hour and a half staring at me out of the corner of her eye and singing to herself in a whisper, before standing up, unannounced, with 30 minutes left, to pack her bag to leave. To finish she put her coat on, and quite the display it was. Red coat swung over the head, left sleeve in a motion to make matadors jealous, before it plastered itself on my face, where it stayed as she wiggled in her right arm. There’s no hiding this in the front row. So, I sat, with quite the stiff upper lip, and listened as she finished dressing and sung herself off out into the corridor.

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