So I might be back at my home uni. So it might be pouring with rain every time I step out the front door. So my friends are now scattered across the face of the globe. So I should actually be reading rather than blogging. I refuse to let it go. I refuse to accept that everything is back to normal. Now that the semester is well and truly under way, I am undergoing what can only be described as severe denial; my mind is rejecting reality like the cable connecting me to the Matrix is loose; like I’m half-asleep and waiting to wake up again.
It’s not helping that
nobody is letting me forget it. Every other day it’s, “how was your year abroad?”, at which I launch into my usual litany of its amazingness. I am still, despite my best efforts to unsubscribe, stuck on the Lausanne Xchange mailing list and keep getting emails and invitations about upcoming fun events, in which I shall have no part. Facebook throws similar things in my face, with photographs to boot.
I’m not helping myself either. Just last night I went to an ERASMUS society social, accompanied by a friend who is also mourning the end of his exchange in Barcelona. Together we, like tired old hags trying to regain their youth, attempted to relive that old magic. But it just wasn’t the same. For a start, it’s no fun when you’re at home. Secondly, it was a really calm evening and everyone was rather reserved. Where was that spontaneous, boisterous spirit that so characterised our own exchanges, where everyone spoke to everyone and we were all one big dysfunctional, multi-racial family?
I suppose ERASMUS is not the same for everyone. Maybe this year’s exchangers just want to take it easy. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help looking back at my old planner in which I wrote down every work and social engagement. This time exactly one year ago, on October 12 2011, I was busy preparing our pre-drinks party chez moi before we headed to Darling for our weekly exchange social, during which I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a rather disproportionately high number of unusually good-looking European boys.
Speaking to other returning students, a fairly common sentiment seems to be that it all feels like a dream, now that we’re back. It’s true. Did it all really happen? Looking around at the dull, rainy, grey campus and hearing the foreign exchange students bashing English drinking culture (“They’re just drunk sluts”), the contrast couldn’t be greater. I know I shouldn’t compare, but it’s demoralising, to say the least.
But I still count myself lucky. Thanks to two francophone housemates, a French boyfriend and the innumerable French students on campus, my français-hungry ears are not too starved. Not all my friends graduated and buggered off while I was gone, and many still return to soothe me with their company. I’m waiting (hoping) to see some familiar friendly faces from my exchange year come and visit at some point this year, and at least, whatever it’s like now, it happened. I’m fine with where I am. Really.
Anyone got a time machine lying around?