Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Packing (again)

Now then, now then. Don't get excited people, but this is a blog post! I know, they're becoming a rarity in these parts!

Today I've been shifting stuff round in boxes, intermittently cursing the darn bits and bobs that won't tessellate (like mixing bowls), and singing along to rather too much Boney M. Nothing quite like it really. It was much less effort to pack 20kg! The rest of the packing is going to have to wait until I can pack clothes too, as they fit in all the nooks and crannies. I am slightly worried there won't be enough room in the car, but me and Sarah are going to try to have a trial-run of packing the boot before Sunday! Whether my food processor will make it to Lancaster is uncertain, but the important things for this year are my crock-pot and my range of travel mugs and flasks. 

Tomorrow's my last hooping class (if you've not seen my crazy exploits, here's the link to the photo evidence! ) and on Friday I'll have my last shift at the tourist info. Of course with all the floods there are lots of wet tourists wishing they'd never bothered coming, but that's the way it is here. There was a couple who were quite disappointed they wouldn't be able to go into the King's Arms though (that's the pub that ALWAYS floods, and which is on the telly at least three times a year because of said flooding).

So, next blog post I'll be back in Lancaster. Come a full circle now since I started my blog! Who'd have thought, eh? 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Avoiding thinking

*Generic lack-of-blog apology*

So you may be asking what on earth I've been up to recently, as I've not blogged for well over a month. However I think it's more likely that no one's noticed due to the marvellous diversion of the Olympics (hurrah for Team Yorkshire by the way! Especially Jess Ennis - whoever said she was fat had better be eating his words rather hurriedly. If I were her I'd send him a gold chocolate medal, hahahaha). 

In the past few months I've finished my clear-out (resulting in a disturbingly mess-free room), visited my grandparents as I've not seen them since January, and started a new job volunteering at the tourist info in York. It's good experience, as I speak a lot of French and Spanish to the visitors, but it is exhausting! And some of the questions I get asked are, frankly, things that no one knows, but I'm learning things all the time. We also had a nice visit from my sister and family, which resulted in rather too many early mornings thanks to my nephew, but it was jolly good fun. Mum and I had to make him a space rocket out of a kitchen roll tube and some tin foil :D I also visited the wonderful Emily and family for a few days, and had a weekend in Lancaster for a friend's wedding. 

Since getting back from my YA, I've been thinking. Or at least, that's what you're expecting me to say. In actual fact, I've spent a lot of time NOT thinking. I have a feeling that if I actually stop and think about everything - the good times and the bad - it could be rather overwhelming. I'm trying not to fall into the massive cohort of YA students that off-handedly declare that the whole year was utterly marvellous and they never had any problems ever. Instead I tell people that it was a positive experience, but there were hard times too, which I think is fair enough. There's always a place for honesty. 

I've been looking through my photos and selecting some to go have printed so I can start making my scrapbook. There's going to be rather a lot to do, but it's been an interesting trip down memory lane. I look at my ones of Bilbao and I'm certain it was a dream up until about Christmas. It's like there's a veil between me and the experience, and I daren't move it just yet. Maybe soon. Maybe never.

It reminds me of when I was sent off on a school trip for a week when I was 10. This experience still remains one of the most traumatic of my life (freezing cold, first time away from Mum and Dad and before the age of mobile phones, horrendous physical activities led by over-enthusiastic plonkers, knee-deep in a river somewhere near Whitby not having a clue about the activity we were doing, diabolical food), but what I remember vividly is getting home again, curling up on Dad's knee and crying. Was it relief? I don't think so, more a 'I never want to go through that ever ever again!!!' The up side to this story is that leaving home has never been such a horrible wrench since, because I've done it before. Of course every time I leave, it is hard (and it has been most especially this year), but there's always the knowledge that I've done it before and can do it again. I've never cried on returning quite like that since. 

A similar thing can be said for the YA. There is a huge part of me that never wants those first couple of months to ever happen to me again, but the beauty of the experience is that I know it won't. I'm older, I've been through it once before, I don't need to go through it again. Like I say, it doesn't mean that there won't be hard times, and the worst is probably still to come, but at least I'll be able to draw some level of strength from knowing I've done it already. 

Anyhow, enough of the serious stuff. Right now I'm in touch with a few people who are heading to Bilbao to start their YA's - one has already posted on Facebook that she's got there but was locked out as her landlady wasn't there yet. Can't help thinking how similar it is to my own experience - I'm glad my presence hasn't irreparably damaged or altered Spain!
Laters Blogueros :) xx

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Post-YA Crisis

So, I am back! Did you miss me?

Sorry for the lack of blogging. I've been doing too much thinking to blog as well. I went on my little tour of the UK, stopping at my sister's on the outskirts of London and then again in Lancaster. It was as good a way as any to finish the dreaded YA, though how you're supposed to 'finish' it is anybody's guess.

I'm now in the throws of what is definitely a post-YA crisis. I am clearing out my room. Having more than 20kg of stuff feels odd, and anyhow, the clear-out is long over-due. It's much easier to get rid of stuff now thinking 'well I've not used it all year...' A general lack of work makes the days rather long, and I've forgotten how to do things properly in this country. How does one get on a bus again? Should you say 'hello' before jumping in with 'a single to town please'? Je ne sais pas. And frenglish and spanglish are just the norm. 

But having said that, it is good to be home. Aside from the rain.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Two more sleeps...

How on earth did this happen? The day after tomorrow I'll be back in the Motherland, eating enough cheddar to give me nightmares for a month. (I suppose you all know by now that I mention cheddar in nearly every blog post purely because it is now a standing joke. I'm not actually that obsessed! Especially as the cheese in Switzerland is famous for a reason!)

I'm very sad to be leaving - I know this because of the manic job-hunting in Geneva that I've been doing over the past few days! Always good to keep your options open, and somehow I have a feeling I'll be back here one day, under my own steam. But, the tea supplies are running low and the price of a titchy box of PG Tips has reached a high of 8 euros in Carrefour, so a return home is inevitable, and it is very welcome. I've printed all my tickets, cleaned all of the flat except the bathroom (tomorrow's job!), and now I just need to get packing. 

It was about a year ago that Emily and I were booking our tickets out to Bilbao and I was having a panic every time I thought about it. A lot's changed since then. I now understand the appeal of tapas, for example (it was lost on me before!) and I'm about to start owning a raclette machine so I can have Swiss-themed soirées next year. My hard drive is clogged up with photos and I feel like the whole world has opened up to me. I know this sounds a bit melodramatic, but from someone who'd never been on a plane before, I now realise it's not hard to travel and I have enough confidence to do it by myself, which I certainly didn't have before. It may be the end of the Year Abroad, but it's only the first year of the rest of my life with its newly-expanded horizons. 

If I did this, I feel like I can do anything. So, to quote a very cool sci-fi series (Star Trek Next Gen, duh!): Ace is high. Nothing wild... and the sky's the limit. 

See you on the other side.
Lucy xxx

Monday, 11 June 2012

Welcome to hotel Lucy.

Once again my dear Blogeurs I am writing this from Geneva airport, as I've just sent Mummy Fisher home to go buy all the cheddar cheese in Tesco, and I'm waiting for Claire to land. 

Mum and I did Geneva as best we could in the 6 days we had. The highlight was probably a fantastic day out with my landlady and her Dad (who had me literally crying with laughter at one point... my mascara is all over a very posh restaurant's napkin). We went to Nyon and took the boat over Lac Léman to Yvoire, where I bought the odd souvenir and we had an amazing lunch of fish and chips (though it was a far cry from the British counterpart... not a bit of batter in sight!) We had a good wander round, then we took the boat back. We also visited a chapel on top of a hill with a fab view over Geneva. 

Me and Mum also did the reformation museum which was as dry as a bone. The audio guide needs a shimmy shake, the woman spoke with such an American drawl it was ridiculous, and she talked so slowly! She pronounced 'bishop' as 'bis-hope' which was rather annoying. I felt like volunteering to re-record the darn thing for them, but a 15 minute debate on predestination put me off. No need to be too enthusiastic now. 

I have now tried a Raclette, which is where you have slices of cheese and melt them on a machine, then nom them down with potatoes and cold meats and pickles. My landlady did one for us and it was rather superb - I now want a machine so that I can have rather pretentious soirées next year! Hello Amazon...

And finally, it is exam season. The history module wasn't as bad as it might have been. Today I had the interpreting oral (the one I wrote the mahoosive project for) and I got some pretty good feedback from my project. They actually told me to go write a PhD, and I felt I shouldn't let them down by saying that 30 pages was more than enough for me! Still, being rather pleased and smug for the rest of the day.

I only have 10 days left and I have honestly googled jobs out here! I think returning PDQ would be rather good if it were under my own steam, when I could make it my life rather than just 4 months here and 4 months there. But we shall see, the future's a massive great thing that's ready for the planting, nurturing and growing. Allons-y!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

A weekend of stereotyping!

Well I did promise I would blog about my trip to Granada, so here I am blogging!

So I slept on the flight out there (despite some French woman seriously taking the mickey behind me and laughing every time I came round then fell asleep again), then had a very strong coffee in Malaga airport, then got on the bus to Granada and slept again! As such, when I got there I didn't feel too rough, which I personally consider a miracle. Bex was there to meet me, and we went for some cheeky tapas with Jack as you get a free tapas with every drink in Granada (and the Spanish wonder why their economy is so far down the drain...) We had a good old wander round Granada in the afternoon and saw a lot of people dressed in traditional flamenco outfits, but we couldn't find out if there was a fiesta happening. 

On Sunday I went up to the Alhambra with Flat Ted, and it was absolutely stunning! I've finally fulfilled one of my ambitions, I've always wanted to go there. I spent ages there wandering round among the thousands of tourists, filled a memory card with pictures and ran my batteries down (good job I always have spares of everything!) Then I met up with Bex again and more tapas happened, then we sat in and watched the new TinTin film as neither of us had seen it, which is just ridiculous given Bex has lived in Belgium (no, TinTin is NOT French!) and many a French A-level oral class was spent pouring over comic strips with Guillaume!

Monday was spent walking down from the Alhambra to take pictures of the pretty views, and then we hit the shops. I've had a disaster with most of my shoes, my trainers literally had holes in the bottom of them! So I got new trainers and a pair of sandals while I was in a country where I could afford to buy them, as well as some other souvenirs. Bex was very patient with me while we scouted all of Granada's shoe shops (of which there were quite a few!) and we had more tapas after to regain our strength!

Then we walked up to a couple of the view points over the city and we watched the sun set while having a good old chin wag about life, the universe and everything. It really is always fantastic to see other Lancaster people, as I think I said after my trip to see Lorraine and Caz in Lyon (or maybe I forgot to blog about that? That happened last week anyway, a quick day trip to Lyon for a nosy at where I could have gone) Seeing other people going through the same thing always helps, and in a strange sort of way it is like group therapy! This is why as much as people say 'don't hang around with English people', sometimes you just have to for your own sanity. 

Anyway, here's a shocking fact: 4 weeks today I'll be back in the Motherland. Anyone know how that happened? It feels like I've been a Fisher out of England since forever, but equally I can remember having to set off on the 2nd September like it was yesterday (and I still feel a little traumatized when I remember my dear landlord not having the keys to the apartment...) But, somehow we survive. 

Very few things have rattled me recently, but one thing has. Someone from England asked me how I was, and I said 'fine thanks, just looking forward to going home'. To which they responded 'yes but you've been looking forward to that all year'. One the one foot, they weren't wrong. I have been looking forward to the end since I arrived. But, isn't that what we do in life? When we're at uni everyone's looking towards graduation or moving on to the next qualification, at work everyone's looking towards the next weekend, the next holiday. Revelling in the moment is actually a very hard thing to do, and something we don't do very often when you come to think about it. I look forward to the end because it brings me one step closer to being back around people I know and love, which leads me closer to graduation, which means being in charge of the rest of my life. If I end up back in Geneva, then great! It's not that I've not enjoyed myself here, it's just that four months is nothing - limbo. You don't know whether to bother settling in properly or not, because it's not a long time, and everyone here pretty much made their friends at the start of the year so it's hard to break into. I'm looking forward to me being in charge of my life. Is that such a bad thing? 

I'll say it again, it's very easy to judge when you're not here. So watch what you say or you might find yourself immortalised in my blog! 

Friday, 18 May 2012

A night in the airport...

Ay ay ay! (As the Spanish would say)

Sorry once again for the long gap between blog posts, I am a bad blogger! The main reason for this lack of anything was pretty well down to a certain project that has been hovering round like the smell of garlic: fine when you're cooking but by the next morning it makes you want to retch, slap your last night self and demand to know why you didn't clean the garlic crusher the night before. Anyway. The project is done and dusted, and I even got it bound (was dirt cheap at the uni print shop - about the only thing there that is). So it is officially out of my life until I have to do an oral presentation on it in the exam period *sigh*. By then my enthusiasm might have come back.

Currently, (at 00.29  BST+1) I am sat in Geneva airport. Why, you may ask. Why indeed. This weekend I'm off to Granada to see Bex and Jack et al, and all the flights to Malaga (which is where you have to fly to, then get a bus to Granada) leave at 6.10am. Fine, you may think. However, none of the flaming buses get to the airport before 6am (and of course, my gate closes at 5.40), so I had to get one of the last buses Friday has to offer, and it's a night in the airport job. Technically, the airport is closed from midnight till 4am, but so far no one's come to tell us to get out (and they'll have a job on shifting the bloke in the corner who is asleep). Luckily, staying up till 4am wasn't a problem last night, so it shouldn't be tonight either. I might be sad and start a queue for going through security from 4am, as coffee and croissants undoubtedly lie on the other side... 

So, not much else to report, other than it's only 4 weeks and 5 days till I come back to the Motherland for good... no more year abroad. The big Year Abroad Monster that I panicked about pretty much from A-levels to now will have passed and I'll still be alive at the end of it! Now no one saw that one coming ;)

Will blog after I get back to Geneva on Tuesday, I should have something more exciting to say then! Bonne nuit tout le monde! xxx