Rules and regulations

It’s been so long since I’ve last blogged I don’t even know where to begin… Exams are over and I can’t get rid of the gigantic smile on my face. The sun has been beaming and in the space of two days the trees have blossomed and the grass is looking a lot greener. Finally, it was still snowing at the end of April and I was so exhausted by it all. From the moment I walked out of my last exam I have been surrounded by the fabulous friends that I have made here, there is not a second to spare. I had originally planned to be travelling out East by now, but strangely I couldn’t face leaving. Not yet. I feel like there is still too much to be done here. It’s a bizarre feeling because I am always eager to leave and go to the next place, but for the first time in my life I have made such good friends in a place that I don’t know if I will ever return to, and I’m clinging on.

This semester has been so different compared to the last. All I remember is how hard I slogged away, continuously trying to scrape by, and not really doing all that much apart from studying. I’ll never forget that one weekend where I made a den in my room, donned my owl onesie and didn’t leave from Friday night to Monday morning doing Classical Mechanics… But this semester has been filled to the brim with delightfully spontaneous adventures. A combination of the courses being that bit easier, being used to the system here, and having friends to help me meant that my free time had increased exponentially.

Babysitting has been an invaluable experience, from having no clue about crying or diapers (did I actually just call them diapers?), I can now put the baby to sleep in 15 minutes, compared to the parents taking up to an hour. I still have much to learn of course, constantly asking myself if it’s ok to let them eat dirt… I just got back from my last babysitting session there and the Dad’s brother came to cook a special leaving dinner. He spent at least 5 hours creating the most intricate menu I have ever seen. Deep fried milk, crab soup, smoked duck (my favourite, I happily took the carcass in my hands and ate away delightfully), sea bass, salads, almond bean curd… And there was Pimms! I could not stop raving about it the entire night.

On Easter Weekend I went on a camping trip to Pinery, which definitely gave me a whole new perspective on camping. Somehow, camping has been completely commercialised here. We had to pay for our allotted camp space which includes a limit on how many people and how many tents can be put up there. We weren’t even allowed into the campsite because we didn’t know everyones names, they thought us crazy, camping with people whose names we didn’t know. I couldn’t believe the campsite when I saw it, a little designated area, surrounded by an endless amount of other designated areas and all camper vans. I don’t like to be designated. We had little allotted cages for our fires, and it was forbidden to burn any of the wood lying around; also, we were not allowed to pick the flowers. We reasoned that the flowers must be zombie flowers, and that if we were to touch them we would turn into zombies ourselves. This is the only explanation that made any sense. There were even toilets, which I refused to use, because when camping one does not use a toilet.
Despite all of these rules I had a fantastic time, walking bare foot through the forest, singing songs around the campfire, juggling with fire and swimming in a frozen lake that looked like an ocean. We frantically drove to the lake in the back of a pickup truck, beer in hand, which took me straight back to New Orleans. We made it in time to watch the most stunning sunset I have ever seen. A lot of time was spent exploring and straying off the path, getting lost. For some reason I always knew which way North was, and I turned out to be correct every time. Until we were trying to go South, and I was clueless.

The other day a friend forced me out for a jog, we went to the park and he told me that we were in the park illegally, because it’s illegal to be in a park after 9pm.

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