Blogging at 34,000 feet
Even the lions don't mind the snow!
The following post was a random collection of all my thoughts on my return from the first part of my Year Abroad. It had been a very long, tiring and stressful day, and things were about to get a whole lot more stressful..."I'm writing this blog post at 34000 feet (although it's being posted at ground level!). That's right; I'm on my way back from my first semester in Germany. Well, I say first semester... I've actually left a week early as I already pretty much have the credits I need and am in dire need of as much time as I can physically get before I go to Russia 2 weeks today. One semester in no way felt like enough time if I'm being honest, and in a way I'm leaving behind some regrets. Regrets that I didn't travel more, that I wasn't more adventurous... I spent my loan on eating out and socialising, admittedly with some amazing people who I hope will remain my friends for a very long time, but a little niggle at the back of my mind is telling me that money would've been better spent on a bahnkarte 25 and many weekend train tickets!
At the same time, it's hitting me just how damn lucky I was. My university was absolutely amazing. As a weaker student on the grammar side of things, it was absolutely perfect. I studied lots of German language as well as Arabic and Russian. Studying another language in, well, another language had to have been one of the highlights of my semester. Thinking simultaneously in three languages, one of which was brand new in the case of Arabic, made my brain work extra hard but it's helped me learn how to do it, in a way. It's almost as if I've developed a switch I can just flick off and on for each language. And although I've spoken a lot of English outside of uni, I feel like my German has improved no end. I no longer feel like I have to have google translate open or a dictionary to hand whenever I want to write an e-mail, and I'm more than happy to converse with anyone in any situation in German. Of course I'm nowhere near native but I feel I've overcome a massive barrier standing in my way. I'm even learning to think about my grammar simultaneously. Not something I think I've ever done in any language!
It also transpires that I'm lucky (so far!) with flights. As I type, airports all across the country are closed due to a (pitiful, may I add) inch or two of snow. In Augsburg we've had a good 3-4" which has been around for a week and temperatures of around -16 (with a wind chill of about -22) so forgive me for my lack of sympathy! However, Manchester is one of the few which is open and we're only running about 20 minutes late. Had I been flying to Birmingham, like I wanted to, I'd still be sat in Germany as that's closed!
So in two weeks, I head off to the delights of -28 in magnificent Moskva. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared! Birmingham is big enough for me, let alone the largest city in Europe (geographically speaking). I don't know how I'll cope with the metro either, considering my chronic fear of heights and hatred of steep escalators (I once had a panic attack in the middle of London because of the escalators) but I'm sure I'll get used to it! My plans for the next fortnight include trips to the doctors and opticians, haircut and colour (as an unnatural redhead, my roots are ridiculous... It'll be hilarious after 13 weeks in Moscow!) and, of course, a pre-valentines weekend with the boyfriend. It may also include a panic, angry trip down to see my lovely brother in Swansea who has run off with a document I need for my visa and seems to have a problem with posting it.
Oh it would appear my luck has run out. We're off to Liverpool haha! Oh well, it could be much worse! I'm acting as a translator for the lovely German gentleman next to me so linguistically speaking it's not a bad thing! So it looks like I might not get my KFC tonight after all... Oh well, as long as I get home safe and sound! I think I'll get back to dozing now and praying I get home tonight!"
I did get home that night, just. It turned out that my parents hadn't even got to Manchester by the time I landed and just about made it to Liverpool! We were very worried about getting home, as the roads around Stafford/Stoke (where I originally come from) were absolutely atrocious but we made it! We then spent twenty minutes driving around town trying to find a McDonalds or KFC which was open, but everything had closed early because of the snow so, in the end, we just went home. I guess the lesson learnt from this is don't panic, everything always works out! I later learnt that I easily could've been diverted to Aberdeen so I was secretly very thankful that Liverpool a) had enough space and b) stayed open just long enough for us to land.