The Art of Travelling

As you may or may not come to find out, the class schedule of an Erasmus student can be rather…bare. Whether you consider this a good thing or a bad thing (believe me, there are cons!), there is one sure-fire way of passing the time whilst still enhancing your year abroad memories and experiences. Travel! Now that one of my larger classes has finished half-way through the semester, I only have 8 hours of class a week. No class Monday or Friday. Sounds like a dream, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I find it’s much easier to get blue when you feel like you have nothing to do, no class, no assignments–just reading. But anyhoo, I’ve been/am about to do a great deal of travelling: Düsseldorf, Salamanca, Sevilla, Paris, EDINBURGH! etc. This entry is mainly about my pet peeves as someone who I would describe as “a seasoned traveller.”

Annoyance #1: You cannot hide your nationality in an airport.

You may find, living in a big city, that many people speak English. And said people will often switch into English for you if they sense any hesitation on your part. But that’s easily avoidable. “Sorry, no English. Estonian or French?” If someone speaks to you in English in the city, it’s simple! Just pretend you don’t speak English and ask them to repeat it in French. I tend to go for Estonian, as long as I don’t sense any sort of Eastern European accent. It’s got to be something obscure so it’s unlikely the other person won’t switch into that language for you, but not too ridiculous that you’re clearly taking the mick. I’ve so wanted to be Mongolian, but I don’t really think I could get away with that…

However, in airports, you must show your passport to the various authorities. USA, UK, Ireland, You can’t hide. This absolutely drives me up the wall. Bitch please, I gave you a perfect “Bonjour Madame,” I speak French. So do  NOT insult me with your terribly-accented, “Can you check zat ze bag feets?” nonsense. On a completely unrelated note, are we allowed to curse in these blogs?

Annoyance #2. “Please put your seats and tray tables in the UPRIGHT position.” Especially the seats.

On any given plane, there are likely to be three groups of people. The first group is super-pumped to get in the air and go somewhere fun or see someone they love. Good for them. The second group is upset. They are returning from an amazing holiday and or seeing someone they love, and now they’re going back to a place they loathe. Poor guys. The third group is scared out of their minds because they can’t fathom how planes work and are convinced that it will probably crash and they will die without getting to say goodbye.

I’m usually in both groups 2 and 3. So now, considering that at least 50% (I don’t do maths, okay?) of the fellow passengers on board your flight are probably in a really bad mood, is it REALLY worth reclining your seat back all the way, crushing their legs, and conjuring up a hatred in them for YOU that you could never imagine? Clearly, the answer is no. However this still happens all too often, and the worst thing is that there is no passive agressive way of getting revenge on the idiot who has just bruised your knees. Sometimes you want to put your own chair back just to spite them, but then you’re only hurting the innocent soul behind you! I think we can all just agree that no one should put their seats back on a girl who is already crying like that Spanish half-wit on the bus to Madrid airport, OKAY?

Well there we have it, an Edinburgh Erasmus exchange blog that doesn’t really say anything about “studying” abroad. I feel like I should put in something about Belgium and my experiences as a student. Rapid fire!

Went to Bruges a couple days ago, ate chocolate.

Went to Louvain yesterday, TinTin museum.

Got put into groups of 8 for a group essay (the exam) for my class “Histoire de la langue française et de la francophonie”, but instead of picking an interesting topic like “French at school” or “French in Belgium”, they decided to go with “The Latinisation of Gaulish,” which is great because I’m here to do French and know absolutely nothing about Latin. Fun times!

See you later, and remember, keep that seat upright!

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