Hello and welcome. You can call me Larousse. I will call you Reader. If I really like you, I might invent a nickname for you, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I live in a beautiful and historic UK city, which, for the purposes of creating mystery and excitement (anonymity makes things mysterious and exciting), I will call The Shire. However, I am originally from a much less pretty, although equally historic city, which, for the purposes of continuing this reference, I will call Mordor.

I have chosen (because, among other reasons, I am a bad friend) to spend the next academic year in, I am told, a very busy but beautiful French city. For now, I will call this The Destination. The decision to spend the third year of my degree abroad was made by a rebellious and unruly 17 year-old, whose knowledge of space, the world and everything was obviously flawless. This same 17 year-old also figured that moving as far away as possible from Mordor, given the slightest sniff of freedom, was an excellent idea. As it happens,18-year-old Larousse ended up in The Shire, which is really quite a short train ride from Mordor (one does not simply walk into Mordor, of course) and really quite enjoyed that fact. Now aged 20 (just), I suddenly have lots of grown-up (and otherwise) worries about packing up and fecking off to The Destination, which just did not compute in my all-knowing, utterly invincible 17 year-old brain. My appalling sense of direction for one. My uncanny ability to accidentally offend for another. And the fact that a mere lick of a peanut makes things quite interesting (and very swollen) very quickly- as I rediscovered last Curry Night. This is all stuff I can just about cope with in Blighty, but throw new places, new people, new experiences and a different language into the equation and suddenly I’ve got a lot more of Real Life to contend with. That or I’ve just got a bit wimpy in my old age.

I’ve become really quite settled in my university bubble. I have good friends, here and nearby. Some I live with (for a few more days at least), like The Wife, The Strange Bean and The Voice. Some are never far away, like Chunk and Columbo. Others I see less often, but do just excellently from the  sidelines, like Porridge and Mutley. And not forgetting my selection of academic/careers advisors/ life gurus (whom I also might refer to, somewhat tentatively, as friends). Here, I’m thinking of The Tweed and The Un-Frenchman. And all of whom had better have downloaded Whatsapp by September so I can continue to bombard them with random thoughts without having to take out a mortgage in the absence of unlimited free texts.

I will properly introduce these (mostly) fine specimens of humanity later, along with some yet to be mentioned, as this is but an introduction.

I felt today was the day to begin documenting my Year Abroad, from start to finish. Today I booked flights. No chickening out now. 2 months, 18 days and counting.


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