June 6 2010
I am sat in a street café in Nice down some random little cobbled street lined with artists and authentic Gussi bag vendors, totally lost and, given my relatively short journey, inexplicably knackered.
I am quite surprised I made it here at all in fact! My mind hasn’t exactly been on the job the last 6 weeks, despite been at home and having all the ease and comfort I could desire. See, unlike a normal human being, I didn’t stop to reflect on the impact of Japan, nor muse on reconnecting with old friends in America, but instead decided to hit the ground running. Within three days I had secured my next teaching job in Italy. Within a week I had been to speak to the armed forces. Within two weeks I had applied to two unis, written to a lawyer for advice on moving to Canada and applied for three jobs in America. By my final week at home I had revised recent history and popped for an interview in Cornwall and the day before I left I got offered a place to do International Journalism. That afternoon I decided I should maybe pack and think about Italy. Now, 12 hours later, here I am.
I was briefly impressed by my blasé attitude towards a summer abroad, finally ridding myself of the shackles of a Father who prepares for every eventuality (I’m sure I took a snorkeling mask skiing once- just in case!), and as I hopped on board my 8 am train there was a whiff of pretentious arrogance in my step… until I realized I had forgotten to get Euros, and pack my hairbrush, and my camcorder, and all the documents for my job. Not so cool then JD? Nah. Mini panic over I considered my total lack of thought once again and reassured myself that if I could handle Japan, I could certainly handle this…it can never get that hard to communicate again can it?! I have developed a certain fearless refrain that runs through my head every time I jump on a bus that I’m not entirely sure is the right one, or I go off wondering in a city I don’t know at 10pm, or I have no directions to my hostel, just a vague memory of once looking at it on Google maps, all of which I did tonight and all of which I survived thanks to this ‘well it’s not Japan, so it can’t be that hard’ refrain tattooed on my brain. I know it is rather reckless perhaps and I’m pretty sure it will wear off soon, but for now I think I’ll make use of it and maybe hope that it is true what they say-
that Italy has shops too.
But what a journey! Getting off the train I was feeling a little stupid for allowing myself to think, at least several times, ‘ooo I’ll be in Italy tonight’
– no you wont you moron, Nice is France!
I felt a little reassured of my mind though as at the entrance to the airport a young sales girl all suited and booted came up to me to try and sell me a bag of makeup. When I replied that I had in fact spent a week of my life, that unfortunately I will never get back, working for her company, so didn’t want to buy anything, she looked at me and mirrored the pity in my eyes. She clearly thinking ‘poor girl, she gave into the lies and didn’t stick it out to get her BMW and 3figure salary like I will’. Me thinking, ‘poor girl, thinks she’s gunna get a BMW…I bet all she gets is a lousy Big Mac ‘I will seduce you into my pyramid scheme’ lunch like I did. It didn’t get better as I entered Manchester Airport; simultaneously home to the ugliest people on planet earth and designed the most inept apes known to man. This is not a winning combination. The lack of chairs means the blobby delights of the North lay strewn about the walkways, the five restaurants sell out of all the decent ubiquitous airport food and the toilet queues…don’t even ask! It brings back to me an age old question that I have often pondered whilst in British airports-
Where are all the pretty people?
Really, you never see them at airports. I am fast coming to the conclusion that there is an elite, beauty-streaming check-in desk hidden away somewhere. Some magical place where there are chairs and cafes that don’t just sell bacon butties and grey tea. Either that, or it is true what they say, that northerners are just mingers.
This airport brings back countless childhood memories of dragging Mum around the duty free and making her spray every perfume on a wafty stick and sniffing with such enthusiasm I got light headed and hyper, or going into the gadget shop with Dad and Alex and us trying to convince Dad that we really needed an underwater jet propeller or a giant computer with windows 97! It was a Saturday today so I saw loads of families, parents gallantly struggling along with pushchairs and nappy bags. I can’t wait to have kids and take them on adventures. I look at myself now, and how stressful it can be just to get me someplace, and I can’t believe how my parents managed to deal with two less than shy children without strangling us. However, unlike my graceful parents, I will allow my kids to parade up and down the aisle of the airplane, playing with stranger’s shoes and flicking people’s heads. I will teach all five of them to scream and yelp in unison and me and my significant other can simply lay back and watch proudly the sweet sweet revenge we have created. I adore kids, but for the love of God, there is a time and a place for ADHD and it ain’t on the airplane. I should have stayed in that pyramid selling scheme con job… I’d have a BM by now and be getting a first class ‘I’m hot and wealthy, so screw you’ flight with no queues.
But nevertheless, I arrived, a lot happier than this ramble seems to make out. I spoke Japanese to few people- which may have offended the man who happened to be Chinese, ordered this beer I’m drinking in Spanish and forgot I was in France as I laughed at a man’s bright yellow shorts. I have a train to catch tomorrow, I don’t know how or from where, or at what time. I have no idea where I will be staying in San Remo.