The year abroad

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On Thursday, disaster struck in France. When I say disaster struck in France, I need to be more specific: all hell broke loose at L’Université de Lyon 3, Jean Moulin.

Remember the stir that was caused by the continuous delaying of the underpass being opened? (Which news along the great vine suggests has now actually happened!) Or the time Alexander Square was shut because it was “structurally unsafe?” This happened, only French-style: The University had a power-cut.
This wouldn’t happen in good old Lancaster. If it were to happen a generator would kick in so that no one knew and life could resume. Of course, this is beyond the realms of possibility in Lyon. When the power-cut struck at lunch time, a torrent of complete and utter chaos was to follow for the remaining of the afternoon.

This power-cut decided to happen just when I was attempting to confirm my enrolment and timetable (4 weeks into term.) I had finally mustered up the courage to visit yet another secretary to discuss classes once more. Cue lights, computers and every other form of electrical item to cut out, ensued by complete mayhem. Secretly, I was delighted at being able to avoid any further patronising conversation with a French woman thinking I’m a retarded person who thinks she’s speaking in outer-Mongolian. I made way for the library where pandemonium continued and escalated.

A sea of pretty infuriated Frenchies came piling out of the library due to them being asked to leave. That’s right, they were EVACUATED. They were even more annoyed because EVERYONE had to have their bags searched individually to check no one had stolen one of the 5 books inside. No one knew what was going on – cue hundreds of people smoking and annoyed standing around waiting for the verdict of the chaos.

After debating whether or not my tutorial would be on or not, I made way to double check. I had no idea how big a challenge this would be: I had to climb 3 flights of stairs in the pitch black, combating people fleeing the building and every third screaming “SAVE YOURSELVES.” Determined not to give up on my mission, I found my way. The lesson just began and someone barged in “excuse me Sir, we have to evacuate the university.” Yes, the WHOLE UNIVERSITY was evacuated. Lessons were cancelled. The gates were LOCKED. I mean, I know the French love a day off (even though they have them all the time and essentially half the day off for lunch), but I couldn’t help but think this was a slight over-reaction.

I then met up with the Lancaster girls. Cue celebration. We treated ourselves to a trip to the local Epicerie, and ate some delicious French patisserie taking full advantage of our newfound free time. We sat comparing the situation to Lancaster; “can you imagine if this had happened in Lancaster?” Answers: SCAN would be having a field-day, Whistleblower would be trying to make out that SCAN can’t keep up, and protests and petitions would be rife in attempts to try and claim some money back for the afternoon missed when secretly everyone piled into Fylde and County bar for a pint.

What can I say? “C’est la vie.”

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