I am about to do something very self-indulgent and use this blog as if it were my personal diary. This is not because I have any particularly enlightening or thrilling inner-thoughts, but more because I want to look back on this after the Year Abroad and *hopefully* see how stupid I was for being so scared.
I recently got back from a couple of days in Cambridge. It was surreal but lovely to be back in the ‘bubble’ and even better to see some fantastic people who have been fairly absent from my life these past few months. As the train rolled noisily out of Cambridge station, past the ‘Home of Anglia Ruskin University’ sign which usually amuses me no end, I felt sadder than I had done in a very long time and had to bury my head in my coat to avoid the man next to me noticing my oh-so-attractive puffy eyes.
Whilst it was wonderful to be back in college, and despite the genuine kindness and friendliness with which I was met, there is a certain painfulness in being a guest in your own home. Although there was no awkwardness and in some ways it was as if nothing had changed, there is something intrinsically saddening about having to ask for the ‘gossip’ and for a re-cap of events in your own group of friends. I was ashamed when I realised that my first response to any news was not ‘Good for you!’ or ‘Oh I’m so sorry to hear that’ but ‘Why didn’t anybody tell me?’. As not everybody had arrived for the beginning of term it wasn’t possible to see all of our close friends, to which my gut reaction was a fearful ‘What if he forgets me?’. Even worse than that, when I learned that a fellow Year-Abroader (who is a wonderful friend and generally gorgeous person) would be spending a couple of weeks in college, the overriding emotion was (undue) resentment! All I could think about was that she would get more ‘in’ with the group, probably staying up late chatting with the girls, taking photos and creating happy memories bla bla bla while our times together would fade into the distant past….
Cringe. This is of course a hugely selfish way to think, and perhaps my friends will read this and decide that I am in fact a horrible person. Coming to terms with my gross self-centredness highlighted to me what I had tried to pretend did not exist: fear. Not of being kidnapped, not of falling over on the ice in the Ukrainian winter, not even of loneliness, but of losing what is so precious. Fear of the people you love gradually slipping from your sphere of existence, and you from theirs, unnoticed.
Nothing will give me more pleasure than to read this back in 9 months time and to realise my own ridiculousness.