One year ago I was beginning to say my farewells to my friends in the United States. There were dinners, deep conversations, long hugs, and tears. How odd to be in England now going through the same sort of transitional period with my friends here. It seems, as I get older, that partings have become more and more frequent. I find that many people come into my life and are here for a short while and then we say goodbyes. Thanks to modern technology those goodbyes aren’t usually permanent. Our friendships pass into a different phase of messaging, exchanging likes, and Skype sessions.
I’m finding myself more conflicted in emotions than ever about this latest round of partings. I will be seeing most of my friends when I return to Durham in January for graduation and perhaps I will be staying on in England after that for PhD work. Perhaps these thoughts are making the goodbyes easier. Perhaps it’s something else.
Have you ever gone back to your high school or university after you’ve graduated? It’s a very odd feeling. A place that felt so familiar, so much like home, feels strange when it is filled with different people. People are what really make a place feel special, feel unique, feel like home. Over the past month or so I have seen friends and acquaintances leave Durham on their way to the next phase of life. As Durham has emptied, its character has changed. It has begun to feel different, not like the Durham I have gotten to know. New faces have arrived and unfairly I have just made some new friends only days before I leave. Even so, Durham is changing around me. Even if I had managed to stay here for the next few months, I’m not sure I would have recognised it. I’m not sure I would have belonged here. I would have been standing still while my world kept moving and changing.
This will likely be my last post from Durham, at least until January. I plan to continue writing posts for my blog over the next few months. There is still a lot of exploring I haven’t done in my own backyard and I have a feeling there is going to be quite a lot of reverse culture shock (especially since I have a bit of an accent now). The journey isn’t over, it’s just moving continents for a short time.