Home, Packing + Saying Goodbye

Friday 20 December 2019, First year

by Charlotte Stevenson

Home, Packing + Saying Goodbye

Charlotte Stevenson
Saying goodbye is always hard. It isn't my forte and yet in the past few weeks, I have found myself saying more goodbyes than I've been able to keep up with. Whether it be to those people I became friends with through Halle or the family I have always been so lucky to have, with each day and each goodbye comes a little bit more heart break. It's one of the only things I dislike about new opportunities and the need to move on because it means letting go of all the good things which have already been. 
Today was my last day in England for another 4 months and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that yet. Leaving home, whilst not the most ceremonious of things now that I have done it a few times, makes me miss my childhood and the times when home was just one place that stood stock still. I miss when time ran into time which ran into time, and I was able to chase years whilst staying in the same spot, in the same town, feeling that nothing around me was moving - until suddenly I blinked one day and everything had taken on a different guise; It doesn't quite feel that way right now. It feels like I am headed away on a trip for a while. The reality is I am ... it is only short, so impermanent. But again, it does not feel that way.
My mum had a mini party of sorts and me and my friends from HYC met up again (one week on from tour) to go bowling (in which I started off winning but came third). I already miss all of these people who make life so extraordinary and filled with adventure. I can't wait to see them again. My friend Anna even sent me a message reminding me to pack my toothbrush which made me feel so much better and brought a smile to my face. I don't think it really hit me until then that tomorrow I am actually leaving.
I'll see you all soon! Love the third place bowling champ
Perhaps the hardest person to leave behind is my boyfriend, Joe. He's my best friend and I see him pretty much every day. The same is true of my family, but in a different way. It's complicated. When it comes to long distance relationships, there is a lot to it that people who don't go through it won't necessarily see. For us I think it is that we are so close and know practically everything about one another - we have for the past seven years. So something we have come up with is exchanging diaries at Christmas as gifts that we will write across our time apart. We of course had to get matching Harry Potter ones (no others would do).
He is the Gryffindor to my Ravenclaw. 
Getting home from a day full of conversation and farewells was so heavy. Everything just kind of fell on me in this regard, and getting back to packing was tremendously difficult. It suddenly felt like it was impossible. But I got there. Still feel like I am forgetting something though!

A lot of my packing had been done in advance, especially when it came to clothes and sheets. Practical things aren't too difficult to get through. It was more the personal things I'll need on a daily basis that it was difficult to decide upon. I don't know quite how to explain - but which stationery to prioritise because I write best with it and which postcards to take for the walls. Most difficult for me as a literature student, knowing which books to pack and which to leave because there are still so many I am half way through that it is really hurting me to know I will not get the chance to read until I am back home in January.
Getting ready - Copyright CLSS 2017
I speak about it so much but, home really isn't too much about the place for me. It's more so the people. It has become that way as I have grown older and it's more complicated than that, but the heart of it is that I hate leaving behind those I love and not being able to take them with me. From my parents to my grandparents to my dog, I am close to all of them and they are my home more so than any construction of bricks or mortar could ever be.

This summer has been amazing and I've never felt so happy, at least not since life was a lot simpler when I was younger. This past year of university has presented so many welcome challenges that have allowed me to push myself and excel at things I never thought I would. My writing has really taken wing and suddenly I have this voice all of my own to do with as I want. I have the opportunity to explore and to travel. I have been to new places, achieved things I only ever dreamed of before and gained the confidence to take this next step in my life. I don't feel ready in ways to make this move and it may be that way for a while. But one thing I do know? I am ready for this next adventure.
An amazing, emotional, wonderful summer - Image copyright CLSS 2017
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