i have adventures (sometimes)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

York Retrospective

Well, I've been home for nearly three weeks, and I haven't accomplished much other than taking a million Instagram photos of cats.

We got kittens! (Can hug every cat?)
Adjusting to being home is hard, partly because coming back to where everything is the same as it ever was makes it feel as if no time has passed, which is a weird thing to process after such an amazing, magical year.
I am, of course, assuming that actual magic was involved, because things just went so amazingly right for me when I moved to York. I had an excellent flatmate whom I met by accident in Inverness, and we lived in an anomalously small flat with a massive kitchen, and the people I sat down with on my first night in York more or less became my friends for the rest of the year.
And by friends I mean "family". And by "the rest of the year" I mean "forever".*

I fell in love with York, from the beautiful ancient city to the funny ugly university campus.

Oh Central Hall, you're so hideous.
York was small and old and weird, but in the best way. I could walk or cycle everywhere, and buy unpackaged vegetables at the market, and every now and then even venture outside without getting soaked or freezing to death. It was beautiful in the sunshine and grim in the rain.

I saw snow for the first time! Snoooow!

And I met the most wonderful people.

There were my MSc classmates, with whom I suffered in the lab, and later formed a kickass pub quiz team. Actually, we were mostly terrible, but on our first trip out we beat the University Challenge team, so it was hard to live up to that level of glory again. Towards the end of the summer, we livened up the library hours playing penguin ball (this involves shouting "Penguin ball!" and then throwing the penguin to or at someone who may or may not know they're playing) and jealously guarding our little library alcove against outsiders.

Look out, sound criminals. It's Team SOUND CRIME.
And my favourite ladies, Hannah and Bri, the co-inventors of the surprisingly strong cocktail the Ermahgerd! (exclamation mark compulsory), my co-dialect enthusiasts, co-fangirls, co-mince pie makers, and generally wonderful people. This is who I email when I feel sad at 2am or I meet a boy at any time of day. I think of Hannah when I wear bright colours and Bri when I wear my American pants over my British pants.

:P :/ :D
And of course there was this excellent human with excellent hair, who understood me and made me laugh, got me hooked on the expensive hobby of board gaming, and taught me not to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach. He can quote Cabin Pressure as well as I can. I take full credit for that.

We are 86% hair.
And these people. My York family. Early on we somehow named ourselves the York Wide Web, and I love them so much that I don't even mind having a silly name. We jumped all over York and had potlucks and baking parties and generally ate a lot of food. When, on our last outing, I convinced them to go out in public together wearing matching t-shirts, I knew for sure I'd found my people. As if I didn't know already.

...And end.
We <3 York.
I also spent far too much time in the library.

The madness gets to you in there.
But even that was improved by the presence of friends. Friends with MARKER PENS.

I wish I could take credit for any of this.
It's been, without a doubt, the best year of my life (so far). It had to end, because things do. By the end, I knew I didn't want to stay - it wouldn't have been the same, and trying to make it that way would have felt like a disservice to the year that was. I also don't want to move back, because England is cold and dark, and I don't think I can go back into the dark again.** But I do miss the life I had there.

If I'm honest,  I'm not sure I want to be back home either. But according to the terms of my scholarship, I'm here for a year, which is ample time to settle in or decide to seek my fortune elsewhere (subtropical highland climates preferred).

And so that was York. I'm grateful for the amazing year I had and the wonderful people I got to share it with.

Goodbye, York. You are nice and I will see you soon.

**One or two friends have helpfully offered to follow me around with SAD lamps if I go back.


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