5 February 2011
After we returned to Nottingham, it was a quick job up the room in which I had stored my things, and then back to the room. Rachelle would be staying with me for the next week, which I loved, but I had two take-home finals to turn in the next day, and then two regular exams. One of the take-home finals was ready to be submitted, but my other still required a lot of work to be done. I knew it would a long night if I wanted to turn in something acceptable. Because Rachelle was still sick, she settled into my bed and I warmed up my laptop. Despite the beautiful day outside, Rachelle sleeping peacefully, and my many bags still packed, it was comforting to be on my very own computer once more, working on something productive.
Monday was filled with errands and turning in finals, and the rest of the week passed smoothly (as smoothly as any finals week can). I took Rachelle around the town, and we got to peer through the gates at Nottingham Castle (which was mysteriously closed that day), stopped at all the stores, and had dinner at a true (and my favorite) English pub. Rachelle and I, both being huge musical fans, also took a day trip into London and saw “Wicked,” which was a brilliant experience. It was my first professional musical (I had been performing and watching community shows all through high school, but it certainly wasn’t the same). It was also the last check on my long list of London wishes.
Too soon, Rachelle was off to continue her travels (to Berlin, Amsterdam and Prague, all of which I was quite jealous of). Although the quiet after five weeks of constant travel buddies was certainly welcome, I definitely missed my close friend, especially as she will be continuing her education in Spain for another semester. It reminded me that I would be leaving soon, and would have a lot more goodbyes to say.
To keep my mind off my impending departure, I took day trips to Cardiff and Dover, both relaxed and easy-going meanderings. I came back more settled, and with a lot more pictures. Then, there was a frenzy of packing, one last night out, and a surprise early departure from my residence hall. Then, suspiciously bright eyes during dinner, and final hugs from the new friends I had made, along with promises to Facebook and email.
The flights back were not as wearying, but honestly not as exciting, as the way there. Our flight to Houston was joined by our close friend Julie, who goes to Texas A&M, and I was ecstatic to spend these last few hours with her. Then, a rushed and chaotic goodbye to my fellow travellers at PDX. It would take two more days and another 7 hours of flying to get me to my actual home, but it came soon enough.
Now, I am writing this as I prepare to return to Linfield, for the first time in seven months. It is a strange feeling. I find myself giddy over seeing old friends, yet mournful that my new friends won’t be there alongside them. My heart is a confused tangle of happy and sad, stressed and calm. All I know for sure is I will not forget the past four months in a long, long time.
Aloha and cheers, one last time,