Friday, 26 September 2008

Goodbye Leicester (20th September 08)

Almost a week ago, Mum Dad Alex and I piled all my worldly possesions into our family car and headed east towards the University of East Anglia, which has been my home for the last 6 days. Looking back it seems a lifetime ago already, but everything here still feels a bit new and weird. Anyway, on the way here, this is what I wrote (sorry for the delay.)..

I’m being very geeky with my laptop out in the back of the car as we’re parked at Leicester Forest East Service station. Today marks the end of the longest summer holiday ever, and we’re off to the University of East Anglia, my new home! Saying ‘see you at Christmas’ to all and especially the cat was more traumatic than I expected it to be. Embarrassingly, I cried my eyes out when we took Winston to the cattery yesterday for his holidays, as the rest of my family are off to Norfolk for the weekend after dropping me off a t uni. It finally dawned on me yesterday that I won’t see my closest friends or people from church for quite a long time- its mental finally being parted from those people who have been your closest friends for years. Still we can’t be accused of having wasted any time over the last few months, which have really just been big one long party. Celebrations aind Lamentations in honour of the last week at home together in Leicester haven’t exactly been minimalist either, these last few days comprised of more nights out than in, lots of dancing, tea, church, public house visits and general merriment.
Despite the shoddy weather and the impending doom of leaving home, it’s been an awesome summer. From the moment I put my pen down after finishing the epic phillip larkin exam essay to the moment my head hit the pillow last night, following an emotiod. nal last farewell Deb and thegang-it has been fun times. Also, a pretty productive time.. I’ve been a leader at Bonsall, and spent the weekend on a lovely rainy barge in Thurmaston, left my first ever job with more money than i started with, been baptised and passed my grade 6 singing exam with quite a few more marks than i needed. I’ve stayed up all night and crawled into work in the morning, got some good A levels and my picture in the paper, written an article for the church magazine, slept in the principal’s bed (she wasn’t there) and on the whole withstood intense peer pressure from certain friends to become a drunken mess. Despite this there have still been some seriously late Saturday nights, of course followed by ridiculous Sunday morning music practices. We’ve said goodbye this summer to John Hall, our minister at Groby URC who is beginning retirement, but not without a standard awesome church party, BBQ, prayers and lots of singing. I’ve learnt a few new songs, read a couple of books here and there, danced to music from the 70s 80s 90s and 00s, had a few lie ins and a few horrendously early mornings for one be reason or another. I shared a week of awesome with Ellyn while lots of the other girls lived it up in Ibiza, and I’ve been bought ten red roses. I’ve walked the streets of Derbyshire dressed up as Oliver Twist (Standard), met up Helen whilst on holiday with the family in sunny Kefalonia and kept track of all this on a calendar, accounting for each day so I can scrapbook everything in due course.
So after a summer of madness, it’s time for, well more madness I presume. I’m more scared than i thought I would be, but I know that I’ve got an insane amount of prayer support from home. Deb has given a mug to me this morning, with a bible reference (John 3:16!) on it...a late baptism present, but what an object to bring to uni with me! I’m currently crammed into the car with all my worldly belongings besides my bed, piano, and the few cuddly toys and Christian books which had to be culled and sadly left at home. After a dilemma and a half, I decided to leave my guitar at home in favour of the harp, an all round less useful instrument but less disruptive to the neighbours I think. We have now reached another service station, Travelodge Swaeyesey apparently, and all this writing about musical instruments has just made me realise I’ve forgotten my soul survivor digital item of vital importance in the home!
So it’s time to say Goodbye to Leicester, and Hello Norwich! It is now time to say goodbye, for now, to the recently adopted church-pub-church routine. Goodbye to the Castle, and the Stamford Arms. Goodbye late evenings on the swings, at Groby pool, picnics in Bradgate park and stargazing in the field. See you later, wonderful people of Groby College, and churches together in Groby!

From the back of the car in the service station car park I can see quite a few cars with kids my age in and cars full to the brim with stuff similar to ours, and a ‘Modern Jesus Army’ minibus..maybe I should just join them and forget this uni business? I feel a bit ill, maybe from hunger, or nerves, or most likely because I’ve been staring at a screen in the back of the car for far too long. Seriously though, I don’t want to go, and I do. I’m not really sure, but either way, the sun is shining, and this is the day that my God has made!

And whatever happens, God is bigger than everything, and if my God is with me, whom or what can I be afraid of!
Goodbye Leicester!

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