I clearly am a fucking horrible blogger. I’ve been home over a month and still haven’t written about my final days in Wales. I’m going to try and rectify that now…
The day after we dropped Lisa off at the airport, Haylee and I had a busy day. We got to meet the field school that was in Wales from our old school, Douglas College! Some of them were sick when they arrived because they’d been drinking the night before. If there is one lesson that I can pass onto future international students, it is this: NEVER drink the night before a trip to anywhere. Welsh roads are tricksy and curvaceous assholes and if you happen to have a weak stomach or are not used to drinking with people who probably sipped ale from a sippy cup as a wee lamb then you are FUCKED. I never got sick on a bus, but there were times on long international student trips where I felt like I was about to be come a mighty chunder dragon and it wasn’t a fun feeling.
After the everyone was done being sick, Haylee and I went with them on a tour of our campus (it didn’t take so long – Lampeter campus is SMALL), and then we all loaded onto a bus to go to Strata Florida Abbey where some first and second year archeology students were learning the tricks of their trade in the field. They were actually literally in a field too. My flatmate, Heather, and Haylee’s flatmate, Sophie, were both there digging. They were dirty and sun-kissed and I loved seeing them actually being able to put what they had learned into practice.
That night was my last night with Pumba. We all stayed up late and then Pumba was back in my room early the next morning to wait for his dad to come pick him up. I met and became close with Pumba late in the school year, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I liked. I can say with a certainty though that he is a proper sweetheart and I miss him. He quickly became the baby brother that I never knew I wanted (Josh is the little brother I always asked my mom for) and my life definitely has more hugs and smiles in it thanks to him.
Once Pumba had driven off with his dad, reality intruded and I suddenly realized that I was leaving. On Friday. It was Thursday. I was leaving Friday. My room was still a bloody mess.
Except…I still had my last basketball practice of the year to go to! It was a very chill practice because most everyone had gone home, but it was a good practice all the same. There isn’t a lot to say about my year with the Lampeter Lions except that it was a great one.
Then I had to get back to cleaning my room. Eff.
Where the hell did all this stuff come from?! Was I giving birth to it in my sleep?!
Did I have a version of King Midas’ touch where everything I touch turns to mine and hidden somewhere in my room?
I’d spent the entire week leading up to that packing, unpacking, and repacking all of my stuff while I debated what would stay and what would get to go home with me. It was annoying because I had to get rid of a lot of things that I loved, but just didn’t really need. I debated learning how to live a minimalist life and cutting out all of the pointless random stuff that I had, but one look at my lawn gnomes told me I could never do that.
Throughout the night a few people stopped by my room while I was cleaning to see me off in their own way. I got to see and hug my teammate, Mark, one last time. It was great spending the year playing basketball with him even though I hated that he never let me have any easy shots over him. Pete and Hamza stopped by as well! I even got to hug Pete which was slightly awkward because I’d never hugged Pete before, but it was nice because he’s a #niceguy and he’s someone that I miss now that I’m home.
Eventually Friday morning rolled around and I found myself dragging my bags out the door and handing over the keys to what had been my home away from home. My safe space. My room was perfectly clean for the first time since I’d moved into it and I was sad to leave my little hobo hole. So many memories happened in that room. Like the first day that I first arrived in Lampeter and met Haylee. I’d just curled up in bed to have myself a proper cry when she and Robin turned up in my flat, shouting my name. They took me grocery shopping. Or the night that Haylee broke my wardrobe door because she hid in there to scare me during one of our movie nights with Josh.
I couldn’t believe I was leaving. Then I was loading my stuff into the back of Mike’s car to start my adventure home. Mike is one of the guys who played on the football team and he was always nice enough to drive Lisa, Haylee and I to all the away games that we wanted to go to. He was also awesome enough to drive me, Haylee and Josh to Carmarthen so I could catch my morning train to Bristol. Thank you, Mike!
Haylee, Josh and Mike stood with me until my train pulled in. Then it finally hit me. I WAS IN WALES! THIS WAS REAL! I HAD COME TO WALES! I’d spent the entire year feeling like my entire study abroad experience couldn’t be real. It couldn’t actually be happening. I must have been dreaming. Then I hugged Haylee and…I was amazed that this whole entire thing was real and it had happened. Not only that it had happened, but it had happened with Haylee. I couldn’t believe the two of us had been in the same program at the same school and had the same love for basketball, but had never met until we’d both flown across the world to go to school.
Except now I can believe it. There is no way in hell that I imagined travelling across the world where Haylee stole my blankets while we were staying in Rotterdam. I’m positive that I don’t have that good of an imagination. Haylee and I spent most of the school year together. We stalked a guy who had a basketball together. We introduced poutine to our friends together. We traveled together We spent hours agonizing over our dissertations together. We pinned Josh down to tickle him until he hissed at us together. There was a lot we did together and I’ll never forget it. Unless I suffer some sort of blow to the head that causes me to forget that year. Then that kind of sucks and I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, at least Haylee will remember our shenanigans and she can fill me in on the time that Raz left us alone in his dorm room and we planned shenanigans together.
As the train pulled away I started to cry. I couldn’t help myself. Lampeter has made me into a bit of a crier. Or a lot of a crier. It depends on who you ask. The tears started to fall and I stole one last look at Josh. The little brother that I’d always asked my mom for. As it turns out he was hiding on the other side of the world. I guess that means he wins at hide-and-seek for now. I’m going to miss Josh. And Geoff. That’s the name I gave Josh’s beard. And this is why I’m going to miss him. He was always happy to go along with any shenanigans that the Turdettes threw at him. Like me naming his beard. Or the night Haylee, Lisa and I decided to dress up in his clothes and have a “Turd” fetish. Or coming along to London with his. He made our adventures complete. Even when those adventures happened to be just the four of us hanging out in my room and watching movies until we were all ready to pass out.
Once the train pulled out of the station I went and sat down at a table on the train and some creepy guy offered to hug me and let me sleep on him. So with this creeper temporarily by my side, I started to make my way home.