Moving to a new city is scary and exciting, sad and delirious all in one. It means you get a fresh start and leave some old shit behind. It means making new friends but saying goodbye to old ones. Being an expat in a (relatively) small city means that there’s a ready made group of friends who were all new once, so are really welcoming, friendly and keen to invite you out to stuff to keep your weekends busy. I’m already lucky enough to have met people who I hope to grow into very good friends. Serendipity brought me here in the first place and has since showered her gifts upon me: starting off with Queen’s day was almost too much fun. Here was my view from the ping pong table towards the end of the day.
But a new city means leaving old friends behind. My dearest friend came to visit me last weekend and played mum, dad and best gay straight friend all in one whilst cooking me meals for the week (and until now I had not fully appreciated the usefulness of freezer bags), unpacking my boxes and helping me purge old clothes from my wardrobe to make room for Me Mk 2 outfits. He left all too soon on the Sunday evening and I went off to dinner with my new planner colleagues. It was only this morning that I really felt the pang of his absence as I cycled to work through the park knowing that it would be a while before I see him again.
Then, mid morning I was told the dreadful news of someone from university had died very suddenly in an accident. I hadn’t seen him much, if at all since I left 10 years ago. But now I felt a lot of very overwhelming emotions as I was invited to join the memorial group on Facebook and see friends’ tales old and new of him from their collective memories. It’s peculiar that I remember some friends from those days with such clarity – entire scenes and conversations I can play out in my head. But with this person I have much hazier recall. Even now, with all the photos, I’m grasping for details of my experience of our friendship. All I have is a nebulous memory of a cheery soul, always smiling, always there with open arms ready to dance.
It’s friends not things that matter. And that life, life is for living so get on and live it big.