When I arrived fresh faced at Leeds, travelling back home was understandably the furthest thing from my mind. After all, the past few months and seemingly everything up until that last week of September had been focused on me leaving my family home and embarking on this new, exciting chapter of my life. Now, however, it’s over halfway through the first semester, and as reading week approached I was left with the opportunity to escape my new life and visit home for the weekend. Understandably, for many students who live far away from Leeds, a cross country train ticket seemed well beyond budget. On the other hand, the prospect of getting my washing done for free, home cooked meals and shrewdly stealing food and cleaning supplies to take back to halls sounded like an enticing offer that was too good to refuse. With the additional perk of being reunited with family and friends, I decided to book a ticket, with expectations of confetti and fanfare upon my arrival at Kings Cross Station.
Nothing has changedWhilst my high expectations were inevitably crushed, I wasn’t quite prepared for the nostalgia that hit me as I drove through my home town. You feel that because you’ve embarked on a profound and enlightening journey of self-fulfilment, that everyone else in your world must feel as if a student-shaped hole has been left in their lives. In reality, my parents were more enthralled by the comparison of supermarket prices than by stories of my new life.
A little less conversation please…Once the first cycle of laundry was firmly in the washing machine and the kettle had boiled, the inevitable comments from parents began rolling in. Cue embarrassing conversations with mum and dad as they explicitly asked to hear everything about my university experience, to which I provided a somewhat censored version, meaning thatI actually provided as little detail as I could possibly give. Yes, I am eating. No, I do not have a boyfriend. And yes, I promise to call more often. Luckily, I was saved from further probing as my family friends dropped by to say hello – or so I thought. It turns out they came over to congratulate me on the mortification that is my snapchat story (which essentially catalogues the progression of my drunken state after every night out), telling me that they were delighted to be kept so well informed on my social life. Without uttering a word, every adult I came into contact with automatically assumed that I had become a hardcore alcoholic, and proceeded to lecture me on the calorie intake of my leisurely lashes. Oh the horror.
Making use of home luxuriesReturning home after being at university for two months parallels to how the stars feel when they leave the jungle on ‘I’m A Celeb’ : the welcoming return to civilisation, the presence of decent meals and the relief of not having to do any more horrible challenges (those who have endured sport initiations will understand). I realised that I had become so entrenched in the uncleanliness and backwardness of university life that I was easily enchanted by how luxurious home life is. One should never disregard the underrated miracle that is the dishwasher. After two months at university, I’d forgotten the majesty of not having a pile of dirty plates decoratively bordering my sink. More importantly, I cannot stress enough the necessity of ransacking all food cupboards in the kitchen and the exhilarating art of stealing toilet paper from the family bathroom; a clear confirmation that the excitement of student life knows no bounds.
Bid FarewellBy the end of a weekend involving various family gatherings and lots of free food, I found myself excited to return back to Leeds, due mainly to fears of missing out on anything important. My parents strapped me on the train with a suitcase twice the size of the one I came home with, filled with clean washing, enough food to survive the flood and just about enough room for myself and everyone else in the carriage. The ceremonious and emotional goodbyes left me feeling sad to leave home. That is until I realised that it’s 3 weeks until the Christmas holiday, which loosely translates as a few meagre weekends until I can stuff my face with stuffing, watch Elf and rock out to Mariah Carey. God bless commercialism.