In this segment of her blog series, Send Coffee, Please, Melina talks about returning home for the holidays and how this year is different from any other.
Going home for Christmas this year has generated, for me at least, mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am definitely ready for a break from being a student in a pandemic - it is hard work! On the other hand, upon arriving home, it strangely feels as though I never left, having spent so long locked in my family home only months ago…
Returning to a Tier 2 area has proven severely underwhelming! Being unable to meet individuals outside of your household inside, coupled with the fact that it is currently 2°C outside has made for an interesting experience when it comes to seeing friends. As a result, it has been a case of wrapping up in coats, scarfs and hats and heading out for walks with travel coffees held by freezing fingers! Nevertheless, being back in my hometown with my family and my old friends around me is also refreshing. For me, Christmas is about being with my family, and the effort that we have put into making the house feel festive this year is unmatched by any other!
With no real Christmas market taking place this year, my town has made a special effort with decorations and lights, and life feels almost normal seeing people all wrapped up walking around with their Christmas shopping! Despite the crowds (many seem to be ignoring the instructive stickers plastered on the ground), it has definitely been enjoyable being able to visit shops and cafes again after lockdown. I am greatly enjoying packing up my laptop and books and going to a coffee shop to work for a change in scenery after the month I spent at my desk in my student house! I do, though, miss my housemates in a way I perhaps wasn’t prepared for. It is bizarre waking up and not meeting them downstairs for coffee or bumping into them in the kitchen during one of our (many, many) breaks from studying. I miss them, and we have spoken every day since I got home, with many Instagram posts being flung into our chats every time we see one that reminds us of each other. It is funny how after only living together for three months, we have become so accustomed to each other being there 24/7, and I suppose that feeling is heightened due to the fact we have had to spend so much time inside this term, in lockdowns and unexpected isolation periods!
I look forward to a cosy Christmas at home this year, and it is comforting to be back at home as COVID-19 is still roaming the earth. However, I am also looking forward to returning to Nottingham, rejuvenated and rested, ready to take on a new year. For now, though, I must endure many, many words of coursework from South West London so, Send Coffee, Please, because Lord knows I will need it!