It’s been a hot minute since we last spoke, certainly. I did MEAN to keep in touch, but I sort of had fifty hours of class a week and no free time – so even though I WANTED to say hi, I just didn’t have the bloody time!
However, maybe you don’t care and did not, in fact, notice my absence. (Although if that’s the case – why are you reading this?)
I’m writing to you now from a very trendy urban cafe in FULHAM, LONDON! That’s right baby, it’s LONDON TIME!!! I am absolutely amazed, thrilled, overjoyed, ecstatic, and whatever other synonyms for “great” you can think of, to be home. Well, in my home country, at least.
Living abroad is very much like living at home. You get used to it – like any new place, it becomes home. But when I was riding the tube yesterday, looking at all the graffiti’d London concrete in the pouring rain, I couldn’t stop smiling. This is what I know. This is home. This washed-out, chilly, grey country where the people hold the doors open for you and I can listen in on their awkward conversations in familiar accents – is home for me.
Home is my sister wearing her cashmere jumpers, mug of coffee in hand. Home is hot tea from a proper mug, that somehow just doesn’t taste the same outside of England? Home is the boring familiarity of the greens and browns of the countryside, the comforting concrete grey of the pavements. It’s the smell of the curry my dad makes, the sound of my mum’s telly in the morning. It’s all the boring, crappy stuff that goes on that you didn’t even think about before. Little things – smells and sights and sounds that mean you’re totally, and utterly, home.
I’m smiling so much now, writing this, through a headache induced from tiredness and the feeling that the world is spinning just slightly faster than its normal speed.
Zagreb might be home for me now, and I love it to bits; but it’s not the country I grew up in.
(Reminder that this is just home for me – the place you consider home might not be a place, it might be a person or a thing or even somewhere you’ve never been!)
Anyway, deep thoughts aside, I wanted to tell you about my first term away.
The city is wonderful. It’s old and quaint and charming and quirky and just… funny. It’s so Zagreb, I don’t really know how to describe it. It’s never quiet, or subdued – the main square is always a hive of activity. Especially at Christmas, the city went all out – fake snow half a metre deep, shetland ponies dressed as reindeer, kuhano vino, carol singers and tacky decorations as far as the eye could see. There’s a lot of little market stalls and the other day I happened across a string quartet playing in a bandstand, whilst just across the street a giant bar in a tent was installing itself.
If you follow my instagram, you’ll know that I’ve staked out all the good pancake places in the city! And many there are indeed. So if you’re ever in the area, let me know and we’ll go for pancakes.
The studies are hard. As-bloody-expected. (Hello, we’re doing a medicine degree. No more three-hour weeks for me. This aint anthropology no more.) I don’t really mind the volume of classes/ work; I’, used to working hard. It’s funny though – people keep asking me how I like it, and I have to say that I don’t really know, I haven’t had time to consider it!
I’m joking. I know this is the right path for me, I just hope I can get through this first year (where they sort of test you to try and make you leave, so you have to show how tough you are).
After sixteen weeks away from home, I’m very glad to be back and having a break from it all. As you can imagine, everything is very intense over there. I want to write some blog posts, and study for physics, and cuddle my dog until he hates me. I’m also very lucky in that I have a very kind family who look after me when I’m home – and I really appreciate that even though I’m twenty-one now and should be looking after myself! (But you gotta admit, it’s wonderful to have your parents cook dinner again, and ask if you’re eating enough, and make you cups of tea).
Things in my head have been pretty okay, actually. *Touch wood.* Being busy, being satisfied with what I’m doing, these make life so much better.
Anyway, my ramble is over now, and my coffee is cold. Also this cafe is so cool that it only has like three seats, so people are glaring at me with my laptop out.
Must dash – London’s Calling