Oh UEA.

After a week of fretting about final papers and projects and dreaming about the day it would all be over, it’s here. My last day in Norwich. It is an unbelievable feeling–surreal, to say the least.

I had 5,000 words and a project due today. I planned, calculated and told myself I would stay on schedule and finish promptly so I could enjoy my last days here. Nothing of the sort happened. Only after I had watched the first and second season of Gossip Girl, start and finished two books from the Noughts and Crosses series, cooked myself meals from scratch every day of the week, took long hot water exhausting showers, chatted endlessly on facebook and sat on skype, did I start the formidable task ahead of me. Suffice to say the last couple of days have been miserable. Between doing work and worrying about packing and saying goodbyes, I was in a rotten mood.

But today is a new day; the metaphorical clouds have cleared, the grumpy gray ones in Norwich are still here, and I’m in a better mood. I spent my last full day in Norwich turning in my paper, mailing a ton of books home, packing up, strolling through town, hanging out with old and new friends, and just reminding myself what an amazing adventure this has all been. I took a little time out to just walk around campus, take a few parting pictures and breathe in a little bit more of clean air. I’ll miss it.

I’ll miss the people more. The flatmates, that experienced their first university term with me. Who stayed up and laughed with me in the kitchen, who included me in their ruckus nights, I will miss them dearly. To the people who took me in as honorary flatmates, I will be forever grateful. Letting me use your sleeping bag, occasionally eat your food and just letting me be a part of your flat was great. And thanks mostly to the people at home who kept me grounded, whether I was flying high or burrowing myself into a hole of self-pity and homesickness. I love y’all and I can’t wait to be back at home.

It’s 4:54 AM right now and I have about two and a half hours before I’ll be lugging my ridiculous suitcases down four flights of stairs onto a coach bound of Manchester. It’s weird that my room will be emptied, cleaned and cleared out for the next exchange student. I hope they have as good a time as I did. It’s a sad feeling really, knowing that I won’t ever live here again or see most of these people ever again. The finality of it all just hit me, like a double-decker bus. I hope to see them again, I honestly do, even if forty years down the road they happen to make their way to wherever I’m living or vice versa, I want to see them.

But for now, I need to finish packing up and eat and then start another leg of my journey. To Manchester, to Belgium, to Paris-Amsterdam-Paris, to HOME, I can and can’t wait.

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