Written on | October 4, 2010 | 1 Comment
This weekend I went back to Aberdeen for the first time in three weeks: back to my family, back to my friends, back home. Pulling into the station on the Megabus I played the epic part of Ever Dream by Nightwish on repeat and beamed at all the ships in the harbour, the Cine-world sign, the crowds of neds waiting for the bus; and earned bemused looks from the guy sitting opposite me. I got off the bus and there was my mum waiting with my suitcase, out to the car and my whole family waiting for me, to the chip shop and the newsagents where I know the cashiers and they greeted me joyfully. How are you Gemma, how’s Glasgow? How’s Glasgow? I don’t know. I don’t know how Glasgow is because I like it when I’m there, but being here with you right now makes me feel more like myself than I have in weeks. You people, you’re all the personification of home. So I reply “Glasgow’s good, I’m getting used to it, I like my flatmates.” And that’s it.
I went out and went to parties, and everything and everyone was familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. I walked the streets I’ve always walked and knew the names of, I passed by people and knew who they were, I knew the bus-stops, the taxi numbers, the cash machine locations! But yet, what’s happened in three weeks? Where has that friendship gone, why don’t you two speak anymore? Since when has that shop been there? When did you get your hair like that? And it was the best thing in the world to be among my friends and not even have to try like I do in Glasgow, to just be and be happy. But then it was so jarring to have spent these past few weeks in Glasgow thinking of home, and coming back and finding that the home I was thinking of isn’t there anymore and will never be again. Life back home didn’t freeze in time and wait for me when I was away, everything moved on and changed and I should have moved on and changed with it except I didn’t.
Having left my heart in Aberdeen and moving to Glasgow means splitting myself between two cities, meaning consequently not feeling at home anywhere. And maybe I should have stayed in Aberdeen, and maybe if I had stayed at home I would be on the bus to uni with my friends right now, instead of mourning over a past life and dreading a French conversation class: but I didn’t. I didn’t stay at home and here I am. You can’t give up, you can’t go back, and most of all you can’t go home once you’ve left. It’s different and we’ve all changed. So I’ll drag myself to that French conversation class, come back-not-home and make a blue Duke cake with my flatmate, and go to the band society with my fellow band members. And tomorrow and the next day and the day after I’ll do other things until suddenly one day I’ll actually start having adventures of a modern languages student in Glasgow, Scotland; find myself with this whole new life and won’t know how I got there. But it won’t matter, I’ll be there and won’t have given up and will never be able to go back.
So text me, phone me, email or write a letter .. let’s make a Skype appointment. Keep in touch so that one day we’ll all be happy in our different lives all stemming from the past that was the same, but still familiar faces in a life that marches forward. I’ll see you then: I hope I’m happy, I hope you’re happy too.