I’m literally writing this in the departures lounge at Manchester airport- you can’t get more ‘before the flight’ than that.
I feel like in the last few weeks I should have had plenty of blogging material – about packing and planning and the various stages of fear/denial/excitement I’ve been going through, but it’s honestly been insanely hectic. This is the first time I’ve actually had half an hour to spare without feeling guilty about not sorting/planning something else.
I am feeling so many things right now I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like. I’m terrified for a start (and crossing every finger and toe I have that my hand luggage weight doesn’t get checked) – and I’m talking more nervous than walking into my A levels, more nervous than that time I had to do a speech adlib in front of students and parents at my school, more nervous than driving up to my accommodation at Exeter in Freshers.
(Okay, so maybe equivalent levels of nerves on that last one.)
And I’m a little sad too. Because as I’ve said many times now – partly to remind myself – this isn’t just moving to Canada. This is leaving the UK for at least 11 months, with no plans to come back at all in that time. I know a lot of people who will be heading home for the Christmas holidays from their year abroad, but as I’m lucky enough to have my family coming out to visit, that won’t be the case for me. And I really will miss England. For all our Brexit votes and dodgy politicians and grumpiness and queueing – this is my home, and particularly with our recent fantastic display at the Olympics, there’s a lightness and cheeriness about being British that I haven’t felt in a while. Plus, all my friends and family are here, and in the whirlwind of the last two weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to see so many of them. All of my grandparents, a handful of cousins, family friends and even university friends – who despite train delays and ticket costs made the trip up to visit me before I left. Having to say goodbye to these people has made me realise how many people I have to say goodbye to, and how lucky I am that I have so many wonderful people in my life who care about me.
Finally of course, I’m currently experiencing unbelievable, impossible levels of excitement. My hands are actually shaking a bit typing this (it’s kinda hard to distinguish from the nerves.) This is my year. I’ve been wanting to study abroad since I was 15, been wanting to study in Canada since first year at university, and have been waiting and counting down the days to head off to Ottawa since February. And all that waiting and wanting and wishing has culminated in today. In the next 2 hours when I’ll be getting on my one way plane – and I can hardly believe it.
My first week in Toronto is going to be more of a holiday than anything else, but I’ll be settling into my flat in the capital next weekend. The week after will be sorting banks and phone contracts and exploring, and before I know it term will be starting. And I’m looking forward to all of it; to getting my bearings and organising everything, even attending lectures and writing essays again (though I feel like in these past 3 months of holiday I’ve forgotten how to to an extent.)
Yesterday was a very unremarkable day – Mum and I finished packing, panicked about visas, walked the dog and bumped into people in the village. We chatted; ate salad leftovers for lunch; it drizzled. Come evening, acutely aware my Dad would start getting all morose about me leaving, I plugged in my laptop to the TV and we watched Peter Kay, ‘The Tour That Didn’t Tour’ via Youtube, and had a couple of Thorntons chocolates with our cups of tea.
But it was perfect, because it was just what I needed. A perfectly normal, average, homely day – in contrast to the complete rollercoaster of emotions today has already been.
My Gate number has just been announced – I better get going.
I can’t believe I’m finally here.
I’ll see you on the other side.