A ‘Fresher’ Perspective: Christmas at Home
And so I find myself back at university for the second term of my first year…wait! When did this happen? Where did Christmas go?
I remember eagerly anticipating getting on the train to go home for Christmas. I’d packed my suitcase far too early and it was just sitting there behind my door, stubbornly staring at me. Whispering “soon, you’ll be back in Manchester where it’s acceptable to go to the corner shop looking like a scruff”. OK, so it didn’t whisper to me because that would deem me crazy (debatable) but you catch my drift. I was just so excited to get home. It’s not that I have anything against Durham or university (I really do love it) but I was impatient to see my friends back at home and meet up in our old haunts. Talking to them on Skype is just not the same as sitting in the awful pubs back home, chatting and people-watching whilst slowly getting tipsier. And Durham shouldn’t have to witness my miraculous drunk dancing skills (others call it falling over; I call it breakdancing with style). Not yet.
I also missed my dog a ridiculous amount. Cooper (named after the boxer because he’s a Boxer dog – ingenious, I know) is my living hot water bottle and I could have done with him during some of the cold Durham nights but alas, I had to make do with my Bet Lynch-esque dressing gown. I just wanted to get home and breathe in that good ol’ polluted Mancunian air. See my good ol’ house that is actually falling to pieces (my bedroom door is still off its hinges after I accidentally pulled it off months ago). Taste the good ol’…well, you get what I mean.
Travelling home was, in a word, traumatic. I tried calling a taxi to transport me and my ridiculously heavy luggage up to the station. I genuinely looked like one of those crazy bag ladies that you see feeding pigeons in parks. My justification is that I am a girl and I simply had to take my many pairs of heels home with me, just in case occasion called for shoes that made me walk like sloth shuffling along a tightrope. I say tried calling a taxi; I actually got laughed off the phone because they were all booked up, had been for months. HOW WAS I TO KNOW THIS? I had half an hour till my train departed and I seriously did not think I would manage that with all my bags. I had to run all the way there. Run. I never run for anything, unless somebody announces “the buffet is now open”. Climbing all the stairs and that ridiculous hill, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. My face was redder than a smacked behind, an oh-so-attractive look I have to admit. I was breathing heavily like a fat kid in a sweet shop. And I still had one set of stairs to conquer before I could collapse on the train. Thankfully, a guy was walking up said stairs so I turned on the infamous Jessica ‘feminine charm’…and pretended to be a helpless little girl who was going to cry unless I caught that train. I’m sorry, Germaine Greer; I promise I’ll be a better feminist tomorrow. The lovely gentleman carried my suitcase right to the platform for me and then quickly backed away from me as I devoured a bottle of water. And I made it on to my train in one piece, just. I sat down and proceeded to die. Then, being a girl, I checked my face in a mirror and powdered myself up so I didn’t look like a tomato and went to sleep. That was that.
I had so many plans for the holiday and yet the majority of my time was spent slobbing on my sofa, watching Maury and eating so much toast that I reckon 70% of my bloodstream consisted of liquidised crusts. I also slept A LOT. I always knew I was supposed to be a squirrel or a hedgehog; hibernation suits me ever so well. As an impoverished student, I also couldn’t take full advantage of Manchester’s amazing nightlife. I simply couldn’t afford it. I felt like a middle-aged woman, standing at the tram stop and huffing about the ‘ridiculous charges for a rubbish service’. I’d become my Nana (I should have seen it coming; I’d been buying some awfully garish blouses from charity shops.)
And now I’m back, the work is kicking in again and all I can think is: bring on Reading Week. I could do with some more toast.