Coming home

I was so excited to come home from university for the holidays that I forgot to think about what it would be like when I got here. I was so focused on the idea of eating home cooked meals and sleeping in an actually comfortable bed and seeing my friends and family that I forgot that coming back after four months might be a little weird.

For starters, I think that my cats took a day or two to remember who I was, which was sad. They used to mob me whenever I walked through the door after school. There was other little stuff too, like the way my cereals are missing from the pantry and replaced with strange granola mixes that I assume belong to my dad’s new girlfriend. My car barely started because it had gone undriven for so long, and driving itself felt really strange after spending all semester travelling in buses and on foot.

Visiting my high school was the weirdest experience. I went with a bunch of friends, and we all agreed that we felt distinctly like we shouldn’t have come. The students all looked so young and the school felt so small. Our old teachers seemed mostly surprised and weirded out that we had come.

That being said, I had a nice time talking to my English teacher, who now tells me she is studying to get her PhD so that she can become a university prof. She says that her new AP class is not as good as ours was; she misses the noise and how I would always argue with her. English was a big part of my high school experience; I had the same teacher for three years and almost all of my friends were in that class. It was certainly a rowdy class. We had some intense debates about everything from Shakespeare to dystopias.

Ms. R: Kay they agree with everything I say! I keep trying to provoke them to argue but they don’t even react. One time I told them I thought we should drug everyone the way they do in Brave New World, and they wrote it down.

Kay: What? No one had a problem with that? Plus, I don’t think any of us ever took notes in your class.

Ms. R: Exactly!!

So that was nice. Also, seeing my friends was wonderful. I thought we would have nothing to talk about because we’re all doing different things this year and we haven’t seen each other in four months, but if anything we have more to talk about. I love hearing about everyone’s respective university experiences. I have a bunch of friends in engineering at Queen’s University, and from what I understand it’s basically a cult. They have these purple jackets and they get badges for them by doing stupid stunts like drinking their height in beer and jumping into freezing Lake Ontario in the middle of the winter. They have some great stories to tell.

I think it’s hard for the friends who stayed at home for university. It’s really different than residence, where there’s always a party going on and it’s really easy to meet people. I feel bad talking about it too much with people like Jan because she gets this wistful look on her face and I worry that I’m making her wish she had gone away this year. She says it’s been hard to meet new friends when she’s only at school a few hours a day.

It was nice seeing everyone, but it also made me realize that an era of my life is over. It’s hitting me now what presumably we were supposed to realize at graduation, that high school is really over and there’s no going back. Sure, I intend to stay close with some of my high school friends, but it will never be the same as it was. Never again will I drive the half hour to school in the city every morning. Never again will we hang out in the hallways by our lockers, or in the journalism room. Never again will we have all be doing the same things in the same place. Will we even have anything to talk about years from now?

I’ve always liked  new things, but giving up the old things is hard. I wish that having all of the new friends and experiences at university didn’t mean giving up getting to see my high school friends all the time. I guess it’s part of growing up though.

I think that the most important thing I’ve realized this week is the importance of home. I get what all of those Christmas songs are about now and why Christmas traditions are so important. It was so wonderful to just be at home with my family and putting up the Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate. My first day at home Pal and I spent the whole day baking Christmas cookies. We were determined to make them exactly like our mom did for years. All those years I remember being annoyed that she made us help, but now I’m glad that she left us a tradition to share.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope yours is full of friends and family and food and laughter. Most of all, I hope you get to be home for the holidays, because it is the best feeling in the world.

The four types of yearbook signatures

Looking through my yearbook, the signers can pretty easily be divided into four groups.

1) The complimenters. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person, they have like eight nice but generic adjectives to describe you with, like “sweet” and “cool” and you can be pretty sure they wrote almost identical things in everyone else’s books. That’s okay complimenter, I probably won’t remember you in a few years anyway.

2) The rememberer. Again, it doesn’t matter how well they actually know you, they will dig up some obscure memory from that one time you hung out like two years ago, or that one thing you laughed at in that one class that one time. Examples include:

“Remember that time we went shopping? Thanks for introducing me to Forever 21.” (I forgot we ever did that)

“I still have the sonnet you wrote about me getting struck by lightning” (Rigghht…I remember that…now…)

“I’ll always remember physics class with you, especially your bad Swedish accent while doing calculations.” (I forgot about that too. I hated physics)

“I will literally never forget you climbing up on a chair at your birthday exclaiming, ‘Guys this is how I twerked in Africa!'” (I wish I could forget that one. Also the horrible dancing that followed. And the falling off said chair.)

3) The real friends. You can tell the real friends because they say things that would normally be offensive/don’t make sense, but are okay because you know each other so well. Examples:

“I hope that you marry a Filipino guy so that you can have grandchildren that look like Angelina Jolie.”

“You’re still the girl who cried STD.”

“You should get your schizophrenia checked out.”

“I still want a sandwhich.”

4) Then there’s the things that made me cry when I read them:

“Thanks for your brilliance and wisdom. I know you will change the world.” (My favourite English AP teacher)

“You are the only person I know that commands 100% of my respect and you are my best friend. You always will be even if you’re on the other side of the country. All I can do is thank you for being there since there is no way I can truly say goodbye.” (Mat)

“You are a tremendous person, full of talent and promise.” (My soccer coach)

This was supposed to be a funny post, but then I started reading through all the messages in my yearbook and now I’m getting a little teary and nostalgic. Maybe I’m going to miss high school a little more than I had originally expected to. I mean, I’m excited for university, but it is beginning to be hard to think about leaving all of this behind. Although when I think about high school I often think of it as saturated with boredom and stress and grief, but it was also so full of laughter and this intense sense of belonging. I was crazy to think that I wouldn’t miss that.

 

 

 

Nostalgia

I feel like the whole blog world absolutely looooooooves fall, but I kind of hate it. I guess that’s because I live in Canada and and so fall lasts about a month. The leaves don’t fall gently, over months, they kind of all fall in brown heaps over the course of about a week. And when the first or second week of October rolls around, it begins to snow. Hence my dislike.

But my seasonal hatred is not actually what I wanted to talk about. For me, there’s also a feeling that fall always brings on, and that feeling is nostalgia.  I don’t know what it is, maybe the smell of rotting leaves, the feeling of days getting shorter, or grain dust clouding up my windshield. Whatever it is, around this time, I seem to have these incredibly vivid flashbacks to autumns long past.

I can picture my first day of school, wearing my new pink butterfly backpack and struggling to keep up with my brother on the two block trek to our elementary. I can almost feel my raw excitement from that day. There’s flashes of other days too: raking leaves with my dad and putting them in those garbage bags that have jack-o-lantern faces on them for Halloween, wearing new back-to-school jeans, and baking desserts to bring to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving.

What does fall remind you of?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone! Here’s a nostalgic song to get you in the mood. It’s kind of the cutest thing ever.