Leaving Manchester

By Ssu-Yun, Tsai (Alice)

National Taiwan University

Today, 6th June 2019, I finished my stay in Manchester. Over the last few days, I’ve been immersed in sadness, knowing I might not be able to see some of the friends here anymore in my whole life, and it’s very unlikely for me to enter into St. Gabs ever again, the lovely hall I lived for about 10 months. From what I know is that this hall will be a nunnery next year. Even if it’s still a school accommodation, I will not have access into it again, either.

Final goodbyes were weepy (and sadly I didn’t manage to say them to everyone I want to say goodbye to). Though I haven’t really cried, there were many moments that I was at the brink of bursting into tears. My friend also sobbed a bit while saying, “Don’t cry…else I’ll want to cry as well.” I know I’ll definitely stay in contact with many of them, and some of them even have plans to visit Taiwan already. I know I can visit many of them in their hometown and plan trips with them around the world, but everything is not gonna be the same. Nothing can replace the experience of seeing each other so many times each week, and nothing can replace the pleasurable chatting every day in the dining hall.

For the past month, it’s true that I’ve been missing the friends, family, and food in my hometown, Taiwan. I also remember last year in a class, there was a discussion about whether we view our current accommodation as “home” and I said no at that time, knowing I’ll leave here in a year. However happy the time has been, it’s not my real home; my family is not here and this is still a foreign country. I knew if I’m too emotionally connected to this place, it’d be extremely painful when the inevitable parting finally comes. However, in the second semester, I don’t even remember when, I started to call St. Gabs “home”. While missing the home in Taiwan, the fear of leaving this “home” meanwhile grew paradoxically, and the sorrows were maximized in the final days. Hence, I found out that these emotions have grown beyond control without being noticed.

I’ve always felt that choosing St. Gabs is one of the rightest choices I made over this year. In this catered hall, I could talk to people from different cultures in the dining hall every breakfast and dinner on weekdays. If it weren’t for that, I couldn’t meet so many people and get so many lovely friends. Moreover, there were formal dinners and events in Gabs from time to time. I still remember the times we had quizzes and parties, danced until we were gasping, and played all sorts of games in Harry Potter formal dinner, on Diwali, on Christmas day, and so forth. I also remember those times we chatted in our room for hours about anime, TV shows, films, books, trips, relationships, friendship, studies, or daily life. This is also my first time to live in student accommodation without my family and to learn independence and cooking. The significance of this year in my life is beyond speech.

Thank Gabs, thank UoM, thank NTU, and thank God, for giving me such a wonderful year. And now, “my watch has ended”.

Written on 6/6/2019 on the train to London Euston.

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