I have struggled with writing this post because as of Monday, I am in the second half of the semester. It seems silly as a date as a societal construct for marking time, but I feel it. I can feel my time here drawing to a close. And I don’t want it to end; Swansea has become home.
I don’t remember the first time I called Alva home. I am sure it was sometime in my freshman year, probably in a text to my roommate. But I don’t have a distinct memory of a time I identified Alva, a place where my family did not live with me, as home. The same can be said here in Swansea. Suddenly, Swansea is home. Of course, I miss my family and friends, but Swansea is no longer a place I am visiting on vacation. It is somewhere I live.
Maybe Swansea is home because I have friends who love and care for me. Maybe Swansea is home because I finally have several assignments due and I am using every standard excuse to procrastinate. Maybe Swansea is home because my flat mates have become true friends. Or maybe, Swansea is home for all of those reasons and so many more.
It seems silly, but I think the things I will miss most about my time here are not the opportunities to travel or the new adventures, but the everyday things. I will miss laughing with my flat mates when a cat jumps through our kitchen window at lunchtime. I will miss my professors here who know so much and are so kind. I will miss hearing all of the accents. I will miss my home.
I know I have more than a month left here, but the time is growing short. I am officially in the second half of my term here. I don’t know that I am ready for that. I miss my family, but I am starting to realize that I have more than one family. I have the family I was given at birth, complete with a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have my Northwestern family made up of friends, acquaintances, and professors alike. And now, I have a Swansea family.
Just as I miss my family while I am here, I will miss my Swansea family while I am away as well. This experience has been so wonderful. I don’t want it to end. I know, believe me, I know, I have plenty of time left, but I also know that my time is finite. That is so clear here because I know when I will be leaving. The plane ticket is booked. I know when my time here will end.
But, that is not the only time that will be ending. Soon, my time at Northwestern will end. Then my time in a post-grad program and as a PhD Candidate will end. One day, even my time on earth will end. I know that seems rather deep and possibly silly as I was just talking about a cat jumping through the window, but it is true. I am not guaranteed a certain amount of time here on this earth. So I have to make every moment count.
That means repeating myself (and remembering to slow down) when I accidently speak “American” instead of English. Making every moment count means laughing and enjoying this time with my flat mates. It even means doing my best on every assignment that comes my way, working hard and putting effort in on everything, because I am not guaranteed time to come back and try again.
But most importantly, living to make each moment count means celebrating the special moments in each of my families. I always heard the adage “home is where the heart is” and thought it meant that my home would always be where my family lived. But now I know that is not true. My heart is now spread across the world; it is in Enid, Alva, and Swansea. By the time I finish with school, I don’t know that I will be able to count all the places I count home. And that’s okay.
I miss you all dearly, and can hardly wait to be back with you all again.