Our trip to the UK this year, was a mix of a walk down memory lane, time spent in nature & in cities & meeting up with people whom I consider part of my own little communities around the world.
Many, many, many years ago, the move to Newcastle was my first move overseas as an adult. I had enrolled in Biogeochemistry. Being a CCK -always in search of new colours, meeting new people & discovering new places- I was excited. After arriving in Newcastle I became a member of different societies, including the Fellwalkers & the International students society. This was my first introduction to international life abroad. People from all across the globe coming together…. and I was one of them! Ten years later when I moved to Boston to live for a while, I experienced this same sense of excitement. The feeling of fitting in and being part of a community was way stronger in Boston compared to Newcastle. In Newcastle I was much younger, most international students were European (as I remember) and I wanted to fit in. It was a wonderful year though with many new experiences.
So a few months ago -when we decided to take our campervan across the channel this summer- I got excited. After almost two decades I was going to revisit my alma mater!
I wondered: Would I have a ‘aha moment’ when we’d arrive in Newcastle?
Yes, there were a few ‘Aha’s ………….
I recognised characteristic Haymarket (bus station) as we drove into the city, but then I wondered how often had I travelled by bus while living here? I remembered; Not often…I used to walk the 2 miles to and from Uni. Today we’d done enough walking, and my little one was dead tired, so we took the bus instead. Due to maintenance works – a detour- the bus didn’t stop at the usual stop.
There was no aha moment until I was just a few yards from my old home. So much had changed in all those years. The vibe on Chillingham road seemed different. The take-away scene had changed dramatically. Now there were Sushi, Bao and protein bars….where was the good old chippy?
When my ‘aha’ memory let me down that’s when I realised 20 years is a long time!
While writing Colours of a Cultural Chameleon (which is all about travels and living abroad & partly a memoir) I had forgotten all about these college years and hadn’t added any England adventures to the book. However, now while writing this blog it’s been a wonderful walk down memory lane. I’ve been laughing out loud rereading old emails sent to family and friends back home telling them about the hassles & joys of my new overseas student life.
Okay back to this year’s revisiting of Newcastle.
We discovered interesting new places (travelling with a 6yo is quite different to travelling as a student ;-)) –> the fun fair at the South Shields was a curious place with fantastic sea & beach views.
I also met up with a classmate of yesteryears. We hadn’t met up ever since graduating. Once in a blue moon we did update each other on our lives…..once in a blue moon. When we met up, there was an immediate connection, it was wonderful. Each time this happens (with people I haven’t met for eons) it’s just such an amazing experience. I cherish the people I meet and bond with, and I love keeping in touch with them across the years, even if it’s low-key. One thing I know is that one doesn’t need constant updating to stay connected. There has to be a sense of joint pleasure of each other’s company. This joy of reconnecting was repeated with other friends I met along the way. Love & connecting.
Inclusive communities & kindness for others is dear to me. When I walked into Cletwr (at the heart of the community in Llangynfelyn) I could sense the feeling of a tight knit community and that this was a place where people cared for each other. Love & connectedness
I felt an urge to leave my book behind in a shelf with books that Cletwr would sell for 1 pound to help the local community. I grabbed a pen, wrote a note to future readers & moved on to explore Wales. A new adventure awaited.