It wasn’t all love. It hasn’t always been love. In fact, the first night I spent here I cried. I wanted to go home. Completely unaware that four life sculpting years later, I would be calling you, home.
I cried, but you cradled my tears. You taught me that pain, wrong choices, mistakes-they do not define me. You taught me that tears cleanse. That in happy times, we cry too.
Being here has been the ultimate coming of age, the ultimate transit, the ultimate re-birth.
No matter where this crazy world takes me, I am certain that these are the times that I will always carry within me.
I lost, learnt and found: love, hope, faith, joy, courage, focus.
The (most) noteworthy memories are hardly to do with the grandeur.
Those were good, but the lasting ones are the simple things.
The 8 AM; introduction to accounting starts, the 9PM; lets go grab something to eat, the 4 AM; what a fantastic night that was. The first time I played in snow and indulged in my first burger king; chicken royale. The days I would eat noodles on repeat and learnt that it is not enough to brush my teeth once a day. The nights that only prayer got me through, when all I longed for was to be at home amidst my family’s warmth as we watch the 9PM news. (Okay, as they watch and I scroll through the gram). The mornings I dragged myself out of bed despite my duvet seeming like the perfect fortress. The dates I took myself on. The number of times national rail and her sisterfriend-express hosted me round this country. The days I laughed so hard I cried. The friends I gained, and those I learnt. The pointless drama that built my skin thick. The awareness of the colour of my skin which journeyed from unassuming to magic.
The outstanding moments I would look around me and think: wow. I am here. All these miles aways from home. All these experiences deep from birth. All these moments that have been my life so far; they have all led me here. I remember, vividly, the first walk I took, feeling deeply that I was in a new space where no one knew me and I was free to be anything I wanted to be. Realising that this world, in all its vastness is my oyster. That pizzaz certainly got lost over the years as I wrangled with different experiences, but it all worked out as it needed to. I needed every single encounter to get me to where I am at today.
Set on being a better person, child, sister, friend, professional.
I have made soul deep connections, primarily and most importantly, with myself.
Truth be told, I haven’t wrapped my heart round the nostalgia yet. Not entirely. I haven’t completely settled into the fact that this chapter, some of the best years of my life, is over. I certainly believe that the best is yet to come. I am excited to have God’s plans unravel. I am beyond happy to reconnect with my family. My friends. To get building on my dreams. But, my heart aches. I will miss this. I will really, really miss this.
This past year has hands down, been the best academic year of my life. Besides mastering in (this is music my ears) an area of passion, I felt prepared. together. Undergraduate was all over the place. You know, finding the ground where my feet belong. Learning to own my space. Learning my self. While there has been lots of growth, and there will continue to be, I have been in sync with me. stable. more mature. more sure of me. more sure of God.
God. Literally, the only reason I am here swinging as hard as, standing as tall as, loving as big as, ever.
Like all experiences, this has had peaks and valleys. Like any relationship I have had days where I liked it and days where I fought with it. Like any experience, it has built me up.
How do I say goodbye to a city that like a father guided me, like a mother nurtured me, like a brother strengthened me, like a friend comforted me?
How do I say goodbye to the place in which my understanding of God, myself and the world around me was birthed?
How do I say goodbye to a city that was, in many ways, my chalkboard?
See you soon, Cardiff. Goodbye is not in our plans. Goodbye will never be a part of our story.
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I cannot end this without thanking my parents. THANK YOU from the depths of my heart for bringing me here and supporting me all through the years. I promise not to let y’all down.
Love and Love,