I’m back home from university for Christmas and it feels a bit strange. I don’t really know what I expected it to feel like, but it feels odd. Not a whole lot has changed around the town (except the addition of a wonderful yellow-brick road on the high street) but it feels weird coming back after two and a half months in the midlands. To go away for that length of time, not really seeing or speaking to anyone back home except family, and then to come back all of a sudden was a novel experience for me, though it’s one that I’m going to have to get used to over the next three years.
It’s almost like living two completely separate lives. I live in two different places and I know two different sets of people. I go to two very different churches. I study in one place and relax in the other. There is a division that university forces on your life that’s going to take some getting used to. That said, I really enjoyed my first term in Nottingham, and so far I’m enjoying being back home. It’s not that I don’t like being in one place or the other, it’s just that the juxtaposition of the two is really quite strange.
Now for a bit more about my first term. Those of you who read my blog regularly will have picked up various bits and pieces over the last couple of months, but I want to bring it all together and summarise it here anyway. The first few weeks were, inevitably, a period of adjustment. I had to settle in, get my bearings, meet new people and start my course. Freshers’ week was little more than a storm of information and the following days weren’t a whole lot calmer. Still, it was fun.
Settling into a church was easier than I ever anticipated, simply because I visited Trent Vineyard in the first week, loved it and stayed. I think that my church and small group will be the things that I miss most when I’m back home; by the end of term I was feeling so comfortable there that it’s very strange coming back for a month and not seeing any of the people that I’ve already become very good friends with!
As for work, the English department have made sure that I don’t miss them too much by giving me a few bits and pieces to keep the holidays ticking over. A couple of bits of coursework and revision for the January exams are sure to provide hours of entertainment over the holiday season. Seriously though, the course is great, if a little strange at times. My drama module is particularly challenging (I hadn’t done drama for four years before coming to university), but it’s rewarding in its own way, even if it has nothing on the Arthurian literature we’ve studied in the Beginnings of English module (not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it).
Back home, as I’ve said, things are largely the same as they were before. One thing that has changed, however, is my church. When I left it was a young plant, a sapling if you will, just 3 weeks old. The congregation was growing and changing but it was impossible to see what would happen in the future. Now we’re twelve weeks into that future and the church is looking fantastic. I came back and immediately got the impression that things were less hectic and the congregation was more settled. Right now there’s a lot of prep going on for this Sunday’s Christmas service (including a certain special event, but that’s enough of that for now), but overall, the church feels like less of a young, strange project and more like a church with people starting to become more involved and forming the bonds of family that any church needs if it’s going to survive.
I suppose the question that I need to ask myself is whether I’ve changed or not. I mean, clearly I’ve become wittier and far more intelligent (if that was even possible)*, but has anything else really changed? Time will tell…and I suppose that other people can be more accurate judges of that than I can anyway.
That’s about it for this post. There might be one more before Christmas, but this is almost it for 2013 (sad face). I remember that this time last year we were wondering if the world was going to explode (thanks for that, Mayans). It didn’t. I’m not really sure what the point of that last sentence was. I thought of it and it was going somewhere, but then it didn’t. I should probably stop typing now. Have fun getting ready for Christmas everybody!