Hurricane Ophelia, you owe me £50!

So this week I returned home for an appointment and to see the family! I did plan on making the rounds but my tonsillitis came out fighting for a round two and kept me in bed for pretty much the whole time I was there. Anyway, let me tell you about my day, and journey back to Brussels, so far…

5:15am. I was rudely awoken by RuPaul’s ‘Cover Girl’ – just in case you thought I couldn’t get anymore flamboyant. Mum and I were ready for about 6am, only 10 minutes behind schedule, so we set off like something from Fast and Furious. Then the first issue comes, we have to stop for petrol. Mum spends about 5 minutes fighting with the petrol cap, trying to get it off, until an attendant eventually comes out to help and gets it off within 5 seconds. But alas! It gets worse. So we’re eventually on the road by 6:15am, mum panicking about directions and me trying to Google Map it; it was the blind leading the blind. Then we hit the aftermath of Storm/Hurricane Ophelia (whatever she is) in the form of M6 stop-start traffic. Absolute nightmare. I watched the clock, minute by minute, counting down until 7:20 and the time my gate was due to close. It got to 7:35 and we were still nowhere near Manchester. I made the executive decision to pay £50 for a flight later tonight and make a detour to Manchester City Centre – I mean, Starbucks is pricey enough, I’m definitely not paying airport prices for it! So I’m sat in Starbucks, with my soy latte, the epitome of hipster-wannabe-writer. I’m in for a longggg 7 hours.

– Spoiler alert, the next bit is a little soppy –

Leaving home was definitely tougher the second time round, and I think I speak for my family and friends too on this one. It was so nice just being back in England, the accent, knowing where everything is, using my card and not getting charged, just the familiarity of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brussels, despite all of the things that have gone wrong. I have a great set of friends, lots of places I still need to explore and a nice apartment – even if it doesn’t have a wardrobe… no, it still hasn’t arrived. But it’s called home for a reason and, for now, Brussels isn’t my home. That was a tough realisation and I was sort of confused by it. Should Brussels be home? Do the other Erasmus students consider it home? If not home, what is it? It’s almost like a half-home, with half of my life – family and old friends – back in the UK and the other half – new friends and education – in Brussels. Getting back to the point… it was tough saying goodbye this time. But as my mum always says “It isn’t a ‘goodbye’, it’s just a ‘see you later'”

With that in mind… see you later, England!

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