“Everything is not going to be same, yet, everything is still the same”
Missing a trip…
Towards the end of the one-month Eurotrip with my friend, we planned to head to Europe from London as our final stop. Messed up my visas, I realised I couldn’t re-enter the rest of EU for another week. I held a student visa from Sweden that was about to expire and although I could visit EU for 90 days visa-free, the complicated overlapping period of the two visas contributed to this issue. My friend had to go on her own, and I was left in London alone.
Names of people I knew in the UK quickly went across my mind, I called up one friend studying in Brighton at the time. Without hesitation, she immediately said I could go over to stay with her.
Little did I know, missing this trip was not really a loss after all.
The chill life in Brighton
Brighton is a coastal city in the south of England, 1.5 hours away from London. Settling down in her student dorm at the University of Sussex, we began catching up. She was one of my closest friends in high school. Our names were adjacent to each other’s alphabetically, so we always sat next to each other during exams. We bonded and spent lots of time studying for university entrance exam.
Eventually we went to different universities and since then, we drifted. There’s no particular reason as to why, nothing bad ever happened. We simply drifted apart. She welcomed me to stay with her in her tiny dorm room, the two of us shared one single bed and couldn’t even turn around in our sleeps.
Those few days were a retreat for me. Enjoying the greens in the countryside, the rocky beaches by the sea, the lovely breeze and the main street with lots of handcraft items for sale…We cooked every night and hung out with her uni friends.
Meeting up with an old friend can either be awkward or feel like time has never changed. This time, it was the latter. Making jokes like old times, doing silly student things, it was a great few days spent with her.
One day we went to the beach and sat there to take photos. Spending time with a high school friend in a foreign country unplanned like this was magical. We talked about visiting the UK together back in high school, who would’ve known we’d both make it to the UK at the same time without planning.
3 years later…
Visiting her was an unplanned surprised from a failed plan. The countryside of Brighton was relaxing. I was recharged with energy after an intense month-long trip around Europe. Seeing cows on the meadow, hanging out with her classmates, the slow-pace life brought me more joy than fantasising about the bustling life of Paris.
After 5 days, I decided to head back to London to spend some time with another friend before re-entering EU. She sent me off to the station, and we promised to make more effort to keep in touch. Knowing we were going to see each other again back home, it wasn’t an emotional goodbye at all.
3 years later, we still don’t talk nearly as much as we used to in high school, we still only meet up one every few months. What hasn’t changed since high school is every time we meet, it’s still like old times. Some friendships don’t require contact all the time, it’s never going to be like high school again, yet at the same time, it’s always going to be like high school again when we meet.