I remember my first arrival in Southampton, back in 2013. Due to a bad traffic on the M3, I didn’t reach Southampton until just before midnight. Weary after more than 24 hours of no sleep, I dragged my suitcases to the top floor of the student hall, and slept in thirst as I couldn’t find the kitchen to get a glass of water. It wasn’t a smooth start, but what followed was nothing short of amazing.
Fast forward to a year after that, and it broke my heart when I finished my master’s degree. My departure was imminent, and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. It was such an amazing journey filled with incredible people, love, and hope. This was the time I discovered myself and the courage to be that self. For these reasons (among many more), Southampton will always have a special place in my heart.
I bid a tearful farewell to Southampton in January 2015, 2 days before my visa was due to expire.
I came back again to move in with H almost a year ago. I looked forward to visiting my favorite places, and living once again in a city that I loved so dearly.
But of course, it was different. The city has changed so much, and so have I. I think I’ve outgrown the city, and H feels the same way. We’re longing for new adventures in a new place, with new things to explore and learn.
When we finally made the decision to move, I felt relieved and excited. That was when I knew we made the right decision.
This week, I said goodbye to Southampton for one last time.
I always thought my farewell with Southampton would be more ceremonious. I imagined I would spare one day to visit all my favorite places, reminiscing all the good times before saying goodbye solemnly.
In reality, it wasn’t anything like that. While I managed to cross off everything on my list of ‘favorite restaurants to dine in for one last time before leaving’, I didn’t have time to visit all the places I wanted to see. Everything was abrupt, and in the end, I barely had time to do anything. With all the paperwork, packing, and other things, I didn’t have much time to wallow. There was a pang of sadness when I saw the empty apartment, after the last box was loaded into the car. There was a fleeting moment of nostalgia as we drove away from Southampton, but that was soon replaced with excitement (and worries. But mainly excitement).
Unlike the last time, this goodbye feels so much easier. I’ll always think of Southampton fondly, and I’m grateful for the memories I’ve made in this place.
But it’s time to move on, and I’m ready.