On Monday, my year abroad came to an abrupt end. We'd all been thinking about it for a while but it wasn't until I was sitting on the floor of the airport manically throwing shoes out of Cat's overweight suitcase that it hit me.
Not too long after I started weeping at security whilst clinging on to her as if my life depended on it. I knew I was going travelling but saying goodbye to Cat signalled the end. As I silently sobbed my way to the gate I thought about the past year, all the new friendships that have bloomed and how no one bothers to tell you how difficult it is to say goodbye.
There's something about starting from scratch and forging a new life thousands of miles away from home in a new culture, with new people, and no clue what you're doing that make these people more like your family than your friends. We've experienced extreme highs and extreme lows and we’ve experienced them together.
Spending a year abroad, and especially when travelling, you get to meet so many different people. I may not be that great at maths but I definitely couldn't count how many people I've met and have become my friend, however briefly, over the past 12 months. But whilst it’s true that you meet hundreds of lovely humans from all over the globe, it’s also true to say that more than half of them will be in your life for a few days or less. Even the ones you get closer too, you’ll leave before long as people move on to new pastures. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people both travelling and through uni and sadly, I’ve always had to say goodbye. I won’t lie, it’s always difficult but it becomes that much harder when the people you’re saying goodbye to are the ones you’ve spent every day with since you got here.
There are many people I want to send a final goodbye to but I feel it’s important to dedicate this to the girls who have been there since day 1. The girls I've spent all my time with from the first day I got here. The girls who have made me laugh when I've wanted to cry, the girls who I've made laugh when they wanted to cry. The girls who have given me their all and who I've given my all for. The girls I couldn't have made it through this whole year without. Catherine, Abi, Natalie and Astri. My girls.
Three years ago, I rocked up to cheer practice and met a pretty Scouser called Abi with long black hair and the most sparklingly blue eyes. And that's who she was to me. Abi from cheer. Fast forward to January 2013 when we excitedly found out that we would both be travelling to the other side of the world to study at the same university over twitter. Even then I had no idea how close we'd become. She's amazing and along with her sly Ciara hips she's a proper inspiration to me. Whether she's being a basic bitch or even when she's got witch hair, I love her and wouldn't change her for the world. She's been the best housemate I could ever hope for and an even better friend.
Then there’s Natalie. She’s Abi’s old housemate but of course I’m better! Despite her boasting that she had no exams when I first met her, I liked her straightaway. From that short first meeting down the pub I had no idea that I’d end up sharing some of the best travel stories with this chick but I’m so glad I have. From lusting after her mermaid hair to holding back the panic laughter when she dropped her bankcard in the receipt box mere hours before we left Port Douglas to giggling over the classic Northern Territory headline, ‘They Stole My Dog While I Was On The Bog’, she’s been the ultimate babe.
Cat’s also been a true babe. Somehow I’d missed her in the multiple lectures we’d sat through together or every time she left her house at the end of my road so it’s a good job we both ended up being placed at the same Australian uni because I don’t know what I’d do without this gal. One of the first times we met, she sheepishly told me that she’d facebook stalked me and loved my birthday dress and from that point on, I knew a great friendship had been born. From spending 7 dozy hours in Dubai on the way out here, to yelling out our favourite songs while walking down Rundle Mall; from campervanning around New Zealand to bus-hopping down the East Coast, from experiencing squalor at The Elephant Backpackers in Sydney to living a life of luxury at Qualia on Hamilton Island, from fancy evening meals to greasy hangover breakfasts and airport Hungry Jacks, from one day to the next we've had the best time ever.
Now I'm very lucky, these ladies are heading back to the UK with me but my last cutie pie on this list is my favourite/only Indonesian friend who obviously won't be coming back with us (just yet). This little dancing meloncat is quite possibly the loveliest girl I've met and I’m going to miss her beyond belief. From knowing her simply as the girl Abi noticed drinking straight vodka alone in her room she’s become a firm favourite. With a cute accent, a killer fashion sense, and incredible make up skills she’s the perfect friend and I’m not even thinking about her gorgeous personality. She’s funny and kind and one of the friendliest people I have ever met. Basically, she’s great and I miss her already.
These ladies are some of the most inspirational and incredible young women I have ever met and I am privileged to have spent the best year of my life with them. It’s been difficult to say goodbye but I leave with the best memories and the strongest friendships. I don’t want to go but I guess they always say that the best time to leave the party is when it peaks.