Groggy heads and parched mouths.
Assignments that battle to be completed, the word count an ever-looming finish line. But the coursework racetrack runs parallel to the social one, and both can’t be won.
Butterfly stomachs at introduction after introduction
(“Where are you from?”
“What do you study?”)
Foreign footsteps tattooing the campus concrete, moulding the unfamiliar into its opposite.
Flatmates that switch from strangers to family within a matter of days.
Yet another mug of tea.
Overspending – pounding heart at the mere thought of seeing your bank balance.
Crisp pizza crusts and warm pasta to welcome dawn – cooking abilities that the night seems to enhance.
Discovering a nook in the library that, although unofficial, is yours.
Pretending to know how the washing machine works, finding the line between too much detergent and not enough - terrified of being that person carrying clothes still thick with soap.
A newfound appreciation for a morning devoid of a hangover, fresh face and eyelids that open with ease.
Fear of missing out, saying “yes” to three events in the same evening, conscious naivety in thinking you’ll make them all.
(“How do you like your flatmates?”)
Yet another cup of coffee.
Making a home of a city that hadn’t seen traces of you before you brought it your favourite pyjamas or your acoustic guitar or your toothbrush.
Wondering how you’ve lived eighteen years without people you’ve known eighteen days.
Sensing every cell in your body liven: feeling your joints shift and your limbs mould into the person you’ve always wanted to be.