The day before I left Manchester, I met up with Mako one last time before she graduated from Manchester for good and returned to Japan, and then at night, I had a farewell dinner of sorts with my friends at Pearl City (it’s almost like a tradition now). Farewells have always made me sad, because saying goodbye means leaving and leaving means a period of time of not seeing each other again.

But by far the biggest farewell that I said was to Manchester itself, after I boarded a 14-hour flight back to Malaysia after having spent nine months at a place I was beginning to call my home.

And that peculiarity that arises whenever you’re separated from a comfort that you’ve always known for a long time manifested for the first week when I was home, when I spent a great amount of time intently wondering and analysing the contrast between the instantaneous relief and joy that surfaced upon coming home last year and this year’s weird jigsaw piece that didn’t seem to fit no matter how hard I tried.

I found myself constantly wishing I was back in Manchester where freedom came more freely and there was never a lack of things to do, friends to meet. Nine months of relative liberation suddenly felt like it’d come to an abrupt end and this made me upset. Which made me even more upset because I wasn’t supposed to be upset upon coming home! It simply didn’t add up. I felt weird in my own skin. It was a pretty confusing week.

In the end, there was only one logical conclusion that I could come to to explain my unfamiliarity with home (which is supposed to be the very definition of familiarity): an increased attachment with my life in Manchester made a different living environment even more alienable, and the growth that I’d experience over the past year meant that my response to coming home would be more prominently distinctive from last year.

Of course, despite this, home is and probably will always be, a routine that you can’t really fall far from no matter how far you wander away from it. Two weeks later, my restlessness has died down, and while this indicates that I’ve managed to settle down at home, unfortunately it has also brought with it an idle listlessness that makes me not want to do anything at all other than watch anime and play 3DS games.

But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good to drop off the radar once in a while.

Published by

Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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