It’s hard to say hello, harder to say goodbye.

A lovely little quote I nabbed from Beverley Knight’s song ‘Beautiful Night’! 😉

The time finally came on Thursday for me to leave my little predictable, safe and comfortable bubble I had built around me over the past year, and move on to much bigger and better things. YIKES!

As mentioned in a previous post, the weeks leading up to that moment were full of farewells to friends and family alike…and boy was that hard! To begin with it still didn’t seem real – there was enough time between the leaving parties themselves and me actually going to potentially see them all around and about, or to squeeze in one last coffee and cake session to justify not getting emotional.

However, the final five days were a challenge I must admit. I was very lucky to be totally and utterly spoilt by all my gorgeous friends the Saturday before I left (this feels SO long ago now!) and enjoyed a trip to All Star Lanes in Brick Lane for an evening of bowling, followed by dinner and then drinks.

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It was the most perfect way to not only say “so long, farewell” for the year, but also celebrate my 24th birthday! I’m happy to report there were no tears that night, simply laughter, fun, lots of love and extra long hugs to conclude our goodbyes.

As predicted, the final few days in the run up to my departure quite literally whizzed by. Monday was full of last minute shopping – most of which was dominated by desperately trying to find a Boots or Superdrug still stocking sun cream! That evening I then trekked it back into London, primarily to see Book of Mormon in the West End with my famalam (which, by the way, is AH-MAY-ZING. Go and see it!) but happened to stumble across the premiere of Daniel Radcliffe’s new film Horns in Leicester Square too! How nice of him to come and say bye to me as well! 😉

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Tuesday is when the tears started – I spent the day with my wifey, Lauren, one of my absolute best friends in the whole entire world, and so it was never going to be void of emotion let’s face it! Somehow we managed to survive the present exchanging, going out for lunch AND the whole of Frozen without welling up. It was so lovely to have one final day to say bye, but the instant I drove away from her house I had to succumb to the lump in my throat and the sudden wave of hayfever I’d mysteriously developed in the last few minutes. It was in that moment I realised not seeing best friends is going to be hard.

And then finally it was Wednesday. I’d managed to pack the night before so had as stress-free a day as possible, and to anyone going travelling I’d really recommend getting as ahead of the game as possible as this tactic really helped me. Instead I had clear out and donated at least half my wardrobe to the charity shop, threw away all the rubbish and useless things I’ve acquired over the years and treated myself to a haircut! (For those of you who are interested, my hair has FINALLY evened out! See here for context…) Admittedly I did still spend the half hour just before bed triple-checking I’d packed everything, printed off all relevant documents and had clean underwear for the next day, but that was better than pulling an all-nighter to panic pack!

That evening I went to dinner with my family. We’re not big on going out for dinner – I’m a vegetarian and The Mothership is wheat intolerant, so it’s sometimes hard to find places that offer a good selection for both those requirements. But circumstances almost dictated a leaving meal, a ‘last supper’ if you will, and it was fab to get away from the house and all my clutter and have a giggle with them. My brother went to town on leaving presents, providing me with a travel pillow, new Pandora charm, a patriotic themed pen and oven glove and a Watford Football Club polar bear. All wrapped in tin foil, naturally. To top this off he had also organised a specially made (wheat free!) bon voyage cake for me – check it out!

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So then all that was left to do was leave. I genuinely thought I was going to be sick. Every fibre of my being was telling me to run in the opposite direction, I was so scared! To take my mind off the situation facing me I sent in a light-hearted Breaking News text to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, which then got read out! Yay! Only The Mothership talked over it, so I didn’t actually get to hear any of it other than my name and location! Boo!

And then we arrived at the airport. The standard Facebook check-in took place, and I nervously congregated in Heathrow’s terminal 3 with my fellow BUNAC-ers at 9am on Thursday, not saying a word to any of them but choosing to exchange the odd precarious smile here and there instead. After checking in and taking the compulsory final family photo it was time to say bye. The only one who didn’t cry was my brother, who then confessed to me later he shed a few tears walking around the supermarket afterwards! Dad described it as ‘airport face’, mum was happy crying and I was just thankful I’d had the foresight to wear waterproof mascara!

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And then that was it. Away I went. Three days in Hong Kong awaited me, followed by a year of work and travel in Australia. No biggy, right?!

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