I’m still here. It’s been a hectic three days trying to cram all that I haven’t managed to do in the past 10 months into 72 hours. I definitely wasn’t ready to leave, and I don’t think Cambridge wanted me to go either – there was a battle with pre-ordered taxis that never came, a coach that was 40 minutes late and two ridiculously overweight suitcases, an overflowing travel bag and a handbag which ate my phone. I finally made it to the boarding gate still giggling at my final souvenir from Cambridge: the images of P and I yelling at the taxi driver – “go go GO!” – and E’s face of determination as he raced beside us on his bike to stop the (wrong) coach from leaving firmly stuck in my head.
Goodbyes are more difficult with age. As the commotion of today died down it hit me that this was no simple “see you later” kind of goodbye. Graduating from a Bachelor’s degree and leaving London was difficult enough but I didn’t have any concrete plans confirmed when I left. This goodbye to Cambridge and to the UK had a stronger sense of certainty to it, a certainty of the close to a stage of life. This time I’ll be stepping out of a sheltered cocoon into the “real world”. I don’t see myself ever having this much freedom as a student again.
Please don’t burst my (Cambridge) bubble. This academic year started in complete disarray, when there were definitely uncountable occasions where I felt like being thrown into deep waters not knowing how to swim. And then it wasn’t so bad after all. From initially causing havoc on a bike to weaving round zero-awareness tourists on Kings Parade single-handed (still trying to master no-hands!), from not even knowing what “bow” and “stern” was to racing in Bumps…this year I manoeuvred a number of things from scratch and finding my footing finally gave me something to be I’m proud of (albeit with a lot of help). Not to mention finding a bunch of amazing friends from all over the world that always looked out for me in college, on my course and on the river. I’m so grateful for every tear shed as well as every laughter sounded. Thank you for all the epic unforgettable memories.
Clover Clubs. I spent my last night in Cambridge drinking the first ever cocktail E and I ever made together again and eating chicken at 4 in the morning. This Lemon, Garlic and Tomato chicken was one of my first ever creations – in first year I somehow thought of throwing these ingredients together while grocery shopping without an extensive study of a recipe, and understanding why the three secrets of French cuisine would be “butter, butter and butter” (No Reservations). At the start of this year, this was also the first thing I made after stitches came out of my thumb from a bread knife accident. That scar is barely visible now.
Full Circle. Like other simple constants and repetitions that intentionally or unintentionally painted a few amazing years of university life, this uncomplicated recipe is dotted around the patchwork of my time in the UK from beginning to end. And this phase of life comes to a wrap, I’m hoping to carry forward things worth retaining and anticipate the next.
Lemon, Garlic and Tomato Chicken
5-6 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks
25g unsalted butter
5 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cherry tomatoes
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 175degreesC.
2. Rub butter and salt onto the thighs and drumsticks, followed by the minced garlic. Then, place the cherry tomatoes and chicken into a casserole dish. Finally, sprinkle zest drizzle lemon juice over the chicken and add thyme and black pepper.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes and you’ll get a dish of goodness swimming in lemon-butter, which I have the tendency to soak with bread or use to go over pasta!
so I say thank you for the music