Christmas Holidays and First Week of Term 2

People always say that going home for Christmas for the first time after going to university is very weird. It’s understandable – it’s not your home anymore in that you’ve become out of touch with the routines and not all of your things are there, plus you’ve become used to fending for yourself and being more independent.

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I didn’t really register any of this weirdness when I got back. I caught up with my family on the evening I arrived back, and then sprung straight back into going over my notes and revising for the exams I’ve had this week, doing Christmas decorating and shopping, and doing a variety of concerts with bands I was in before leaving home.

I went to my Grandparents’ over Christmas and New Year, and struggled to fit in the amount of work I wanted to do, which I found very stressful. Even then, it didn’t seem weird for me, because this is what I’ve done at this time of year for a long time, and I’m used to doing at least some work while there.

What I did find strange was going back to university. It’s this place that you’ve lived for three months, and in my case absolutely loved (but for the difficulty of the work, which I plan on writing about soon), but then left for an entire month. It seems like the dim and distant past, almost a dream. So it’s scary to go back there and try to fit in to life there when it hasn’t been hammered quite so persistently into you. What if your friends have forgotten you? Or you’ve changed back to the person you were before uni over the holidays?

This week I’ve had exams at university, so I’ve been able to focus on them and not think about how strange everything is, and at the beginning of the Christmas holidays I was very busy too, so I think this is why I’m finding everything more normal than others. It’s been easy to slot back into the routine of life, and I wonder why I worried about it at all.

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Visiting the Grandparents

We visit my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family about two to three times a year and I dread seeing them. 

My grandma’s never really liked me, and seems to get on very well with my younger sister and have a huge problem with me. In fact the first thing she said to me when we visited a couple of days ago was that she was sure the reason we were so late (we arrived bang on time) was because I wanted a lie in. I used to try so hard to win her approval, practically starving myself when we were there lest she repeat what she once said, that I needed to keep an eye on what I was eating because there comes a time when we don’t need it. 

She’s fond of backhanded compliments, often saying things like ‘I really like that outfit. That one last time we saw you wasn’t very nice was it? I was worried you weren’t going to turn out very well’. I remember once we visited for the weekend, and for the entire weekend she didn’t once criticise me. I was thrilled! Until I overheard her bitching about me to my parents just before we left.

Twice a year, for birthdays and Christmas, I get a long letter with some ‘life guidance’ from her, filled with criticisms and exemplary extracts from her life story to show me how things should be done. I wouldn’t mind half as much if my sister didn’t receive pages of praise and congratulations. 

I try so hard to love my grandma, and I try never to show her how much she hurts me, and I know that this is the right thing to do, but it’s just so hard! I hope over time it’ll get easier (it’s been 18 years though…)