So I leave tomorrow- this is my last night in England.
I don’t think I’m a massively sentimental person, but I would say I’m at least pensive- so I’m having a think back on my six years here: how much fun it’s been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve achieved. I’m happy to say that while obviously there have been social situations where I’ve said the wrong thing (or things I would have liked to have done more etc.) I don’t think I have any major regrets.
We had our “Declaration Ceremony” on Sunday- it’s like a graduation, but not. It’s more of a ceremony where you profess to follow the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, but family are invited to take the obligatory photos of you prancing about in a gown and a funny-looking hood (ours were hot pink with white fluff. Manly)
While essentially it was one big queue, I had a fricking great time. Hearing my name being read out and having some applause/cheer was a fantastic feeling, and in true Michael style I had the stupidest grin on my face when I went up to the front. At the end though, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be saying bye to people. So all of a sudden I found myself trying to thank people in about thirty seconds for being the kick-ass, superfriendly people that they have been for several years. Naturally I failed completely, and so afterwards I sent a few soppy text messages and got to ruminating.
And now I’m leaving.
At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious d*****bag ever, I’m reminded of a poem I heard several years ago. I think it was originally written in Chinese and to be completely honest half of the language/imagery doesn’t work very well, for example I’ve never quite understood the line “I would be a water plant”
The last sentence has always struck me though- it describes a visiting scholar called Xu Zhimo, on the evening he’s leaving Cambridge. The place is at heart the same it has always been, and will very much remain so for a long time. While I’m extremely lucky to have studied here, and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot/possibly made a difference in some people’s lives, Cambridge itself will remain unchanged by my presence. It’s not necessarily a sad feeling, but it’s kind of poignant. His poem ends on a bit that does in fact translate well, and to me talks about how that feels:
Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away
This is it guys. It’s been a pleasure