Dear friends and subscribers (though feel free to consider yourself my friend if we’ve ever engaged in any sort of exchange of comments or messages, isn’t this what everybody does now in the era of Facebook friends and followers?), thank you for your patience and apologies (or you’re welcome?) for not posting for a few weeks. I went home for a couple of weeks, meaning I was in Torun (and only in Torun) over Easter and a little longer. I went there because I hadn’t been there since September last year and I have friends there that I want to stay in contact with. Unfortunately, I don’t have a cat there anymore, not since the night after my birthday, though only now that I was home for two weeks did I realise what it actually means to lose your last cat. It means being alone – really alone – when no humans apart from you are home. For the first time was I actually alone in my parents’ flat – this never happened before because we got cats when I was 5 or younger, so I never stayed home alone, which is justified. And I tell you what – being home alone is truly uncomfortable. Home doesn’t mean the same thing without fur and cat hairs everywhere that I’m allergic to. It means that when I’m sneezing and scratching my face and limbs and my throat hurts I’m unsettled because I don’t know why that is instead of happy because I’m at home with my cat. Anyway, this is my main impression from being home for Easter. Aside from the realisation that I’m not ready to move to Torun completely, not yet.
I thought I was after my stint (or stunt?) living in Torun for many months during my final year of undergrad. Living there was great, but now I think this was mainly because a) I stayed busy with uni work, b) I worked at JustEat which paid me and got me out of the house all the time so I could never get fully lazy, c) my cat was there and so was an endless supply of great filter coffee, and d) it wasn’t now. I don’t know, I guess there’s a time and place for everything, and sometimes time just isn’t right for whatever it is that you might want to do eventually, but you’re not supposed to do it yet, just not yet, not right now.
When I got back to Brighton – and when I was on my way from Luton to Brighton – on Monday night this week, I felt a huge sense of relief and at-peace-ness coming from the realisation that I was coming back to Brighton, and that I was supposed to be there, not anywhere else! You might know that I went to Edinburgh for a few days just a month ago, and everything in Edinburgh felt familiar, apart from the awareness that I was not there to be a university student. I was there to be a graduate coming to visit friends who had stayed there, because they were either still studying, or they were continuing to lead their lives up in that city. Something I don’t really understand, because I clearly couldn’t do that, but the thing I actually don’t understand, I bet, is the why I couldn’t stay there. Edinburgh seems to be the shit to everybody. Everybody loves it, everybody sees it as the best city to live in, and I just don’t. I moved to the opposite end of this long island to live and study, while I was perfectly capable of staying in Edinburgh to live and study, so why didn’t I do that? Mysteries! My philosophy of ‘connect the dots’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’ comes in in puzzles like this, and I am glad to have at least this way of coping with happenings in my life, since I don’t have the best anger management skills and generally the best relationship with regret.
How I really feel about Brighton, then, I already said – Brighton is the best and at the moment I don’t want to be anywhere else. I wish my world was in Brighton because here I have everything I need – coffee, the sea, books, good architecture, and an easy access to London. There’s a national park just outside the city and you can go to the beach literally every day, even twice or thrice a day if you wanted to. There’s an Odeon and lots of independent coffee shops, and Starbucks, and Costa, so regardless of whether I want to watch Netflix or go to the cinema, or get a £4 or a £1 coffee, I can do it. I can go hillwalking or sit on the beach. There’s a swimming pool and the sea, too, so I can swim anywhere, anytime. There’s two universities. I can live in the city centre or commute if I want to. There’s also a bunch of Aldis, a Morrisons and an Asda, so I never have to step foot in a Lidl or Tesco if I don’t want to. I’ve gotten now to the silly bits of liking Brighton, but I swear, this is a great city. It’s only downside is the difficult access to the airport that can take me to Poland, but maybe it’s actually a blessing? I’ll treat it like a blessing from now on since I like Brighton so much.
I never expected to love Brighton this much, but I did have a good feeling about this city before coming here. Possibly mostly due to its location by the sea and the picturesqueness of its architecture. But I’m a geographer and an architectural historian, so what else should I look at? Of course, the quality of the library, and while the University of Brighton library has fallen short of my expectations, at least I can hope the University of Sussex library (how very beautiful, designed by Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s!) is much better equipped. I don’t know, I haven’t checked yet (but I know I can access it, it’s not like the Main Library in Edinburgh).
There’s certainly downsides associated with attending a former polytechnic/plateglass university. This is the only thing I don’t like about Brighton – it’s the University’s position in national rankings. But I came here for history of design (wrong choice!), so I didn’t bother to look at universities that didn’t have an established design history department. Anyway, not much to do about this now, so I’m just sticking with what I’m doing and enjoying the ride. And hell, I am enjoying it because I’m in Brighton.
If you read all of this, wow! Who would? You did. Nice. I appreciate it so much. Now, let me go back to the library, because I’m sitting in a Pret at the Brighton train station. (You should come visit me. The train station is so cool and it’s literally up the street from the best part of Brighton, Sydney Street).