Ten years. It didn't seen that long. When she had arrived on the windy early October day- windy seemed to have been the prevailing weather, that autumn- after the long journey that had begun early that morning, up threw A17, the A1, the A64, roads she would come to know like the back of her hand over the next few years, long before she drove them herself.
The ducks quacked and the wind blew as she and her mother found their way to the porters lodge and queued for her room keys. Then in coloured jeans and a striped blue jacket she followed an older student up to her room. With mounting excitement she opened the door. A room of her own.
Later, after her mother had left and she had evaded all the people trying to sell her over-priced tickets to a freshers' event, she made herself a cup of tea in the tiny kitchen down the corridor, sat down and closed the door. She looked around; the bed with its' brand-new covers, the desk, the wide windowsill with the plant she had brought from home, the sink in a cupboard. She looked out of the window, over the roof of the covered walkway, down to the lake and the geese. Her room, that she paid for, where she could do what she wanted. Freedom. She was looking forward to this.
And so, ten years later, she thought back to the nervously excited eighteen-year-old who had arrived that day, and smiled. There had been bad times- she had been lonely, had been hurt badly by people she cared about, had been disappointed and made to feel a failure- but there had been good times too, and that was what she thought about. Spending freshers' week feeling part of the crowd for the first time in her life- even if she spent the evenings in her room listening to G&S & sewing, it was because she wanted to- The Gondoliers, her first show, making friends with people who didn't think she was weird and unlovely, making friends with people her own age who shared her faith for almost the first time, the first time she was picked to run a student society and she realised people actually thought she was good at something! And that was just the first year.
Now, ten years since she had arrived in York as a first year history student she knew that she had never regretted that choice for a moment. She still loved this city.
Here's to another ten years (maybe)!