by Cassie Waters
This Easter it took roughly fifteen minutes of hugs and smiles and “it’s so nice to have you back” before my family descended into their usual madness. This time it was an argument over what take away we were getting. The war between fish and chips and Indian lasted twice as long as the happy homecoming. It left me questioning: how on earth was I going to survive four weeks in this madhouse?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. By the end of term I really look forward to coming home and seeing them and the dogs and the beautiful Suffolk landscape (although I’m still waiting to see one of these “mountain hills” Ed Sheeran’s been talking about). Before I came to UEA I was terrified of leaving home, I couldn’t imagine life away from my family but it didn’t take long before I grew to love my newfound independence. When I went home for the first time after starting uni I was amazed to discover that living in a flat of twelve with all the drama that entailed was more chill than my home with four of us.
I come from a family of strong characters. We’re all opinionated, mick-takers who don’t shy away from confrontation. It must have been a shock for my sister’s boyfriend, a guy who’s so laid back he’s almost in a permanent state of limbo, to come round for the first time and be confronted by the constant winding up from my dad, my mum insisting on him having third helpings of tea and my sister and I shouting over the top of each other to be heard. I spent all of first year entertaining my flat with stories about my family like how my aunt believes in fairies and lives in a spiritual commune in Brazil or our Christmas tradition of everyone buying someone a joke present to wear. Meaning we have a vast array of awful family photos where my aunts are wearing thongs made out of sweets, my dad’s wearing a mullet wig and a medallion and, even more horrifyingly, my uncle has a woollen willy warmer. The best anecdote is the time my mum pretended to be dead as a prank on my dad. That’s a story for another day.
Returning to your family after a semester of only having to answer to yourself is always going to be a challenge. During the first week I was irritated by the questioning about my love life (it’s like being Bridget Jones, only they aren’t yet concerned about my fertility), my future career plans (non- existent) and my driving skills (my parents seemingly believe that 3 months without driving means I’m only capable of driving after long lectures. Yes Mum, I will ring the AA if I break down. Yes Mum, I will take photos if I crash). It’s a week of lots of petty arguments and long dog walks to get away from it all. After that I just embrace the different way of living because it won’t be long before I’m sat in the UEA library procrastinating and missing it all. After all it is a month of having meals made for me, my washing done and the wonders of Sky TV.
image courtesy of I’m Priscilla at https://unsplash.com/@artographybyp