It's funny how unexpected places will go from being names to landmark places in your life. Up until the end of last summer, York to me was that place that inspired my mom's hometown's name and that place they sometimes visit on Downton Abbey. Being an English student for years, I also obviously knew about the mystery plays, but /not/ being a medievalist, it wasn't really someplace I gave much thought to.
Then one of my close friends (who /is/ a medievalist) announced that she would be going to graduate school there and then, weeks later, I met A (who is also a medievalist) (I am surrounded by medievalists), fell in love, and then found myself deep in a relationship with someone who was also about to leave for York for /twelve whole weeks/.
So York suddenly became an important place. I got live updates and photos from A every single day and got to know King's Manor and the Minster before my two visits in November. It's a gorgeous little city, easily accessible by train, with an even more gorgeous center. It's full of medieval buildings and is still surrounded by walls. The Minster, its awe-inspiring cathedral, looms over the city, and it has adorable little coffee shops everywhere. In a way, it's an ideal place – architecturally aesthetic, overcast, and deliciously caffeinated. I could easily see myself settling into it.
My only problem with the city was that – as much as I loved it – thinking of it filled me with terror. Twelve weeks may not seem like a long time to be apart from someone, but it was. A and I hadn't even been together for two months when he left, and separation that early on seemed huge. As someone who grew up on another continent from her mother, sometimes going as long as eight months without seeing her, I thought I was set for life for dealing with long distance. I thought I had it completely down and that I'd always be chill and would never have to be stressed about long distance relationships. Then I met A and my entire attitude fell to pieces. For the first time in my life, distance was hard and I spent most of the autumn terrified and convinced that a harmless city was going to take him away from me.
I knew at the time that I was being irrational, but there was little I could do about it and York quickly became the embodiment of all my fear and uncertainty. My stomach still drops the first second I think of York, but as the months have passed since A came home in December, the fear lifts with more and more ease. I rarely have to do anything more than blink to make it go away, and after our trip back to the city this past week, I won't be surprised if the feeling finally goes away altogether.
(For more of my pictures from York, see my tag on tumblr, and look for a happier post on our return to the city in the coming days.)
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I'm Olivia, a twenty-six year old grad student studying in Switzerland. This is where I share my thoughts on the academic journey, culture, travels, baking, and my daily life abroad. Read More.