Tales in the Tavern

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The tavern was busy, filled with the bracing chatter of adventurers and townsfolk alike. The smells of all sorts of strange and fragrant foods drifted around, stirred by those walking by, and the large common room was lit dimly from above. It was warm (though the occasional gust of winter wind came flying through an open door) and it was cozy. It had that drowsy, placid feeling about it. It felt almost like home.

I sat amongst the chatter and feasting and laughter, music in my ears and someone else’s heartfelt words gracing my eyes. I ate my dinner slowly. There was no rush. I still had the better part of an hour, so I would take my well-deserved rest where I could get it.

A ballad full of strings and warhorns came up on my musical playlist as I packed up my dinner and stretched contemplatively. I stared up at the ceiling, through the skylights. There was a lot beyond that glass, though the world contained beneath it felt so small. I smiled, enjoying the quiet evening, until I was interrupted. I’m here! Come to class, I’m waiting!

I smiled again, but more broadly. Packing up my bag, I made my epic journey down the corridor and to the Physics Class of Doom.

***

Greetings, fair travellers. How fare thee?

I’ve been wanting to write here for a while, but that I’ve been busy catching up with a whole bunch of things. Primarily, I’ve been getting back into the swing of school, as my second semester is well underway and I’ve already had two weeks of classes. And since I’ve been through quite a bit of school already, I figure it’s time for an update.

First of all, let me comment on the incredible and unfailing clarity of hindsight. Remember how stressed and anxious and worried I was about going to university, and how I thought it would make me even more stressed and anxious and worried? Well, lo and behold, I am none of those things. In hindsight, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for me to have gotten so upset.

Truth be told (I know you’re all going to gasp)… I love university.

And I give everyone permission to say “I told you so”.

Yes, yes, I am quite in love with university. Last semester went by in a blink of an eye, but it was an amazing experience. Getting to explore the campus, which is full of all this old architecture and plants and horses and cows and science nerds and nature and trees–that was just amazing. Every day was an adventure. Simply walking around from class to class was an adventure. I had freedom to go wherever I wanted and I loved every second of it.

The classes, while not fantastic (I’m looking at you, Killer Chem), were still better than high school. Just the fact that I had some of them only twice a week was a refreshing change. The workload wasn’t half as bad as I thought I’d be, either. I had a pretty decent amount of free time if I kept on top of things, especially considering I wasn’t hitting all the wild parties (surprising, right?). I think part of that is my choice of program. Bio-sci tends to be a little less hard-core than other programs (*cough cough* engineering *cough cough*).

But I made a friend! Her name is Lilianne. It’s actually kind of perfect, how we met each other. See, we had the same physics lecture, and we both sat on the same side of the room. One day we ended up sitting next to each other, and then again a few days later, and then it started to be a sense of security, to be next to each other, and so eventually we introduced ourselves and the rest is history. She is such a lovely girl. She lived in South Africa almost all her life and her family is from various parts of the world, so it’s been pretty awesome hearing her stories. The nice thing too is that we have a similar schedule, so we spend a lot of time together.

And honestly, every time I say that–I made a friend–I feel so proud. For me, making just one friend is a pretty big deal. And one friend is all I need.

(Plus, I’ve had an opportunity to see all my high school friends since graduating, and we keep in touch via the magical internet, so that makes me really happy.)

Then there’s the fact that I experienced almost zero stress the entire semester. Two mini panic attacks and that was all. The rest was just… okay. It was good. Manageable. And that is such an enormous relief.

So university was a-okay. Some of my marks were less-than-stellar (I really love the word stellar. I’m going through a phase), but I really enjoyed it and that’s what matters to me. I was happy, I’m still happy, and this is good.

I think if I could talk to Past Me, back when I was freaking out about university, I wouldn’t necessarily tell her not to worry. I think the worrying was good, in a strange way, because it helped me get my priorities straight. What’s more important to me, getting 90% in all my classes or being happy and healthy? Definitely the latter, cause heaven knows I didn’t get any 90s ;)

I might tell my past self to take a chill pill though and have a little faith in myself. But it’s okay. Everything turned out okay.

And to those who encouraged me and supported me, back when I was having a freak-out–thank you so much. To my family, and to friends here (you guys rock, you are amazing), really–thank you. You were right. I survived, and I loved it. So thank you, thank you, thank you :)

So now I shall march ever onwards, facing a new semester and its new challenges. I know I’ll make it through all right. If I did it once, I can do it again, no question. The cold might make it a bit more of a personal struggle (there’s a reason the main conflict of LotSF happened in the wintertime), but I’ll just have to drink bucketfuls of hot chocolate. Ew, and Wednesdays are like epic quests all their own. Every other week (depends if I have a chem lab), I have to be at school from 8.30am to 10.00pm, and my last class of the day is a 3hr physics lecture. It’s intense.

But the tavern! That’s what I call it, but that’s not actually what it is. It’s the building pictured at the top of this post. Well, that’s the ceiling of it, with an impressive array of skylights. It’s the atrium in the science complex and it’s very quiet in the mornings and evenings, so that’s where I go to eat breakfast and the occasional dinner. To me, it feels just like a tavern, with chatter and food smells and tables and peace. It’s actually become my favourite place on campus. I like it even more than the library.

So maybe I’ll just camp out there for the rest of the semester. Build myself a fire pit or something :P I’m sure lots of blog posts will come from there, anyways. And yes, blog posts are coming! I’m just sloooooow. What else is new? I move at my own pace, back there with the snails and sloths and molasseses of the world.

Anyways, it’s probably too late for me to be writing any longer (this post just got sillier and sillier, I swear…), so I’ll end it here. I hope to talk to you guys soon. Take care everyone, and happy adventuring.

Do you have a “tavern” in your life?

May there be a cozy tavern along your path where you may share your stories.

-Alex

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3 thoughts on “Tales in the Tavern

  1. So glad to hear you’re all right and you’ve made it through and you’re happy :) You deserve to be! May this happiness continue to be with you.
    Lovely to hear you’ve made a friend, too ^^ I understand completely when you say “one friend is all I need”, and indeed, how making that one friend is a big deal. I can’t remember the last time I made a friend in person, such is the extent of my antisocial-ness ;) I had a friend in college who was from South Africa! Her name is also very pretty! Lilianne. ‘Lily’-based names are some of my favourites. I adore lilies. Tell her she has a pretty name, won’t you? :P

    Anyway, forever find your contentment in your tavern, fellow adventurer.

    • Aw, thank you. I never imagined I’d be happy while driving myself insane with chemistry and calculus, but I suppose there are surprises around every corner :)

      Aha, yeah, I’m honestly quite amazed I ever make friends in person :P My mom tells me all the time how the kids in kindergarten would say hi to me and try to talk to me and I’d just walk past them with a dirty look on my face. Even then I was a charmer. But I’d like to think that not being friends with everyone I meet makes me appreciate my few close friends even more :)

      Oh wow, you had a South African friend too? What are the odds :P Did you ever talk much about culture? Yeah, isn’t it a lovely name? I’ve already told her several times how much I like it, haha :D I shall let her know you like it too ;)

      Thank you, as always, for your kind words :)

      • Haha, oh, Alex. Bless you and your glare-face. This reminds me of Meggie to some extent, actually, whereby someone once aggressively accused her of glaring at her, but it was actually just Meggie squinting because the sun was in her eyes. Funny times, funny times. That girl, honestly. How would I function without her?
        But this seems to be where we differ quite greatly, when we were nippers! :P For my mother has told me that when I was in Reception (or Kindergarten, its equivalent) I used to always look out for the new kid and make a special effort to make them feel welcome. How adorable. What on earth happened to that friendly little girl?? Life, unfortunately :/ Though, we never truly lose our child-selves, so I know she is still in there within me somewhere ^^

        Yeah, we used to talk a bit about culture! Usually language and words, actually (trust me to end up on that conversation with someone ;) ). And, in fact, she isn’t even the only South African I know. Since Reception age, I have been friends with someone called Ryan. Although he came to England aged three, he was born in South Africa, and thus has South African family. Aren’t their accents interesting? I always think of them as a complete mix between English, American and Australian.

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