"I called my friends who were watching the fireworks in London"Anna-Louise / Pexels

On Christmas day, my dad called me from a hotel room in Chile. I recounted to him the presents I’d given and received, the quality of the turkey browning in the oven, and what looked good in the Radio Times. He described to me the thirty-degree heat, the sultry South American sun, and the two icy caipirinhas he and my stepmother had ordered in broken Spanish at a lively bar the night before. I looked out the window at a damp English Christmas, feeling at once very far away and very close to him. We said goodbye, agreeing to meet up when he returned and before I went back to Cambridge.

I made many such promises during the holidays, and for the most part kept them. You will have heard this before, but as you grow up and choose whatever path you are going to take, you will see your home friends less and less. The same is true for family. You move away, as do they, and you start new lives. University is my new life, which means the break is a scramble to meet up with everyone – to catch up, to reaffirm friendships.

“Brought together by pixels and radio waves beamed across the miles”

I spent New Year’s in my hometown. At midnight, my friends and I held each other close in the smoking area and stamped about in a tight-knit circle to a weird club remix of “Auld Lang Syne”. I called my friends who were watching the fireworks in London and then I Facetimed my boyfriend in Spain who was already an hour into the new year. We all shouted over the music and sent our love and wishes down the phone. We were in different cities, in different countries, but were brought together by pixels and radio waves beamed across the miles. When I got home in the early hours of the morning, I hugged my mum for the first time in 2023.

On the first day of the year, I flew over the snow-capped Pyrenees to see my boyfriend in Barcelona. I spent four days practising my own broken Spanish while some very kind Catalans smiled encouragingly at my attempts. When I got back, I went for a walk around the park in Coventry with my friend who will soon go back to Berkeley to finish her study abroad. I won’t see her for six months – she’ll be in California; I’ll be in Cambridge. We have never spent so long apart.


Mountain View

No more pledges of impossible self-improvement, please! Let’s not resolve to be better in 2023

My friends and I used to see each other every day; we grew up side by side, we knew each other with braces and unfortunate fashion choices and long gangly limbs we were still growing into. Our lives were once intertwined. I think I realised the extent to which our childhoods had drawn to a close last week, when I met my friend’s new baby. A girl I knew when we were both fourteen is a mother now. He’s a whole new life; he’s my friend’s whole new life.

We’re on different paths now. We are no longer knitted together by town, or school or circumstance. I’ve arrived back in Cambridge for the new term, so I won’t see my family or home friends for a while. Our lives have untangled and become our own. But I don’t think this is a bad thing, in fact I think it proves something: it’s a testament to the strength of our bonds that they can stretch over the many miles between us all. When we see each other again, things will have changed, but I can’t wait to hear all about it.

So, whether you’re in Chile, or Barcelona, or California – Cambridge may be far away, but the distance won’t separate us.