It’s funny isn’t it? Five months ago I felt like I would never feel happy or comfortable in Cardiff ever again. I couldn’t wait for that moment I packed up all my things and said “ta-ra” for the final time. It genuinely couldn’t come soon enough.
Everything about the city plagued me with the memories that I was desperately trying to forget. Things that I used to adore were suddenly tainted by the negativity I just couldn’t shake off.
And yet here I am, my final day with WNO, and I can’t quite put into words how much I am going to miss my adopted home.
Because the past couple of months have been incredible. I’ve fallen back in love with this beautiful city and everything in it. I’ve made new friends, grown closer to old ones and just loved every second of it. I’ve had some of the funniest nights out since my mental fresher days (and some of the most drama filled) and have pretty much done what I wanted when I wanted.
So the thought of leaving my little Welsh home for the final time in four days is starting to really, really hit hard.
It was the same when I left Southampton for University. I’d been counting the days for such a long time and then BOOM, I had the best Summer ever with the most amazing people. The day I left I cried and cried and cried.
The thing is, I hate saying goodbye. I remember when I was younger and I’d go on family holidays; I’d make a ton of friends (as you do) with all the other kids there and then weep like a little baby when I left. It’s the thought of never, ever seeing someone again. I hate it.
But what I keep telling myself… is it’s a good thing. I’m leaving on a high. I’m leaving with all the hilarious, beautiful, ridiculous memories rather than the shitty ones. I’m leaving knowing that despite recent events, these really have been the best four years of my life.
It’s hard to whittle it down to the ten things I’ll miss most… or rather, the ten things I’ve loved the most about living in this perfect little place. So after much deliberation (and many tears) here are the ten things that have made Cardiff so damn special for me:
10) How I’ve had so many different homes here and they’ve all been brilliant in their own way.
I’ve lived in scabby halls with seven of the funniest girls I’ll probably ever meet, a house drenched in mold and infested with slugs, another little house where my room was so princessy it gives me butterflies, my first home with a boy, my second home with a boy and finally a huge house with another awesome bunch of girls. And I’ve loved every single one. And I’m learning to remember them all for the positive memories only.
9) How ridiculously gorgeous it is.
The bay, the castle, Roath Park, Llandaff fields, Bute Park, City Hall… I could go on and on. Every single time I walk through the city I can’t get over how stunning it really is. And I’ll always remember the simplest memories like rowing on Roath Park lake (and shitting myself thanks to all the demon swans), eating lunch outside the Senedd and having picnics in the castle grounds.
8) The character of it all and how despite being a capital city it’s full of quaint features.
One of my favourite things about Cardiff is how it doesn’t even feel like a capital city. Sure it’s got the big clubs and the amazing shopping, but what I really love are the cute things “off the beaten track”. The little coffee shops, the arcades, rooftop cinema, Ignite… these are the things that make Cardiff truly memorable for me.
7) The nightlife and how nobody ever judges you.
No matter what, you’ll never be the drunkest person out (apart from this night – this night I was definitely the drunkest person that ever existed ANYWHERE). But seriously, my nights are always pretty crazy; but unlike other places I’ve been, everyone is crazy here. No judging, just absolute tears with laughter the next day about everyone’s foolish life choices.
6) Cardiff in the Summer.
Everything’s prettier in the sunshine… but there’s just something about Cardiff in the Summer. Days are spent with cider and picnics in any of the stunning parks across the city. There are so many beautiful places to just walk around. You don’t need to do anything else. It’s all there, just waiting for you.
5) Cardiff in the Winter.
If we ignore the rain for a minute, Cardiff in the Winter is also an absolute joy. Our little version of Winter Wonderland, the Christmas markets, the lights around the castle, that crisp, fresh feeling in the air. There’s nothing I love more than plonking myself next to the ice rink with a mug of mulled wine just waiting for all the brilliant falls from show off skaters. Classic.
4) How you can be a big fish in a small pond.
Working in PR and then in a more corporate role I have loved how easy it is to get your name out there in Cardiff. Like, what? I’m a 22 year old Disney mad graduate yet people actually know (and care) about who I am? That’s mad. But I bloody lav it.
3) The fact that I’ve had some of the best days of my life here.
How can you ever forget the place that gave you some of the happiest days of your life? So many of the huge events in my life I associate with Cardiff. And that’s pretty awesome.
2) The arts and culture scene and the fact I work in one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Being able to walk into this beautiful building and think “yeah, I’m a part of this” is one of the best feelings ever. Even after a year I never take for granted how lucky I am to be involved with such an iconic organisation. I can’t express how much I will miss being able to sit at my desk and listen to such incredible productions rehearsing or how much I’ll miss sitting in the green room brushing shoulders with the talented folk that grace the Donald Gordon stage.
1) The people.
Because what would Cardiff be without the amazing people in it?