It’s sort of difficult to boil 18 years down to just 3 moments, but that’s my task for today.

1. 6th November, 2010. Evening. I was in my bedroom doing homework when I heard my mum calling me from downstairs. Not wanting to stop working, I responded with “I’m doing my homework! What do you want?”. All she said was “Just come downstairs.”

When I went downstairs, I found my sister and both my parents in the sitting room. Eilís looked just as confused as I felt.

Mum started talking. She explained that she and my father had secretly been attending couples therapy in Letterkenny, but it wasn’t working out. That night, I found out that not only were my parents separating, but my father was moving to Manila. The other side of the world. The conversation ended when my mother, in tears, said “Right, first ever family meeting. Done.” and left the room.

I went back to my homework.

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2. 16th August 2013. Almost midnight. Again, I was sitting in my room, this time obsessively refreshing my emails but slowly losing hope. My mum was downstairs in the sitting room. All of her friends were over, and I could hear them chatting and laughing through the floor. 

At last, just as I was about to give up, the email arrived.

“Congratulations! Your place at Queen’s University Belfast for English, Q300 has been confirmed.”

I ran downstairs and stuck my head through the door into the sitting room, asking my mum if I could talk to her. She came out, looking worried, and I showed her the email. Mum took my laptop straight in to the sitting room and read the email out to all of her friends. Everyone was whooping and cheering.

Then we had cake.

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3. 21st September, 2013. Evening. As I walked into the kitchen, about to meet my new flatmates, I was terrified. What if they didn’t like me? I had just been reading downstairs, when Shannon and Rachel (who I had only just met) sent me upstairs to meet everyone. I was still holding my book.

When I entered the room, everyone looked up. I got really nervous. These are your first words to what will hopefully be your new group of friends. Don’t mess this up.

“Hi. I’m Tabitha. I’m kind of socially awkward… you’ll get used to it.”

… yep, you messed it up.

They said ‘hi’ and invited me to sit at the table. I was next to Cillian, and opposite Claire, Curtis and Brian.

“Hi, I’m Brian… What’s your book about?”

“Words.”

They still take the piss out of me for that.

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Here’s to more memorable moments to come!

Tx

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