Visiting Manchester for the first time, seeing an old friend and on the way back an old teacher. It’s been a nostalgic twenty-four hours. Beths reunion.
‘Coincidence comes and go but the memories never fade.’
I often paint my secondary school picture as one of disappointment, loneliness, righteousness and negativity.
For a small part of it, it was.
It was so much so that it overpowered the good times.
The chill times.
The times when I had witnessed funny things that I wasn’t involved in.
Funny to watch, not funny to be a part of.
Immature me thought it was funny anyway.
Those times only reignite in the company of people I haven’t see in a while.
We talk and we remember those times.
Jibran I’ve known since year seven.
He was in a different form to me, but Jibran was always a friendly face.
He was always well-liked and I didn’t realise how much so until I reconnected with him yesterday.
I wasn’t close to a whole bunch of people at school, but he was and still is.
Something I’m astounded by, not because I didn’t do it, but because it’s incredibly difficult to do that when people scatter across the country.
Somehow he’s managed to keep it all on even kilter.
Jibran showed me utmost hospitality for my night in Manchester.
Jibran is still the same person. Kind, heartwarming and easy-going.
These qualities are reassuring in a world where human behaviour is even more unpredictable.
I’m sure he will continue to make his world around him smile.
Because he definitely made my experience at Manchester all the more enjoyable.
My reason for being in Manchester?
I went to go see the university for postgrad opportunities.
My first time in Manchester and probably not my last.
Jibran has some time left on his degree so I’m sure I’ll visit him again soon.
I really liked the university.
Very traditional and almost Oxbridge-like.
It has the history to match. Alan Turing and the inventors of graphene come from University of Manchester.
If you don’t know what graphene is, you’ll know by the end of an open day at Manchester.
The university won a Noble Prize for Physics for that work, something they are evidently proud of.
It’s nearly double the size of QMUL in student numbers and spread across the South of the city.
While I didn’t get to explore the centre city too much, the university was definitely expansive.
It’s definitely an option to consider.
On the way back from London Bridge station, I saw another old face.
It wasn’t planned nor was it expected.
I saw my former English Language AS teacher, Head of Year at Beths — Mr Giovanelli.
He was my Head of Year for Year 8 and Year 9.
He helped to remedy an incident I had with someone’s brother outside school and he still remembered it.
He’s no longer at Beths and sounds like he is doing very well for himself in his new position.
He hadn’t changed in appearance.
And he still was very philosophical.
He imparted some words of wisdom on next steps after university and it was great to share how far I’ve come from school.
Jibran shared with me that people he knows read my blog, which I would’ve never known.
Jibran did mention that he noticed a change in me too.
So, while I don’t need the validation, it’s almost grounding that I’m able to articulate it to an old teacher or through a blog and for it to be recognised.
It’s crazy to think that your life movements could cross paths with people that you don’t see all that often but spent a formidable chunk of your academic and formative years with.
I got to see Jibran and Mr Giovanelli in the space of twenty-four hours.
It was very cool and it was very nostalgic.
But it’s great to see others to continue be themselves and doing very well.
It reassures me that it’s possible.
You don’t need to change.
You need to be you.
Something we’ve lost.
Something we need to take charge of again.