A safe port in a stormy world

Savouring Sackville nostalgia

This time of year brings significant nostalgia to most, if not all. For me, it is doubly so — my birthday is approximately a month and a half out from the winter holiday rush, so I often find myself reflecting on my experiences in the past year, how far I’ve come, and where I’d like to be by this point next year. Call it pedantic, call it naive, call it blind optimism, but you cannot deny the allure of it. 

This time last year, I had found myself in a rut. I was knee-deep in my Bachelor of Education and felt overwhelmed with school work, my retail position, and the fact that I didn’t have a support system within easy reach. I remedied that with a virtual birthday party for myself and my close circle of friends, all of whom were still in Sackville completing their degrees while I had moved on. The year before, we had all gathered together on Bowes Avenue and celebrated as grandly as we could for pandemic times. Where the year of my twenty-first had felt like I had a safe port in a stormy world to call home, the year of my twenty-second felt as though I had been unmoored, left adrift, with vague promises of “we’ll see each other again soon” through the screen of my laptop with no knowledge of if they’d come to fruition.

For the record, things are better now. Though that close friend circle is scattered now after the graduation of the Class of 2022 (we find ourselves to be a truly cross-country group that still text everyday), the supports I need are there to keep me anchored safely to shore during a tumultuous time of year. But every day, just a little, I find myself reminded of Sackville, of four years gone in a blur of laughter and anxiety, of shy hello’s and tearful goodbyes, of honey garlic fingers and cozy nights in a long-gone, well-missed pub, playing bingo for a free drink and a Gonzo puppet. 

We have posters on the wall of our apartment that pay homage to this place we hold so dearly. There are bookmarks from Tidewater, old editions of The Argosy and The Anarchy alike, art pieces bought at craft fairs and, rarest of all, won from The Sweetest Little Thing silent auction. We have Facebook memories of the first Sackville snow of our first years, of seeing international friends encounter snow for the first time, of long days and longer nights in Convocation Hall during Garnet and Gold rehearsals. Sackville, and the wonderful community that was found there, has nestled itself into every nook and cranny of empty space in my heart, which on the eve of my twenty-third birthday, I find full to bursting. 

I miss it every day, but I love to miss it all the same. I know that, vague as it may be, the promise of a return is always a treasured one, especially for those who know just how special our slice of the Tantramar is and always will be.

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