I remember my step-mum saying to me when I left school, that the friends I made at university would be my friends for life. At the time, of course, I thought I knew better and was adamant I’d be friends with my school friends forever (in reality, I lost touch with most of my school friends when I moved away to university and they stayed close to home)… My step-mum was right!… for the most part, my closest friends are the girls (and some of the guys) I either went to uni with or met while I was a student.
We met in 2003 at Aberdeen University through a friend I was in halls of residence with and have been friends ever since.
These were the pretty towers at Crombie/Johnston Halls of Residence (on the main campus, I stayed on another campus so didn’t visit Kings College very often in first year)… until I became friends with Joy that is.
At the time, I was studying Primary Teaching which I hated and Joy was doing English (and maybe French and/or Divinity, who knows?!). I changed course to a Divinity degree and ended up in the year below her (rather than going straight into second year, not sure why I thought that was a sensible plan) but, we ended up in some of the same classes in 4th year which was great although I’m sure Prof Swinton may disagree!
Just in case you wanted a wee tour of Kings College… this is where we had most of our Divinity lectures.
So many amazing memories from university, nights out at the union, walks along the beach, doing press ups in the Divinity library on graduation day (there’s photos somewhere but sadly I couldn’t find them)… these are the good ones.
Many hours spent “studying” or procrastinating on Kings lawn during the summer term!
Then there were many nights over coffee or wine where we put the world to rights and many conversations where one of us thought we wouldn’t get through our degree (generally me… you see, she’s much cleverer than me… not that I often compare myself to her, I’m just incredibly proud of her!).
Anyways, over the years, we’ve generally lived in different cities (or countries). Joy lived and worked in London, taught English as a foreign language in Italy (sadly I never made it over to visit her there) and Oxfordshire and moved back to Aberdeen, then on to Birmingham… while I stayed in Aberdeen for two years after university, then moved to Glasgow for five years, before going back to Aberdeen for a year (Joy and I were actually there at the same time… but working full time got in the way so didn’t see as much of each other as we used to) and then I moved back to Glasgow… so it’s rare that we’re ever in the same place for any length of time these days, but thanks to having better phones and Social Media, we’ve kept in touch every step of the way… I wouldn’t have got through some of the tough stuff (particularly over the last couple of years) without her and some of my other amazing friends!
This photo was the last time I saw Joy, back in October 2017… we had a few hours together in Birmingham when I was travelling back from Cornwall. When I see Joy on Friday, she will be a month or so from finishing her PhD… she has worked so incredibly hard amidst her own personal challenges, moving city to start a new job as a pastor and supporting me through some pretty difficult times.
I can’t wait to spend time putting the world to rights, drinking coffee/wine, wandering round Harbourne/Birmingham and just doing life together for a few days!
This is one incredible woman… If you don’t know her, you really should! There’s a few key people in my life that I wouldn’t be the same without and Joy is one of them, she consistently pushes me to be a better person, so thank you Hannah for introducing us all those years ago.
As great as our time together in Birmingham will be, I look forward even more to the years of friendship that are to come.
I hope you all have at least one person in your life like Joy, if not, find your tribe and love them hard!