There is one thing I love about my friend’s from University and it’s that we always have one week of the year where we re-live like the 18 year olds we were when we first met.
Every year, we meet up at our friend’s house in sunny Broadstairs in Kent. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful balance of pubs, coffee shops, a seaside resort and one really, really good bakery. For a carb obsessed, tryna get the Instagram shot girl, it’s one of my favourite places in the UK.
We started staying at our friend’s house in our first summer at University. Barely any of us could drive or we didn’t have a car. So we piled in two 3 door cars; piled high with Primark clothes, beer and camping equipment to make the early morning 4 hour journey from Lincoln to the coast of Kent.
We were all really, really bloody poor that first year. No one had a student loan payment for a few months, I was inbeween jobs, we all decided to not go home that summer and we had just moved into new student accomodation, which we all naturally filled with B&M nick-nacks. The first year consisted of £3 wine around the fire, pre-drinking our arses off to buy one drink in the fancy ass seafront bar, getting wrecked most nights and a hint of trying not to kill each other because 1 week was way too long when we saw each other every single day.
But it was the start of something pretty magical and something we’ve kept going for the past 7 years.
The second year came around and we made the journey once again. I was a bit cleverer that year and caught the train. We were that tiny bit older but still really poor. We upgraded to £4 wine and occasionally went out for a latte on the seafront. But I vividly remember putting the world’s to rights on the beach at 4am in the morning with my old house mate, crying with laughter each night in the tents when we all couldn’t sleep.
The third year is the year where we were all graduating. Barely any of us lived in Lincoln and we were all scattered around the UK. Four of us decided to do something a little different and swapped camping in the back garden to a 10 day holiday in Turkey. I won’t lie; Princess Becky needed that year and it was wonderful to still have our time with the same people but really celebrate our degrees in style. Whether you class style as necking back jagerbombs with bar tenders, drunk-feeding wild boar watermelon at 4am and cannonballing into the swimming pool every single day, it will always remain my favourite friend holiday abroad.
The fourth year was the fallow year and it kinda stopped for a little. I had just booked a trip of a lifetime to America after working a crap job for 7 months, and our friend’s were expecting their first baby. The group had shifted too: people from the first and second year were no longer in our lives and we were going through that awkward friend shifting phase that you get when you graduate and don’t live 15 minutes away from each other anymore.
Year number 5 was a huge year of change. We only went for a long weekend as our friend’s were getting married. It was our first proper ‘friend’ wedding. We laughed, danced and drank the wedding night away and celebrated their daughter’s naming ceremony in the garden the next day. It was the perfect way to start the better years of our University reunions; the years what mattered.
Year 6 was another long weekend. We had just got Rufus and didn’t want to leave him with my parent’s for too long, the Geek’s hours had been cut and money was pretty tight from our end. We still made the effort to go as it was going to be our only weekend away and where we could catch up with friends. It was one of the years where the true magic of Folk Week was really starting to come out. Before, we would always see not living in each other’s pockets was a bad thing. We couldn’t pop round for a cup of tea when we were sad, or just meet each other in the pub for a drink after work. But, the distance between us made something click.
This was truly bought alive the following year where we made our trip a few days stay. It was the year my boyfriend of six years proposed to me on the dog friendly beach after a 4 hour drive and it was the year I felt I truly connected with Broadstairs.
Nothing can ever take the magic of the proposal away from what is was. Hand on heart, I’m so happy that I got to celebrate with the people who were there and I will always be thankful to our friendship group for that. The distance that is sometimes a horrible pain in the ass has made the past 2 years so wonderfully magical. Instead of getting on top of each other, we had meaningful conversations, made each other cry with laughter and relived the old days. We all knew that this was our only planned time together and every single one of us made the most of it.
As I write this today, we spent yesterday in a car for 4 hours making the return journey from Broadstairs after having one of the best weeks of the year. I’ve spent the last few days with the best group of people; sitting in a hot tub all day, drinking at 10am, eating so many carbs that it doesn’t matter, putting the world to rights at 3am in the street – reliving all those things you did at University and doing what you did in your early 20’s.
When people ask, why at 26 do I spend 5 days sleeping in a tent in my friend’s backgarden every year? Why do I spend my precious annual leave going to Kent? That’s why. Because I’m guaranteed a good time with the best group of people who all bring their A Game on making it the best time they’ve had too.