This time of year always makes me want to be in England. The biting wind and the damp make me want to curl up in a pub with a spicy bean hot-pot and a pint of Guinness. Strangely, when I was going to school in England was the only time in my (lengthy) college career where I actually felt like a student, or at least what I always envisioned student life being like.

Freshman year at MSUM I lived in a shitty dorm, shared the bathroom with a bunch of strangers, and suffered the indignities that come with being a freshman who suspects that everyone can tell you have no idea where you’re going. That year I was a student–full stop. I had no job, school was my job, and as a result, I watched more TV and ate more pizza than any other time in my life. I tried the college stuff: I went to keg parties, ate in the cafeteria, met strange people, gained weight–all the standard things that college kids do. It didn’t feel right; I didn’t feel like I was really in college, just high school with no one to do my dishes for me.

In England, I lived in a shittier dorm that was too small for the furniture in it (I had to move the chair to open either the hall door or closet door, they couldn’t be open at the same time), I ate terrible cafeteria food mostly consisting of overcooked potatoes served as both entrée and side dish, went to noisy, sweaty dance clubs wearing foot-crippling shoes and got ignored by boys because I’m not slutty enough, and I froze the entire time I was there. It was perfect.

Maybe what made the experience was the fact that I had professors who were completely consumed with the subjects they taught. They were the kind of people who loved what they were teaching and seemed to regard lectures as more of an opportunity for story-telling than just passing time until the next exam. I imagined that they spoke of nothing else even to their families and friends, but were well-liked regardless because they made everything so damn interesting. As a result, I got perfect grades, did no homework, and still remember so much 18th century English history that I scare myself a little.

I’ll wax nostalgic about Moorhead and the excellent experiences/professors I’ve had after I leave, but it’s still not the same. It’s spooky that I can think of a place I lived for 5 weeks (can you even say you lived there after only 5 weeks?) as home, more so than a place I’ve lived for 8 years.