We had our end-of-the-year barbecue today, and while it was tons of fun (because sunshine, veggie burgers, and watching people get nailed in the shins playing cricket have that effect on me), it also suddenly and forcefully hit me that my first year at Oxford is ending. Erika left today for Dublin, and when I went into the kitchen, all that was left at her countertop were the half-eaten bags of pasta, couscous, rice, granola, and other assorted carbs she left to me. I ate some granola and got all mopey. R. Dave leaves for DC tomorrow, James leaves in two days, Abby is already talking about a farewell party when I get back from Germany, and at dinner tonight, Genevieve and Julie realized that in a week, they'll be back in Vermont and California. (And because I'm switching rooms for my teaching post, my room is pared down to bare essentials and cardboard boxes, which doesn't help matters at all.)
Less that two months ago, I was bitching about how I needed to make Oxford feel like home - and actually, I think I pulled it off. But when everyone starts to leave, it turns out that that sense of uneasy rootlessness returns full-force. It's like the equivalent of homesickness for someone who tends not to think twice about geography, but gets totally lost without a recap of the day over coffee every night in the kitchen. You'd think that this would stop sneaking up on me after two graduations and a couple of transatlantic moves, but you'd be forgetting that I've got the emotional memory of a goldfish.