Hiraeth: A Welsh word with no direct English translation. The longing you feel for things you have lost, or left behind. An intense longing, or yearning, for home and homeland. A mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness.
I came across this photo a few days ago on a clearout, which led to a bit of Aber nostalgia (although, being a married woman now, I tend to keep my boobs to myself thankyouverymuch!). And it turns out that I haven’t been the only one thinking about this. StrokeyAdam, Kit, Dan and Claire have all recently mused on the topic.
As far as I can recall (although I do look a bit worse for wear), this photo was taken during my last year at Aber at the Alternative May Ball, which was also the night of the General Election 2005. I remember it being a day of carting voters to and from polling stations in my little Polo Cyril, followed by getting rather drunk to Zombina and the Skeletones at the union with some awesome folks, and then a night of watching David Dimbleby at the local party office and, after a nail-biting recount, welcoming the new MP for Ceredigion, and crashing into bed at stupid o’clock long after the sun had risen.
Looking back, there feels like there was something quite typically ‘Aber’ about that day. A feeling of being part of an amazing group of friends, with no doubt that we could change the world if we put our mind to it! I’ve come across lots of photos recently which have reminded me of all the little moments that make up ‘Aber’ in my mind – solitary walks along the beach, CurryFires, hide and seek in the castle, Troma night! I think a lot of what I miss is the free time that comes along with being a social sciences student – time to sit and knit by the sea for hours, days where getting a cheese and cranberry baguette from Spartacus was the only productive thing I did – although I don’t think I appreciated it for what it was at the time.
But a lot has happened since then. As others have said, ‘Aber’, to me, isn’t Aber any more, it’s scattered throughout the country. And I don’t really feel I’m the same person as I was in Aber. A lot of things, both amazing and devastating, have happened to me since. I feel a lot more settled in myself than I did back then. Maybe Cardiff is my new Aber. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think there’s any way back, gotta keep moving on. And that’s ok! But yes, everyone should get married (or at least have a party) so we can all get ‘Aber’ back in one place every now and again!