The wonderful beginning of Sheffield Season 2.
Saturday, 09.17.2016 - 11:00 am.

I've had the best days, these last couple of days. And first things first: my mom is still cancer-free! The exams didn't show our worst fears, it was all good. Now I feel silly for having worried so much about that possibility. It's best, I guess, to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to be too confident and unexpectedly get punched in the stomach. So my mom's fine!

Onto JC's visit: it was pretty great. He arrived on Monday evening from London. I went to pick him up at the bus station and we had dinner at home with Andrew. We also went to the supermarket to get JC some beers. Ever since I met him I know he's always had this party person nature, but I think it's come out more strongly these years that he's studied abroad. Not to mention his love for marihuana. He's crazy about MJ.

A few days ago, South of the island, he'd met some people from Sheffield. When he was going to bed on Monday, he told me one of those people had texted him; he lived nearby and had invited him for a drink. It was 11 pm. He asked if it was alright, and I said by all means go, because nightlife is something I could not offer to him (it's a personal trait and preference, but it also comes in handy out of respect for Andrew). He arrived at 4 am on Tuesday, and that was great for me, because on Tuesday morning I showed him a bit of the city but then he slept through the entire afternoon. I was able to get some work done. On Tuesday night, we went to the supermarket again for more beer, and wine, and JC and I spent the night at home hanging out.

On Wednesday, we continued walking around the city. I found the book "1984" at a charity shop and he bought marihuana gadgets in a...stuff store. JC loved this city. Andrew never came out with us, except on Wednesday night when we went for pizza at a pub. He did cook a few great meals for us, but he kept his distance. He's respectful of my own space, and being that this was my friend only (they'd met only once and Andrew is, of course, not a party person), he chose to remain home. I found it was a nice balance for me: instead of going out with JC to a pub late at night, we got drinks and hung out at home. It was satisfactory for all.

There were no uncomfortable feelings between JC and I. That was great. We could remember the times when we were really close without having to tap into the more passionate, now embarrassing, moments. I did ask him about his ex, and I took my blame for being hated by her. All of the story is in this diary somewhere but, see, I met JC when he was breaking up with her, and I was still going mad with the pain of Joseph dumping me. As soon as JC was free (I'm tempted to say it was literally the day after he broke up with her), we hooked up. It was all very heated but also, in retrospective, very awkward. We never officially date, and JC put a stop to what we were doing a few months into it, because it didn't feel right and he needed to mourn his relationship.

I understood it, rationally, but my heart was still raw from previous heartbreak. JC ended things between us by Christmas, on top of it. And he returned to his ex the next month and they went back and forth for some time; that killed me, at the time. But JC has this thing of taking his share of responsibility and trying to amend relationships, which is something very weird in a person but also very nice. So we've talked about what happened, years later, and my rational understanding at the time has done nothing but grown. He did do the right thing. Hence we're still friends, like we should have always been, hence he considered stopping by to say hi while touring Europe.

I really have nothing to say about that, I said to him, meaning I would never even try to ask his ex not to hate me. It would be very difficult to try to convince an external observer, *especially* his girlfriend at the time and her friends, that JC and I didn't get formally involved until after the end of his relationship.Oh, I do have a lot of things to say about that!, he said, barely explaining that her ex had taken a women-competing-with-women stance against me that had no place in what had happened. It sounded like he was upset with her about it. Then we stopped talking because we had arrived to my house. Andrew was there and I didn't want him to hear anything about this (what for?). We didn't talk about that anymore but then there was no need. Just that line that JC said was very important to me. It felt like he's protected me and defended me. I appreciate that.

On Wednesday night, JC went out again. He said he wouldn't come as late as the last time, but arrived at 6 am on Thursday, haha. Andrew asked me with a chuckle how JC and I were friends because we were so different. By the way, JC told me that Andrew and I had a lot of things in common. All valid assessments. Anyway, Andrew and I left for work on Thursday morning and let JC rest. He had a bus to take to London at almost 3 pm.

Thursday the 15th was a big day for Andrew and I. It was our first day at the new Psych building in the city centre, and we had our confirmation review, to be confirmed as doctoral students. Both things went well: the Psych building is great and it is AWESOME to be working in the city centre, and we were both confirmed as doctoral students! We knew it would happen but it was cool seeing it become a reality.

At around 1 pm, JC took a bus to the city centre, where we met, and I walked him to the bus station. We talked a lot more and we hugged goodbye. I consider it a triumph in my life, remaining good friends with someone who once broke my heart. My comparison is not only Joseph, but also Art, a friend from school who had pretty much toyed with me around the time JC and I became friends; in a single year, these three guys had dumped me and gone to someone else. But JC did what the other two didn't: acknowledge that what happened hurt me and say sorry. Joseph, boyfriend for four and a half years, and Art, friend since high school, did not even seem to take my pain seriously, like getting heartbroken was uncalled for. So, ok, with JC it seemed worthwhile to take my own share of responsibility on this mess, accept his apology, and move on. And I'm really happy about the friendship that we have.

Hours after he left, Andrew and I were at a movie theater buying tickets for a screening of The Man Who Fell To Earth the next day. This thing of working at the city centre seemed to open up a world of possibilities for us. We weren't in a quiet neighborhood anymore, we were in the middle of where things are happening. While buying those tickets, we learned there was a one-time only screening of the new Beatles documentary in a couple of hours, and we also bought tickets to that. We waited around having coffee and cake, and reading all the magazines about life in the city and upcoming events.

The Beatles documentary was amazing. And we got out of the cinema past 9 pm, and it was also amazing walking in the city when it was dark. Then, on Friday (yesterday), we celebrated our one year in Sheffield. There was a welcome meeting at the new Psych building and I got drunk with half a glass of wine. Then Andrew and I walked again to the movie theater, and we saw TMWFTE. I thought the story was poorly told but Bowie was splendid. Such an amazing human(?) being. And, once again, Andrew and I walked around the city at night to take the bus home.

Now I'm here, telling the story of this week. I have a busy weekend ahead, with the celebration of Chile's independence today with the Chilean community; my own country's was on the 15th, but I never celebrated much, it's mostly army stuff, and the army is full of war criminals and authoritarianism at its best. At least Chile's celebration involves insane amounts of food. And tomorrow, we have a meal with friends. I really, really could do without the weekend socializing because I need to get back to my writing. But it's good to have a social network, I guess.

Thus, Sheffield season 2 started with a bang.

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