How do you say goodbye to a city?
You can't wrap your arms around it or tell it how good it's been, how much you've enjoyed the ride. It is impossible to put into words the sunsets, the vibrant seasons, cats basking on walls, sunlit graveyards, sheep in fields and toes in water.
This feeling I have is a combination of many moments that make up eight years in one place, the cafes, charity shops and parks which fade into the everyday.
Even the people pose a problem - yes I can say goodbye for now to those closest to me at this moment, but what about all the others through this time period who made Sheffield so special for me?
The raucous first year friends, the lovely boys who lived in my halls, the wonderful gang of people who brought me a ticket to the ball when I was strapped for cash.
The small fellowship group at church who became family.
The people I met doing homeless outreach in second and third year, the lessons I learned and the ways I grew.
The ceilidh dancing, mad twirls of sweaty exhilarated people moving together.
My first real housemates! The disgusting house that we were so proud of, the silliness and fun, going out dancing and eating Icecream.
All the church leaders and so many wonderful people I was in community with on and off, all the jokers from Transform cluster which it was my pleasure to lead for a time.
Families who cared for me, older women who invested time and energy, and the ones who I in turn mentored.
The starlit fires out in the peaks, singing and passionate praying, a catalyst from which my faith evolved yet again.
The five girls who became like sisters the year we graduated, even the man who became my husband was once a boy in a lecture theatre, sitting three rows down from me.
Oh yes! Things have happened to me In Sheffield.
Colleagues and course-mates, the lady who helped me when I fell off my bike, children I have looked after, they all come together in a glorious tapestry of memories and senses of ways I have felt and experienced life here.
What bothers me most, is the bits I'm forgetting because there were too many! Too many wonderful people and moments, too much joy and heartache and all the things that make life worth waking up in the morning for.
So thank you Sheffield, you've been excellent.
What I learned while I was with you could fill many pages of many books, I've come a long way from freshers week 2007 when I wrote down a list of five things I liked about you (I had to stop at three because I got stuck..!)
Maybe one day I'll look over my life like its a film reel, I really would love to see it in its intricacies even the mundane bits that my memory fails to recall.
Mostly I just feel so grateful, grateful that God brought me here all those years ago grateful for all he's done and will continue to do in this city.
(for part one see here; http://encounterswithjoy.blogspot.co.uk/2011_11_01_archive.html)