And now that I’m back home, it’s hard to accept that I am leaving again in 4 days. I’ve been trying to embrace the mentality of being grateful that I have places and people and things that I miss—signs of a really abundantly blessed life—but my heart still constantly gets snagged on nostalgia. I think about 20% of what I have to say here has to do with this, haha, but in all seriousness I guess I should be grateful that my sense of displacement is a pretty apt reminder that I am really not meant for here and now; that God has something better in store for me to call home.
BUT, seeing I am stuck in that place of preparing to leave one home and go to another, there are things I must see to before I leave Delaware yet again. I probably won’t be back until June, or possibly August…anyway, chin up and for my own sake (how did I not bring my planner home!!!), a to-do list:
- Scan baby pictures
- Photograph old oil paintings for portfolio purposes
- Work on website (so much for getting it up this winter break, heeh)
- Finish Return of the Prodigal Son
- Unpack Urbana suitcase, repack Berkeley suitcase
- How am I going to bring my guitar + everything back, aaagh
- Hem black jeans
- Internship applications
- Inventory what books I have at home
- Sell/donate old clothes…do I have time? Wait until next time I’m back?
- Back up laptop and clear out last semester’s stuff
- Knock out editing some of my China photos
- Get face wash and guitar strings all those little things tax-free
- Meet with M&A for lunch, C again?
Half of me wants to not sleep and do everything, go everywhere, and see everyone whom I haven’t yet…the other half of me wants to curl up in a ball in my bed with my guitar and a book and sleep the rest of the week away to avoid the thought of going back…really looking forward to the day when all this inner turmoil goes away. But, baby steps.
Just some thoughts…
It’s been a week since my flight out of San Francisco and into Shanghai. It feels like I’ve only been in China for a day, time is passing so fast.
In Beijing as of today (technically yesterday now, I guess?) and it’s been rainy the whole time. I’ve fallen in love with the misty, foggy weather, though it hasn’t been that long, nor will it last…something really ethereal about exploring this unknown, huge city in less than perfect conditions. I have decided that every leisure trip I take from now on needs tight scheduling per my personality, yes, but also time to just wander around and see what local life is like. Thankful my parents are a mix of passive and gung-ho.
Yesterday and the day before was spent in rural Xi’an, where my dad grew up. It was sobering. Placing a real visual to the stories he always tells my brother and I was unreal. I know that a large number of ABCs have similar farming/poor family backgrounds, but I really can’t believe the conditions my father was raised in, and how far he’s come. I have the most amazing dad in the world…and I can finally begin to sympathize, still can’t even start to empathize, with everything he’s gone through.
Most candid, though, was meeting my grandfather and just dad’s side in general for the first time. Too much to say about this, but I guess I can mention that my ye-ye has the cutest eyes. I wish mine were as smiley as his. And my cousins are really the sweetest, hard-working kids. YB is a year older than my brother and is practically an older brother, and YY is the age of my seniors from this past year, which acted as a jarring but intriguing comparison. Despite language barriers (all right, I know my Chinese is horrible, but the Shaanxi dialect is something entirely different), I still felt what Cory Booker calls the “conspiracy of love” (have I mentioned anything about his commencement speech for Stanford this year, yet? Awe-inspiring, even for cynics).
I need to go to sleep though, so just a few more things…
Hurrah: showered and done with my graphic design project! And somehow everything is already packed…so all that’s left to do is to send out a last email, import some photos from the past two days, and go to sleep.
And just a quick shout-out to my big brother—congratulations on your master’s degree! I will never admit this out loud, but since you creep on my Tumblr once in a while and the chances of you seeing this (and I kind of want you to see this, kind of not) is like 5%, I will say it: I am really proud of you, and I look up to you a lot. I’m really blessed to have an older sibling like you. I complain a lot about you being too smart and most days I don’t understand how you think (remember when your friend from Yale came over? You guys were just chatting very colloquially and even then I didn’t understand half the English that was being exchanged), but deep down, I really do love you. I’m glad we all get to go to China and spend some time together before you become a real, working adult (as you say, “contributor to society”).
And Stanford, thank you for treating my brother so well. There have been ups and downs, but today during general commencement, I was really touched by the energy and community and just overall, sheer brightness of everyone in the Stadium. I can’t imagine myself anywhere but Berkeley, but there is no doubt that Palo Alto is a place I love dearly and will miss visiting. Of all the colleges in the nation, you are the one I respect the most. There’s some unattainable quality about you that always strikes me with awe…the people you churn out are not corner-cutters, not second tier in the least. You are not a grade inflator, you don’t have that quintessential ivy background that helped pushed you into acknowledgement; you are hard work and dedication, innovation and cutting-edge in all senses of the word. I don’t admit this often either, but there is a part of me that never wanted, never wants to be a part of your community because it’s something sacred to me and I don’t think I would ever deserve it (nor could I deal with it if it ever happened, haha), but my dad nudged me today and said, “Grad school?”, and all I could think about is what a blessing that would be if it ever came down to it.
And God…you know my thanks. You are the source of all of this. All the blessing I feel, all the goodness in my life. Thank you for leading me thus far, and thank you for that promise of always being there in the future.
Next adventure: China. Laters, friends :)
Also! In light of tonight’s hectic schedule swapping and canceled, rescheduled, and canceled plans, I’ve realized that I’m actually in no rush to do all the exciting things I want to do in my lifetime. Perhaps this isn’t a good thing and results from a mentality that I will live a full/long life, which should never be expected, but I’m more inclined to believe this comes from my newfound appreciation of just being home. I want to sit around and read and breathe in the smell of laundry that’s been churned out at my house instead of in the dorms. I want to pick up my guitar and play for hours on end, since for the first time in my life, I have no academic-related obligations over winter break. I want to make cookies and stare out my window at the storm clouds hovering over the East Coast pine trees I have so dearly missed.
And I will do just that. New York City and Camelbak and Philly trips, I do plan on getting to you eventually and in good time. But if not this winter, I’m perfectly content with that, too. I am capable of enjoying every moment in suburban Delaware, nonetheless.
My first time truly alone in months.
I am pretty ambivalent concerning airports…I’m really fond of their nature being the link between two places I love, but at the same time, I always feel a bit displaced and lost. It’s not so much that I mind it, but I just don’t know what to do about it. The only action I can take is to sit and wait while my stomach goes a bit queasy.
But the finality it brings, the closure of one door and the opening of a new one, is enough to…to be enough. It’s all I want when I’m leaving one home and anticipating the next. It’s all. That’s all.