I just said my first two goodbyes. While people going home isn’t a big deal for most students at UC, for me it means admitting that I may never see them again.
It’s funny because I remember trying to prevent this early on. In the first couple months I kept a careful distance between other people and me. I made friends, but I stayed very conscious of my imminent departures and tried not to get too attached.
Unsurprisingly though, it didn’t work. Even people I’m not incredibly close to have become of my world here — from the party animals I always see getting ready for a night out to my O-Week leaders to the guy who serves me dinner every night. It wouldn’t have mattered what I did because routine is comforting and losing my routine is unsettling.
But yes, I’m going back home to where my longer-running routine is. That makes it less scary, but things have changed there. My friends have had a semester of experiences without me, my parents have settled more into a house and city that is still new to me and, most alarmingly, my boyfriend has graduated. I don’t know what I’m going to home to, but I do know what I have here and it’s a blast. How do I leave it?
How do I leave…
the city that is an endless source of entertainment?
the university that has given me more zoological experience in a semester than Whitman has in over two years?
the college that has taught me more about myself than I ever expected?
the people who took me in, showed me around and made me drop the walls I put up to protect myself from missing anyone after I leave?
I don’t know, but I know I have to. And I do want to on some levels. I’m looking forward to going home and having an amazing senior year, but the jokes about coming back for graduate school are feeling less and less like jokes every time they come up. I don’t know if I’m serious about it or if it’s just a way to make leaving easier, but I certainly didn’t anticipate becoming this attached to everything here.
So here’s where the last part of my ridiculously long title comes in. I used to dismiss selfies, but anyone who’s been paying attention has noticed quite a few of them within my posts. I get them now. For every time you don’t want to ask the waiter stop his work a take of picture of you or try and flag down another tourist and trust them to take a decent photo, selfies are the answer. Better yet, it’s fun to laugh over the challenge of fitting everything and everyone in. Traveling in Australia has been amazing, but the experience has been just as much, if not more, about the people I was with than the places I saw. Photos of the scenery and wildlife are great, but they don’t capture the experience. I’d much rather have a photo with only a little bit of the place as long as it includes my traveling companions and me. That’s how I think I’m going to remember Australia — a little bit of all the amazing sights I saw, but mostly all the people I saw it with. Two weeks from now until I land in the States. I’m ready to go, but I’m not ready to say goodbye — especially if it’s goodbye forever. I hope it won’t be.
Over and Out,