NSLI-Y

Last day at home

So. We’re finally here. The little countdown timer is at 0, I have a hot pink palm tree suitcase full of sweaters, shoes, and gifts, another (much prettier) carry on full of summer clothes, sheet music, and camera equipment, we’ve taken family portraits at the 6 AM Lincoln Memorial/Washington Monument sunrise, and I’ve said 再见 to many of the beautiful, supportive people who have been part of this journey so far.

The packing list, suitcase, and carry-on.

It seems unreal still—an emotion (or lack thereof) that has equally spooked me and been quite comforting in the past whirlwind of a week. Perhaps it’s because I feel such intense emotion on the two ends of the spectrum: exhilaration, elation, animation, enthusiasm, anticipation, agitation, melancholy, sadness, confusion… (read: big happy & big sad).

The rest of the cohort (minus Carolyn and I—go DMV!) is already in the air or in transit, making their way to Georgetown for pre-departure orientation (known to NSLI-Yers as PDO). I’ll be making my way to ~the final~ lunch with family soon and then driving to D.C., but for now, I’m in my almost-empty room, backing up all of my photos, downloading college essays onto Word, and formatting videos for export to family in LA.

Despite all the goodbyes/再见s/see you laters this week, I feel as though I still live in Maryland, that I’ll be starting my senior year in a week (or something like that), and that I’ll be living at home forever and ever. But the rational part of my head says that I’ll be saying goodbye in just a few hours—that I only have a few more hours living at home (knock on wood). And of course, that I’ll be living and studying in Beijing for nine months.

Waipo, my mom’s mom, gave my mom four insightful and important pieces of advice through a 10-minute long WeChat message. One, to be cautious, self-aware, and diplomatic when expressing thoughts and opinions regarding China and America. Two, to be open-minded and enthusiastic in every situation. Three, to be careful about boys… and four, to be careful and financially responsible.

So, armed with this wisdom, a suitcase filled with gifts and another with clothes, I am off. Thank you for coming along—I will miss you all and I am so excited!!!

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