I guess Fall is officially here, cold wind have hit the streets and we are constantly in our big sweatshirts or jackets now. The thought of having to deal with the transition of being back home on the little red dot, (of course jet lag is the last thing on my list to worry about), I'm more concerned about my emotional state. And tonight, my mood naturally sinks into this quiet atmosphere in my little room. Being safely brought up in a country where every path is paved nicely for us (or at least, luckily for me), this trip has given me an entirely different outlook of the world and the people I meet & interact with. I couldn't have it better. Being one that has traveled but never traveled alone, the first time always leaves the most impression; and it is only forgiving to understand why am I feeling this way.
First 26 hours flight across the Pacific Ocean to Washington, D.C., (with stop overs in Tokyo Narita International Airport & Chicaho O'hare) first 11 hours flight alone but not lonely, unexpectedly pleasant because of an awesome plane partner (a Japanese American) who was so attentive to my needs, showed maturity beyond young age. Thank you Gallop, you added a glimpse of heartwarming comfort to my first major trip away from home :') First time staying at an apartment and having room mate (always wanted to know how it is like to stay away from home and family, not making it to a local university has deprived me of a chance, but I guess fate has its way of play) for the first time, first autumn in D.C., the city I had died to want to live in, the first supermoon in a completely different setting, first road trip up to the mountains, first time planning an itinerary to a country from scratch (NEW YORK CITY, heee!) I have never been to, throwing on a backpack and setting off just-like-that. The first time I started to interact with people that were different from where I grew up. The first time I see things in a different light, a brand new perspective. The first time I feel so afraid but so rewarding at the same time. The first times.
Well obviously there's no roller coaster that only goes up (as read on the Fault in our Stars), but the good ol' saying goes you can only find joy when you experience pain. The closure of a chapter always open its door to another. This trip has been such an eye opening one - I experience living in a completely different country from home, and also get to travel out to other states. It was something I never dreamt of doing so.
It all started with a text to Jeremy asking;
"How's Washington, D.C.?"
"Calm, peaceful and slow."
Totally ignorant of the fact and possibility that one day I will be here (you see, I like to ask things for fun without even realising that my mind is already set on doing it and eventually I'll just do it) - right, I applied for the internship without my parents' acknowledgement because I was not at all confident of being accepted and I do not want to be a cold blanket after telling them how crazy I am in wanting to get in and not getting it there after.
But I knew I needed an escape from the stress I was facing, take a break from the endless work I was dealing with back home. The ever so uninspiring place I grew up and slog my whole life in. I want to take a look around the world (or at least the other side of the world) and to learn different perspectives. I wanted to challenge myself.
"TABLE FOR ONE" was an article my dear YOLO friend PY (who has went through a lot, i really mean a lot in terms of his health which has led him to doing things that he will never regret again) has sent to me, hoping to guide me in looking positively for my entirely new journey here. and it says it all. You learn more when you don't know anything, because it forces you to ask and to talk to people. When you interact, you gain a new knowledge. I am happy. I really am. I love the people I meet. You will just end up noticing you're not the only one traveling alone, I felt more comfortable when Although I'm almost ten thousand miles away from my loved ones, technology has made us closer than we ever were. FaceTime is easy, whatsapp makes daily conversations continue, nothing much has changed. However, I do miss them.
And of course, life as it is, and will be, is never made up of all good things. The times when I started to bottle everything up in me because I don't know what exactly is making me so heavy hearted. Everything kind of blurs together. The independent times, desperate times, the lows, the confused moments, are there to make me grow, make us grow. The times where you do not have a camera following everywhere you go, the times where you can close your eyes and sit by the park, walk down the street and comfortably be yourself, the times where you really have to deal with sh*t and move on. There's good and bad. I learnt a lot. My parents, for those who knew, are very traditional ones, for my teenage days they have set very strict rules on me, curfews and all, just because I am their only daughter. I know they love me but I never understood during those days. Approving me to go after my dreams and allowing me to stay here in the States by myself are the most pleasant surprises they granted me, and I'll always be grateful for that. Thank you for allowing me to discover what I am truly able to do. Now, either for good food around the world, or the greed for new knowledge, the crave for those heart fluttering moments, I would work a hundred fold harder just to experience it again.
Be in charge of your own destiny. Throw your hands up in the air. Live life a little at its edge.
I'll end it with an article that I really love, because of how much truth that lies in his writing: 5 Life Lessons from 5 years of Traveling the World by Mark Manson.