Archive for the ‘farewell’ Tag

It’s Not Goodbye – It’s I’ll See you later

Wordlife Nat Shermans

Random Observation/Comment #248: Friends can be brothers – but not literally, just the way black people use it.

I have great respect for those who serve in the military.  How could you not? They are putting their lives on the line to maintain the luxuries we have back home in this first world country.   You could say that they are fighting some meaningless wars that boil down to some greedy corporations trying to make more profit, but at the end of the day, you still have to support the soldiers who do it. Don’t be an asshole and try to find a reason to say they’re stupid or made their own choices.  That’s just heartless. You can hate the government, love your country, and respect the soldiers all without contradiction.

There’s a big difference between watching Army commercials and seeing your best friend of 19-years go into the army.  There are stages of emotions that I went through – all probably explained in a psychology textbook.  As I am in one of the final phases, I’d like to go over the other sets of emotions I went through to get here.

  1. Disbelief. When I first heard Justin tell me he was going into the army, I thought he was joking.  I wrote in my diary. I read it and even laughed about it later. “Justin, you hilarious sonuvabitch.” How could someone with a Bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry and 3 years of research experience at Columbia University’s neurology department change from a path of going to med school to a path of being a soldier?  Honestly, I thought it was a passing idea that he just wanted to bring up.  We spoke frankly about it and of course he fed me the same lines the recruiters feed soldiers.  I listened, nodded, smiled, and drank some more beer with my buddy and I thought – there’s no way he’s going to follow through…
  2. Confusion. As Justin told me more stories and I saw he was seriously considering the next steps of applying, I was puzzled around his logic.  I was confused because he had so many options and I felt like he could do so much more.  He told me his MOS would be with the Explosive Ordinance Department (which is pretty bad ass after watching “Hurtlocker”), but it still sounded like he played one too many video games.  We drank another beer and I thought – At least he’s learning more about career options and talking to people. I can always support building a community and networking .
  3. Anger. I heard his efforts progress, and one day he gave me a call to tell me that I will receive a call from someone that will ask me questions about him.  Once I knew he was getting a background check, I knew he had already signed up.  I was actually mad at him for being stupid.  He knew all the risks and he knew one of my close friends went through the Marines with all the negative things he could say about it. There were so many of us opposed to the idea, but Justin was so pig headed with this belief that it pissed us all off.  He wouldn’t bend to reason and it just seemed like he’d argue for the sake of arguing.  There was no “losing” the conversation because he was too prideful and stubborn.  I wanted to punch him in the face and say “Get your shit together, dude. You’re a freaking mess.”
  4. Indifference. This phase was the worst of them all. I knew the days were passing and I read his progression and boredom.  I thought that someone about to leave would make the most out of his time. I thought he would get closer with friends or start a blog that could actually tell the true story.  If I had those 4 months before leaving, I would travel more and write more.  I’d take pictures and be a tourist for a while. Everything that I like to do – I’d cherish because it’d be all gone.  He may have done his own version of this, but I didn’t feel like he made the most out of it.  I gave up on my ideas and I just let him do his own thing.  He fell off the radar for weeks at a time and I didn’t know or ask to worry about how he handled it.  There was no way to convince him otherwise, so that was that.
  5. Curiosity. It wasn’t about 2 months ago that I tried to learn more about what he would get into.  I had a small phase of fear in between, but my fear phases immediately shift to the reactionary preventive phase.  Worrying never gets anyone anywhere – it’s better to just learn more about it and give as much relevant advice as possible. So I did my research and I spoke to him about all of it. I could see he was passionate and looking forward to leaving. I asked him questions that I already knew the answers in order to test if he knew what he was getting into.  All in all, there were just more beers exchanged and more random stories.
  6. Acceptance. It took some time, but I did see that a few things had changed.  His family had come together and he became closer to a few friends. His church community grew stronger and he met more people that he could relate to.  I shifted my attitude towards him based on his attitude towards himself.  At times, I saw his uncertainty and fear as a weakness, which led me to doubt his choices.  Any shred of regret or childish view of this career path would just make me sad.  What I wanted to hear was confidence, excitement, and appreciation.  If I heard all these things, I would be supportive.  And you know what? I finally support him.

I don’t even want to think about going to my friend’s funeral, but it’s a possibility.  I choose to, however, accept that it is his life and his choice.  As a friend, the best I could do is give him my support and any relevant advice I can.  I am not going to hide behind any petty arguments or second guess his judgment a few weeks before his departure.

As a friend, you have two choices: 1) Hate Justin for his stupid choices and stop being his friend, or 2) Support Justin and hope he comes back to share his stories.  With even the risk of him not coming back, you should talk to him and see him before he leaves, because think about the worst case scenario of each choice.  In 1) Justin doesn’t make it back (which won’t happen) and you feel the guilt of having your last words to him be ones of anger or even your last efforts to see him to be non-existent.  In 2) Justin doesn’t make it back (which won’t happen), but you at least gave him a reason to come back.  Either way, you cry with emotions of anger and sadness, but at least with 2, you did your duty as a friend.

I’m proud of you, Justin.  Remember to think and stay calm.

~See Lemons Pray for Justin to Return

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A Study Abroad Winding Down

Classic ICE night

Classic ICE night

Random Observation/Comment #206: There’s always a level of sadness during transitions.  I’ve found that I’m always looking for excitement, yet I deep down yearn for a conservative state of equilibrium.  No matter how much I reject these routines, I desperately cling on to creating a new familiarity.  When you’ve grown accustom to the freedom and the friendly faces, it’s hard to let go and move to that next phase.  It’s hard to say good-bye – and not to Germany or the lifestyle of vacations, but of newly found friends.  I could come back to Hamburg, but it would definitely not be the same without the people that has made this trip incredible.

As I mentioned in the beginning of my writings about Hamburg, I had created an interesting group of friends from different countries throughout this 5 month study.  Their openness to mingle allowed the single Chinese American loner to tag along and par-take on their adventures.  From birthday parties to ICE nights, we lived the life that all college students would envy.  We made excuses for our stupidity and, honestly, would do it again in a heartbeat.  I think I speak for all of us when I say that this trip has been an eye-opener in so many ways.

I’ve already written about the Hungarian group [] that left just last month, and I already miss them so much (especially Sushi).  With the exception of the people who lived in my apartment (who I posted last entry), I present my small little tribute.

The (North and South) American group includes Matt, Matt, Dave, Francisco, Fernando (it’s okay that he’s from Brazil and dresses better than all of us), and Sarah (it’s okay that she’s from Canadia).  Their weekly Tuesday ICE nights basically represent the essence of their trip.  Any questionable activity is usually validated by the fact that we’re studying abroad and we should do this because we can.  It reminds me of that speech about how we’re privileged with the opportunity to party, so we must do so to fulfill those lost dreams of the less fortunate.  If we didn’t take advantage of our situations, we might as well stay satisfied as minimalists.  Needless to say, this group knows how to have a good time and the fluency of broken English slang really reminds me of home.  It’s a nice comparison because now home will always remind me of Reeperbahn.

The Spanish group includes Marta, Elena, and Diana, all of whom have been absolutely wonderful and a pleasure to party with.  It’s interesting how their Spanish fiesta spirit perspiring on the dance floor is actually palpable in the air.  I can tell they’re exhausted by the end of the night, but they could easily go until morning.  It’s this type of enthusiasm for just dancing instead of heavily drinking (although that usually follows) that keeps a separate charm.

The Finnish group includes Sakari, Maria, Miia, Leena, and Mai.  I’ve grown accustomed to their absolutely mind-boggling language – I just take it as a nice gurgling sound, and I just smile whenever they look over.  It seems the ladies prefer mixed drinks and hockey more than anything else in the world.  In fact, watching a hockey game with some redbull vodkas would be a recipe for a wonderful summer afternoon or third date.  I’ve mostly met up with this group in more chill atmospheres, like 2PM beers at the park or 4PM beers during a picnic.  A pre-game bottle of vodka mixed within a coca cola bottle starts the night, and a group of fun-loving Fins with a smile on their faces, finishes it.

The Misc group is placed within this section for the more random conversations that are not necessarily related to any group party scenes.  Marchin and Phillip are interesting engineers with a similar passion towards improving the world.  Together, we form a normal engineering group with the normal engineering view of parties and basically all activities.  We’re always thinking about something else in our multiprocessor brains, but we follow the flow of partying to observe and occasionally intervene in some social experiments.   I think we find it awkward, yet enjoyable, but I’m sure we would rather be doing some calculations and estimation applications to everyday things.  It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who calculates the total price of shopping lists or random traveling distances and costs on the spot (and then get a sense of satisfaction when the estimations are close).  Steph is a wonderful photographer with the Canadian friendliness underneath a fierce tiger (I’m just assuming from all of the pictures I take of her).  She’s doing her best to explore Europe and share it in whichever artistic way she can.  I give her kudos for picture taking and sepia tone.  Scott is allergic to fruit, which I still can’t get over.  Cecilia – oh Cecilia – by weekday you’re a dedicated student and friendly smile, but by weekend you’re rocking out in some random country in Europe to pure metal/core.  It’s always the innocent ones that transform into the crowd-surfing, stage diving (if you’re lucky), air punching, two-stepping wild animals in the pit or swaying at the front.  I’ve missed those days, and we definitely need to see a show together sometime.

Socializing with these interesting characters from every corner (of the flat map taped to my apartment wall) helped us each peer into our own futures.  There’s so much more freedom in this world than we were fooled with the high school 9 periods a day and college scheduled classes.  Yes, we have to adjust to other people’s times to be organized, but your free time is where you grow.

In essence, what we decide to do with this free time defines who we are.  Without the willingness to connect with people, explore our interests, and constantly question our environment, we are just breathing, eating, and shitting with a set routine.  I’ve learned what it means to live here in Hamburg, and I know that everything I do from here forward is to support my new goals.

I want more than anything to return to Europe and visit all the travel acquaintances I’ve met on this journey.  In almost every country in Europe, we’ve grown contacts for at least a cup of coffee and a day of exchanging stories.  For these offers, I am the most grateful.  I hope all of you know that you have the same luxury for New York.  Please feel free to ask.

~See Lemons Miss Being Abroad

Blessed with an Extended Family

Big happy family. Lucian is the baby.

Big happy family. Lucian is the baby.

Random Observation/Comment #205: The less I post; the more fun I’m having.  Without this me-time, I do feel a little bit claustrophobic, but at the same time, I’m usually spending it with people for a good reason.  It’s not exactly what you can call “efficient,” but I feel these small social breaks are mandatory for an enjoyable lifestyle.  I sound like a damn Vulcan.  The last two weeks have been filled with non-stop fun in Belgium with new friends, Schliersee with nature, and the rest with Natasha.  It isn’t until this 22-hour train ride from Hamburg to San Sebastian that I have time to relive the happiness.  Pictures and words will not do it justice.  I am grateful for those last weeks of memories with good bye parties, but saddened by the last sight of each of my acquaintances.  It seems surreal that we said good-bye, but I’m happy we can now call ourselves facebook friends.

This large dorm-style openness and friendliness was what I missed in my university years. I remember a few shenanigans from the Cooper dorms, but nothing compared to dinner parties thrice a week and bonding moments over a few stories and shots of exotic spirits on a regular basis.  Memories of this experience (as a whole) will stay with me forever, and I hope the personality quirks each person represents can be found again in my next adventure.

How quickly time has passed since I last said good-bye to Greg – the first suitemate and friend to part from this journey.  After he left, there was a void in the apartment that could not be filled. There were less jagermeister shots and dancing on the tables, and I always checked out my door to see if he was sneaking a smoke on the balcony.  Vadim moved in with a cheerful step, but his work made him absent to most of the usual dinner parties.  There were weeks where I didn’t even think the room had an inhabitant.  I considered the random knocking on the metal tube running vertically through our apartment a more frequent communicator (I know it was you, Lucian).  Granted, the shoes left to fill were large, so on normal standards, Vadim was a great suitemate.  I had no complaints since he left no footprint, and he was quite interesting when I had a chance to speak with him in the hall or during drinks a few times.

The original roommates of the full 5 months have left a much larger impression.  Leena, Anna, and Ilona have been absolutely wonderful.  They each have their special part in this family and it will be difficult to find such a balanced and lively temporary home.

Leena, among many things, was my laundry buddy.  I find this to be one of the most important relationships because we share those moments handling clothes when they are most vulnerable – from when they’re dirty to when they’re rolled dry and to their final state of warm crispiness.  I wanted this metaphor to work out better, but it just sounds naughty.  Leena was hilarious in many subtle ways and I hope she knew that I caught on to all her little sarcastic jokes inserted in almost every conversation.  I love her personality and fun-loving nature more than her love of disgusting black licorice candy bits (ew).  The technology illiteracy also gives me a small chuckle.  Answers to my tech questions like “yea… my TV is black” or “It has a blue button that lights up” or, my favorite, “my laptop’s name is Norbert” will always be treasured.  PS – I’ll keep a shrine for the holy mini pineapple.

Anna exudes the creativity of an architect in everything she does.  I knew from the moment I met her that she had that extremely unique character.  She automatically gave our apartment personality.  The white walls were replaced with world maps, newspaper and magazine clippings, random cardboard things with colored cellophane taped over it, and posters of anything that could possibly look cool at an angle.  The surprise of seeing a new piece on our walls every week was a good reason to come through the door.  I love how she became her work and this is absolutely her passion – it’s just so obvious if you hit the right topics.  When you show her something that may seem mundane, her eyes light up and she appreciates everything for this deeper, head-scratching meaning only seen by her and other architects/artists.  She is modern art applied with an even spread of reality.

Ilona and I shared quite an interesting silent relationship.  Left alone, we might as well have communicated with charades or Pictionary.  Even after 5 months, my expressive nature with German had not improved as expected.  I could carry some sort of conversation, but I never found the right words to say something useful.  I learned to say little phrases that could involve myself selfishly, but sometimes I just wanted a topic of interest we shared without going through a dictionary for difficult vocabulary words.  Luckily, I do understand most of what she says in German and wind up responding in English.  I think she understands half of what I say in English and responds in German.  It’s a weird balance that only works in groups, but regardless, I love her company.

Lucian, Tomas, Maria, and Natasha became the honorary roommates, as I saw them in the dining room as often as I saw everyone else I was living with.

Lucian is hilarious and what I consider to be an essential ingredient to a good party.  He has a clever wit and a confident stride to tell stories and experiences that draws people’s attentions.  From him, I’ve learned that there should be no fear in acting silly, or a little ridiculous, sometimes because it shows you’re actually enjoying yourself, instead of second guessing your actions and being self-conscious when life should be more spontaneous.  My cold and calculated nature envies such eccentric personalities.  Oh yeah, and best of luck to his rapping career.  Beeeeaaaches!

Tomas has been the chef of the apartment (even though he doesn’t technically live there).  His meals were nothing but delicious and I hope I learned something from his special mix of vegetables and sauces for salads.  He continues to be updated with current events and still has time to do so much.  He can drink like a fish and he’s extremely entertaining drunk.  I think we had the most random dining room conversations in the past month, and I must say that it has been a pleasure.  I hope he’s learned from me as much as I’ve learned from him.

Maria was actually the first girl I met in Germany from the Berlin trip, and I immediately fell for that cute dimple and friendly nature.  She stayed in our room for coffee and movies while she hung out with Leena, but I had always liked being with her.  I feel like she was at every party and night-out I had been, even if my attendance was random and sparse.  For this to occur, she probably just goes out every night to hope and see me too.  I’m really sorry for not giving her a massage, and I know she probably holds a grudge about it.  I’ll do my best to see her again (as with everyone else) and I promise to maintain my practice so it’s just as good (if not better).  I love our hugs – it’s a great way to say hello.

It’s very difficult to write about Natasha without mentioning any of our inside jokes (which are highly inappropriate).  She stole my attention and time, among many other things, although I’m not complaining.  I felt like these weekend trips with her have been a hazy dream of split bottles of wine in a park, and enduring long walks throughout cities, forests, and mountains.  We switched roles of chef and dish washer for every meal, and I think my creativity and skill in cooking have greatly improved because of it.  I think I will miss her the most – even if you sum all the other things that I’ll miss from this trip in some quantitative ranking – she will still be in the lead.  Alas, I need to wake up from this dream and return to a slightly, less bright reality.

Our apartment just became party central and the main place for a cup of coffee, internet usage, and a few good laughs.  The refrigerators were always filled with beer and cheap champagne, and we’d always get complaints from the cleaning ladies about our large collection of empty plastic/glass bottles.  It was a monthly routine doing this homeless walk to REAL with our clanging bags dripping with month-old beer.  Luckily, the money from recycling helps pay for the next party, which leads to more beer bottles (a vicious, yet amazing cycle).

Sadly, I’ve left that little room.  The super didn’t ask me to paint the walls or buy new furniture, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to go through hoops to get this room approved.  Everything seemed a bit rushed at the end to take care of all the errands, and I wish I had more time to say good-bye.  The truth is: I could have extended this good-bye ceremony for another few months.  In one way, I’m glad to close this chapter – I can finally reread it and smile with appreciation.  I doubt it was well-written, but the stories definitely kept me turning the page.

~See Lemons Miss the Roomies

the homeless cart of empty booze

the homeless cart of empty booze

A Hungarian Tribute

I'll miss all of you!

I'll miss all of you!

Random Observation/Comment #199:  The past 4 months have passed by unbelievably quickly.  It felt like just yesterday we were all drinking our first beers in public, dancing on tables, and finding valid excuses to party every day of the week.  I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know everyone, especially the “Hungarian group” (to which I will dedicate this entry to).  I hope we will all stay in touch through tweets, status updates, and random pokes through facebook, email, or any other social network.  If anybody (Hungarians and everyone else I’ve met abroad included) visits New York, you will have a personal tour guide and possibly a place to stay.  Either way, I hope we will always be international friends.  It’s incredibly sad to see this Hamburg University Chapter come to an end, but as with all good memories, it will have a fantastic finish tonight.  Let’s make the last party rock the house (dormitory/apartment/whatever).  May our paths cross again in the future…

In most of my journal entries, I think about the beginning and then flip through my mental photo album of these moments to find the right words.  Each quirky personality comes to mind through the crooked smirks, embarrassed smiles, and uncontrollable laughter memories we shared together.  I can’t quite pin-point how I exactly became a fellow-Hungarian, but our relationship grew from just being with each other in our happiest times.  Whether it was a relaxing walk through Berlin, a well-cooked dorm goulash dinner, or another alcohol-filled night at the bar downstairs, the time we spent together will always remind me of freedom and friendship.

Interestingly enough, I was accepted into the group with open arms.  It might have been the massage-hands or my tendency to take pictures of everything (which they find adorable), but I really felt missed when I couldn’t make it to a party – like I was a genuine part of their group from the start.  It was only a small amount of attention, but it pulled me into this temporary family and I’m happy that I was a part of it.  Each of you has made an impact on me and you deserve your individual tributes.

Greg has somehow become my pupil after these past few months of living in the same flat and partying (pretty much all the time).  I can sense that he has respect for my opinion and enjoys my company, so he invites me to his excursions and discusses random topics when he passes my room for his occasional smoke.  Although Greg is sometimes overstressed about certain aspects of his schoolwork, he knows how to have a good time and let loose at a party.  Drunk Greg tends to use very flashy hand gestures (which we all love to notice and mimic), and will always push for more shots of Jagermeister (good man).  It may seem like I did most of the teaching with the occasional English reviews, but you have taught me more than you realize.  I’m glad we became friends and I hope I can meet you in Hungary or Austria in 2 years.

Frank exudes the qualities of a professional like no other.  He’s well-dressed, current events savvy, and charismatic about all topics of conversation.  Even if he’s never been to a place, he is automatically crowned the guide, leader, and decision-maker.  I haven’t found this exact quality to his stride or the way he holds his conversations, but there’s a certain characteristic that makes his arguments very convincing.  Either way, I think I have learned one of his secrets: Frank loves the camera and wants to be immortalized in the most interesting poses.  It works out well – every photographer needs that fun-pose model.

For the sexy poses, I’ll, of course, yield the lens to the lovely ladies.  This is one of my outrageous hypotheses, but I think the girls competed for my attention to get more massage-time.  They each had their own strategies for getting my attention (or at least I saw it this way in my mind), but I found it interesting because they appealed to such different parts of my brain (I can’t choose a favorite so I think I fell for all of you in different ways =D).  I’ll be more specific: (It is a given that you’re all very pretty, so I’ll leave it out of the descriptions).

Ria appealed to the obvious and straightforward physical contact.  It is custom for European hugs and kisses, but it was more of an enjoyment than a formality.  In many ways, I felt like she was the awkward hand on the thigh stepping around the line of appropriateness.  We shared the sitcom inside-jokes with How I Met Your Mother and Friends references, which is always an interesting topic of conversation.   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it, but there was something with the grouping circumstances that made me more comfortable in a friend zone (going into detail about these personal dating rules would be too far off-topic).

Reka is adorable and really attracted that cute-sy, naming-stuffed-animals side of me.  She shyly smiles, and often shows a silent jealousy I’ve often noticed from my Chinese ex-girlfriend.  It used to work so much better, but I guess I grew up from that phase.  Because of this sheep obsession, her personality stuck in my mind and it made me buy her a sheep toy and draw a sheep-portrait for her.  The cute gestures continued, but my normal observation-driven drunken nights never lead me to common topics and inside jokes.  I feel like younger-timid-Clemens would have been captivated, but more-mature-Clemens wavered and explored a different world.

Juli is the youngest, yet fit in seamlessly.  I was unexpectedly impressed by her wit and our playful conversations.  I don’t think it had to do with age or innocence, but rather a very quick connection to normal wordplay.  I rarely say this, but she has a beautiful personality.  It’s not even that we know each other extremely well; I just find this combination of words to be very fitting.  The odd thing is that I don’t think anyone would disagree because I just said what everyone was trying to say, but just couldn’t find the words for. You’re welcome.

Vikky claims my educational and independence-driven part of my heart.  She really reminds me of Monica from Friends.  She’s responsible, organized, and very tidy with every aspect of her life – to summarize: she will be a wonderful mother.  The trips will be planned down to every detail and optimal efficiency would be achieved (efficiency = super sexy).  I think our personalities have much more in common than we gave time to explore, but (as expected) the positive and negative qualities of social intellectuals arise – we have much to say, yet we rather observe.  However, one who pries will find a topic that just makes us talk non-stop.  Her enthusiasm just so happened to be in volleyball, which – to put into my hobby gauge – matches my enthusiasm for ping pong (which borderlines obsession).

Orsi has the most extroverted personality with quite a contagious laugh and smile.  She floats around in her own world and sprinkles her happy mood on the group.  Not only is she quite the dancer, but I think I would consider her the most energetic.  Her playful nature is something anyone would love, and I feel like a livelier person in her presence.  She’s proof that happiness can be spread by example, and I’m glad I met someone with this quality.  Even though I haven’t called you Sushi since the first time I met you, the word will always remind me of you and your enthusiasm.

Although I did not wind up a fluent Hungarian speaker (I’m surprised too), I’ve learned a great deal about the culture and customs.  At the end of the day, we were all study abroad students living a study abroad student life, but there was a definite connection.  Actually, I was probably drawn to the unbelievably hot group of beautiful girls.  It’s true – you make all of my friends jealous and I’m glad we have so many pictures together.

Cheers! Egészségedre! Kampai! Kippis! Salud! Salute! Skal! Na zdrowie! Budem zdorovy! Let’s get our freak on.  All the best and safe travels.

Your Sneaker,

Clemens

~See Lemons Miss Greg, Frank, Ria, Reka, Juli, Vikky, and Orsi (Sushi)

they're so cute...

they're so cute...

I’m Leaving on an Airplane

 

 

Good-bye, New York. Hello, London.

Good-bye, New York. Hello, London.

Random Observation/Comment #145: I remember this feeling very clearly.  I could sense its presence with a growing shadow, but I dare not sneak a glimpse.  As the days counted down, it followed me closer and breathed down my neck.  The whispers warned me of uncomfortable situations, yet reassured me with joy.  It wasn’t until the gentle touch, did I absorb the waves of premonitions.  It was a few days before I was leaving to Japan, and the Reality of the entire trip simply tapped me on my shoulder.  I felt like a scientist and a puppy embarking on an adventure to the Unknown.  I smiled out of reflex, but I really wanted to cower.  There is so much to look forward to, yet so much that can happen while I’m away.  My whole world, as I know it, will be different when I come back… Hopefully, everything changes for the better.  Hopefully, some things, like the bond between my friends and family, will never change.

 

There are many things that I will miss when I’m away.  Some of them are obvious, but it’s the odd subtle ones that will be clouding my mind as I try to fall asleep in a different time zone.  It won’t be the jetlag that keeps me up. 

I will miss…

  • … my parents – I love you.  Thank you.
  • … my friends – Be good. Wordlife.
  • … the city – that skyline will be tattooed in my heart forever
  • … my mom’s cooking – nothing will match a soup made with love
  • … using chopsticks – I’ve actually packed a pair, just in case.  They’ll think I’m so Chinese when I eat sausage with chopsticks
  • … my nice clothes – time to look like a bum, but I’ll come back to them later
  • … my bed – I’m hugging my blanket as I type this
  • … Cooper – I didn’t always like the amount of work they assigned, but it was quite cozy. Cooper also had a ping pong table
  • … ping pong – I will find a way to play ping pong in Europe, but I will miss my paddle.  I am not nerdy enough to bring my ping pong paddle to Europe.  Although…
  • … skittles – I love skittles…
  • … Orbit gum – I guess I will have to settle
  • … video games – no more hardcore PC FPSs for a long time…
  • … driving – I really want to drive on the Autobahn 😦
  • … texting on the phone – I think removing myself from a cell phone will cause me some inconvenience, but improve my social life greatly
  • … taking pictures of everything I eat – definitely still doing that, but it will be with a real camera
  • … Starbuck’s tea in the morning – mmm…
  • …my collection of bottle caps – hopefully it will grow when I return
  • … free lunches and dinners with James – I think I owe you a tattoo
  • … inside jokes and ridiculous phrases – I don’t know where we come up with these things.  “Chop her legs off.”  “What day is Friday the 13th on?”  “She’s a white girl with –nique in her name?”  “A sparkle is a unit of time.”
  • … meeting new people in a drunken stupor – wait, I’ll probably still do that one

I will miss Home.  Even though I’ll be living somewhere else for 6 months, this will always be my home.

It’s like a new era.  See all of you in September.

~See Lemons Leaving on an Airplane