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#51 Before I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane: 20 More Days!

December 20, 2008


(Part 2 of my thoughts before I embark on exchange;
Read Part 1: #48 Neither Here Nor There: A 30-Day Countdown To Studying Abroad)

With 20 days left before I leave this city I grew up in for five months in Hong Kong, and 9 days before we ring in a brand new recession-plagued year, I’m beginning to look at everything in a different light. Everywhere I go, everytime I look at something, I wonder when would be the next time I will see it… but somehow, I doubt I will miss it. A part of me says ‘I can’t wait to get out of here already’, but another part of me tells me that I will miss my friends, and the comforts of knowing where everything I need is, even with my eyes closed. Whatever it is, I can’t help but feel like life begins when you leave home and start living and experiencing things alone.

Many have commented on my courage to embark on student exchange alone, without anyone I know going with me, unless I befriend some locals quickly during the pre-departure briefing the school’s organizing for exactly this purpose. I am truly excited, because I can’t wait to explore myself and get some thinking done while I’m away from home.

A friend who has experienced what I’m going through now once said that the anticipation is the best part of it all. I want to agree with it, but I would really rather feel as psyched throughout the whole journey.

Indeed, despite not having to travel to another continent, I will experience many firsts and I can’t wait to see how life is going to unfold for me in that direction.

1. Living with a stranger. Well my roommate will technically be a stranger for a few seconds before we introduce ourselves and hopefully become good friends. I’m okay with sharing but with someone I barely know, my personal space and limits will be challenged.

2. Experiencing a long-distance relationship (LDR). With increased mobility and incidence of having to travel outside one’s city, LDRs have become a norm, especially for cosmopolitan young people afflicted with wanderlust. This will be definitely be something new for me. But with new friends to make, a new life to get accustomed to, and Skype, I guess I won’t spend too much time moping about the extra distance away from my manfriend. In fact, I’m hoping with new stories to tell and being apart from one another will make us appreciate each other even more.

3. Traveling solo. I’m excited about this one! I’m thinking of hitting Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, and of course when I find true geography buffs like me, I would love to explore the karst landscapes of Guilin and the beautiful nature reserve in Jiuzaigou.

4. Getting to wear winter clothing is something I’m looking forward to, because I always thought coats, boots and scarves buff up my size-zero frame and make me look more sophisticated. Tropical fashion (aka flip flops and tanks) are somehow sloppier and less fashionable. I can enjoy cool weather without having to endure the prolonged dreariness of Chicago’s gloom or London’s rain.

5. Gaining weight from pigging out because the food’s truly fantastic. I’ve always been a fussy eater, and honestly food in Singapore is too greasy, salty and expensive. Not to mention, you can’t eat chili crab, fried noodles (tossed around in too much lard & soy sauce) and satay everyday. Which is why, I’m going to eat so much dim sum that I’ll be up 4 sizes when I’m back.

I guess, there is not much point in brooding over what I will miss or spend excessive amount of time dreaming about the vast possibilities of outcomes when I’m on exchange. Since it’s the holiday season, I’m going to make full use of this time to catch up with old friends, eat lots of chocolate, party hard and enjoy some quality time with the man…the best part is, I won’t be needing that mistletoe anytime soon.

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