Life Update #1
I have miraculously finished packing everything when I only started two days ago. Now I have three HUGE 27-inch luggage bags — one pink, one blue, one black — which will accompany me to the faraway land of ‘freedom and opportunity’, of Donald Trump and Elon Musk, of baseball (??) and Broadway, of Apple and my dream college (since I was a kid) cum home-to-be for the next four years, Harvard!!!
Life Update #2
So, on 11 August, my mom suddenly told me to go downstairs with her for the third time in a day. Since I was intent on being the model baby girl in my last few days in SG, I obediently followed. But, upon reaching the swimming pool floor, she started forcibly dragging me towards the club lounge (which from a distance appeared dark and foreboding), all giggles and secretive smiles. Suspicion building in my heart, I threw open the glass door and proceeded to be gobsmacked when a bunch of people jumped out and shouted: SURPRISE!
IT WAS A SURPRISE FAREWELL PARTY!
The lights were then switched off for The Farewell Video (made with love and iMovie by Tianyi est. 2017), featuring recordings from my closest friends alongside fetus photos that dated back to the hilarious Dark Ages of my pyramid-shaped hair. I think I started crying from the very first second. Everyone’s videos were soundtracked by my favorite artists (Taylor Swift, G-Dragon & Jay Chou), which made it incredibly tears-inducing. When Zhao (my best friend since 2008) started speaking with the nostalgic 朋友 by 周华健 playing in the background, I choked up and then immediately wanted to laugh because I remembered the times of belting 朋友 during weirdly animated P5 Chinese camps.
This entire surprise was hands down one of the most touching moments in my life.
We spent the rest of the night just taking photos endlessly once Shi Le unlocked the most glamorous photo angle.
To my dearest friends: Thank you for this, for caring, for growing alongside me, and for showering me with all your genuine no-frills love. I love you all. Memories of all the time we spent together will warm my heart on wintery nights in Boston and give me the strength to go forth bravely knowing that there will always be the best people I can fall back on. You guys fill my life with so much goodness and good laughs — it’s part of that magical concoction that holds hardships and humor, vulnerability and trust, and life and faith together. 🙂
*** WARNING: this post mutates past this line break into a photo spam (if you hate seeing photos captioned by a stream of consciousness, stop reading & jump to Life Update #3)***
These are some of the last pictures I’ll have together with my favorite people for a long long while, so here goes ❤
Mouse over each photo for individual captions.
Life Update #3
It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving until my parents put my things away —
Medals, trophies, soft toys, memorabilia of growth into boxes;
A-level notes into bags to be thrown;
The books of my teenage years stacked against the wall in the living room to be given to their friends;
IKEA bookshelves dismantled and robbed of love.
It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving until they start talking and making plans about After: After we send her off…, After she is gone…, After the 23rd…, After the room is empty…, After we are back…
It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving until my dad’s eyes redden without a warning, on a windless afternoon, when he looks at my filled luggage spread across the room. Until my mom stares at me while I eat her steamed pork ribs and asks a question that she knows the answer to, Will you miss my cooking? and her smile creeps only halfway up the curve of her cheeks and she turns her head away.
It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving when my room is far too clean to be mine and my pink blue black bags stand zipped next to the door like guards to a new unknown and my 9-year-old mobile number is going to be stopped and I’ve heard more goodbyes and said more I’ll miss yous in the past week than I ever have in my entire life.
It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving, but on 14 August 2017, I am.
What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
Jack Kerouac, On The Road