There are some things people don’t tell you about studying abroad — saying goodbye is rough.
My last days in Davis were overridden with bitter, rather than sweet. My thoughts? The city and campus will go through dramatic changes that I’ll never fully experience. I will probably never see two years worth of people again. The people I will see again will go through dramatic changes that I’ll never fully experience, and our changes may progress in such ways that, ultimately, I will never see them again.
Not only am I going to encounter nothing but complete strangers in August abroad, but when I return next May, it might feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again. Surrounded by strangers, and newly strange old friends.
I remember a conversation I had with Fred Wood, UC Davis vice chancellor of Student Affairs, early spring quarter. I told him about my upcoming travels, and my plans to blog through the whole journey, and he said that I certainly should. He said I should come see him when I return in 2012, and to talk about how I was acclimating back to life as an Aggie. Apparently, he said, it’s rough.
My blogging intention was to start it all out as a corny how-to guide to studying abroad, and then continue on with actual adventure tales alongside pretty pictures. Obviously things didn’t really go according to plan, but I didn’t even consider that people might be seeking advice on how to eventually readjust — could that really be the issue? Now, I’m fearing that it is.
As I consider some of the items I should buy in the coming days — a quality daypack, travel sized toiletries, long underwear — and impatiently await the arrivals of my visa and housing assignment, I think my most dreaded day is going to the day I return the key to my Davis apartment. Because then it’s really official. I would have physically packed up my current life, put it on hold, in a garage, while the people and place continue on. And now I’m forced to muse about repackaging that life into one suitcase inside another suitcase. To last a year.