Why is it called a GOODbye when it feels kinda bad to leave?
There are a lot of cliches that come to mind as I sit down and reflect upon the few months that I've spent here in Shanghai. What actually makes a memory memorable? I used to think that a good experience is one that is filled with happiness and laughter. But in retrospect, the important events that stand out to me include not just the happy days, but also the moments of pain and loss. Chinese culture emphasizes a balance of yin and yang, and to me, this ancient concept is an accurate representation of how I see Shanghai, a beautiful, polluted, changing city where I've endured some of the best and worst moments of my life.
Exploring the bustling nightlife of Shanghai was definitely a new thing for me, and it was something that I could only have had experienced thanks to study abroad. I have no cousins my own age here in China, so living with aunts, uncles, grandparents meant waking up at eight in the morning and going to bed at ten pm sharp. To be very honest, I don't think I even knew a nightlife existed in Shanghai until I came here and friends started dragging me out to clubs and bars at odd hours throughout the night. The memories of hopping into cabs and late night karaoke sessions are definitely ones that I will cherish; some of the funny (okay, more like, cringeworthy) events that happened make for great stories to tell back in New York.
Most importantly, I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to spend time with my family. Nothing can describe the humbling feeling that warmed my heart when I went over to my grandpa's house this past weekend and watched him cook lunch for me. After we ate, I went to take a nap on the couch, only to momentarily wake to my grandpa quietly tucking a blanket securely around my body in fear that I would catch a cold… in the summer. As a young person making the best out of college and exploring new things, I am comforted knowing that no matter how far I leave the nest, there are people supporting and loving me each and every step of the way.
In regards to Art of Travel, I am really happy that I enrolled in this course. It definitely made study abroad a lot more meaningful as I sat down each week and reflected about what I experienced throughout my days. Sure, it was extremely stressful at times to make the deadline (and traveling during spring break definitely messed up the schedule of my posts), but in the end I have an online travel diary that I can visit when I want to remember some of my dearest moments here in Shanghai.
While I am reluctant to leave here in just two more weeks, the cliche "when a door closes another opens" rings loud and clear through my mind. This chapter may be coming to a close, but the story is far from being finished. So, I will tell say 再见, which means "goodbye" in Chinese, and instead, let us can take the literal translation of this phrase - "See you again."
So I'll see you again, Shanghai. I'd tell you to please don't change too much, but in reality, I don't mind either way.
Photo Source: Caught a picture of me and Shanghai on a happy clear day!