Bye Grinnell!

After many, many papers and finals, after many, many, many MORE hours writing/preparing for these papers and finals, I am finally done with this semester!!

DOOOOOONNEE! OVER! Clap the dust off my hands, smoothen my imaginary apron, and LEAVING THIS PLACE!

Yeash I’m on the road again!

Hahah to me that sounds like I’m on a road trip, which would easily be one of the most awesome things on the planet, but nope, road-trippin’ is not on my agenda right now, unfortunately.

But! What is on my agenda is sweet California!

Right now I’m in Los Angeles, the City of Angels!

I’m staying at my friend’s place. I’ll be here for 1.5 weeks, then I’ll go to San Francisco for almost a week. Then we’ll be joined by another friend, and we’ll head off to San Diego, then Las Vegas, and another day back here in LA.

And after all that, I shall leave for my biggest adventure yet — 5 months in France.

Actually, I regret choosing France. I’ve been telling some people that I am not excited about studying abroad in France anymore.

I’m not going to Paris like I had planned, because it will cost my parents an extra USD$ 10,000, and NO CITY is awesome enough to justify spending RM32,000 more than usual just to be there.

So I’m going to Nantes, France instead. But in reality, right now I wish like mad that I’ve chosen to go to Senegal instead. (During the application process, I’d been very torn between these two countries.)

Senegal screams adventure, Nantes does not.

Senegal is getting down and dirty, doing REAL grassroots development work. Nantes is sitting down in a classroom, learning about subjects that are more or less offered by Grinnell as well.

Major plus — Senegal is in Africa. One continent I’ve never stepped foot on before. How does it make so much sense now that Senegal is the perfect program for me, eh?

Aaaaaanyway. My friends have been telling me that I will be very excited once I touch down in France and I will have a lot of fun, that kind of thing. I guess so! I think I’m also just really nervous about my French, because I am not at all confident in my French-speaking abilities. I suck in French. But that’s the whole point of going to France lah, to improve.

I am talking unnecessarily right now, you are not interested in my petty internal conflicts.

I have not slept for the past two nights. The first night, I was busy packing up my stuff. Everything I own here, all my worldly possessions, fit into 3 large containers.

It was so hard to pack this time round. I know I’ll be spending the winter around California. I know I’ll be spending 5 months in France. And I don’t know where I’ll be for the 3 months of summer, but I know I won’t be home, and I know I really, really hope to get an internship in Africa. So basically, I was trying to pack the things I’d need for the next 9 months of my life, and for very different seasons and weather.

Very hard, trying to pack a balance of winter clothes and summer things into a large suitcase and a small carry-on. Also, very emo-fying.

What I mean is, it made me very emo because I realize I won’t be in Grinnell for the spring semester, which means I won’t be seeing my senior friends graduate. Which basically means, this is the very last time I’ll ever see them again, because I certainly won’t fly to their countries just like that.

This is incredibly sad. The class that’s graduating this year is the class that’s right above us, so they’re also the class that we’re closest to. And it hit me that, SHIT! We are actually really parting ways now! For real!

However! There’s also a sweet side to this sad story — not coming back for my spring semester also made me realize that I actually matter to some people more than I had thought.

I guess I’m fine with leaving friends whom I know will still be here when I get back in the fall semester; it’s the friends that will no longer be here that are so hard for me to say good bye to.

There’s this one girl in particular that I am so, soo sad to leave. She’s from India, and even though we knew each other before, we didn’t start hanging out until this semester. Frankly, I used to dislike her. I thought she was disrespectful and rude. But she seemed to like me, because she always happily greeted me when she saw me.

Then she and I started hanging out, and oddly enough, we hit it off really, really well. I said “oddly enough” because she and I are very, very different people. She is by FAR one of the most outgoing people I’ve ever met. She is loud. She can talk to ANYONE, and she seems to know EVERYONE. At the very least, everyone seems to know/have heard of her. The student-government, good-friends-with-all-school-officials kind of person. I am none of that.

But I think my mom would say she is a “bad influence”, just because she smokes hookah every day, and drinks every other day. It rubbed off on me, and I started drinking more than I did before. She was the one who got me drinking before writing my papers. I wrote 5 papers this semester after downing several, or at the very least 3, shots of alcohol. Whatever alcohol we could find in our rooms. She was the one who suggested we go to a bar at 7am, which resulted in us going to class tipsy.

This winter, she’ll be going home for her engagement ceremony. After her graduation, which is in half a year, she will have her wedding. An arranged marriage that she is unhappy about, because she has the biggest ambition of anyone I’ve met (she is opening her own school for IB teachers, all already planned out and approved for funding), but her marriage is restricting her career.

It sounds weird to say I bonded with someone over taking shots and pulling all nighters to write papers, but we bonded. She is quite a character, to say the least. I am so sad to say goodbye to her, because she’s one of the very, very few people that I am completely comfortable being with.

And after everyone’s finals were over, we had a final get-together in one of my friend’s room. A friend who’s also graduating this year. His room is one of the nicest places to hang out in because he has a huge collection of different alcohols, and he is always damn willing to mix drinks for you.

So that night, after cups of juice, I had to use the restroom. Maybe it was the vodka, actually it must’ve been the vodka, because when I walked out of the toilet cubicle towards to sink, I became super, SUPER emotional. This was the bathroom that I remember so well from all those nights when we drank. I remember someone drunkenly slam the cubicle door on my fingers, resulting in a horrible dark bruise. I remember a friend walking into a shower cubicle and tried to pee there. I remember holding up the hair of another friend who was hugging the toilet bowl and throwing up into it. (You know how there are jokes about good friends being the ones who hold your hair up as you throw up into the toilet? That is so true. I almost puked from that experience!)

Saying goodbye to people is part and parcel of leaving home for any reason at all, though. Okay, yes, accept.

I can’t imagine how horrible graduation will be.

* * * * *

It is raining non-stop around California. I left Grinnell for good weather mannnn!!

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