Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Packing Is Such Sweet Sorrow

I'm not the first college-age male to live abroad, but I'll be damned if I don't feel like it. 
It's so dramatic! It's all tears and goodbyes, as if I were joining the Corps or moving to Mars to hang out with Curiosity. I just keep telling myself that a lot can happen in a year. I could come back a changed person. This is the last time I'll see my friends and family in my current mindset, and that's something worth noting.

My flight leaves midday Thursday. Here I am, midday Tuesday, starting my packing. And I'm still in denial, mind you. Even though I've just booked a hostel for my first night (the next few nights were unavailable). One room in the Apple Hostel, Chungking Mansions. The Ghetto at the Center of the World. A world-renowned hive of extra-legal global commerce, where the only people who won't set foot in it are Hong Kong Chinese. And that's where I'll spend my first night in Hong Kong. I figure, if I can experience Chungking Mansions right off the bat, everything else will seem like a piece of cake. I'm nervous. I'm scared. But I'm also excited.

I thought that I'd burn a lot of bridges when I left, to free myself up. Drop a few social connections and responsibilities. Instead, I burned a single, gigantic bridge, and reconnected all the others. It's a strange feeling, a juxtaposition of happy and sad. But I think that's what travel is also about. It's homesickness, and culture shock, and excitement and enrichment. I'm starting to feel like I'm letting go a little bit. Letting myself get swept away by the experience.

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