Monday, May 26, 2014

X

I don't want to leave. Does anyone? How do you even prepare?
Really, I always knew it would come to this. I remember lying in my bed sometime in January, amazed that so much time had already passed. In some sense I suppose I could say with a wistful sigh or panicked shout, "It went by so fast!" But that's not right. It went by exactly as fast as it seemed to go, unforgiving, merciless and straight on towards its inevitable conclusion: May 27th, 2014.

There's no denying that while I am sad to go, I am ready. We, the Duluth students, have spent nine months preparing for this. At first, we consoled each other and bonded over things that we missed, celebrated the discovery of some favorite American product in a local shop. We pleaded our Stateside counterparts to send us culinary contraband, and in return we sent missives of postcards and English chocolate. We stayed up with each other for hours, talking about the lives we had and planning our first steps off the plane and back into what we left behind.

Missing things is really a way of life. After a while, my Missings became more like an itchy scar than an open wound. Before I had a chance to realize it, I was sinking deeper and deeper into a new pool of Missings. Just as I began to enjoy my new cell, I have to leave it. And so, the cycle begins anew.

My last week has been spent doing "lasts" and saying goodbye. Last time going to Asda. Last time buying good chocolate. Last burger, last pizza, last pub, last full English breakfast. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. How do you say goodbye to so many people and things with such finality? I've determined that there is no good way. Goodbye is really only as final as I make it, though, because in some sense nothing will ever leave me.

Fortunately for me, fate is a terrible weaver. In the great tapestry of life, my thread has been crossed many times with many others, and they have all left their mark somewhere - from the trinkets in my bags to the memories in my head. It's weird how even the most insignificant actions can have the most profound effects on others. In this sense, we can make our actions a message to the future.

For this reason, in true V for Vendetta style (and because I'm a sentimental moron) I hid a note in my room for the next occupant to find.

Dear occupant,
My name is Mitchell, and for the 2013-2014 year I was an American exchange student here. I had some of the best times of my life this year, and this room saw my life change. I hope whoever you are wherever you're from, you take opportunities where you can and take the time care about the people in your life.


I've got nothing on my mind,
Nothing to remember,
Nothing to forget.
And I've got nothing to regret.
But I'm all tied up on the inside,
No one knows quite what I've got,
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be
I'm not
anymore.

Crossroads, Don McLean

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