Or: Dear You,

As the farewells roll in, I’m motivated to write again. It’s likely this may be my last chronological entry regarding study abroad; I may keep updating the China 2014 section, but they’ll probably be posted postmortem of my experiences.

This semester has been a plethora of foreign and exciting opportunities, the best of which was meeting and getting to know people from all over the world. What I didn’t count on was making friends with these marvelous people as well.

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I knew I was going to make friends at PKU that would be on the other side of the world in 4 months, so I expected that would put something of a damper on founding new friendships. But life in PKU, especially within our 光华本科交换生圈子, is such a bubble that I began to forget my personality and life back home. Making friends is like being in a twilight zone where everyone is a ghost passing by. If I don’t capitalize each moment with someone, it feels like I’ll lose them soon.

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But now the magic is ending, my stay at the Sanatorium Berghof draws to dusk, and it’s time to start packing my suitcases. It seems every day, I see someone for the last time, and it makes me realize that while some friends I will keep despite the distances, others will fill only this chapter of my life.

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It’s a bittersweet epiphany, because I cherish the community we built here. When we took our group photo four months ago, we were strangers. Now, of everyone in the photo, I can name 95%, say several unique things about 90%, and feel protective of 100%. But if you ask me how many I will remain in contact with after the exchange, I’m loathe to reply. In my heart I know that the answer is not 100%, but I wish so much that it could be.

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt so grateful for social media, because it enables me to keep the number of continuing contacts as high as possible. As our paths diverge, I hope to leave you with some honest writing — they only convey a fraction of the words I wish I had time to say in person.

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To my exchange friends: even if we may talk or share less, I will not care about you less nor remember you less. Our parting may be difficult now because we don’t know what the future holds, but there is sweetness in this, too: I am excited to see how we will grow and where we will go in the years to come.

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Another time and another place, we will meet again!

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