I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up recently. I am preparing to say good-bye to all of my friends, my family, and my life back in New Haven and it’s finally hitting me that I’m leaving in less than a month. I picked up my visa to go to China this afternoon. The Chinese consulate was loud, overbearing and filled with sweaty grandmothers and crying Chinese children. There was a general sense of commotion, people frustrated over the long lines, and the constant monotone voice over the intercom announcing things like “P五八九号九窗户”.
The bathrooms made me wish I was back in the outhouses I had left behind in rural Russia. Technically, a consulate counts as foreign land, and I was home sick for America after an hour there. I walked back the seven blocks to Times Square breathing in the stale New York air with abandon, not even stopping to sneer at the tourists filing into the the Cake Boss Cafe on 40th street and 8th avenue (nor the fact that the cafe sold only XXL T-Shirts). The thought that I’ll be halfway across the world in such a short time terrifies me. But this is it. Getting my visa was the last barrier towards going to China. I have my job offer, my flight, my hotel reservation, and now my visa. By this time next month, I’ll be writing my blog from my new apartment in Shanghai.
I know I write a lot about how terrifying it will be to go to China, but I think it’s more than just being scared of the change of scenery. I’ve lived in New Haven for five years now, on my own for the past three years, but this is the first time I feel like I’m becoming an adult. Sure, I paid rent before and cooked for myself, but somehow this feels different. I always thought when I got older, some switch would just turn on and I would become an adult, but I no longer feel like that’s the case.