I didn’t think my trip to Boston would end in tears on the stoop of a house at 5am on a Sunday morning. But there I was, mascara running over my red eyes, half in delirium from sleeping less than two hours in the last forty-eight, bawling my eyes out in the middle of Brookline. I haven’t cried like that in months. I hadn’t felt that weak in months. Although I grew up close Boston, this is the first time I had come back to the city since 2011. I think it was coming here, to something that was so familiar, and yet so distant really pushed me over the edge, really reminded me that in less than two weeks, I’m gone. For six months, or eighteen months, or my lifetime — I honestly have no idea.
There’s no time left. There’s no time to make connections, to become best friends, to fall in love. All I have to do is tell perfect strangers that my flight departs July 4th and that I will be back.. one day. I feel like I’m out of time. I panicked, hard on Sunday morning. In fact, I’m ashamed. It feels like I have a knack for making beautiful connections with people hours, days before I leave. The last night in New Orleans, Sheremetyevo Airport in May, Boston just now — I met people who made a lasting impression on me. Except, this weekend, I completely choked. I’m still ashamed and I think I will be for a long time. I hadn’t fully acknowledged that my hours here are so finite and when I did, the devastation hit me so hard that I completely freaked. I wish I could say I’m sorry.
Being back in Boston was painful, a reminder of the familiar, of seeing three Dunkin’ Donuts shops on every block, of eating my weight in Qdoba burritos (although their queso has always been a tad disgusting), of rice crispie waffle-cones at Emack and Bolio’s, walking down Newbury street. It’s a reminder of nights spent wandering through Cambridge at 2am after Harvard-Yale, of seeing the shops that haven’t changed in the past seven years, of bubble tea at Tealuxe, of crossing the Charles River at 6am to a standing ovation from the YPMB because I finally made it to call time; it’s a reminder of growing up, of living independently from home for the very first time in my life. It’s a reminder of my dream to go to MIT, of ultimately choosing against it, of feeling out of place in the very place I once called home.
I found out so much about myself this weekend, about straddling the line between being American and European, going from zero two sixty in seconds (so European), being overly cautious of being hurt (so American), but those are thoughts for another post. For now, I’ll wallow in the misery of last weekend with my friends Ben & Jerry (peanut butter and ice cream are the things I’ll miss the most in China, sorry mom) and try to make the most of my last two weeks at home.