All of a sudden I was awaken from my dream and found myself lying in the darkness. For a minute I thought that I was lingering on my bed at Beijing’s home, but realized that I am already back in D.C. At that moment, I was in my small apartment, resumed the alone, bittersweet, escaped, studying abroad life.
Waking up without knowing where I was, this kind of accident happened a few times during the past five years in between my travels between China and the U.S. Switching from being home to travelling abroad mode is rather challenging. Sometimes I found the “boundary” between home and a drifting destination became more burring as the time passed. During the time when I traveled back to Beijing, I hesitated to recall the passcode for entering my home where I grew up, picked up the abandoned Chinese toasting traditions when meeting with mom’s friends, and downloaded a VPN software so I could browse Google and chat with my friends on Facebook…Gradually, my familiar comfy home became somewhat strange while my supposedly “abroad destination” became a more reasonable place in my mind.
On the way of meeting with my best friend Valerie in Beijing, I passed by my high school and took a glance at the street that carries so many sweet memories in my mind. It was a bustling street lined with tiny CD stores and food stands, where I went to bargain for the newest CD album or to grab a cup of milk tea with Valerie. Those untidy shops were gone now, replaced by the newly built glass skyscrapers, and I could barely recognize that it was that street that I often thought about when I was abroad. The little narrow alley, where Valerie and I used to stroll after school, was rebuilt with walls made out of grey concrete, leading toward the glass door of the office building. I glanced into this forever grey and long alley and realized that the laughter, the laid-back time after school, and even a meaningless walk were forever sealed into the concrete. Those memories won’t be waiting for me, and they need to be remembered constantly to preserve a spot in mind.
Now I am back in D.C., sitting in an Italian café in Georgetown, gathering and rewinding those little emotional moments of my trip back to home. By writing all those details down on paper and sharing them on my new blog, I began to learn and understand my thoughts and feelings during the past five years away from home in different unacquainted cities. I know that those sentiments will eventually slip away, while I have to dip my head into the daily repetitive tasks. While it seemed to be not easy to record them in my mother tongue, it’s odd that I found that I could actually write them down smoothly in my second language English.
The magic of being away from home is that, you realized that it is a place and a word that you buried deep in the heart, rarely talked about, but undeniably cherished the most. I know my home won’t be waiting for me, so I lifted my pen and captured every single piece of it.