I started writing this on my plane from NYC to SFO, and now, it’s been exactly a month since I moved to the west coast. And, right, I am still writing it 🙂 I don’t think there’ll be an end if I am continuing counting all those trivia and important things Chen and I have experience together.
In the last month we lived together, Chen kept on telling me: you know what, I will NOT cry when you leave, cause I just want you to forget me, and I am really not sentimental (and her classic look of raising her brows and smiling with one side of her month tilted, LOL). I think I believed her at that moment. She’s better at controlling emotions than I do, i guess.
But then on the farewell party, we both cried when I was singing something (couldn’t remember the song). I never asked what she was thinking at the moment when she was crying. For me, it was not necessarily I think leaving is a sad thing, it’s more of, right, so this girl, that I have lived with for one year, her smile, ways of living, things we did together, everything, now has to be put a period mark after that. Even if we could write to each other, talk to each other, keep in touch like all those good friends will do, I knew it’s never gonna be the same. It’s saying good bye to that part of my life. I can go back to Ithaca literally whenever I want, but things will be complicated. I’ll carry on my life, like she carries on with her phd. When we meet again, we’ll both have different life experience and stories we can share. It’s a good thing that we got to move on to new stages of our life, but at the same time, we are not and I don’t think we could go back to that previous page of the book we read or wrote together.
Ithaca will not be the Ithaca that I lived, Chen will not be the Chen whom I knew and I will not be the same either. People sometimes say things remain the same, well, when they say that, I think they mean “mostly.” What’s unchanged is changing itself. I remember Mitch told me that when I moved from China to the U.S.
A month ago at CTB, when Catalina was celebrating her passing her dissertation defense. I am sure she went a bit tipsy (come on, who doesn’t do that after finishing 6 years of studying in Ithaca), but one thing that I remember she told me, and made sense to me was that, all the things that you thought you said goodbye too, will be embedded in memory, your life, become part of you which will always be there. The experience changes you in a profound way, it’s like, me, this girl Sally, whom I will live with for the rest of my life, will always has a part of “Chen” in her, will always has a part of “Ithaca” and “Cornell” in her. All these experience we acculated eventually made us to be the people we see when facing the mirror everyday. Just heard it from someone last night, instead of spending time yearning about the past, being sad about the fact that we had to say goodbye, a wise attitude to look at it is how fortunate I had her in my life, and how appreciate I should be to the memories we shared and created together.
Perhaps it applies to everything else I experience in Cornell (Peggy, Wendy, Fidel, Xuan, Jing, Chris, Summer Hills guys, Chorus, etc.) everything else in my very first two years in this extrordinary, crazy, wierd and super cool new country USA. Every day we lived becomes an invisible history that will shape our future, and the important thing is that,
I had you, my dearest Chen, by my side, for all these golden and white days we had together. You have changed and will keep on changing me (in a good way ;D).
(thanks for shenwei for the nice photo shots)
One week after I left Cornell, there’s one day I am sitting in the back seat of a taxi in NYC, and all of a sudden I wanted to know what Chen’s been up to, and the next second I realized she’s hundreds of miles away from me, and 3 days later, she’ll be thousands of miles away from me, the feeling of we are physically so distant away from each other immediately brought me nothing but tears.
Good luck Chen, and I will see you soon.