The biggest change this year has definitely been me going abroad. I left in February, missing Chinese New Year for the very first time in my life. While it's not such a huge loss, it was weird for me at the time because CNY would mean one thing for me- balik kampung! Well, my parents' hometowns anyway. This year, I spent it in Australia, which was very different.
Next year, I will be able to celebrate CNY (thankfully!) except that this year I will be constantly reminded that I will be leaving soon.
I guess in many ways, this year has been about growing up. Looking back, I definitely was like a child when I left, and I came back (hopefully) older (physically and mentally) and more mature (not to mention mellow).
Conversations with friends definitely made me feel as if most people my age went through something like that as well- the 20s life crisis I mentioned in the previous post. It's as if the realisation that I'm growing into an adult hit me while I'm there. I was leaving the nest and finding my own path to walk.
This year, I recalled a poem that I learned in high school, Si Tenggang's Homecoming. As I remember, it was a poem about Si Tenggang who returns to his homeland after being abroad, only to find people from home highly constricted in their thinking. But when I reread the poem, many verses definitely spoke to me.
the physical journey that i traverse
is the journey of the soul,
transport of the self from a fatherland
to a country collected by sight and mind.
i have not entirely returned, i know,
having been changed by time and place.
coarsed by problems
estranged by absence.
the ways of the rude,
to hold actuality in a new logic,
debate with hard and loud facts.
Many people may think that I'm being ungrateful sometimes because I constantly complain about how tough life is, and how they would do almost anything for a chance to go overseas. Somehow I think that most of these people must never have had lived independently abroad before. It really is true that the grass always seems greener on the other side.
Of course, there were many fun times too- though nothing compared to what I've had experienced back home. But you've got to adapt and live with what you have.