In these days before I depart for Hong Kong, abandoning the familiar saddens me a bit. Travelling inherently holds this trap: leaving a home, family and friends behind, knowing there will be a senior-year NU football season that I won’t see, and missing the slow but steady transition from sunny days to the blistering but beautiful and familiar Chicago winter. In knowing the last moments in which I am home, every day and every hour becomes ever-more cherished. These are my last moments here for a long time which I will stamp into my memory until I return, for fear that they will somehow be washed away by new images, places, and experiences, and to be traced in moments of homesickness or longing.
But I know that study abroad, in addition to these difficulties, inherently holds the excitement of an entirely new environment with the advantage of finding familiarity, comfort, and sameness in making my host city and university feel like a new home. Chilly fall afternoons to be replaced by 80 degree days, football perhaps to be replaced by dragon boat races, deep dish pizza by dim sum; but all the while keeping music-making, sport, and economics, in one form or another, part of my regular student life.
Traveling inevitably means missing home, but studying abroad offers the mirror image of most of what I will leave behind. And knowing the temporality of my time in Hong Kong troubles me too; no matter where I go, I will miss someone and some place. But in this moment, I have the most days abroad in front of me; the most to look forward to. And I won’t be missing out.