The Hardest Goodbye

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 29, 2011

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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I just said goodbye to Sam.  

Afterward, I came back to my room, took a shower, brushed my teeth - and I haven't stopped crying yet.  This wasn't even the last goodbye.  I'll see him again briefly before he leaves at around five tomorrow morning.  That goodbye will be even more difficult.  In one day, I'll go from seeing him everyday to not seeing him at all.  It was never going to be any different, but it still feels sudden.

I packed my room in about four hours today.  The part that was more difficult than the actual packing was getting rid of everything I didn't want to bring home.  I threw away five small bags of clothes, shoes, food, bath products, and junk that I'd accumulated over the past ten months though the space I've been living in is tiny.  I also brought all the household items I bought at the beginning of the year to the kitchen and laundry rooms down the hall.

I returned my campus electricity card and, grudgingly, my foreign expert certificate to Yue, then payed my and Sam's electricity bills.  That was a bit of a fiasco but not worth relating, other than to say that China and Jiangda were as disorganized as ever today and I had to do a lot of gratuitous running around in the 90 degree weather.  Sam tried to make it easy on us by giving the ladies downstairs the money to pay our electricity bills, but they came to my room a few minutes later to say that I'd have to take the money to the office myself.  The office was different from the one we usually go to so I didn't know where it was, and getting there involved a lot of miscommunication or non-communication.  

Nick and Arwen took us to dinner at the restaurant across from our gate then invited us to their room for a chat.  They gave us a good sendoff.

Oddly, I'm not having any feelings, either good or bad, about leaving China.  I'm excited to get home, but I don't feel like I can't wait to leave either.  I think my calmness is the result of weeks of thinking about leaving.  Maybe I'll be apprehensive or sad tomorrow, but for now, I feel okay.

I have to be awake in about four hours to see Sam off.  I'll be tired tomorrow but I'll have fourteen hours to sleep as much as I want on the plane.  I leave Zhenjiang on the train for Shanghai at 10am, and I leave Shanghai airport at 3:45pm.  Sam got his phone turned back on (it was out of credit), so I'll be able to call or text him tomorrow as we're traveling. 

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