A year ago, I was at one of the lower points of my life. Even though I was getting ready to graduate, I was also failing a class because I had no will to try. There seemed no point for me to exert any amount of effort because I had truly accepted that life would not get better. I came into terms with myself that I would graduate even if I failed this course, and I was never going to continue with graduate studies anyway. In the end, I skipped that final. No one ever knew.
My personal life was a complete mess as well. At the time, I had been living with someone for three years. Someone who would get angry at me if he caught me reading articles online and scoffed that I was absorbing useless information. Someone who mocked the courses I took and felt that his course of study was infinitely more important. Someone who had siphoned a great amount of money from me, as I would pay for groceries, clothes, apartment furnishings, as well as food every single time we went out. I remember feeling trapped because we lived together, and I desperately looked for a way out.
On the January of last year, I finally signed up to go study abroad. I had learned about this program from my cousin, who had gone on this trip several years back. I had wanted to go since learning about it, but he had guilt tripped me out of going so far for so long. He played on my fears of never having traveled before. But last January, I signed up without telling him. That was when I made my decision to leave.
During the graduation, our families met for the first, and also, last time. Out of everyone that showed up at my graduation, only my mom knew I was getting ready to leave that relationship. That’s when she learned that I smiled the most when I’m unhappy. Granted, there were many reasons for me to be happy that day. Two of my aunts went out of their way to attend my graduation, as well as two of my cousins.
A day or two after the graduation, I drove home with my mother. It was a peaceful ride. We chatted about a lot of things. Then she turned into this steak house on Interstate 5. The one we had always passed, and always wanted to try but didn’t. It would probably be the last time we drove, and we wanted a quiet celebration. Just the two of us. The place was pretty expensive, but it was very delicious. One time deal.
Flash forward a few weeks. I gathered up the courage to leave him. And just as I had anticipated, the threats and the stalking ensued. But it was okay, since I flew out to Beijing a few days later. I told myself that I would not get in another relationship again. Not that things ever work out the way we plan.
Beijing. My first time traveling. It was great. Some of my best memories are from that trip. I was so happy that I did not know what to do with myself. I met a lot of amazing people that helped me find the will to improve myself. Suddenly, I wanted to go back to school. I wanted to go out and travel again. I wanted to learn all the things I thought I couldn’t before. So when I went home, that’s what I did. I started to do lyrical and ballet dance. I took some classes at Berkeley to experiment and figure out my interests. And I was extremely happy.
I remember my friends seeing me for the first time since coming back from Beijing. Everyone said I had changed. A lot. I was more confident, carefree, happy. I felt beautiful in every way. I became a role model of sorts to people more successful than I. And they were also very happy for me. It was the first time they saw me so happy in a relationship. For the first time in my life, I dated someone I was proud of, someone I looked up to. And for the first time in my life, I understood what people meant when they felt butterflies just from reliving memories. I remember being so afraid to mess up, that I guess I did anyways. I fell into this ecstasy, and was terrified that it would go away. In the end, my dream still ended, and after a few desperate clawing at strings of hope, I realized that the past few months was just what it felt like. A dream.
Some things didn’t change though. I still felt in danger of being stalked. Therefore, I rarely went out when I was alone. I knew he drove by my house at least several times, and my mother had asked me if I wanted to stay at a friends’ house because staying at home was not very safe. Despite not hearing from him in a while, my mother still urged that I find a place to hide. Because of my failed attempts to find a job in California, we made a decision together for me to move to a place to try again. I applied for work in several places, but the positions I was offered would barely cover living expenses. Therefore, I turned down opportunities in Baltimore, DC, and Seattle.
I ended up choosing Boston because of several reasons. One of the main reasons I settled on Boston was because Amy was okay with me sharing a room with her temporarily, and I would have my own room in this house as soon as our housemate moved out. The rent was cheap, the area was convenient. I was excited to take another stab at life, and was probably a bit too confident that nothing could go wrong.
Shortly before I moved to Boston, many of my friends asked me if I was still going to go. Some called me naive. Some called me strong. I think I was just foolish. But I think I still made the right decision. I took a class, settled in, met a lot of foreign exchange students and helped them with their English.
I feel very lucky to be where I am at today. I had the opportunity to meet with a very amazing girl from Taiwan and live with her for several months. Unfortunately, she will be moving back to Taiwan during my stay in California. I also have a wonderful landlady and landlord, who sometimes treats us like their own kids. And because of Amy, I also got a job, with a very nice boss. I also got to meet the boss’ wife, who calls me when she wants me to work at her office. My boss then gives me the eyebrows, and I can’t help but laugh. I’m also very happy that he will let me work part time when I start school full time. He lets me have days off because I have to study, and allowed me to take Mondays off because I had class Monday nights.
Life is great when I am doing something, when I am with people. But when I sit alone and it’s quiet, memories come flooding in and asphyxiate me. My chest starts to feel heavy, and suddenly I feel alone again. Thankfully, my friends have been very supportive of me. I still talk to a few people I met in Beijing often, especially my suite mate, Julie.
So, nothing turned out the way I had planned, but when do plans ever work out? But as far as situations allow, I think I’m making the most of life. I’ve turned into quite the workaholic, and picking up ever more skills and knowledge. Enough random knowledge that my boss’ eyebrows will probably fall off from raising them so often. I’m starting to believe it when people say that I know how to do a LOT of random things, because living out here has made me interact with so many different kinds of people that I realize…wow. I do know a lot of random things.
Now I’m getting ready to go home to a mother that misses me a ton. It’s going to be a well deserved break before I fly back to Boston and start working 4-6 days a week while looking for a part time position. Dx