I never realize how much I've settled in until I start packing. An empty suitcase is a sign of home, and it's strange to think that things can become so routine over 6 short weeks. It's those small things you miss the most - sleeping through class, hanging out during breaks, communal naps, being in Wesley's room more often than my own, late nights in B1, waking up in the morning and realizing that Amy's taking up most of the bed, Andrew's eating face, Natalie's gullibility, "Call me tomorrow"s, sitting next to Patrick on the bus, bed checks, fake glasses, ugly faces, holding thumbs, how "We're leaving at 2" really means we're going to leave at 3, my exploring Taiwan booklet, "Rebekah, just because food is in arm's reach does not mean it's yours," drinking way too much bubble tea, san ban practices which really meant sitting around doing nothing, how nothing in my room ever worked, Hi-Life runs, and this:
I don't even know where to begin to express how thankful I am to have yet another summer in Taiwan that's going to keep me nostalgic for the next little while. There were so many fresh faces, first impressions to get over and friendships to be rekindled. Some relationships started out with a "BAM!", others were prophesied and all of them are worth treasuring. I essentially spent every waking moment of my 6 weeks with these kids, learning how they were REALLY like once they got comfortable and also making up for lost time with the ones I already knew from beforehand. I already knew at week 1 that the end of week 6 was going to be difficult, but knowing that didn't make it any easier. My goodbyes left tear-stained shirts (ah, so embarrassing) and are still in the process of sinking it. The undisclosed amount of time between now and next time makes me want to bawl all over again.
It's strange to think that we were just there, altogether, but now we're all heading back to our guo jias. It was sad packing away a summer of living, countless friendships and memories, and a home into an empty suitcase.
All that's left is to keep our fingers crossed, hope for kept promises and wait for the "until next time" to be true.