An hour more, and then Maria will take me to the airport. The house is spotless, the emptiness and I wait while minutes pass. So.
The academic year ended, without fanfare. I flew home to California and opened the gift of seven days with my mother, father, brother, sister in law, and relatives. I forget sometimes how fully inside myself I am, when I am with family. We met in Yosemite, and the park gave us moments of unsurpassable beauty. Every visit to that place brings a surprise, some new happiness - to share it with people with whom you have known always, this is truly a boon. On this visit, we watched a rainbow slither up Bridalveil Falls, and marveled at riverbanks overcome with snowmelt. We cooked and hiked together. And in the end, we gathered around the campfire with marshmallows and stories.
When the weekend ended, we all went to my grandparents' home for barbeque and conversation.
Sometimes I get it right.
Back to Durham for graduation. It was not yet my time, but so many of my best friends collected their degrees and we lingered for days together. I see so much bravery in them - many without jobs yet, but going eyes open and heart strong into the coming days, taking the uncertainty as it comes. I've not yet thought about what it will be like to still be here, next year, when so many of those whom came with me are gone. I could not stand the good-byes to those whom I knew I wouldn't see again for many years. Even now, I can't stand it. It wasn't this hard the last time, was it? Will it ever get easier?
"Are you excited for China?" people ask me again and again. "Yes," I say, but in me is also fear, eagerness, determination, hope. How will I begin this journey? I'll have a long plane ride to think about it, and perhaps then I'll know.
In the meantime, I've promised myself I will write almost every other day. My personal reflections will continue here, where you can follow me in what I hope will be an honest portrait and reflection of my challenges - and the resulting failures or successes.
My research journal will exist at http://sites.duke.edu/jennifer where those of you who are interested can keep up with my internship work.
I'm also going to attempt to keep this custom Google Map updated so you can see where I am: bit.ly/lt9yvU
Now it is me and the stillness. I wonder if I'm forgetting anything, then realize, it's what I remembered that matters.