On Packing

I wrote this about a year ago, and most of it still holds true.

Packing is always symbolic and meaningful for me. Over the past four years, I’ve packed and unpacked so many times. While I hate the physical aspect of packing, just because it always takes a lot of energy to fold and compartmentalize all the things I own, unpacking is always more fun. When unpacking into a new place, I love the feeling of being excited for the times to come and getting all my personal belongings to fit into the new slots I have for them. In a way, when I unpack, I’m unpacking myself and getting myself to fit into the new space that I am entering.

Packing on the other hand is always a little more difficult. I have to throw away a lot of things that cannot come with me where I am going. There are always a lot more things than there are boxes and suitcases. It’s a time of reevaluation. Do I really wear this t-shirt? Do I keep this book? Which friends will stay in touch with me, which friends will I stay in touch with? How will I say goodbye, or thank you, or “See you soon”?

Graduation always makes things a little more bittersweet, and even more so for an international student, I guess. Most of my friends are from different places. Once we leave the comforts of school and the familiarity of 13th Ave, we’re like little dandelion seeds blown every which way, each set out to grow and conquer some space far away from each other.

Sure, there are innumerable ways of keeping in touch. There’s facebook, email, twitter, livejournal, messenger, text messages, maybe letters. But there really is no substitute for the ease of being able to say, hey, let’s get a burger, or let’s smoke some hookah, or let’s watch a movie, without the fear of someday losing touch.

But, on a positive note, though I may not be able to fit all my junk into my suitcases, and I may not be able to take all the people who are important to me to where I’m going, or to where you’re going – that’s the good thing about memories. They can come in sizes small, big, or awkward, but I can always take them with me and unpack and re-pack them anytime. I have so many of them, and you’re in them.

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