This and the following two posts were written a month ago.
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I’m in an airport terminal, waiting for my flight to Boston. This is my first time on a plane and my first time in Boston since I left Harvard in March 2009. It’s been one year, four months, and two weeks that saw tremendous changes in my personality, relationships, outlook on my self and future, and my perspective in my education. I try to express these changes as well as I can via text, but I know they do no justice to how I truly feel.
Planes were my connection to home. I always look forward to flying, though I am still apprehensive about flying. Unfounded worries. This is my 15th cross-country flight; my first was in October 2006, when I visited Amherst College as part of a college outreach program. I have yet to become accustomed to flying. (The lights in the terminal just went off and came back on.) I can’t sleep on red-eye flights, no matter how much I try. I’m too restless to sleep sitting.
Flights are always satisfying experiences. I look down upon small towns and wonder about the lives down in those towns. It might be strange, but I spend time trying to figure out what urban areas I fly over based on layout. In the weeks before this flight, I tracked the trajectory of this flight to see what areas I would fly over.
I don’t know what to expect in this trip. It’s my first time in Harvard, Cambridge and Boston since I disappeared, as I call it. I left for Spring Break and didn’t return. Only a handful of students knew beforehand I was leaving, the few with whom I felt close and could disclose the news. I left in a somewhat symbolic way: I had my last meal at Harvard at the same restaurant where I had my first meal at Harvard, both times with the same person. It was a strange situation to be in. He and I knew that I was leaving soon, possibly to never return, while the rest of the student body was in Spring Break mode. I considered visiting sometime in the past semester, but I decided against it because I was not yet comfortable reconnecting with many of the students who were in my extended social circles and decided to save my money for a worthwhile trip. I’m in Boston for three days; I arrive Wednesday morning and leave Friday evening.
I’m more apprehensive about who I might see in this trip. I still don’t feel entirely comfortable with reconnecting with some students. Granted, I don’t know who is at Harvard for the summer, but I am a bit worried about the kind of interactions we might have. If I do return to Harvard for the coming semester, I should prepare myself for a series of such interactions.
Long Beach, California
July 27, 2010