Eleven months ago, I wrote a note to a crying stranger in a café, assuring her that her troubles would pass and that she was not alone. You can do it, I wrote.
A week later, I needed a kind stranger to write me a note, promising me that I was not alone, that my troubles would pass, that everything would be okay.
More than a few kind strangers entered my life this year; they grew into kind friends.
I’m at my parents’ house in Rochester, enveloped by a quiet joy, a delight at having my family all together. There’s a warm bubble somewhere just above my heart, noticeable despite a slight constriction in my chest. In a few days, I’ll be getting on a plane with my two checked bags, a carry-on bag, and a backpack to move back to Singapore, a place that I love and still call home. I’m not sleeping well, which must mean I’m nervous.
Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has supported me through a year fraught with personal challenges. With their support, I learned a lot about myself, confronted some demons I didn’t know I had, and gained a sense of what I want and what I’m looking for.
So, I want to say thank you.
To the friend who sat with me for hours to find an apartment, figure out the next steps, and forced me to literally get up, get dressed, and get out;
to the friend who let me be sad and supplied me with wine and cheese to help the sadness go down a little easier;
to the friend who held me when “New York City” by The Chainsmokers filled the LA Convention Center;
to everyone who told me to talk to a therapist and to my roommate who gave me the last push in that direction;
to the therapist who let me talk and assured me that that I’m doing okay at this thing called life and that I’m allowed to listen to myself;
to the friends who called on Skype and over the phone to remind me that they may be far away, but they’re here;
to the colleagues who put a smile on my face every single day, made me look forward to coming to work, became my friends and confidants, taught me about resilience and overcoming adversity, and gave me the safest, most nurturing place to be when I had nowhere else to go;
to the students whose questions pushed me to rethink schools, education, and my plans for the future;
to the UES carpool squad who became my reason for getting out of bed nearly every day for the first few months of school and for friendship, political solidarity, and Starbucks Fridays;
to my sister and brother who checked in on me, came to visit, and reminded me that my “built-in friends” are really never going anywhere;
to my parents who showed me the world;
Thank you all so much.