This post was written as part of the Scintilla Project as an answer to the following prompt: What have been the event horizons of your life – the moments from which there is no turning back?
It seems fitting that today’s prompt had to do with event horizons when just yesterday my brother emailed me the URL to his new online writing portfolio. (Remember his quote about compassion I shared? Yeah, his portfolio should shape up to have some good stuff, although that quote of his is still my favorite.) But he also emailed me a short piece titled “Home,” which tied a lot into Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong. That got me reminiscing about our nomadic childhoods, and with today’s prompt being about event horizons, I’m taking it as a sign to write about it.
If my life was a book, each chapter would be divided up by location: Hong Kong. Delaware. Perth. Chicago. DC. Beijing. DC again. My family moved around a lot when I was a kid, and when I was in college I decided to take a year abroad in Beijing. I’m still not satisfied I’ve moved around enough in life, so I’m sure in the coming years I’ll squeeze in a couple more moves and relocations around the world. But it’s different to think about when you are a (supposedly) mature twentysomething rather than a teenager who gets uprooted again, and again.
I remember my house in Hong Kong surrounded by packing boxes. I remember that our neighbor wanted to buy our toaster, for some strange reason. I remember holding onto my dad’s hand on that long flight to the States.
I remember sitting by the window of my new second-floor room in our house in Delaware, looking out in the street to see the movers haul everything inside. I remember sitting on that brown and white striped fold out couch, that same one I sat on for numerous baby photos. I remember wondering when we would go back “home” to Hong Kong, not realizing that Delaware would be my home for the next several years.
I remember the goodbye party my sixth grade class threw me, the promises to keep in touch I already knew that none of us would keep. I remember standing in the hallway of my house in Delaware one last time. I remember arriving in steaming hot Australia, the sunshine so bright it beamed off the dusty orange roof tiles on every house. I remember hating Australia in the beginning.
I remember loving Australia in the end. I remember that gigantic temper tantrum I threw when I found out we would be moving back to the States. I remember how I cried for days, with some of my friends crying as well. I remember how I kept crying in Chicago, too. I remember my first full day there I sat in my new room, surrounded by packing boxes and the howling wind and snow. I remember how I threw a gigantic pity party for myself.
I remember feeling a combination of nerves and excitement for college and wondering if I would find the mythical friends that would be friends for life. I remember thinking I was supposed to feel like a grown up now that I was in college but actually feeling like the furthest thing from it.
I remember landing in China and somehow knowing I was in the right place at the right time. I remember almost seamlessly falling into the rhythm of life there and knowing that there are few things better than having my fingertips on a city’s pulse.
I remember settling into DC and doing everything right: graduating with honors, landing a great job, settling into my first apartment, continuing to fall in love.
I remember the constant wondering, the dreaming, the brainstorming: where’s next?