I feel weird whenever I happen to see the date and realize it’s the end of the year. I always enjoy the jokes that are only possible on this day, though. Aleid told me that she saw a man who had as many noses as days of the year left, and when we said goodbye to our classmates we told them 明年见 (see you next year).
After the last class for the whole year, I went to lunch with some friends. What a lunch! It was totally worthy of being the last lunch of the year. We went to my favorite restaurant – School Friends Cafeteria – and, expecting to be joined by a few others, we ordered a lot of food. The other friends never materialized, so we ended up with 6 dishes for 4 people (when the standard rule of thumb is one dish per person). It was epic! We had 地三鲜，宫保鸡丁，干锅包菜，土豆肉片，铁板牛肉，and 咖哩鸡丁, plus 3 bowls of rice. It was like Thanksgiving; I ate until I was full, ate some more, and then helped finish off the last of the food. Like I said – epic.
I spent the afternoon digesting and watching TV online. I started watching Glee last night and kind of loved it, so I’ve watched all the episodes I could find online. I also bought the first two seasons of Big Bang Theory on DVD yesterday, and am watching them again. They’re even funnier than the first time!
Before attempting to review this year (the next post), I read through the journal posts I’ve written since January. It’s kind of an intense experience, to go through the an entire year in one night. It made me remember, though, why I like journaling. Yes, it was really hard to remember just how it felt to go through that breakup, but it was also amazing to rediscover some really great moments that I’d forgotten, like a particularly epic Mexican dinner that I prepared one night with Juan and the Guernsey brothers.
It was also most amusing to follow the chain of events that brought me here, to this year in Xiamen China. It all started with just one sentence, nearly a year ago on January 29th:
I also went to the CGE and am seriously thinking about various programs or non-programs in China or Korea this summer.
Oh, how things change. And quickly, too – on February 17th:
Nona told me about a new scholarship program that we have with the Chinese government: one full year of study in China, completely paid for. TU gets to nominate one person, and I’m not sure if they are automatically chosen, or if they compete against others. But my odds of being selected from TU are probably pretty good . . . my brain can’t even get around this. What if I deferred my Presidential scholarship and did this?? Miss my senior year . . . and all that implies. I don’t know if I could even do it, but how could I not want to??
Two days later:
I didn’t feel like studying Heat Transfer anymore after Mass, so I started working on my personal statement for the Chinese scholarship. It was a very interesting process. Maybe it will help me clarify my thoughts, like the Goldwater and Udall applications did. It actually already has. I was able to articulate why I want to study in China and what I envision the studying process to be like. . . It was a little scary, though, writing the application. It was about China – not SENEA, not the project, not Chinese, but CHINA. Somehow, my involvement in the project transformed into an attachment to the people, which led to a desire to learn the language and culture, which has become . . . an attachment to China. That’s scary!
And then on March 2nd:
At 6:40 p.m. today, Dr. Matherly sent an email notifying me that I was selected for the Chinese scholarship.
AND EVERYTHING – EVERYTHING – CHANGED.
The next day I thankfully wrote some more:
It wasn’t until I got home that I saw the email from Dr. Matherly. It almost took my breath away. I took a few seconds to compose myself and then got my mom, saying I needed to talk to her. I felt really scattered and incoherent when I tried to tell her what had happened. She was really happy for me and said that a lot of things made sense now – she thought I’d been really distracted and quiet, first of all. Also she understood why I had stopped looking for a car and why I wanted them to think about coming to visit me. . . [Then] I called my dad. He also laughed. Really hard. Starting as soon I said the words “scholarship” and “China”. He said they’ll definitely come visit me now.
And the rest is history.
[Speaking of history, amidst all the year-end retrospection, there was a particular memorable top 10 list: The Onion’s Top 10 Stories of the Last 4.5 Billion Years. Particularly memorable were Four of Five Guys Pretty Much Carry Whole Renaissance, Industrial Revolution Provides Millions of Out-Of-Work Children With Jobs, and Obsessive Freak Abner Doubleday Forces Locals to Play Nonsensical Game.]
So, that wraps up this year for this blog. Enjoy the last little bit of 2009, and I send you my best wishes for 2010!