Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Through the eyes of a study abroad student: Embracing the art of being transient

Last month, in one of my writing classes at Westminster, I was able to work with playwright Ben Musgrave.

He had the entire class do one particular exercise where we drew geographical maps using dots and family background information.

When he looked at mine, he said, “So, your family line has almost covered the entire globe.”

Up until then, I didn’t exactly realize how true that statement was. Musgrave then proceeded to ask me if most of my family lived in the city or the countryside, and which setting I preferred.

I have been asked many times throughout my life whether I prefer the city life or the countryside.

When I was younger, I was convinced that my roots would always bring me back to the city, no matter what. After having moved from a large city in California to a small suburban town in Massachusetts, it was something I always told myself would happen.

And now, having experienced living in both, you would think I would be able to tell you. I should be able to tell you if I can favor one more than the other and present a strong argument for why, but the thing is, I cannot. It is something I have always thought about, as someone who constantly thinks of the future and wonders where they’ll end up, but I just cannot chose one over the other.

Ogwen Valley
Connie Lai/Journal Staff

Like with most things that come along in life though, I think I will always need a balance of the country and the city. There is always the thrill and excitement of living in the city, but there are definitely times when I have wanted to pack up and move away (temporarily, least). Then comes the peaceful solitude one finds in the countryside — less industrialism, more earth, more quiet. And for a period of time, when I am laying out on the grass, I can tell myself that I could drop everything to move to such a place, but then, I think about how much I would miss the city.

Just this past weekend, after having returned to central London for a week and feeling relieved, six days later, I wanted to escape to the countryside again. So there I was, on a train 30 hours later, to the Isle of Purbeck, surrounded by the friendliest four-legged creatures, then thinking I want to become a farmer.

There’s part of this nomadic tendency that has grown into who I am, that scares the hell out of me. Mostly because there is also the less freer side of me that exists; the one who still possesses a tough exterior and likes to carry around lists and likes to finish everything a month before it is due. But I have learned to live with a balance of the two, and even if either or drives me a little crazy sometimes, those are two sides of me that I need in order to exist and be who I am.

It’s freeing to not feel like I have any restrictions or limitations on where I can end up or what I can accomplish. Learning to love each place I’ve seen along the way, whether it is in the city or country, has just continued to expand my horizons on all the world’s possibilities. It has made me less fearful of the unknown, because I know wherever I end up, it will be exactly where I need to be.

Before I return to Boston next month, I still have three more stops to go. In two days, I will be on a plane to Africa, and maybe, just maybe, I will discover myself wanting to find a life there, too.

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Connie Lai, Staff Writer

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Through the eyes of a study abroad student: Embracing the art of being transient