Upper West Side, Manhattan.
The rain had just stopped pouring, but the sky was still cloudy. Greyish in color. The wet earthy smell filled the air, my nose, my mind. I walked back home from the law library at Columbia University located eight blocks away from my apartment, passing people coming back from school, from work, from anything that they were doing in this summer season in the Big Apple.
Oh, Big Apple.
It was several days before the summer program at Columbia University ended. I had a mixed feeling even though it was not worse than the one I had experienced in Lincoln, Nebraska. Transition always brings a mixed feeling, does not it?
Everyone, in fact, felt the same. The farewell gathering invitations were coming in the Slack channel. A hosted this, B hosted that, C hosted this for celebrating the coming of a class end.
Three intensive months. Three months of sitting together – literally sitting- in the World Room at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, doing our coding and assignments, as well as having lunch and eating in the park across the Journalism building and randomly talking about anything.
After several weeks, the students became quite close to one another. I did not know much about all the students but I had made close connections with some of them.
I realized that Cecile had a favorite spot to sit in the back corner and munching fruits, Kenji liked to hunt Japanese snacks in NYC, Dominik had a regular habit of exercising in the gym or swimming during break time, Ming almost always ate Chinese food or beverages for lunch, Arun had always a unique solution to everything, Chikezie had a talent in poetic writing, Musinguzi once told he could not make a map and one day later he could make a good map, or Eleni was crazy in love with Asian food, especially dumplings. And in several days, its gonna come to an end.
I think I was more prepared with separation, the coming of an end. The coming of a new day. This what my life had been in these couple of years. Always a start and an end. In a short period of time. Jumping from one boat to another boat. Always with a precaution. Always with a plan of what’s next.
However, there was something changing for now. I was more longing to a certain, grounded life. It was interesting how several months could shape your heart and soul in such a strong force.
Yet. The first two months were quite a struggle to adapt here, with everything was so limited and chaotic. The third month, everything started to become familiar, like a real constant heartbeat. It became a routine, a fixed pattern for a potential settling down. The classes, the assignments, the working, the romantic dates between classes and assignments. All of them were starting to become a part of my life. And I could feel that I was getting more grounded. Not that I wanted to stay here forever, because I wanted to travel more to more countries to learn and share. It is just that the encounters with the people, the city’s rhythm and the lifestyle felt indifferent to me.
At this moment, I was clueless. I had an intuition of living in this country for one more year, meeting the love of my life before getting back to Indonesia and started to provide journalistic training there and doing many great things together with my future spouse. But it’s just a feeling. I don’t know for sure. Again, waiting for God to do the magic like four months ago when the NYC’s thing came so sudden.
Oh, life, life.