Many small years

I’m living in a little room in a country over 7000 miles away from home, without my art supplies and too little space for the guitar and a piano. The walls are chalky and I can’t seem to get the tapestry to stay in place. It chokes people in their sleep and is prone to being ripped down by a careless jerk of the arm.

Sometimes I can’t stand being in there. I sit on the floor to read. But it’s weird to think that I have already made memories in that space- I can see myself stumbling over my suitcase to pass out on the bed, trying to be discreet so as not to wake the roomie. Or that time I lay down and rested my eyes whilst he told me stories and was subsequently exiled from the room (polite roommate request). I have confirmed my suspicion that I don’t like sharing rooms.

Being back in Hong Kong for Christmas, it’s tempting to feel like this is where nothing has changed, where our new lives are on hold. We’ve all had multiple New Beginnings but here is the place where we go back. I can ring my friends with the certainty that they will pick up with their Hong Kong numbers and be able to jump on my sister if I should feel like it. Even though I’m sat by the dining table where I’ve sat a thousand times and the sun is falling on the cashews and the plants lined by the windows in that way that makes me think this could be any other Wednesday, I am so far removed from where I was even six months ago. Pre-university and post-graduation was a rounded event in itself; a small year. And my heart drops to think that I will be turning nineteen soon. Too soon.

I have been displaced and renewed, forced to care about some things and ignore others- I don’t have time to separate my laundry and read every passage assigned. I have learned to make sacrifices because there aren’t enough hours in the day to live a balanced life. I have learned to be more forgiving towards myself, to give myself time, to let myself be challenged. My best is enough.

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