Wednesday, May 7, 2008

happy memories. unsure future.

so here's a taste of mature for you.

on this blog, and elsewhere in my "real" life, i keep iterating how i can't wait to go home. how i'm so psyched and how all i want is to go home NOW. how america is the best place on earth (despite its flaws) and i'll automatically be happier there than here.

first. i've started realizing that i'm holding onto a dream, onto past memories here.
i keep looking forward to going home. but i actually have no idea what i'm going back to.

i keep thinking only of the past. but i have no idea what my "present" (current future) will be like.

i'm realizing that i will be going back to something NEW. this is not america as i knew it. i am not returning to my "old life." i'm returning to the new version of my old life. i'll still be christine lim from caldwell, new jersey who now lives in north caldwell. but i'll also be christine lim 1L at columbia and not christine lim duke undergrad bleeding blue. and THAT new christine's life, i have NO idea what it'll be like. the cost of grocery "staples" like bread and milk are at an all-time high. what is this new christine on a budget going to eat?

old christine: happy duke undergrad surrounded by her friends
new christine: unsure columbia 1L with her friends scattered around the country/world and having to make new friends

old christine: knew what she wanted for her future (duh law school)
new christine: not really sure what she wants for her future, what direction law school will take her (i hadn't really planned the future past the point of law school)

old christine: parents' gold amex (no spending limit!)
new christine: no gold amex, a million dollars in debt for school

old christine: young and confident that she can do anything she wants to do
new christine: a bit more mature and experienced in the side of the world that doesn't let her do just anything she wants to do and knows that even in the face of the best-laid plans, somethings just do NOT work out her way

old christine: shopped 'til she dropped and then some
new christine: will have to deal with living in a princess' city on a pauper's budget

old christine: lived in a 300+ square foot room that exuded newness and AC and closet space and happiness
new christine: will live in a teeny tiny pest-infested apt. in new york whose monthly rent could cover an ENTIRE year of rent in durham

old christine: spent over $1000 a month on FOOD, in addition to her on-campus meal plan
new christine: has been debating if it's worth it to spend $60/month on food for the last 2 months she's in korea

the america i'm going back to is also not the same place i left.

i remember an america where gas was less than $3/gallon.
there was no economic recession/depression.
my friends were fighting for jobs at bear stearns and UBS (and now one's bankrupted and bought out and UBS had largest layoffs yet).
no foreclosures on homes all the time.
we thought the nominees would be hillary and giuliani and they had it in the bag.
britney was not crazy.
i wasn't worried/didn't care what food cost in NY bc i lived in NC.

it'll be a HUUUUUUGE readjustment. not just the "culture shock" i'm bound to encounter on my way back into the atmosphere of normal. (or a kind of a crazy that i'm used to not this korean crazy that's all greek to me). but going from american in terms of undergraduate life in durham to graduate life in NYC. why oh why am i doing this. what oh what is my life going to be like.

but i think, as long as i keep this in mind, i'll be less set up for disappointment. i've realized that going back and expecting to pick up the same life i left behind makes no sense at all. i know i'm going back to america, but like anything else, even my country has changed. i'm looking forward to going home, to america. but not to my old life, not the one i left. i keep forgetting that i've graduated and everything has changed. and that's not just because i'm in korea. it's because we've all moved on, we're all going to keep moving on, life is going to keep changing. but i am totally looking forward to my constants. to my friends and family who keep me grounded and love me and support me no matter where i am or what i'm doing. regardless of how far apart we are or how randomly we are able to talk, those constants are what REALLY makes america what it is to me, what REALLY makes america a country worth returning to.

and some mathy thing that showed up when i google-image-searched: "past future"

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