Nostalgia is a complex feeling – it is scary because it creeps up on you when you least expect it and it overwhelms you so much that you lose track of the reality. Nostalgia satisfies and nourishes your soul as the array of memories reminds you of what you once had and sometimes the person you once were. Yet at the tail-end of the wave of nostalgia when you slowly return to reality, it leaves you dissatisfied as you are reminded once again of things that would not happen again.
I had my first Spanish class today. The teacher was quite good, I like how she facilitated the lesson in Spanish. Like mentioned earlier, I was motivated to learn Spanish so as to be able to communicate to a certain extent with Eva’s parents who were such amazingly hospitable and kind hosts. I thought of Eva and her family only when the teacher (from Madrid) saw my key chain with the Catalonia’s flag and commented on it.Throughout and after the class, rather unexpectedly, I thought of Constanza a lot and the times we had – how she taught me random Spanish phrases through Whatsapp, how she taught me the pronunciation, how she used Spanish sayings to describe situations and we had to use Google translate to translate the sentences into English. I know some of my friends do not like language/ cultural barriers. Yes, conversations sometimes did get tiring with some misunderstandings and the need to translate but because of this very same language barrier, I feel that we understand each other a lot better. The best way to circumvent language barrier is through knowing the other person better and how she thinks. She definitely knows me a lot better than my clique mates in school. I miss her so much.
It has been close to 7 months since the end of my exchange program in Hong Kong. Even so, sometimes some memories surface themselves in my mind and they feel so recent so much so that I could see all the faces and almost hear the conversations, laughter and gossips. Why do certain memories fade so quickly while others, perhaps seemingly more ordinary and mundane, linger on for so long? I really hope I could remember more things from my UROPS days which would be handy for me right now but they just won’t come to me. Yet, random Hong Kong episodes, such as how we lied to one of our friends that we were going somewhere nearby for dinner but ended up dragging her all the way to Central, keep appearing in my mind. The human mind is so difficult to understand.
The bad thing about all these waves of nostalgia is that it makes me detached from reality. Things that I am doing now begin to look unimportant and I feel unsatisfied with life even though I am doing pretty well right now. Furthermore, I also feel that people around me don’t understand me the way those friends do back in Hong Kong.
Rationally, I want to stop thinking about the past and live in the present – I want to move on, I want to live in the moment and enjoy it, I don’t want to discredit the friends around me just because they aren’t the same as my friends in Hong Kong. But emotionally, I love to indulge in these bites of nostalgia and remembering that lifestyle, those conversations and that outgoing, emotionally open part of me in Hong Kong. It’s a never-ending tug-of-war between the mind and the heart and it will only end when something more important and life-changing as compared to the exchange program happens in my life. Until then, I will try to balance it.
“If we could distill it and make it readily available to us at all times, which part of our lives would we want to live again? Or are we contented with just a memory, half remembered, weighted, fanciful, dreamy and a departure from reality.”
I know exactly which part of my life I would want to live again.