We live in an amazing world - you can wake up one morning and smile at the Pacific Ocean; by nighttime you're walking amongst the verdant Carolina campus, lost amongst the memories of the past.

It was odd - when I tried to make a list of people I wanted to get in touch with, the list was remarkably short. Not because I didn't want to meet them, but because so many people have moved away. Everybody's scattered. Washington DC, Atlanta, New York, LA, Charlotte...

I always took NC being "home" for granted, but it's something I can't do for much longer. Once my parents sell their house and move to Kansas City, there will be nothing here for me. The friends I have are thinned out, and my sister will also be working in some other city. I'll have only the stories of my youth to connect me to this place. Will I ever even fly back here if nobody is here? I'll be here for the weddings of the few friends that are left, but after that... what?

Constant migration is such a quinessential American trait. On the train ride back from Lhasa, Tibet to Beijing, China, we got to meet a whole village of Chinese people (who were traveling as a group). There was something to be said about the level of intimacy amongst these neighbors, who knew so much about one another. America, as a whole, is still such a young country, with such an adaptive culture. One of the most moving things about being in Tibet was the notion that you were suddenly a part of a tradition that was thousands of years old. A rich culture and heritage that had stood the test of time (although now it is under heavy pressure).

I walked around the Carolina campus tonight. It was freezing cold and my feet were killing me, but I had an amazing time thinking back to all the stories from college.

Getting my ass beat in a bike race in the quad by a girl. Taking a slide on my bike late at night after they had watered the lawn, thus making the brick paths dangerously slippery. Walking from Franklin St. down to South Campus with Meredith, talking about nothing in particular. Making lame jokes with Judy about "dropping" conversations that got boring, only to pick them up whenever we walked past that point in later days. Musing about launching the "Run Sealie" project with Phillip (the name was derived from a crush I had at that time). My freshman roommate Spencer - I came back from Spanish class one day and all his stuff was gone. He had just vanished (college wasn't for him).

Showing how whispers could carry around the curved concrete benches in front of Davis library. Watching the "We Love Doh!" rallies in the pit (only to watch them turn so quickly later in the season). Boasting that I never set foot in Wilson Library my four years. Late nights at UGL. Late nights at Davis Library. Late nights at Cosmic Cantina. Meeting Nora for the first time at UGL. Dealing with my first instance of an emotional girl crying on my shoulder in the pit my freshman year (where did you go, AliceK?). Going biking with AliceK and then realizing years later that maybe I should have asked her out. Hanging with Jordan, Brittany, Zoe, and AliceK in HoJo (what an eclectic group of friends). The embarassment of having my freshman RA reveal to the floor I was 16 years old.

The shame I felt for writing somebody's term paper for $20, which I spent on flowers for Yunji. Random nights in Carmichael with people. Running into my "lunch buddy" Jeff at Lenoir (we had the same lunch schedule at Lenoir and always ate with each other, but we'd never hang out besides that - oddly enough, he ended up dating Yunji). The first feelings of powerlessness when Esther claimed I was using our friendship for other things (a patently false assertion). Having the coolest roommate in the world - Matt. Going home with him to see his farm. Dating Judy. Hanging with friends really late at night, singing Five for Fighting in acapella. Learning how to play the intro to "More Than Words."

Falling in love for the first time. Learning that grades weren't everything. Starting Tabulas. Accepting the future everybody else knew for me. Trying to start UNCExchange with friends. Failing. Rejecting a date to a semi-formal my freshman year because I was too much of a wimp. Winning the championship. Ordering late night Pokie Stix from Gumby's. The short walks from Lewis to Stacy to play in weekly poker games. The long walk back from Stacy to Lewis whenever I lost. Waking up at 7pm on Thursdays in Lewis to watch people roll in for poker. All the random professors and classes I can't remember anymore. W.B. Yeats (aka W.Y. Beats). All the random conversations whenever you ran into somebody you knew on campus.

Stream of consciousness, wow.

As I walked around campus, I saw these stories being played out again around me. The awkwardness between boy and girl, the camaraderie of guys, the girl who was clearly not interested in the guy who was pining after her... and I felt old.

I've joked about it before, but I really did feel old. I had already written these chapters of my life and closed them - and here they were, just starting to write their chapters. Did they even realize how close they were to the end?

I'm so grateful for the experiences I have, and the fact I can still cherish them. They've made me who I am today (for better or for worse). Unlike my college experience, I have the foresight to realize that the chapter of my life in NC is quickly coming to a close.

At least I'm aware enough to give it a conclusion.

Posted by roy on March 5, 2010 at 12:45 AM in Personal | 6 Comments

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Comment posted on March 6th, 2010 at 07:00 AM
You are not a drama queen sir. contrary to unpopular belief.
Comment posted on March 5th, 2010 at 06:24 AM
you know.. pokey stix. man i miss those fat inducing calorie munchers
Comment posted on March 5th, 2010 at 03:35 PM
Almost ordered some last night
Comment posted on March 5th, 2010 at 03:11 AM
you're such a drama queen. haha
Comment posted on March 5th, 2010 at 03:34 PM
Comment posted on March 5th, 2010 at 02:47 AM
Fabulous pictures! I love them to bits.