If there is one undefeated truth life has taught me - putting aside the question if absolute truths even exists - it's that saying goodbye never becomes easier. If I look back at how often I had to utter the words "We will stay in touch!", "I'm going to miss you", or "I will never forget you...", these past 2 years, I instantly get a sickening feeling in my stomach. Parts of me are scattered all over the world, between places and people, and I wonder if I will ever feel whole again. For now, I will always cherish the sweet memories I made in one of my favorite places in the world, with amazing souls I have met along the way. Washington DC, the time for me to say goodbye to you has come as well.
The past weeks have been feeling like an ending and a new beginning at the same time. I remember so vividly the very first time I was roaming through the streets of DuPont Circle, wondering how a little girl from the Netherlands managed to end up studying law at a prestigious George Washington University in the capital of the United States. Cycling next to the White House to grab coffee, or taking my OOTD photos with the Supreme Court as my backdrop - I will never forget these moments. It all seems like yesterday, even though this was already 2 years ago. That paradoxical feeling is how I would describe my whole stay in Washington DC: new yet familiar. My life in Washington DC went by so quickly, but it has changed me forever. I am so grateful I found the courage to move abroad, because it has truly been a life and mind altering experience. I am still me, but I am not the same. Like Heraklitus used to say:
"We step and do not step into the same rivers, we are and we are not."1
In other words, you cannot step into the same rivers twice, since both you and the river are not the same. Even though you and the river still exist in the same form, carry the same name, your essence has changed: either with constant new water flowing through the river, or new discoveries and changed mindsets as a person. Therefore, everything is constantly in flux and motion.
The girl that once landed on the International Airport Dulles in Washington DC, carrying 4 suitcases filled with high heels and skincare products, and a lot of questions of how her life would turn out seized to exist. She has matured into someone who still overpacks, still questions her life's path, but is sure about one thing: whatever life will throw her way, she will be able to overcome it. It does not matter how far away she is from her friends, or where she is located - the world literally has become her oyster, and she is committed to make this life she was given the best yet. And this is an extremely powerful thought.
Thank you DC, for helping me strengthening my mind, opening my soul to new cultures, and grow into the woman I am today. You will always be like home for me. But now it is time to accept that my dao is leading me into a different direction. I will be sad to part ways, but I will be okay. Let the new adventures begin.
IF YOU LOOK BACK, HOW MUCH HAVE YOU CHANGED THE PAST 2 YEARS?