Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Closing words

I'm back in Ann Arbor now.

This is an email (with some edits) I sent to some friends I met in Århus, who are all back in their home countries now, just before leaving Århus. It's as close to a summary of my exchange as I came come up with, not that it's possible to sum up life experiences.

Dear Friends, 

This is my last email from Europe. I'm getting on the train to Copenhagen and then flying to Detroit airport and continuing on to Ann Arbor. So there are a few things I like to say before leaving. 

This has been the best six months of my life because of the times we had together in Århus. I know that a lot of Americans, Canadians, and Australians use this time as a vacation to travel throughout Europe, but for me, it's been so much more.

At some point, all of you have asked me what my favorite city was. I usually say Istanbul, London, and Berlin. But that's just naming cities. A better question would be to reflect on the memorable experiences I have had. Then Århus would without a doubt be my favorite city because I got to meet all of you here. I loved all the times we spent here in the darkest, coldest months. 

When I was traveling around, I felt comforted knowing that I would come back to Århus, my temporary "home". It felt like a home because I knew that all of you would be here and we'd have dinner and talk and just hang out. You all are much dearer to me than Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre (even though I was thrilled to see them both) because we shared good times together. You all are the difference between a six-month exchange and a European backpacking holiday. This experience is much richer and much more rewarding.


Best,
Chen

4 comments:

Tang said...

It almost sounds like you will never talk to them again. Despite that, I'm happy that you really, really, really, really enjoyed your time abroad. I think that not going abroad will be one of my biggest regrets, but I guess there is a time for everything.

CYW said...

Haha! I actually cut out a part of the email where I asked them for their Skype names, along with some inside jokes.

I think that your career options are much more mobile than mine so you should have a relatively easier time finding some opportunities to go abroad.

Julia Smith said...

So glad you had such a great time abroad and that you made it back safely. It's a lovely letter.

Katherine said...

can't wait to hear about everything this Sunday. I'm sorry you're back-I suppose it feels like you just had a terrible break up with a bunch of close friends and a country.