It’s hard to believe that I’ll be heading back to the States in just one short week! On Saturday, August 4 I’ll be hopping on the plane for my 14-hour flight back to the East Coast.
It's been a wild ride these past five months and it’s crazy to think that after all this time, I’ll finally see my family, friends, home, kitties, and all that I left back in New Hampshire in February.
At the end of last semester, I still had two months in Shanghai to look forward to. Now I understand the conflict that so many students feel—wanting to be present for their last couple of weeks abroad, while also being excited to go home and see everyone and everything they’ve missed while being abroad.
It’s hard to think about leaving the place that I’ve grown to call my city, a place where I’ve tried so many new things, made new friends, and done so much personal growth and exploration.
It’s also exciting that after so much time I’ll get to see my family and friends. I’ll finally get to sleep in my own bed again and wear different shirts and shoes than the select few I packed in my bags.
I know that a part of me will always be in Shanghai, no matter where my life takes me in the future. I feel so lucky to have had this amazing once-in-lifetime experience living, studying, and working in Shanghai! I know that regardless of where I end up after graduation, the person I have become in Shanghai and the memories I have made here will always stick with me.
Despite the ups and downs, Shanghai feels like home now. Although I’m going back to my conventional home, it’s tough to leave the place that has given me so much for the past five months. Even though this isn’t the first (or last) time that I’ve had to leave an adopted home, it doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s certainly difficult to think about leaving China. I’m unsure how I’ll feel when I’m home, but I know that there’s so much to look forward to in my last year of college. I also know that when I board my plane on Saturday, I won’t be saying “goodbye,” I’ll be saying, “see you later Shanghai.”
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<p>Ever since I was a child, my life has always been linked to helping other people. I founded Kids Helping Kids when I was in sixth grade after I was in a serious car accident. While in the hospital, I heavily relied on the support of my friends and family as I had recovered. As I reflected on my accident and the serious injuries I had suffered, I saw the incredible power that I was shown as everyone came together to help me heal. The idea to start KHK was inspired by the small acts of kindness I witnessed from so many. I was so moved by the generosity of my peers that I wanted to harness that energy and share it with others, who may not have the same access to support. Kids Helping Kids has changed the way I view the world and others around me. I love volunteering because of the experiences and lessons I gain. It has shown me the power I have to make a difference in another person's life, and the impact that the people we serve have on my life.</p>