My last night in Beijing was spent binge watching Once Upon a Time
until I finished season
two at five in the morning. I only stopped because I realized that I should
probably start packing for my flight that was leaving in twelve hours. There is
a method to my madness. You see, staying up until five in the morning in Beijing
time is staying up until five in the evening in USA east coast time—getting a
head start to overcoming jet-lag, overachieving already.
I’m writing this on a plane right now, but when you see
this, I’ll have landed in Pennsylvania. During taxi and takeoff I took a nap,
and now I’m forcing myself to stay up until my parents and I arrive at our
hotel. My time has been utilized watching movies and drafting as many blog
posts as I could, because who knows whether or not my schedule for the first
few weeks of college will give me enough time to do this.
Catch Me If You Can: A master of deception
and a brilliant forger, Frank W. Abagnale netted himself millions of dollars in
stolen funds. FBI Agent Carl Hanratty made it his mission to capture Frank, but
Frank is always one step ahead of him, baiting him to continue the chase.
My Paparotti: Sang-jin, once a
promising young singer, becomes a music teacher. His ordinary life is suddenly
rattled when he hears student and teen gangster, Jang-ho singing. This is when
he realizes the boy’s true talent and decides to help develop it.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A young New York
socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment
Brunch at Audrey’s
has been around since September 30, 2013, the second quarter of my senior year
of high school, and has impacted my year, my life(?), greatly. There’s a thin
line between living to blog and blogging while living
, and while I don’t always maintain a good balance between the
two, living and blogging, I can confidently say that blogging has influenced my
life in a positive way;
I’ve taken a
few risks, done more things out of my comfort zone, and created so many amazing
memories during my last year in Beijing!
It is a bit unfortunate that I switched platforms from Tumblr to Blogger
so late in the game,
because all of my posts about Beijing are stranded on Tumblr. I’d plop all of
them into this post, but I think that many events in the past year deserve
their own post, including but not limited to art gallery adventures, busking on
the streets, classy nights out, prom, project based learning, and my senior
trip. For the next few days, I’ll be re-sharing those memories here, and today
I’ll start with a post originally titled “oh how the tables have tabled,” where
I said my goodbyes, but with a few amendments, because oh my how the months have flew!
I’ve lost count of
how many times I’ve said, “I’m not a sentimental person,” and I’m starting to
wonder if I’m repeating this to convince you or me. Maybe at heart I really am
a sentimental person, and this mantra is just my way of coping with all of
these “lasts.” Or maybe I really am just meh. Hm, I’m pretty sure that it isn’t
all in my head. After the HFH Senior Farewell dinner, Kathleen and Kathy told
me that just yesterday they were talking about how unsentimental I was. But
wait. Let’s rewind to the beginning of my day.
Brunch at Maan Coffee with the Studio Ghibli fan
club: Sheena, Nicole, Stephen, Kevin, Hojoon, and Philip! Our intention was to
take the stress off from exams by eating waffles, enjoying each other’s
company, and then getting right down to business studying our butts off for our
last IB final.
But how often do
you actually do work when you say you will? After eating--I split a mixed berry waffle (62 RMB) with Sheena, and everyone else got coffee, toast, or Paninis--everyone started
playing poker, except for Nicole and me who did our best to focus. It was
really hot where we were sitting, so somewhere in between, I ordered an iced hazelnut caramel latte, which came
with sweet and crunchy bread sticks on the side. The latte was so delicious!
Highly recommended. I guzzled it down like water.
Finally, I took a
break. We all know how breaks go. They never end. Nicole, Hojoon, and Philip
left, but Sheena, Stephen, Kevin, and I stayed, because we needed to go to a
To pass the time,
we played Contact:
- Assign a Word
Master. The Word Master thinks of a word without telling anyone, and the
objective of the game is to unlock the word letter by letter.
- Word Master gives
the first letter of the word. (i.e. a)
- Everyone else
thinks of words that start with the first letter. If someone thinks of a word,
they give clues about the word they are thinking of so that someone else, not
the Word Master, can try to guess it. (i.e. opposite of obtuse)
- If someone thinks
they are thinking of the same word, he/she says “Contact! 3, 2, 1…” and then
the two people shout the word at the same time. (i.e. contact! 3, 2, 1, acute)
- If they don’t shout
the same word, or if the Word Master guesses the word before those two people,
the process of thinking of a word, giving clues, and guessing repeats.
- If they shout the
same word, the game progresses and the Word Master gives the next letter of the
word he/she is thinking of. (i.e. p)
- The process of
thinking of a word, giving clues, and guessing repeats, but the word must start
with all the letters given by the Word Master. (i.e. apple)
- The game keeps going
until the word is guessed or spelled out. (i.e. appendix)
The HFH ISB Campus Chapter Senior Farewell
dinner was at Sasameyuki. And at the end it
was time for our farewells. Ms. Kinsella and Mr. Panych, our HFH ISB Campus
Chapter advisors, presented us with certificates and little glass bricks, the
seniors got pink roses, and in true HFH tradition, we passed around a
construction helmet to sign for our president, Cindy.
It was late.
Everyone was stuffed, probably tired, and about to leave, but Ms. Kinsella and
Mr. Panych had just given a whole thank you speech to us and it felt only
polite to reciprocate, so before anyone could leave, I started talking loudly
in a way that seemed to be directed at everyone, so I guess you could call it a
speech. I really only conducted myself in that manner to get everyone’s
I had no idea where
my train of thought was going. I wasn’t feeling anything but tired. I literally
just talked and talked and then… I don’t know what happened. My eyes started
welling up. It hit me out of nowhere. I didn’t even get that ache-y feeling in
your chest when you miss someone. It hit me in the eyeballs (as opposed to the
heart). Running through my head was, “WTF STOP AUDREY STOP.” I don’t remember
if I said anything coherent, but I remember struggling to. I might have
spluttered a “family,” “cute,” and “four years” somewhere. Remember how Gracie
Hart made fun of all those pageant girls in the film Miss Congeniality and
mocked the “I wish for world peace” speech, complete with hands fanning away at
tears? Well, that was me, except I probably looked a lot more gross. Despite
that slightly embarrassing teary-eyed moment, I’m glad that I changed my mind
about going to this dinner.
In fact, I didn’t
want it to end. I wanted time to stop right there. I knew that as soon as I got
home, I’d fall right back into the evil clutches of reality where everything
was sacrificed for academic achievement.
So we stayed! And
for a second, time did stand still.
Okay fine, two hours passed and we didn’t leave until 11:00PM, but you get my
drift. There we were, three carefree girls swinging in the dark, talking about
nothing, but everything at the same time. We shared stupid stories and
delighted in the little things in life, but we also thought/worried about
college, specifically finding friends and a community like the one we have
here, and at times, we didn’t even talk at all, although that may partially
have been due to the fact that we were swinging on tires and baby seats. This
is exactly how I imagined high school would be: stimulating, adventurous,
average, tumultuous, sophisticated, youthful, spontaneous, memorable.
Have you ever lived
a storybook moment? Well, that’s what my whole night was.
Until now, my
attitude towards the whole graduating and moving away thing has been, “FINALLY.
THANK GOD!” I didn’t even write to anyone in my section of the yearbook senior
pages. So without getting too mushy, here are some things I didn’t, but wanted
To my teachers: I used to be thee model student, I swear.
I haven’t made it easy for you guys over the last two years, so thank you for
putting up with me, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, and
looking out for me beyond the classroom. I don’t think I’d have the patience to
To Impromptune: I’ve always been the youngest in the
group, so I was really nervous about senior year. You’re a bundle of energy
that never seems to need to recharge, and I can’t believe that before this
year, many of you never sang in a choir before. You’ve really pulled through,
and your excitement and passion for everything we do is extraordinary. Keep
getting all the solos ;)
To the swim team: I’ve already retired for a year, but I’ve
still felt connected to you guys the whole time. I’m gonna miss screaming at
you until my throat goes hoarse during the final stretch of a relay. I’m gonna
miss piling our stuff in the gym and sleeping on the floor together. I’m gonna
miss this dysfunctional family and being able to use sexual swimmer innuendos.
Never again will I be able to say that I only recognize someone when they don’t
have any clothes on.
To HFH: We’re all over the place, so that’s always something to look forward
to. I’ll try to iterate here what I wasn’t able to at the farewell dinner.
Thank you Ms. Kinsella for being the most adorable advisor ever. Thank you Mr.
Panych for stopping by every meeting even when we didn’t have them. Thank you
Cindy for dealing with this rowdy bunch. Thank you Board for striving for
success. Thank you members for helping us serve the community. I wish that
everybody could go on a building trip and really see what we’re all about, because
there are some things you just can’t explain.
To my Tumbl buddies: I’m gonna miss hanging out with you in the
art room, and interacting only to ask you to reblog things so that I can reblog
them too. I can see us as old ladies hunched over our laptops ferociously
bantering with the younger generation of bloggers.
To the Studio Ghibli fan club: Whenever I hang out with you, I become
totally carefree, which is not something I’m used to experiencing, but is
definitely something I could get used to. You are crazy and ridiculous and
never cease to put a smile on my face. Party hard and try not to accidentally
kill anyone in a game of Monopoly. We all have our moments. #soberdecisions.
Oh, and we have yet to actually watch a whole movie together, but we’ll work on
To Shawnligood’s fan club: Jamming in art galleries with you
transports me to another world. Our late nights are the best nights, and even
though I’ve only been doing this for a month or two, our games of twenty
questions make me feel otherwise. We should probably recruit some more people
so that shawnligood isn’t the only person left in his fan club.
To #soflow: You’re
so special to me and the only people I’ve managed to keep in touch with in my
whole entire life. I’ve missed exploring New York, learning random but
interesting facts, butchering the French language, you guys trying to get me
off Tumblr, and hanging out in the common room until the early morning. If this
is just a taste of what college is going to be like, then I can’t wait! We’re
gonna have to meet up and get some bubble milk tea while we’re at it.
To Junie: I love our dynamic. I don’t know how to describe it other than
perfect. We can give each other hard times (forcing you to buy ice cream
yourself, teasing you about your latest crush, groaning every time you mention
orchestra, making you suffer the consequences of not finishing your homework),
but we also know when we need to be there for one another (plotting ways to
surprise you and give you something worth smiling about, slipping chocolates
and handwritten notes into your backpack). I don’t know how I’ll stay sane
without you guys.
To my best friend: I don’t even know how we’re friends, but
every time someone tells me “Ah, I see why you guys are best friends,” I get the
warm-fuzzies. We’re the best kind of friends, the best kind of friends who
don’t have to do “best friend things,” who can not see each other for days
(weeks?) and still fall back into conversation when we see each other as if not
a second had passed. Even when we’re not there, we’re still there, so even
though you’ll be in Minnesota instead of Pennsylvania, you’ll be here with me,
growing separately without growing apart and whatnot.
To my brothers: The next time I see you guys, you’ll both
be taller than me, so I won’t be able to beat anyone up. Ah, the good old days
when I threatened Mom that I would pinch your nose until it bled if we didn’t
leave the shopping mall right that second. I had your consent of course. We’ve
had a violent past, so looking at where we are now, I’m quite proud of us.
Thanks for the midnight food fests filled with ice cream, quesadillas, and
To my parents: You’ve seen me at my best and you’ve seen
me at my worst. No matter how often I blow you off for something stupid, you’re
always waiting for me whether or not I deserve it (usually I don’t). We
definitely aren’t the picturesque family. We’ve had our fair share of fights
and laughs. Getting us out of the house was one of the most challenging
obstacles we’ve had to face, but even with one less kid to worry about, you’ll
still have two to deal with, so don’t miss me too much.
not going to miss your bipolar weather or polluted air or squatty potties or
spit stained sidewalks or crazy drivers. But I am going to miss you and all of
your juxtapositions. Thank you for the community you’ve provided. My time with
you has been temporary and you’re forever changing and developing around me,
but at the same time, you give me a sense of stability and support. You’re not
my home away from home. You’re my Home.
There’s still so
much more that I want to say, but I’ll save it for when we meet again, because
I refuse to believe that we won’t. I’ve truly been blessed to meet all you
amazing people, virtual or not. There are so many times I find myself in
complete awe of everyone, and it frustrates me that most of you don’t
understand how indisputably incredible
What better way to
express my feels than with a Tumblr text post?
emphasis on the 再.
Photos taken by the lovely Kathleen.
Labels: life lately