一期一会: the Japanese idiom for once in a lifetime, meaning no same meeting happens twice, despite the same group of people. The way our paths crossed at a tangent, for a week, a month, or a few years, only for us to never to see each other again. It’s so hard to say goodbye, but at the same time, I’m truly blessed to have met you.
It’s been a long and fruitful half a year, and I already have so many ‘thank you’s and ‘goodbye’s to say. With 12 teachers and the last batch of seniors above us leaving our school, in addition to the one week I spent in Nanning, the four days at my internship, and two weeks meeting everyone for the annual fashion show, I couldn’t keep my feelings from spilling.
To the twenty-something elderly leprosy villagers I met in Nanning – thank you for allowing a group of loud and rowdy students invade your village and your life, bringing along mild chaos and endless noise. Thank you for letting us stay in your village, for killing your precious chickens for us, inviting us into your homes for lunch or dinner. My week here was peaceful and slow, calm and quiet. We were actually able to forget about looming deadlines and an avalanche of assignments waiting for us back home. Thank you for letting a bunch of strangers into your hearts, leaving a gaping hole and silence once again when we left. We haven’t forgotten you. At least, I haven’t. (Side shoutout to the travel agency guy who was super chill and got along well with us!)
To the group of friends that I hung with during my four-day internship at Kerry Freight – I hope I wasn’t too bothersome to deal with. I know I didn’t talk much but it was because I didn’t want to intrude on what you guys had. Watching you guys, I found something to look forward to after graduation from university. Hearing you guys talk made me realise that friendship doesn’t really change after school- it’s the same old gossip and dynamics, just with different names. I was really happy you guys took me in under your wing (of sorts) and took care of me. I teared up at the last day on the bus, watching Kenneth search for us on the shuttle bus and wave, and the building disappear around the corner as the shuttle bus drove me back to my usual life. Although I really didn’t do much during the internship, I was happy I was able to spend time with you guys. As cliché and insincere as it sounds, I had a memorable time and I will never forget you guys.
To the ragtag EQUINOX 2016 team of designers, models and performers – watching everything come together on the day of our show made me feel so fortunate. Despite how disorganised our rehearsals, internal communication were, and the chaos just mere hours before our show, I was so glad we managed to pull it off. Being part of the team since September and watching us build from scratch with little advice from our seniors, into a spectacular and real show, felt so good. Then, I understood the importance of human interaction, connections and communication. It was never something I thought to be important or even necessary… but, well, things change.
To all the teachers who are leaving – first of all, of course you will be sorely missed. There goes some of the kindest, friendliest and best teachers our year has ever seen. We will never forgotten the coffee-stained worksheets, original songs or covers in class during special occasions, late night Whatsapp messages (sorry) and in general, smiles and nods along the corridors of our school. Thank you for all the effort and exasperation that let us achieve whatever we could.
To the class of 2016 – and there goes some of the most united and approachable seniors we’ve ever known. I remember at the start of the year, you told us your seniors weren’t that close to your batch, and thanks to you, we will never have to say that. Thank you for goofing off with us and showing that academic studies aren’t everything. Good luck wherever you go, and we’ll miss you! (Maybe not so much for taking up so much of the lounge but eh.)
Lastly, to everyone else I’ve met up to now – in one way or another, you’re probably still somewhere in my heart. From that lifeguard at the pool who knew my name and gave me a cute little plastic fish, to the busmother I still see sometimes at the bus stop, to that one classmate/ friend I had in the first year of primary school who lived (still lives) on a boat, to all my best friends who kept leaving the school. I’ll never forget you guys.
… How fortunate I am to be able to say my ‘goodbye’s and ‘thank you’s. :’)