I can offer simple answers:
Amazing. Fun. Exciting. Enriching. Dream come true. Challenging. Eye-opening. Confusing. Lovely. Breath-taking. Awesome. Life-changing.
But I'll eventually run out of adjectives, and yet not a single description is sufficient to capture what I feel about the past semester.
The thing is, it is impossible for me to put to words all of the beautiful things that I have experienced, or maybe I just don't quite know how to describe it. I use the above adjectives because I'm lazy like that. But I'll try my best to convey my experience here.
I have been able to do great things and I cannot deny that I have been on a very enjoyable semester. I count my blessings for every second that I am there - truly, I am very grateful for this experience and it has been an absolutely humbling experience to have my eyes and heart be opened to new experiences. It has also been such a pleasure and joy to be able to befriend new friends that I have been able to meet here, all of whom have offered me friendship, kindness, laughter, wisdom, and just a whole lot of fun. And the 30 other people that make up the Calvin family in York made this experience all the more sweeter and memorable.
And it is because of all the great things that I have experienced that whenever I speak of York, I am reminiscent and nostalgic. *cue sentimental background music*
Oh York, I will miss walking the walls that surround this beautiful city. The quaintness and charm always make me stop in my tracks and remind me of how blessed I am. I will miss the smell of chocolate in the air, even though I may despise the very wind that carry the scent on a cold winter's day. I will miss being able to look at the Minster from almost every corner of the city. I love the abundance of chocolate, tea, scones, and everything that comes with York's cute little coffee shops - it truly knows how to spoil a foodie. It left much to be desired when I left, blessing me with beautiful weather and amazing time of exploration during my final week here.
But for everything that I have experienced without, I have learned tremendously and changed within. I'd like to think that I grew in independence and learned to enjoy being alone. I learned the value of openness and thoughtfulness. The past semester has been a journey of self-discovery as I try to figure out who I am as a person. This semester hasn't been academically demanding, which helped me slow down after coming out from a hectic and busy Fall semester - helping me look at what I value in life and enjoying the beauty of everything around me. It allowed me time to ponder, reflect, and write.
As I met up with old friends and watch many of my peers prepare for graduation, it did hit me that I was turning 23 - I started to wonder if I have ever changed to become the person I have always wanted to be. I wondered about my future and what I would make of it. As I interact with others and became known collectively as "The Americans", I wondered about my Malaysian-ness. I wondered about what home means to me. I wondered about my faith. I wondered about my expectations of this trip prior to coming and if I had met them. I wondered how much this experience would change me. I wondered the more I wandered.
I cherish this semester and the experiences it brought because it has been the time in my life when I felt most loved: when I left my home, I experienced how much my friends and family love me because they miss me and I miss them so very much; when I got to meet up with old friends and remember all the good times in the past, but also created new memories together; when I got to meet new Calvin friends to journey alongside with in this wonderful experience, who offered their companionship, kindness, and love; when I met new friends from York, who welcomed me with their friendship, time, and effort - who showed me how to be a friend; and as I prepared to return, friends offering simple words of welcome that were deeply impressed upon my heart.
For everything that this York semester has offered me, I am immensely grateful and reminded of how blessed I am. I do not deserve any of this, but I cherish every single bit of this experience. It has been a whirlwind of an adventure, and I am still in disbelief that I got to fulfill many of my dreams.
It wasn't perfect - I certainly had my fair share of challenges. But to be quite honest, I tend to forget the difficult (mostly awkward) times. lol.
So many things happen in my life that I do not understand why or how, and I live day by day not knowing what to expect tomorrow. Life is a series of surprises, and I await the next surprise.
Till next time.
If these words weren't enough to convey what I felt about my experience in York, maybe the video below will help.