As I write the last blog entry (for myself), I realize that within a couple of months, we will be leaving our homes. This is the second time that I am leaving my home. But this time, I will be making my way towards the home that I had left last year. Strangely enough, in my mind, there is now a thin foggy line between these two homes of mine, and I speak for the other fellows as well.
How strange it will be, to not be in a rush to catch the early morning Maroon shuttle, so that I can be on time for my elective class at the Tempe campus. Twice a week at the beautiful Tempe campus, I would usually take a stroll from the Music Building after class, and walk towards the Memorial Union, and wait in line at the Starbucks for a blended coffee with almond milk and two cream danishes – my regular order. Next, I would look for an empty space with an umbrella on top to protect myself from the raging Arizona sun.
Mondays, with our three-hour-long classes, guest speakers and lots of opinions from the fellows, already seem vague and confusing. Wednesdays have been fun – fellows trying to figure out if the leader for that week actually had any potential of being a leader back in their country upon return! And of course, the weekends would be filled with checking out the latest coffee spot, discovering yet another artsy alleyway downtown, ending with late night mini parties at Kenect Phoenix or elsewhere.
As the time to leave this place comes closer, I suddenly realise that I have so much to do here! So many more streets to explore and people to talk to! Being a solver of problems (as I would like to believe) and not someone to be left moping about, I have made a list of things to do before leaving Phoenix Downtown for good. The list is too ‘all over the place’ to share with the readers, however, I can tell you that one of the to-do’s is definitely to eat for the last time, the delicious margarita pizza at Pomo, one of my favourite Italian restaurants downtown. Maybe a light rail ride towards the Arts district to stare at awe at the wall graffiti and expressions by the young artists. A photoshoot at the Civic Park and the Japanese Friendship Gardens of Phoenix, not of myself, but the people around, the visiting pigeons and the occasional groups of young students conversing amongst themselves while crossing the park to get to the other side. A last click with one of the smiling people wearing the ‘Ask Me’ tee shirts, wandering around Downtown, and of course maybe buying an ASU backpack from the campus store, flaunting the school colours of Maroon and Gold. And of course, checking out the last First Friday, before saying goodbye, is a must!
As is tradition, the Humphrey fellows end with a Capstone and an 18-month plan – consisting of what one will do once they return to their respective home countries. My plans, as do others, begin in the month of July, when I actually plan to explore ways of returning to Phoenix again! Is that me being too obsessive? Do I suddenly showcase the traits of a stalker — I ask myself! Maybe in this case I do!
However, nothing beats the cool, inviting weather that engulfs one, right after the hot scorching months of June to August. And to get a taste of the weather, I plan to return once again! Will I have my fellows with me though? Maybe not. But the memories that we have made here will live on forever, and probably be re-lived a thousand times or more. After all, this is the start of a wonderful friendship that will hopefully go on forever!