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In approximately one week, I will be leaving the most amazing town I’ve ever lived in, and for the first time ever, I have no idea when I will go back.
On Friday morning, I’ll fly out to KC and make the two-hour drive with my fabulous friend and occasional chauffeur, Caitlin, to Columbia, Missouri. Newcomers to my blog should note that I lived in CoMo for 4 years while attending the University of Missouri to study journalism and English. I graduated with a BA/BJ (say that out loud in public and see what kind of looks you get) in English/Magazine Journalism, plus a Mutlicultural Certificate and a lifetime of memories to treasure.
In the three years since I graduated, I’ve been back to my second home at least twice a year, even occasionally taking advantage of my friends’ hospitality for a week or longer. My last visit was AH-mazing, as I managed to not only be there for my ex-roomie’s St. Louis wedding, but to also extend my trip to a Centennial Homecoming visit as well. With the combination of those two events, I saw my three closest friends from my time at school, plus a ton of the other people who made my life awesome during those four years. It was the closest thing I had ever – and probably ever will – experience to a true revisiting of my college career.
No, it hasn’t been the same since I graduated. I’m not so delusional that I think it has.
I mean, Mizzou finished the new student center, they turned Great Wall of China Buffet into a Texas Roadhouse (same excessive eating from a different continent), and they even turned my beloved ghetto-esque Rollins into a beautifully remodeled living complex. A whole new generation of students have taken over my school, with their own ideas and slang. There have been changes, to be sure.
But there’s something about having friends I went to school with that still live there that helps me feel like I still belong. Like it’s still my home. Those friends have helped me maintain a connection to a world that I no longer live in, but still love. Over the years, I’ve watched most everyone I know leave Columbia and move into their futures, with the exception of a select few who stuck around for graduate/law/whatever-else school. Now it’s time for them to move on as well. Most notably, the aforementioned bestie, who will be joining my other bestie in making New York her home this summer.
What does that mean for me? A lot of things. First of all, it means that I have DOUBLE the reason to visit New York.
Next, it means that my bestie is hellas smart, because she got into Columbia Med School. Of course, I – and everyone else – already knew this, but it’s always nice to have it acknowledged by a snooty third party.
And finally (least important, yet the one I’m obsessed with currently), it means that I won’t be seeing 65201 any time soon. It means that this trip is a true goodbye. Not the goodbye that I said to the town when I graduated…because my two best friends still lived there! It was sad, but it wasn’t “Goodbye.” It was “hasta luego…”
It had an ellipsis. And as a true grammar/punctuation aficionado, I’m a fan of those three dots. In this case, of course, I was even more fond of what it suggested. That there was more to the story, that I’d be back to finish it. Well, guess what? It’s the seventh book of Harry Potter. It’s the tenth season of Friends.
Basically, it’s last call. I don’t have to go home…but I can’t stay there.
This time, when I leave, I’ll be saying a true “Goodbye.” Complete with ending punctuation. It won’t be easy, but from my experience, growing up never really is. I suppose it’s time for me to be a “real adult.”
But that’s not for another week. Hooraaaay! So if any of you have something so very CoMo that I need to remember to do this weekend – shoot me a note! I’ll add it to the list.