As soon as I found out I had gotten the Kiva Fellowship, I immediately made plans to spend the next week moping. And I did it in style, let me tell you. Sitting in front of fountains and sighing. Penning morose journal entries on benches in public parks. Distractedly wandering down familiar streets racked by pangs of preemptive nostalgia. If only I’d had a pair of hipster glasses, I would have been the happiest glummest man alive.
This next year is going to be a new beginning for me in so many ways. New experiences, new responsibilities, new countries, new career path, and, I hope, new meaning in my life. But beginnings and endings go hand in hand, and I find myself being pulled away from Philadelphia before I’m ready. I’ve loved exploring this city over the past two years, but once I’m gone, I don’t see myself coming back to live here again; I am not the sort of person who returns to old haunts. So I have one more month to get to know this city to my satisfaction, and I find myself with a two-page list of sights I want to see and not nearly enough time to visit them all.
I have another list, almost as overwhelming, of the pile of things I need to do before I leave. Buy two sets of plane tickets. Complete a microfinance course through the UN. Research my countries and placements. Get visas. Get travel vaccines. Improve my business Russian. Learn Tajik. Purchase approximately seven thousand relevant books through Amazon.com (and research whether I should buy a Kindle to hold them all). Get my scholarship money disbursed. Figure out what grad schools I’ll be applying to from abroad this fall. Sort out my bills. Show my apartment to prospective renters. Move out. All one big transition encompassing every part of my life.