Two days ago, I finished my last bike ride of the quarter and watched a man shut the doors of my storage room. My yellow bike seemed pale. My embarrassing number of move-out boxes were stacked one against the other, motionless, holding three months’ worth of memories. I heard the keys jingle for the last time as I opened room 231, my home since Sept. 8th. My living room felt empty despite a mess of cartons, boxes and plastic bags. Everything was gone, even the indescribable scent of the room dissipated through the half-open window.
There was not enough space in the suitcases I packed to fit the laughter, the food and the wild adventures that have offered me the two greatest gifts: a family and a purpose. A family that was present in every corner of my room, in every corner of my actions. I could see their presence and hear their tender voices as I passed by the photos of the places that have witnessed and established our lifelong connections. I looked at my picture wall one last time and thought to myself, how lucky I am to have a heart torn between two cities, two countries, two continents, two homes. I carefully removed each photo from the wall, staring at the people who have held my hand through my eighteen years of living, those who have lifted me and are still watching over me on this white wall beneath my twin bed in Escondido Village Residences.
My heart is heavy indeed for I have left some parts of me behind, next to Hoover Tower, next to Memorial Church, in the Oval pathway and somewhere between the palm trees on Palm Drive. I am quite scared of landing in Beirut, for I have not seen my beautiful city after it was destroyed by the August Apocalypse. I feared to not recognize the corners that built my past memories, the streets that embellished the image of my country, the places I used to visit to find and lose myself all at once.
In this trip back home, I hold on to the elements that have contributed to the significant growth of my maturity and understanding of an unpredictable society, with all of its plot twists and turns. Thinking through my experience, I made my share of mistakes; I fell a couple of times, both from my bike as I scraped my knees and arms and from high obstacles I could not overcome. However, it was never a setback that has discouraged me. Imposter syndrome will always be a reality that will accompany me and most of the Stanford students, for when greatness is a nest that constitutes your classmates’ shelter, you can’t help but be proud of their achievements and push yourself to bring out the best you have.
Leaving is not easy, even when I am sure to come back in two weeks. I remember when I last closed the door, when I last planned a road trip and even when I last ate my favorite pecan pie. However, Stanford has taught me that any ending, however small or large, is an unfinished road that is waiting on us to engineer through the passions that trigger our will to rise and accomplish. This is simply a way of saying “cheers to new beginnings.”
Contact Tiffany Saade at tiff24 ‘at’ stanford.edu.