I tend to be a pretty sappy person and dread goodbyes, but even I didn’t predict how hard saying goodbye to I-House would be. Coupled with an incredibly intense end of semester, the end snuck up on me, and I found myself surrounded by a haphazard mess of boxes as I attempted to pack while finishing a number of assignments. This meant I didn’t have much of a chance to reflect or say proper goodbyes, but some friends and I carved out an evening last week to prepare a dinner together and cherish the end of an incredible year.
So, what made my I-House experience so special? Here are a few things:
- Dining Hall chocolate chip cookies. Microwave for 10 seconds and they are heavenly.
- The view from the 7th floor at sunset.
- The diversity. I enjoy walking visiting friends down my hall and pointing out where people are from: “This guy is from Norway, she’s from Singapore, the guy across the hall is from South Korea, the one next door to me is from Bhutan.” Where else but the UN would I be able to say that??
- The retreat. Retreat #3, you guys made the transition to Berkeley and the I-House community so much smoother, and became some of my closest friends.
- Deep conversations that have not just changed my perceptions, but turned them upside down and inside out. The depth of some of these conversations, shared casually over a meal with incredibly diverse and accomplished friends (whether from California or halfway around the world) kept me constantly learning and reassessing on issues of politics, globalization, culture, and more.
- On a less serious note–the adventures and misadventures I have had at all hours of the day in I-House, and outside of I-House with friends. Being surrounded by so many exchange students who are trying to make the most of only one or two semesters in the US means that I’ve been encouraged to live every day as if it is my last, as well as to truly take advantage of all the incredible opportunities in the area.
- The architecture. In such a historic building, it is no surprise to see incredible architecture, tapestries, furniture, etc. but my favorite thing is the colorful floor tiles on the first floor. Apparently they are only a year or two old, but I like to think they’ve been there for decades. 😉
- The incredible speakers and guests always coming through the doors of I-House. In the past couple weeks alone, I was privileged to meet or hear from Al Gore, the former Greek finance minister, the Mexican ambassador, and the Mexican consul general.
As I still have another year in my master’s program, this is not goodbye to Berkeley, just to I-House. I plan on visiting my friends who are staying at I-House and helping them use up their meal points in order to check out the new Dining Commons, as well as to engage in more of those inspiring conversations!