No matter how big the enthusiasm within is and no matter how many times one has gone through this process, leaving the place where you settled down for a fair amount of time, is never easy. The comfort of a place called home, the friendships that one has sowed at work, in the neighbourhood, in life in general, the habits and customs; every single one of those little every day life things, they are all hard to leave behind. It's this subtle mix of emotions between the huge excitement of the adventure to come and the sadness that comes with a new detachment from the people and things that were part of one's life.
The night before the day I took off I was incredibly nervous and it was almost impossible to sleep. Caught between the practical decisions that needed to be taken, like packing in the most efficient way and the myriad of emotions involved in being at the verge of taking such a big step in life almost the whole night passed by in no time. It was at 5.30am that I was finally able to lie down. It wasn't really sleeping but more likely a very light rest. It didn't take long for the alarm to ring at 8am. It was time to take a shower and shave for the last time in who knows how many days, have some coffee and take a few minutes of silence to look around home and contemplate to give the heart a last look at that small world I had built in the last few years of my life in China. The time to leave had come once again, to leave not in the sense of abandonment and forget but to leave carrying with oneself all those things that one has gone through in life, the friends, the experiences, the affection that one has harvested with time and love throughout time. Leaving ain't about leaving behind but to keep going with so much more inside, so much more. Some of the best friends that have accompanied me almost from the very first days I was in town were waiting for me downstairs. They gave me warm smiles for the road and encouraging words for the trip I was about to embark on.