If I am asked to live in a different location for an entire year, I’d choose somewhere in western Europe, maybe like France or the U.K or Germany. I’d love to explore the quaint villages and places that survived hundreds and thousands of years, even through the two world wars.
I’ve never been to any villages before, the closest to a village I’ve been to involved rubble and dog poop everywhere when I had to spend the summer supervising the construction on my grandpa’s house when I was 9. So it’d be fun to visit an actual village with its twisty streets and maybe spend an afternoon people watching at a Venetian Cafe.
A few days ago, while we were driving home from somewhere, I reminded my mom that her passport was about to expired. She said, “So is yours.”
“No,” I answered. I’ve got mine renewed some time ago.
“It was 2010,” she said.
“No,” I answered. “It was 2011.”
She stuck with her answer of 2010 as she remembered her unit was supposed to be sent to Iraq that year. It was a chaotic year for me too. I’ve just begun my Sophomore year in college and I’d spent most of the semester staring at brochures regarding the school’s exchange program.
As my mom got the news that there’s a possibility she might be deployed to Iraq for an entire year, she grew panicked. She didn’t want me to stay home for an entire year though I didn’t know why. I’ve done it before when she went for basic training for six months and D.C. for the remainder of the year. “It’s too dangerous,” that was her excuse.
Instead, she wanted me to go back to China to study abroad for an entire year. I’d rather stay here, I’d told her but she was adamant in her decision.
I would spend the next few months gathering information and applying for my university’s exchange program to go to QingHua University in Beijing, China. At first, I was actually excited to go but after looking at the requirements, I no longer wanted to go.
- The air pollution was already awful.
- With my grades, I highly doubt they will accept me into the program in the first place.
- Even though me and the exchange student would pay the same tuition but I have to pay it in U.S. dollar while he/she gets to pay it in Chinese Yuan. So for me, it was mighty expensive.
I asked her why she so badly wanted to send me back. She said it was good for me. How is that good for me? Everything about it is bad, awful.
I tried to find another place I could go that was a bit more reasonably priced, if I was to go. The only place there was was Edinburgh. That’s not bad. But no, my mom thought it was too rural. She wanted me in a big city, a big polluted city like Beijing.
In the end though, I didn’t have to go anywhere. My mom didn’t get deployed to Iraq. In 2011, she’d give me that same piece of news again but again, it didn’t happen. I guess she’s lucky.