The Bittersweet Truth of Summer

It’s been four nights since I left the bay for the summer, [and four years (and three days) since I started this rather inconsistent blog of mine]. Only a week ago I was starting to rip pictures off my wall in anticipation for the end of Spring 2017. My roommate hadn’t started yet, in fact, she had barely been back from her weekend holiday in Chicago by then. Not only that, but we still had final exams to prepare for before we could do any celebrating.

Summer this year wasn’t as eagerly anticipated as it would be if we were any other college student, and it’s certainly nothing like it was back in high school – all excited to do nothing and relax under the sun. Don’t get me wrong, we all were excited for that — but, this year, it was a little different–a little more…bittersweet.

The International House takes in many exchange students who usually stay up to a year to experience the American school system and lifestyle, and for some, the language. And by the end of Spring semester, they’re gone as fast as they came. We all expect it, too. In the back of our heads, we knew that this day would come – the day our friends go back to their homes – thousands of miles away from the memories we made together in the San Francisco bay mere days ago…

My roommate and I are pretty close in the I-House. We go on adventures together, go to 7-11 together (and Subway, of course), and we just have a blast in whatever we do. Sometimes we even rent cars just to go to Costco or Walmart! Living on the edge, of course… We’ve been friends pretty much the whole year – and practically begged the house’s executive director to let us room together come Spring 17. The obstacle that faced her (the director) was the general rule which states no two people of the same culture should room together. Although I was very honored to be considered a Brit – as I spent my formative years there (something the director would always say) – I had to play up my American side for the cause or else we’d not get the room!

Spoiler alert, we did! We occupied Room 3 and I was as happy as a clam. I wanted my whole college life to be just like this – the two of us having our own days out at school and then coming back to nag at each other about professors and dinner options at night. We were at every event the I-House threw, every Student Council and every Coffee Night – no matter how much we complained about each and every single one… We still went.

My roommate, as you may have guessed, is (or, was) an exchange student. And when it came the end of Spring 17, she left. Now she’s bouncing around the east coast before her visa expires, hoping to come back soon! And trust me, I’d like nothing more. She admitted a week ago that she tried to finish her degree here, but her university wasn’t having it unless she wanted to start all over again – no thanks!

Even though summer marks the days of no more school, it also marks the beginning of the end of a great school year, and the end of a long string of memories made. And, ultimately, the saddest realization — that those whom we (Americans/permanent residents) love will not return for another semester, or for a long while, and that is the hardest thing to come to terms with.

We realize that they have to move on, as we will soon do, and make memories with new people and create more adventures and laugh and cry with them, just like our old friends did with us. We’ll think of them and we’ll hope they’ll think of us and one day we’ll meet again and tell new stories and remember the days when we all resided in SJSU’s International House on 11th Street together. And I’ll see my roommate again and we’ll joke about our days in Room 3 during Spring 2017.

And because of all that, four nights ago, we didn’t say goodbye, we said, “See you later!”

What exactly does that mean?

I’m not sure.

Do you think they say that to everyone like a sort of ‘See you later’ sort of thing?

No. They wouldn’t say, “See you later,” slowly unless they mean ‘See you later’. Otherwise they would just say, “See ya later…” Don’t you get it?

When is later then?

I don’t know…

~ Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging

So, to all the wonderful people who left us after Spring, thank you for all the amazing memories and I wish you all the luck in the world. Have a great summer and celebrate all your success in the past semester and/or year in our warm state of California! I swear we will see you again, but until then, may many adventures await.


This post is especially dedicated to my latest roommate, Hannah. The northerner who never failed to make me laugh and humored me when I told bad jokes and said stupid things. Do many great things, as I know you will; and I promise to see you soon. All the best,

Love, Ray from Room 3 Xoxo

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