Sunday, July 14, 2019

And I’m here to remind you

Reunion 2019, Columbia University in the City of New York.

As the Starlight Celebration went on into the night and all milestone reunion years (every 5 years all the way up to ’49) danced under the benevolent gaze of Alma Mater, right after I took the photo above and descended from Low I found myself sitting on the Steps with my good friend Andrew (who, until reunion, I last hung out with 7 years ago in Beijing) and had a deep conversation about—literally—our mortality; love; loss; longing to leave a legacy and pass on our stories; how we’ve reached an age where we’ve made certain decisions we can’t ever come back from and must make peace with that; Andrew saying the question he asks himself now is “What do I want to get out of life?”, which I know will stick with me; how we don’t want certain feelings to ever fade away… all the good stuff, and it was so Columbia, and I loved it, and I love my friends I made here so much. He and I talked about how we don’t remember too much about what we learned in class (well for me I did internalize everything I learned freshman year, which is when I knocked out most of the Core, but after that… yeah sorry Columbia), but to us this place has always been and always will be about the people.

Honey, I'm home.
Columbia University, my 10-year reunion.

At my 5-year reunion it felt like I never left, like I had just come back from a long summer break. At 10 years though, enough time has passed to make it seem very, very strange. It’s all so familiar, yet—as I told Andrew—it feels dreamlike. Columbia, post-graduation, has always had a dreamlike quality to me, but when I wandered around campus that night I felt like a ghost. Like I was looking at everything through incorrect prescription contact lenses (which is highly probable). I lived here in another lifetime, something I did notice years back.

Who else from Columbia remembers the school-only
Facebook group from 2005 called "I had a crush on
Alexander Hamilton" because I did when I was 16.

And the next morning my throat was sore from scream-singing (while intermittently raising my wine cup) along to “You Oughta Know” which was inexplicably the last song the live band played.

"In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen."
Columbia Reunion during the Starlight Celebration portion of the night.

(But then there’s something so perfect about a crowd of dressed up Columbia alumni singing Alanis Morissette at the tops of our lungs at midnight.)

Using Riverside Church as a guide, spot Columbia, turquoise copper roof
Lego block oasis. Goodbye again. Miss all you nerds already.

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