The most epic of a year together, the most epic of friends, the most epic of farewells, the most epic of pictorial chronologies in a long while, the most epic of tributes in a justifiably emotional state.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Goldsmiths Class of 2010. Asian Represent.]

To say that 2009 was the worst year of my life is an understatement. But what goes down also must really come up, so it comes as no surprise that 2010 has proven to be nothing short of amazing for me.

The year started on a rocky note after an unpleasantly life-altering incident very late in the previous year. December of 2009 was a major turning point of sorts, because it was over a Disney Princesses cake that we bought for Lao Fang (which we turned M(16) by smooshing the marzipan icing to form conical boobs for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) when the ice first broke. Never looking back since then, I went on to spend (way too) many overnighters at room D21, being a part of the chaos and disorder of Christmas parties, multiple Lunar New Year dinners, birthday celebrations and corridor shout-outs with each and every single one of you.

I became an honorary Raymont Hall resident.

Today I sit here, my lashes heavy with the crusty remains of heavy tears from just hours before, trying to figure out where all my borrowed time went. When we all said our farewells to Cindy and Renyu after the hotpot dinner and cake smashing session, I realized just why it has become so difficult to say goodbye.

You see, completing my undergraduate degree at SMU didn’t have quite this effect on me. I was eager to step out from the rather show-horse archetypal student role that had followed me through all four years of my psychology degree. I still don’t miss anything about studying at SMU (although I found my best friends there) and I certainly don’t wax lyrical about the student life that I led there. What was I to place in my fondest memories? Keeping my arm raised high in the hopes of getting some airtime and nabbing a corresponding participation grade? Or burning entire weekends trying to create some spiffy powerpoint presentation in a block-booked study room? Not quite so.

Things have done a complete 180 since I entered student life at Goldsmiths’. Together, these girls and I learnt not only to fend for ourselves, but also, to look out for one another. While I proofread Cindy’s essay, she’s busying herself in the kitchen trying to rustle up dishes with actual nutritional value for me, just because she cannot bear to see Joon and I ring up Bamboo Garden for chinese takeout every single day. The moment we spot Renyu in the walkway, these same Bamboo Garden dishes which we can’t finish are happily passed on to her because she hasn’t had any dinner. Cheryl’s cute little instant noodle parties at 3am in the morning only mean that Renyu will always be sufficiently fed to her lanky frame’s content. Yoon K. unni’s simple Korean food that really brings a spring to every step. Yuko comes bounding into the room and plonks herself on Joon’s rickety chair, sharing some new swear word in another language she’s just learnt. And Yu-Kei; well of course she’s the one who keeps reminding Yuko that arriving on the dot for Eurostar trains back to London will only guarantee that you will definitely miss your ride.

We each had to make a life for ourselves, from scratch, at Goldsmiths’. Arriving only with undergraduate certificates from home universities and four Samsonites’ worth of clothing (okay, maybe that’s just me), we learnt that we could count on one another. We learnt that tough times can be met by sweet people. We learnt that secrets can be shared and shoulders can be leaned upon. We learnt that library books are always tagged with due dates, but that even distance has nothing on what we’ve got. This friendship has no return-by dates to live by.

This is why saying goodbye to each and every one of you is so difficult. This is why tears that have never been shed in these circumstances will continue to fall. This is why the laughter that almost immediately follows a tearful snot will continue to echo on in the most final of bear hugs.

We’re saying goodbye to the one year we had together, which we will never have in this way again. Leaving old chapters behind is sometimes easy and pain-free; but this one will probably be one of the hardest chapters I will ever have to bid farewell to.

To Joon, Cindy, Renyu, Cheryl, Lao Fang (yes, you’re an honorary girl), Yu-Kei, Yuko and Yoon K.: Thank You. For an unforgettable year and an unforgettable chapter in this little life of mine.