Emily Duran Garcia

Eulogy of the Past

In memoriam of Emily Duran Garcia. She was fragile and closed off. She confined herself to the comfort of home for fear of getting lost. She was frightened by the world outside and trapped within her books. She believed that she was meant to carry the weight of her parent’s sacrifices to save herself and her family by working hard for university. To her, spending time with friends was a distraction. She believed that making close connections were useless in her pursuit for success. She believed that she was happy, but she was merely a machine whose gears were slowly but surely rusting.

Then something happened — China happened. Timidly, she left her home, met a group of strangers and flew to the other side of the world. Her once dull eyes brightened. She began to take notice of the strange world around her and her place in it. She learned patience while talking with her host sister who struggled to communicate. She learned vulnerability while talking with her companions in a hotel room late into the night. She learned joy when the cold drink had reached her mouth after she spent hours under the scorching sun on the Great Wall. She learned adoration by seeing the plants and colorful bugs while hiking the imposing mountains of Zhonglu village. She learned focus while meditating in the comforting darkness of a cave. But most importantly, she learned how to live. From conversing with natives in her broken Chinese to laughing with her friends while using squat toilets that had no stalls, she smiled through it all.

And with that the machine broke to reveal the human underneath.

The old Emily died but it was for the best. Following her death came the new Emily. An Emily that cherishes her friends and whose eyes are burning with energy. An Emily whose spirit yearns to explore the neighborhoods she’s neglected for so long. This new Emily isn’t afraid to get lost anymore, for the best adventures occur off the beaten path. After all, what is life without adventure?

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