The time is right

25 years and my life is still trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination.

Primrose Hill, London

Primrose Hill, London

London, you have taken my breath away so many times and given me so much life. You have made me grow and made me laugh and you will always be such a big part of who I am.

When one important chapter of my life closes, all I know to do is to reminisce and smile at all the memories that were made, the new friendships that were formed and the struggles that were overcome. I also usually write about what happened and why it meant so much to me. But, when I tried last night, I just honestly did not know what to say. I am left speechless. Words seemed to diminish everything I was trying say. After spending a lot of time thinking about how to express what I feel, I think there are two main takeaways.

As I have told many of my family and friends who have asked, I am ready to leave London. The time is right. I will miss London and I am, in no means, tired of this place. Instead, it is time to keep chasing the next dreams, keep climbing and to experience the next adventures that lie ahead. It is time to pour my whole heart into what comes next. This is especially true given where I am in my life.

And London would not have been this special without all the love that people have shown around me. I honestly still have no words to express how thankful I am for and how welcomed I felt by everyone, including anyone on the GW England (QMUL) program and my flatmates, as well as others I met in classes and around Europe. We shared so much happiness and magic and I will always remember that. And, of course, to anyone who followed along in the journey on Snapchat, seriously, thank you so, so much for letting me do that and for watching.

There are so many people that shaped this experience, including many outside of London, like Brianna Farrell in Madrid or Christina Giordano and Rachel Davidson in Paris, more than could be listed, but the names in the groups I shared:

GW England:
Amanda Dilena, Ana Deros, Benjamin Gibbons, Caitlin Hendee, David Clemens, Emily Carlin, Emma Franklin, Jocelyn Jacoby, Katrina Damschroder, Kelvin Liang, Kirby Dzurny, Laura McKenna, Sofie Klotz

Flatmates:
Conchur Woods, Conor Rounds, Ell Roberts, Emily Chamberlain, Heather McCrum, Kathy Moran, Maika Mendoza, Sophie Maehle

Others:
Alex Klapper, Cheyenne Marani, Dalal Al Hamad, Duncan Williams, Ellen Yuan, Ian Thomas, Melissa Aziz, Neil Davis, Romy Leung

The time is right. And I will be back. I am content knowing that I fully lived every second given to me here in Europe and I cannot be more satisfied at my Study Abroad experience. I am so, so happy and I think that is the best way to go onwards.

Thankful everyday, 21,055 times

It's currently 3AM as I start this blog post on Thanksgiving Day, in London, and I have been spending the last several hours reflecting, reminiscing and thinking. Every day of every year, I have so much to be grateful for and I do my best to show just how genuinely appreciative I am for everything I have been blessed with and that has happened in my life. This year is absolutely no different.

But actually, it completely is.

Of any 12-month period, I think I grew the most, learned the most, discovered and explored the most and was able to invest my time most in myself and the people I love in this past period. From last Thanksgiving to today, so much has happened that I cannot begin to imagine how I can ever be thankful enough. But I try and do my best. Most of all, I hope the people I love most know just how thankful I am to have them in and a part of my life every single day and just how much of a difference each has made in my life.

The best way I know how to show my appreciation to my family and friends was to both let them know personally, a continual process that never stops, and to put together some of the Moments That Matter to me in a timeline to give them a well-deserved shoutout. To put this together, I scrolled through more than 21,055 photos and videos from November 2014 in Google Photos, stopping to look at various photos, think about the memories that were created and how I grew, tried something new or did something bold in that particular moment.

There is a lot that I am thankful for that was not included above, or, because there just is no photo that exists of the moment. For example, all the late-night monument walks or magical snow days I have had in DC with people I care so much about is not shown, but mean just as much to me. And, on an even higher level, the conversations and the laughter I have enjoyed this past year just cannot be represented in any way, but the words that were said, lasted and backed up in my mind may be my favorite memories of all, even more so than the photos automatically saved to Google Photos.

From DC to Los Angeles, Atlanta to Phoenix, Dallas and Memphis to San Francisco and the parts of Europe I have been lucky enough to explore this semester, a lot of memories have been made this past year. There have been several times in the past months where I have talked about how uniquely different this year has been for me and the different type of focus, mindset and outlook I have had this year.

I have always talked about people being the most important part of my life, of any organization and of any vision and I genuinely spend a lot of my time thinking about the people that play a crucial role in my life, more so than I spend time thinking about how technology can simplify life for all of us when pushed out of the way or of the friendly skies, or even singing Taylor Swift. This year, that could not have been more true and the one absolute thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving: the people I love. I could not mean that more when I say that.

The people in my life are the only thing that I care enough about losing.

So, to the people in my life, pictured or not pictured, who I know personally or only through Google+ or Twitter, thank you. Thank you for making me feel alive. Thank you for making me feel so loved. Thank you for letting me be crazy and insane and passionate. And thank you for contributing all that you are and all the energy you have to me and to this world.

To everyone I love, wherever you are in this world, have a very happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. I hope you are celebrating, enjoying and reminiscing next to people you love as much as I love you and I hope we get to be united again, or meet, so soon.

From London, with so much love.

<3 Ian Tang