So as I'm about to move away from this place, I decide to make a sentimental short film about it so that 10 years from now, I will be able to remember it and feel nostalgic.

I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in August 2006 from Saigon, Vietnam. My cousin was going here for her master degree at the University of Arkansas and somehow convinced me to join her.

So here I was, an introverted gay atheistic Asian emo in a small town of Southern USA. I was bored and depressed in the first few years, not so much because my English sucks but because my shyness really prevented me from socializing. Then I found a way to make myself confident, which is to improve my taste in everything, namely film, music and fashion. Luckily, many in architecture school are people of good taste. And that's how they became my good friends.

I started to realize how hippie this town is. I started to find really hippie places to go to, really hippie things to do and really hippie friends to hang out with. I started to count myself in the local community, not just as a temporary foreign student.

After reading so much news about world politics, learning different perspectives of art in school, movies and museums, and making a lot of mistakes in romantic relationships, I got wiser. I started to look at people, animals, nature, the universe, my hometown, this town, my own personality and life in general in a more loving, more positive, more optimistic way. I came to embrace life tighter and found my path to happiness.

You can say these experiences could happen anywhere, not necessarily in this town. But only location-specific events that make up memories have the capacity to generate your emotional connections to these experiences. I will remember the trees, the grass, the bike trail, Town Square, Dickson street, Old Main, Vol Walker Hall, Mullins Library, the Union, and so on.

More important are the people. I love all the friends that I've made here. They helped me believe in my physical existence. Some even convinced me that my existence would cause abomination. They are not perfect, but neither am I.

It was here that I realized what I really am, what I can be and what I wanna be. It was here that I learned the most valuable life lessons and matured my personality. Don't even let me mention the architectural education that I got from the awesome professors. Six years have passed. I probably feel more connected to this place than Saigon, where I'm from. For a long time, I had call Saigon my home. But as I realized I was leaving Fayetteville soon, I thought it was fair to call it home too.

But hey, I'm relieved that my time here is finally over. And I'm excited about the adventure that's awaiting me ahead. So let's forget about home for now. And 10 years later, we can recall all the good times and bad, mostly good. So good night and good luck to us all, especially me.

"Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run"
by Sufjan Stevens
from "Illinois"

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