I moved into the third floor of a terraced house in DC for the summer. Taking the Uber from the Ronald Reagan Airport was easier than I expected, and in less than three hours, I found myself removed from the familiarity of my Amherst College dorm and somehow placed in the foreignness of DC.

As I started unpacking my stuff from my baggage, a wave of loneliness washed over me in a way like never before. For the first time, I was free from an institutional setting, whether it be in a form of a family or of a school. I deliberately placed myself in an uncharted territory for the summer, and it finally dawned on me that I will be spending the next three months in the corner room of this terrace house.

The city is a big concept. It encompasses the concrete such as buildings, monuments, streets, people, houses, and cars. It also embraces the ephemeral such as emotions, thoughts, daydreams, hopes, and miseries. I think solitude aptly describes how I feel at the moment. I am deliberately lost in the things that comprise the city, and during my time here, I hope to add to the things that constitute the city, whether that’s in the form of the concrete or the ephemeral.

Solitude. It’s an interesting word. The word literally means “the state of being alone,” and yet it somehow sounds more resolute than the word “loneliness.” Right now, as I look around in this dimly lit room, I wonder whether I am enjoying my solitude or wallowing in my loneliness.




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