The Hill Across the World
When I hear the opening line of this song, time itself stops.
A flashback occurs.
A flashback to the plane en-route to Singapore. The first time I heard this song. I was far away from home, on my first trip outside of Hong Kong. I looked out the plane window. What is this world? I thought. Nothing was the same as back home.
The second day that I was in Singapore, I decided to explore. All my friends had gone to sleep, but I wasn’t tired. I left the hostel and started walking. I don’t know what I was walking towards, but I ended up leaving Chinatown and the surrounding bars, and going towards the unknown.
I found an older part of the city after about an hour and a half of walking, with a large hill overlooking it. I climbed to the top of the hill and sat near the roof of a building, looking around.
Suddenly, I realized that I was alone.
I was actually alone. Yes, I was in Singapore with familiar people. But I didn’t know them until I arrived in Hong Kong. And now, in this massive city, in this “city of the future”, in this city 10,000 miles from home, I was sitting on the side of this hill. By myself. Taking it all in.
Did that scare me? Not really. In fact, it comforted me.
I was alone, sitting on that hill across the world at 2am in an unknown city with an unknown language and an unknown culture. But I was sitting there still. And I was okay. There was nothing to fear. No one was watching me. I felt free.
I looked at the moon. It looked the same as the one back home. Not long ago, I was looking at this same moon from Bonaire, Georgia. I could barely compare my small town life there with this world I was experiencing firsthand.
I laid down and closed my eyes, taking in the sounds and smells. Singapore.
On the way back, I listened to Blonde again. It completely cleared my mind. All that was real was me and this city. Nothing else existed. Nothing else mattered.
Now that I’m back in America, I get caught up in the petty day-to-day struggles just like anyone else. I think about Hong Kong and my study abroad experience less and less each month.
I hope that I remember it all forever. I probably won’t though.
But I won’t forget that hill. The hill where I recognized the totality of this world.
I realized how strong I was. I could explore anywhere, and I could do anything.
I learned that I don’t need anyone else to accompany me. Sure, it would be nice to have and I love everyone around me. But I could be alone and I would survive. I could go anywhere and make friends.
This inspired me to talk to more people, to branch out, take risks, and be myself. Because that’s all I have. People will like that or they won’t. If they don’t, there are people who will. And I’m happy to call those people friends.
Written by Davidson Poole