The Bittersweetness of Leaving

Coming home always elicits a host of feelings.

Julie X
3 min readAug 24, 2023
Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash

Time has a way of getting away from us.

It felt like a lifetime ago that I made the decision to move to the States to be with my partner.

In the blink of an eye, 5 years rushed by.

When I made the decision, it was the easiest thing to do. I was the appendix of the family after all. My parents could take care of themselves and my siblings have families of their own.

I also felt like I had to get away from the highly organized and stifling society where everyone seems single-mindedly focused on material security.

So I left and came home infrequently. This is my third time back in 5 years.

Coming home after 18 months away, I was once again struck by the strange and simultaneous feeling of familiarity and distance. I was half a stranger in a familiar place.

It’s like putting on a worn t-shirt you put away and forgot about. The shirt looked like it could’ve been someone else’s — an old version of you, perhaps — but when you put it, on your body remembers how the worn fabric clings to your boy, so soft and familiar it’s like a second skin.

Singapore felt familiar but almost foreign. I forgot how she felt on my skin and…



Julie X

A minimalistic millennial trying to make her life mean something.